Jun 20, 2022
When to do Full-Body Workouts & Splits

A recent article from Livestrong.com explains when you should utilize full-body workouts and split up the muscle groups.

Below is an excerpt from that Livestrong article.

Which is better? That depends on three questions only you can answer: how often you want to lift, how much experience you have lifting and how intense each session is. Here’s how to figure out the best approach for you.

If You Lift 2-3 Times a Week — Full-Body Workouts

splitsSome research shows that training muscle groups twice per week is better than doing so once per week, even if the total amount lifted is the same, according to a November 2016 review in Sports Medicine.

One explanation for this could be multiple increases in what’s called “muscle protein synthesis.” After you lift weights, this process — which tells your body to build muscle — is elevated for a period that lasts between one and two days, according to a June 2015 review in Sports Medicine. Training the muscle two or more times per week will spike this twice instead of once.

Not all research says that twice a week is better than once a week, though. Another review, published in December 2018 in the Journal of Sport Sciences, found that the effect on hypertrophy was similar whether a muscle group was trained once, twice or three times a week — as long as those 10 to 20 sets were done.

If You Lift 4 Times a Week — Either

If you perform a routine that splits your body in half — maybe one upper-body and one lower-body workout or a workout comprised of pushing exercises and another with pulling exercises — you can hit every muscle group two times a week.

You could also do four total-body workouts per week as long as the workouts are spread out or you don’t train your muscles in exactly the same way.

“Total-body training on a daily basis [can mean you] don’t allow proper recovery between training days,” Jason White, Ph.D., associate professor and director of performance sciences at Ohio University, tells LIVESTRONG.com. Giving yourself at least one rest day between full-body training sessions is necessary for your muscles to recover.

If You Lift 5-7 Times a Week — Splits

“Splits are more for people who desire increased frequency,” White says. That keeps you in the gym on a near-daily basis and allows you to hit the high volumes you want to hit for those muscle groups while still allowing recovery days before the next time you hit them.

One other benefit of adding sessions is that it’s often easier to get more total volume from spreading the sets out: You’ll get pretty tired doing 15 sets of 10 reps in a row, so the weight might decrease, or you may not be able to finish all your reps. When you’re doing just 5 sets, for example, you’ll likely be able to lift a greater total in each of the three sessions, resulting in more total weight lifted throughout the week.

To read the full story from Livestrong.com, click here.

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