Designing A New Workout Routine

May 5 18:52 2012 Ben Wain Print This Article

Are you trying to determine what training method to perform? Maybe you are a complete beginner when it comes to resistance training, or a professional athlete or bodybuilder, one of the most argued subjects in the training world is which routine provides the quickest gains. In this article, we talk about the advantages and disadvantages of full body workouts performed two to three times per week versus working individual muscle groups only once per week, in other words, single muscle group splits.

One of the topics you will come across most often asked over the Internet concerning resistance training is which method is most likely to lead to quicker gains,Guest Postingtraining the whole body more than once a week or dedicating a day to one or two muscle groups at a time, or is it best to train each muscle group more than once per week? You will notice numerous debates over the answer, especially across many muscle building and fitness forums. To be perfectly truthful, there is no definite answer to the debate, likewise no perfect training regime exists, perhaps only each person specifically. This is basically meaning an individual may train individual muscle group once for a week for many years, before mixing up the frequency to twice a week and suddenly find they achieve much greater and faster gains. Another individual may choose to follow the same approach, eat identical food, get the same amount of sleep, only to find the routine not as effective. It is therefore the responsibility of each individual to test the different types of routine and come to a conclusion which one leads to quicker gains.

It can be very confusing designing a workout, especially when starting for the first time. If you were to browse the majority of the forums, the general consensus tends to agree with full body workouts or training each muscle group two to three times a week. However, if you follow the routines practiced by professional bodybuilders and cover model workouts you will notice they tend to follow single muscle group splits. Quite a number of personal trainers often advise full body workouts, especially for newbies. This is down to the fact full body workouts permits you to concentrate on the heavy compound moves, which utilise numerous muscle groups when performing, compared to isolation moves often carried out in single muscle group splits. This also allows you to go heavier, and combining an exercise which enables you to go as heavy as you possibly can, perform two to three times a week (which is also better for improving technique), and works numerous muscles at a time, is going to be very effective when it comes to size and strength gains. This is specifically true when lifting for the first time, and is a method often used by power and strength athletes due to the fact it allows them to lift as heavy as possible. The above few paragraphs read like full body workouts already have an advantage compared to single muscle group splits, however this does not mean you should turn a blind eye to the latter too quickly. Keep reading as we will review the advantages and disadvantages of full body workouts against single muscle group splits, after which it is up to you to try for yourself and choose which one produces the best gains.

Advantages of Full Body Workouts

Allow more compound moves to be performed per workout - As already stated full body workouts enable you to focus on heavy compound moves. This lets you train several muscle groups at the same time leading to quicker gains whatever your end goals are, and the heavier you go the more your strength improves, the more powerful you get the quicker size gains you will achieve (providing you are consuming enough food of course). It also means you are working your body as a whole unit, which will lead to your muscles looking generally more evenly proportioned compared to if you were just working your mirror muscles once a week then paying no attention to other body parts.

More aerobic training - Following exercises that utilise numerous muscle groups is bound to be more draining on the body, which means full body workouts may result in increased calories being burned. Common understanding is that you can afford to consume more calories when performing full body workouts without sacrificing too much lean definition, this is especially useful if aiming to increase size and minimise fat gains.

Greater frequency per muscle group - Training each muscle group more than once per week means they are stimulated much more frequently than training just once per week. Compare against training each muscle group once a week over forty-eight weeks out of one whole year, you would have worked your muscles potentially ninety-six to one hundred and forty-four times in comparison to only forty-eight. This is also beneficial if you ever skip a workout as you would still have trained the muscle on one of your other training days, whereas when training each muscle group once a week you would have to wait a full week for your next session.

Disadvantages of Full Body Workouts

Possibility of over training - This is also down to other influences such as efficient diet and sleep, however training a muscle group two to three times a week can lead to over training if the workouts are not set to correctly. When not training to failure, recommended with full body workouts, the general consensus is most of us need to allow forty-eight hours for our muscles to repair. This time can take longer subject to the individual; therefore, if you continue to train whilst your muscles are still sore from your previous workout you could end up injuring yourself long term. To counter against this, apart from not training to failure, you should mix up your set and rep range per session by performing one heavy day with fewer reps and increased sets, one light day with increased reps and fewer sets, then think about a day in-between the two ranges.

