The debate has been hashed out time and time again: are split-routine or full-body workouts better?
If you are training for a bodybuilding competition, or you have unlimited time to exercise individual groups of muscles, giving each time to rest and recover, split-routine workouts may be possible for you.
However, if you don’t have a couple hours every day to cultivate your muscles in that way and are not trying to enter into the bodybuilding world, full-body workouts are most likely a better and more practical option for you.
Full-body workouts are closer to what professional athletes do to get in and stay in shape and replicates the natural movements your body actually makes in daily life instead of pushing them too far.
While you may want specifically to strengthen your arms or abdominals or legs, if you think of your body as one muscle, since all muscles are somehow connected, working out just one part of a muscle is impractical.
Marc Perry, former Yale University athlete and current strength and conditioning trainer in New York City, stated, “You will be able to build a well-balanced body by hitting all muscle groups in one workout, which is more natural and more closely mimics real life.”
Full-body workouts and exercises generally utilize multiple muscle groups all at once. This results in cutting down on time spent in the gym, as well as requiring multi-joint movements, involving high energy, often being more taxing and needing more recovery time between workouts, at least 48 hours or more.
Health and fitness writer and ACE-certified personal trainer Andrea Cespedes has stated, “Full-body workouts are for athletes whose sports demand power and agility. These allow you to train the body as a unit–athletes’ moves during competition are rarely performed in isolation. They also recruit more total muscle mass during each lifting session.
Another acclaimed strength training and bodybuilding author and PhD, Ellington Darden, suggests full-body workouts on an ideal schedule of Monday-Wednesday-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday. This provides your body with the optimum time to recover between workouts to adequately heal and enhance muscle growth.
So, if you’re trying to get in shape or just become more active, instead of singling out specific muscles to train, opt for full-body workouts where more muscles are being utilized at one time, giving you a balanced and productive workout that is both manageable and extremely beneficial.