The full body approach, as its name suggests, encompasses all muscle groups within one workout. In contrast, a split workout separates individual muscle groups, so each workout is dedicated to only specific parts of the muscular system.
It must be emphasized that a split workout in the literal sense of the word does not exist because it is never possible to completely isolate an individual muscle. In addition to the primary muscle (agonist) is always in the same movement to help muscles and stabilize movement.
Eg with bench press, which is primarily a chest exercise, it is impossible to completely avoid the work of the triceps or the work of the front part of the deltoid (shoulder) muscle.
Full body training
A full body workout is an original way of training or as it is often called old school. It is the oldest possible school, dating back to a time when strength training and bodybuilding were in their infancy. So, at that first time, whole body training as a whole was the generally accepted norm.
Some of the greatest names in natural bodybuilding of all time, such as John Grimek, Steve Reeves, and Reg Park have trained using this method.
Should you do full body training?
The more often we stimulate a certain muscle group, the better it will progress, ie grow. With a full body approach, the same muscle group is in action 3-4 times a week. This places great demands on her to adapt, which with adequate recovery, nutrition and rest will result in muscle growth.
Furthermore, this type of training results in higher energy expenditure which allows for greater freedom in the diet without shedding more fat. In addition, it reduces the need for, often tedious, cardio training.
Full body workout also leads to a greater depletion of glycogen reserves, which results in greater supercompensation when we replenish those same reserves after training.
Namely, if someone did not understand, when we talk about full body training, then we are not talking about 10 series on the machine for adductors with a lot of repetitions with 5 kg. Full body focuses on complex, multi-joint movements and working with heavyweights.
After such training, the body is literally in shock due to a large amount of microtrauma to which it was exposed, the high protein degradation that occurred, and the aforementioned depletion of glycogen stores. The described condition makes the muscles extremely favorable for the reception of nutrients and the consequent creation of an anabolic atmosphere.
Another useful aspect is the acute increase in anabolic hormones in plasma, which is short-lived, but in combination with timely intake of adequate nutrients, sufficient for the desired anabolic response.
Benefits of full body training
A holistic approach to training (training the body as a whole) should allow you to build a balanced muscular system. Such functioning is closest to the functioning of the body in everyday life – as a whole.
If by any chance we don’t manage to train a few times a week, we don’t need to worry because in other training each muscle group has already done its part, so none of the muscles will be skipped.
Disadvantages of full body training
This type of training is very difficult to hit a particular muscle group very intensely (especially the legs) because high intensity can be too much of a task for the body and can require a long recovery which makes it unprepared for the next workout.
Furthermore, a state of overtraining can easily occur. In addition, high intensity full body training several times a week can be on the verge of enduring.
Allegedly, Arnold himself once said (after trying such a high-intensity full body training for a while) that he would rather return to Austria and be a ski instructor than do such training…
Split training is a training regime in which individual muscle groups are trained separately, and not altogether in the same training.
When Joe Weider started publishing bodybuilding and fitness magazine Flex in the early 80s, full body workouts suddenly fell into the background. Flex has always been packed with examples of split workouts presented by fitness and bodybuilding stars and that hasn’t changed to this day.
And really, I don’t remember ever hearing or reading that Ronnie Coleman trained his whole body 3 times a week. Even this way of training was not resorted to by Dorian Yates, who is known for very intense training with little repetition. So, one could conclude that if you want to build imposing muscle mass – split workouts are the way to go!
Should you do split training?
The main advantage is that we can train with less muscle fatigue while using heavier weights. Full body training causes much greater muscle fatigue, so towards the end of full body training, it is necessary to reduce the load. In contrast, with split workouts, especially if the antagonistic muscles are working, there is no need to reduce the load.
The result is the maximum load of each of the trained muscles, which will cause a great adaptive reaction, ie growth. Furthermore, a positive effect is a better concentration on the trained muscle because we simply focus on fewer muscles than when training the whole body.
It is also positive and useful that there is a much lower chance of overtraining than with full body training. With a split workout, we can do a high-intensity, high-quality workout in just half an hour while staying fresh and can bite with equal quality the next day in training. This is very important because when the thought of the gym and training disgusts you, you can be sure that the CNS is overworked and training will be much less productive than when you are fresh.
Benefits of split training
When it comes to muscle shaping, split workouts are the tool of choice because we can pay special attention to individual muscles. In addition, it is easier to change the composition, ie training exercises in split training than in full body training.
Thus, the possibility of adjustment and thus reduction of boredom is much greater.
Disadvantages of split training
The disadvantage would be reduced calorie consumption in split workouts, so if we want to keep the percentage of BF under control, it is necessary to include cardio training to some extent.
Also, as a disadvantage, we can mention the higher probability of imbalance in the strength and size of individual muscles. This is most often the result of poor training design and can be easily avoided.
In split training, we typically train each muscle group once a week, with this type of training it is not possible to skip training. In that case, we will have a break of 2 weeks for the skipped muscle group.
For the end
From the above comparisons, we could conclude that both training regimes have their comparative advantages. For everyone, the best option is to determine primarily what they train for. If it’s bodybuilding, I personally would choose split training. If it’s general fitness, maybe a full body is a more logical option after all.
These advantages and disadvantages should be taken into account, but as with everything, the matter is ultimately individual. We need to weigh what brought us a bigger result and stick to it. Because the winning combination never changes!
Check out my full body workout routine 👇