Full body workouts and split routines

Whether you’ve been working out at the gym for a while or are just starting out, establishing a routine and mission in order to achieve your goals remains a hurdle. At first. Your main mission is probably to shed a few kilos and put on a bit of lean muscle, whereas when you have been at it for a while, strength and conditioning starts to take priority. Consequently you begin to adapt your workout routine accordingly.

When it comes to exercise regimens, one of the of the most common questions amongst gym rats and bunnies is, do I opt for full body workouts or split routines to get the results I want?

Wondering what separates the two, and why it matters so much? Read on to find out.

What’s the difference?

Quite simply, with full body workout you do multiple exercises to target each of your body’s muscle groups in one workout, whereas with a split routine, you work seperate major muscle groups on alternating days.

Why does it matter?

As mentioned, we choose our workout regimens to suit our goals and physical performance requirements.

Find out if it’s best for you to train your entire body in one session, or to set different days aside for separate muscle groups.

Full body workout

Full body workouts have a lot of merit, and for good reason. One of their biggest benefits is the fact that working out the entire body at once mimics real life more closely. Think of your ancestors hunting and gathering. What they did can, in today’s terms, translate to hard labour, which requires one to utilise one’s entire frame. If you’re looking for a balanced, natural-looking body, this is the way to go. Personal trainers also prefer giving clients looking to lose weight full body workout exercises, as it forces them to stay on their feet and burn more kilojoules.

Another perk is that, should you skip one workout a week, you can probably get away with it since you didn’t leave any muscle groups out during your previous workout.

Seeing as this is a great overall body conditioning way of exercising, individuals who will benefit most from full body workouts are:

  1. Gym newbies. Full body workouts will whip you into shape and strengthen your muscles, enabling you to lift heavy weights.
  2. Older individuals (65+) who are more prone to injury, which can be sustained from grueling split workouts.
  3. Part-time lifters and cardio/outdoor fanatics. If lifting is merely a means of conditioning your body so it may perform well in sports and other physical activities, then hitting the weights for a full body workout two to three times a week will work wonders.

There are, however, a few cons.

If you’re looking to bulk or target one muscle group more than another (this is usually the case once you’ve been hitting the gym for a few months and become stronger), full body workouts won’t cut it. As you get stronger, you will want to lift heavier. Your muscles need long recovery periods to grow after being worked hard.

If you want to get bigger after sticking it out in the gym for a while, you’ll need to move to a split routine.

If you do choose to stick to a full body workout, remember to change it up every once in a while. Your body won’t work as hard once it starts adapting.

Click here for a good full body workout program.

Split routines

Split routines are the go-to workout regimen for bodybuilders, fitness models and seasoned gymgoers. Targeting different body parts with each workout means you are able to condition areas where you’d like to be stronger or bigger, seeing as muscles will have sufficient recovery time after workouts, so you’ll get to lift heavier weights and do pyramid sets (lifting heavy weights at low reps, while decreasing the weight and increasing the rep count with each set).

The problem here, though, is twofold:

You’ll burn fewer kilojoules. If you focus on one muscle group per day, your whole body won’t be engaged and therefore your metabolism won’t be revved as high. You can’t afford to skip workouts, as this will lead to body imbalances (think tiny calves and huge pecs).

If you are already conditioned and would like to go hard on your muscles, this is the way to go. If, however, you are only looking to get fit and condition, full body workouts are your go to.

Click here for a good example of a split routine.

About My Health and Fitness

Welcome to My Health and Fitness, a rich source of articles to help you become the best version of yourself. From diet to exercise and general health, our content contributors (including Biokineticists, Physiotherapists, and Fitness Professionals) will cover all your frequently asked questions and more! If you would like to join our content team as a health and fitness professional, please email us at info@myhealthandfitness.co.za Disclaimer: Our articles are not meant to replace any medical advice as given to you by your doctor or healthcare specialist. Always consult your doctor before embarking on a new exercise routine or drastic changes in your diet, especially where pre-existing conditions are applicable.

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