Full Body Training vs Split Muscle Group Training

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Which is better for your goals: full body vs split workouts

On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, I’m comparing full body training vs split muscle group training.

Which training style is better for your specific goals?

In other words, should each workout target your full body or should you follow a split routine, which simply means you target 1-2 muscle groups during the workout.

As my answer to most fitness related questions, it really depends on your specific goals and circumstances.

However, if you want to do this on your own, here are a few things to think about when deciding if full body training vs split muscle group training is best for you.

Full Body Training vs Split Muscle Group Training

You should do full body training if:

#1. You are a beginner:

If you’re just starting out, we typically recommend gym newbies ease themselves into their new Live Lean lifestyle by lifting weights 3 times per week.

3 days per week is a good starting point, as lifting weights will put a new stimulus on your muscles and nervous system, that your body is not used too.

These workouts will probably make your body sore, so it’s important to give you body sufficient recovery time.

Since you’ll only be working out 3 times per week, hitting a full body routine makes good sense, since you’ll hit all the major muscle groups, with enough volume and frequency, to begin seeing results.

#2. You have limited time:

If you can only make it to the gym 2-3 times per week, similar to what I just mentioned, a full body routine is a great option to ensure you hit all the muscles with enough volume and frequency to make progress.

#3. Your primary goal is endurance training:

If your primary goal is endurance training, you probably spend most of your time in the cardio room.

However, if strength and muscle is also of importance to you, which it should be, you can fit in a good full body routine on your off cardio days.

#4. Your goal is fat loss:

When it comes to fat loss, following a full body training routine can help burn more calories, since the more muscles you recruit to lift the weight, the more calories you’ll burn.

Alright lets move on to when you should be following split muscle group training.

You should be doing split muscle group training if:

Full Body Training vs Split Muscle Group Training#1. You’re looking to target muscle growth:

Most intermediate and advanced individuals train with higher volume, per muscle group, to help stimulate more muscle growth.

This makes split muscle group training better since you’re overloading the specific muscles with more volume via more exercises, sets, and reps.

#2. You train more frequently:

People that go to the gym 4 or more times per week, tend to prefer split muscle group training since they can continue to train other body parts, while allowing previously trained muscles sufficient recovery time.

This limits the risk of potential overtraining.

Do I follow full body training vs split muscle group training?

I do both as it really depends on which phase of my training I’m in.

If I’m in a strength or muscle building phase, I follow the split muscle group training approach.

This allows me to train 1-2 muscle groups per day and train it with enough intensity and volume to maximize muscle growth and strength.

By following split muscle group training, it allows my other muscles sufficient recovery time before my next workout.

My Live Lean MASS 2.0 muscle building split:

I typically prefer to super set opposing muscle groups to ensure I’m training them with the same frequency and volume to avoid an muscle imbalances.

In my 42 day Live Lean MASS 2.0 muscle building program, we follow the following muscle group split:

  • Chest/Back (Day 1)
  • Quads/Hamstrings (Day 2)
  • Active Rest (Day 3)
  • Biceps/Triceps (Day 4)
  • Shoulders/Calves (Day 5)
  • HIIT/Abs/Mobility (Day 6)
  • Active Rest (Day 7)

Then during a phase where I’m looking to lean out, I prefer full body training to maximize fat loss, like those training styles found in my Live Lean Afterburn 2.0 program.

Hi-5 to you if…

You’re actually following a properly structured workout program.

Here’s a quick story about my stupidity.

Full Body Training vs Split Muscle Group Training

I started consistently training back in 2003, but I never started to see noticeable and sustainable results until 2010.

So what happened?

Well for the first 7 years of my training, I was dumb.

I simply went to the gym, and while I was walking onto the gym floor, I decided what I felt like doing.

At the time, I had no idea what I was doing, so I simply stayed in my comfort zone and bounced around from machine to machine.

As you could tell, this was not setting me up for success, plus I was totally unmotivated as I wasn’t working towards anything.

Then I got a subscription to Men’s Health magazine, and I started cutting out random workouts and pasting them into a binder.

Even though this was better than just randomly selecting exercises on my own, it was still very random as there was no structure to an actual workout program.

They were just one off workouts that never built on one another.

Then in 2010, I finally got super fed up with my lack of progress of 7 years in the gym.

I finally invested in a paid workout program that was designed for my goals.

Full Body Training vs Split Muscle Group Training

After that, things just got easier, and much more enjoyable.

It’s amazing how more focused and intense my workouts were when I was actually following a workout program, not just a random workout.

And I’m so passionate about getting on a program because I see show many people making the same mistakes that I did in the gym.

People just bounce from one exercise to the other without any real strategy behind their actions.

And I have empathy for this people, because that was me.

It’s like the old saying that “Those that fail to plan, plan to fail.”.

This applies to working out as well.

So now that I’m done on my rant on why you need to follow a workout program, let me wrap this up.

Bottom line on what’s better: full body training vs split muscle group training?

If you’re looking for a generic one size fits all answer, I can’t help you.

The answer really depends on your specific situation, including your goals, current fitness level, and access to equipment.

I highly recommend you go take our Live Lean Body Quiz to find the best workout program design for you, based on your goals, current fitness level, and access to equipment.

The program that suits your answers best, is the style of training you should do.

Thanks for watching and keep Living Lean.


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Brad Gouthro is the founder of Live Lean TV, a media company focused on helping men and women “Live Lean” 365 days a year. Brad’s programs and content have helped millions of people all over the world learn how to get in shape, and more importantly, sustain it for life.

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