Whole Body Or Split: Which Training Plan Is Better And More Effective For You?

Whole-body or split - the question of which is the better training method has occupied strength athletes around the world for several years....

Whole-body or split - the question of which is the better training method has occupied strength athletes around the world for several years. No wonder, because there is no general answer to this. Rather, the optimal subdivision of your training plan depends on your individual circumstances. If you are now wondering what the differences are between the two training plan variants and which individual circumstances are decisive, then you have come to the right place.

The full-body workout

As the name suggests, full-body training trains the entire body in a single session. This implies that only a few different exercises (usually only one exercise per muscle group) are performed per muscle group. Otherwise, the training would take several hours. Apart from the fact that hardly anyone would have the time to train for several hours at a time during the week, this would also be highly ineffective. The optimal training duration is around one hour, otherwise, your cortisol level would rise, which in turn would hinder muscle building.

Back to full-body training: Since our training window is limited to about an hour, but we want to cover the whole body in one unit, we resort to complex exercises, also known as basic exercises. With these, we can engage several different muscles in just one exercise. Practical! Such basic exercises are in particular:

• Squats

• Deadlifts

• Bench presses

• Shoulder presses (standing)

• Pull-ups

• Rows

• Dips

squats e.g. B. simultaneously engages your full hamstrings, buttocks, and core (middle part of the body, especially the lower back). With bench presses, you cover your chest muscles as well as the front shoulder area and the triceps. The principle should be clear. Conversely, this means that there is no room for isolation exercises such as bicep curls or leg extensions in the full-body plan.

The split training

If you are a newcomer in the matter of cultivated weight training, you probably only know the term split from the banana sundae in your favorite ice cream parlor. In fact, the word origin is the same in both banana split and split training. To split means something like splitting in English, and that's what this training plan is all about. Because instead of training all muscle groups in the body at the same time in one day, they are divided into two or more parts and used on separate days.

In a two-split, you divide your body into two parts. As a rule, upper body and lower body exercises are separated. The classification based on the movement pattern push (pressing exercises) and pull (pulling exercises) is also popular among many people exercising. For example, this would look like squats and bench presses are done on push day, while deadlifts and pull-ups are done on pull day.

An additional division takes place in the three-way split, which is probably the most common training frequency. The body is split into the following parts in a very classic way:

• Chest, shoulders, and triceps (push),

• Legs (hamstrings, hamstrings, calves),

• Back, hamstrings & neck, and biceps (pull).

The four-way split is rather rare. An example classification would look like this:

• Chest & Biceps

• Back

• Shoulders & Triceps

• Legs

So you can see that the higher the split, the fewer muscle groups are involved per training day. These muscle parts can be worked on particularly intensively because you have more time per unit for them. Logical consequence: the finer the split, the more isolation exercises can be integrated.

Whole-body or split: Which training plan is the right one?

Suffice it to say that whether full body or split is a better choice for you depends on your training level and the time you have available. But why is that? To do this, we need to go into a little bit about how muscle growth actually happens.

Summary: How Muscle Growth Works

Contrary to the unfortunately still widespread thesis that muscle growth takes place during training, in reality, your muscles grow after training (i.e. in the regeneration phase). The growth stimulus is of course set by the stress in the workout. According to the scientifically recognized principle of super-compensation, micro-tears, i.e. smaller inflammations, are added to the muscle during the workout. The goal must be to give these tears enough time to heal so that the muscle grows together more tightly than it did before and is better equipped to handle the stimulus from the last workout next time. This is the only way to ensure constant progression, i.e. training progress through increasing the mechanically moved loads and thus muscle growth.

However, if the muscle that has not yet fully healed is used again too soon, exactly the opposite of what we actually want happens: the training performance stagnates or even decreases and the muscles do not grow. Another problem: A training stimulus that is too weak also ensures that muscle growth stagnates!

So you can see that one of the main secrets of weight training is correctly assessing the individual stimulation threshold. This load moved per muscle group per workout is also called training volume. It's also scientifically proven that you should train the same muscle about twice a week and leave about 48 to 72 hours between retraining the same muscle. If there's more time between workouts, you're just wasting potential. This is referred to as the so-called training frequency. With this information, the question of full-body or split comes full circle.

Beginner vs Intermediate - Full Body or Split?

Beginners have a much lower threshold than trainees who have been using the iron consistently for several years. So you need fewer exercises and sets per muscle group (i.e. less volume) to set a sufficient growth stimulus. That's why beginners do better with a full-body workout than with a split. A full-body workout with a focus on the basic exercises mentioned is also useful to get to know the basic biomechanical movement patterns and to feel how you train which muscles at all. Split training would only lead to the stimulus being set far too high, which ultimately leads to stagnation and thus to demotivation.

Lots of time vs. little time - full body or split?

Another important criterion for decision-making is the time you have available. What's the use of doing a three-way split if you can only find time to work out three days a week? Right, little. Because we remember: The optimal frequency is that a muscle is trained twice a week or every three to four days. Regardless of the classification beginner vs. advanced, the following training plans are possible based on your available time:

• Three training days per week: full-body split ideal, two-person split theoretically also possible.

• Four training days per week: a two-person split is ideal, a three-person split is also possible.

• Five training days per week: a three-way split is ideal, a four-way split is possible, a two-way split is also possible with optimal regeneration.

Important: You don't have to do a four-way split just because you're advanced. Many pro bodybuilders also get excellent results with a two-way split because they keep the frequency high. As a beginner, on the other hand, it is sufficient to train the whole body three times a week.


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Whole Body Or Split: Which Training Plan Is Better And More Effective For You?
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