Full Body Training Vs. Split Training
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Whether or not you have considered it, going with total body workouts or a muscle split routine is definitely an important factor to consider in regards to your training. There are a number of different variables to take into account when you are making this decision as well. You must consider your overall goals, your goal for that particular workout, how often you are working out per week, as well as where you are in your fitness journey. Each method also has its advantages and disadvantages.
First and foremost, what are your overall goals? Are you looking to pack on some muscle? Lose weight? Torch as much fat as you possibly can? Increase endurance? Whichever goal you are striving for, you may want to utilize a different training routine. If you are looking to pack on muscle or lift more weight, more times than not you are going to want to go with a split training routine. It allows you to place greater focus on specific muscle groups during your training. On top of that, the body will be less fatigued when utilizing a split training routine which will allow you to be able to move greater loads. If you are looking to maximize caloric expenditure and fat loss then you will probably want to go the total body route. The more muscles you can get fired up during a training session the greater the metabolic stress and calorie burn. If you are looking to increase endurance you could potentially utilize either training approach however, for overall endurance total body workouts are going to be the most ideal given that they generate a higher average heart rate than a split workout.
A major factor to consider is how often you are working out. If you are only working out 1-3 times per week, it might be best to use a total body program to try to get the most bang for your buck and make sure that you are not neglecting any body parts on a more limited split routine. If you are working out 3 or more days a week, you may want to consider incorporating a split routine. In this case, you will give your individual muscle groups ample recovery time to rebuild and grow before working them again. It also makes it easier to workout on back to back days or shorter rest periods. You might work your legs one day and the next day target the upper body or a specific upper body muscle group. Even though you are working out the next day your legs are able to recover while you workout your upper body because you're utilizing the split training approach. You could potentially even consider using a split routine if you are working out two days a week in some cases. In this example, you would likely utilize and upper body/lower body split, or a push/pull split. Ultimately, the split training routine is going to allow you to train with much greater frequency over the total body approach.
One last thing you will want to take into account is where you are in your fitness journey. For the beginner or intermediate fitness enthusiast, you might want to avoid isolating specific muscle groups on split days because you won't see any benefits. You will however reap the benefits in just about every fitness metric when incorporating a total body routine. Not that beginners will not benefit from a split routine, but with likely very little muscular strength, hypertrophy, or endurance in any of their muscle groups, there are so many areas to improve that they should all receive attention as regularly as they can. If you're more advanced and have established a strong muscular foundation, it will be a lot harder to induce muscular adaptations with the total body method. After a certain amount of time, your body will start adapting and your progress will slow and you might possibly hit a plateau. By utilizing a split routine as an experienced fitness enthusiast or athlete, you can target specific areas on given days and place a greater emphasis on them. By targeting those areas you can make specific improvements rather than hoping you will see those improvements from workouts that are probably too varied to yield the results you are looking for at this point in your fitness journey.
Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Total body routines are great for beginners and can help keep the entire body in balance, allow for certain muscle groups to be targeted with greater frequency given the lower amount of volume per muscle group, and also will maximize fat and calorie burn. On the other hand, this approach makes it difficult to target a specific muscle group for improvement, and could possibly lead to an overtraining response. Since you will probably hit a little bit of everything each time you work out you can potentially overdo one area. If bench press is your favorite exercise and you incorporate the movement into every workout, you may induce an overtraining response from too much stimulus without enough recovery. The split routine allows for you to target specific muscle groups to build and sculpt them to a greater capacity, it's less taxing on the entire body and also adds variety. It should be known that you will may not burn as many calories, develop a favoritism certain muscle groups which may lead to muscular imbalance, and if you miss a workout then you are totally missing out on one muscle group unless you can find the time to make it up.
With each of their advantages and disadvantages considered, it is ultimately going to come down to YOU and your goals. Consider your short and long term goals, how often you are training and where you are at in your fitness journey. After answering each of these questions, the answer should be quite simple as to what route you should take!