For decades the bodybuilding community has been equally interested in full body programs and split routines. But now the interest is getting skewed towards one or the other. You could join any one of the camps, but we suggest whole body workouts, to maximize the time spent in the gym. We’re not taking sides arbitrarily. Split routines are great with their own unique benefits. But whole body routines offer more advantages.
With split routines, you’d have to make time for the gym four days a week. If you’ve got something on every week you want to spend fewer days at the gym. With full body training, you can workout only two or three days in a week with equal effectiveness. The duration of your workout will be a little longer, but you’ll have more days of the week free to do other stuff. At the same time, you’ll end up further ahead of those who split their upper and lower body workouts.
The more you stimulate a muscle to grow, the more it will grow. Of course, you must train fresh and provide a variety of stimuli to the muscles through varying rep ranges, etc. In the case of full body workouts, you’re hitting each muscle group about two or three times a week. Trying to do the same with split training is impossible, since to get the same kind of effects, you’d have to workout three or four times a day!
Full body workouts release more energy per workout as compared with split routines. More muscle is being worked every session, which means you burn more calories. With full body workouts, you could gain muscle with little or no fat gain and maybe even a little fat loss. You could also eat more without gaining more fat and skip the boring cardio post-weight training.
A full body workout basically leaves your body super-depleted of glycogen, with immense protein degradation and microtrauma. Your body goes into desperate mode and becomes primed for anabolism and nutrient uptake. Of course, you must give the body the nutrition it needs at this stage. When you do, there will be a supercompensation that is superior to any kind of compensation effect you could achieve with split workouts.
When you work out a big bunch of muscles in one session, there is a greater concentration of plasma anabolic hormones. It’s hard to say if this short-lived increase affects the muscle growth at all, but your body is primed for anabolism at this time so if there is an effect this is the best time for it.
Split-based routines are good in their own way. There’s less fatigue and you’re paying greater attention to each muscle group. But you probably won’t get time for any other sports or activities because you’d be spending more time at the gym. Whole body routines are easier to manipulate to avoid hitting plateaus. Overall, they are the better workout program for many people.
Which camp do you belong to?
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