Can fatigue quickly - As above this is subject to other factors, however if start your session by working your chest, then back and then shoulders, when it comes around to training your triceps you might not have enough left in the tank to give it your all. This is down to the fact you would have already involved them twice after a big chest then shoulders compound lift.

Cannot focus on a specific muscle group - As you will be training every muscle group per workout, you cannot practically perform greater than one exercise per muscle group. This causes you to be unable to focus solely on one muscle group at a time, which is not ideal if you believe you have a muscle group which needs more attention. On the positive side, the muscle will be stimulated more than once a week and chances are training it through other compound moves on other muscles.

Advantages of Single Muscle Group Splits

Allow you to focus on specific muscle groups - If you do believe you have a muscle group which needs more attention, or are not concerned in adding mass all over or being symmetrical, then single muscle group splits are the ideal method. You can concentrate more on the parts of the body you wish to improve, huge arms or a much-desired set of abdominals for example. Splits enable you to achieve various exercises on every individual muscle group to train the muscle from many different angles.

Increased energy per muscle group - Focusing on one or two muscle groups a day means you will not be that exhausted when it is time to train another muscle group on a different day compared to involving all muscle groups in a single day. If you trained your chest on a Monday for example, you may not work shoulders or triceps that are also ultilised when performing chest exercises until another day in the week, in comparison to on the same day when performing full body workouts.

Better recovery per muscle group - Single muscle group splits permits you to completely push each workout and muscle to failure. Whether the need to hit failure is required on every set is a topic also open to discussion, however several bodybuilders or gym goers do not feel they have trained efficiently unless they cannot manage to take their tops off or raise their arms in the shower after a workout. To a few this can play quite a big psychological part when it comes to performance in the gym.

Disadvantages of Single Muscle Group Splits

Can result in disproportionate strength and muscle groups - The problem with being able to concentrate on individual muscle groups at one time is that you can take it to the next level and start to neglect other areas. If you focus totally on arms and can completely overlook legs for example, you may look slightly funny strolling around in shorts and a t-shirt.

Decreased aerobic training - Full body workouts and achieving numerous heavy compound moves during the week will not only result in your beating quicker however will also burn greater calories at the same time. Think about it, which lift is more taxing exerting on your body, performing dumbbell kickbacks where just the triceps are involved, or a clean to press which is working the quads, hams, glutes, abs, forearms, traps, shoulders, and triceps.

Decreased frequency per muscle group - You may be allowed to achieve greater volume on each muscle group, however you will be training it less frequently. This can be a disadvantage if you skip a workout or two throughout the week, as juggling it around to catch back can be hard work. The alternative is to leave it until the following week, which means two weeks may have passed since you directly trained it last.

So which workout suits which person?

Another tough question to answer however perhaps easier than asking which routine results in the quickest gains. Full body workouts are ideal for any trainer at all levels, they are followed by everyone from bodybuilders to power and strength trainers to strongmen and professional athletes. They are ideal for newbies, as they let you perfect your technique on the heavy compound moves and add size faster than single muscle group splits because several muscle groups are working at the same time and lifting heavier weights. This also makes them the best option when your goal in increased strength, as focusing on a heavy shoulder press more than once a week whilst steadily increasing the weight is certainly going to add strength to your shoulders a lot quicker than doing side raises once a week with a puny weight. Full body workouts are also better suited to those aiming to lose weight or burn body fat, as already discussed you get much more of an aerobic session and can burn several more calories. Individuals with higher body fat percentages should certainly consider following full body workouts before moving onto single muscle group regimes. Finally, if you are looking to improve overall fitness and conditioning, then full body workouts are definitely the best option.

Single muscle group splits may be better suited to individuals who have been lifting weights for a number of years, already have a fair amount of mass on them, and are reasonably strong. If you enjoy working your muscles to failure and feeling the pump you get through the build-up of lactic acid, then single splits are definitely for you.

To summarise, as stated at the beginning of the article, it all depends on the individual. The crucial thing is get your diet and nutrition up to scratch before deciding upon or planning any program to follow, then mixing it up to find out what works best for you. You will see some gains regardless of which routine your follow, whether your objective is adding size or shifting unwanted fat. Just make sure you enjoy whichever regime you are following, and that you are able to keep it up.

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Ben Wain
Ben Wain

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