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Full Body vs Split

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Full Body Workout vs Split Routine Bodybuilding

A full body training approach or a split routine – which is better for building muscle? The full body was the preferred training style in the early years of bodybuilding but steroids and the split seem to arrive at the same time and swept away the old school scene. So which style is better? Actually, both styles pose benefits for the user, provided they are used in the right way.

Pros and cons of a Full Body routine

A full body workout is tough to do but actually allows for more overall rest than a split. A full body workout is typically performed 2-3 times a week and when you complete the workout, you are done. That translates into 4-5 days of rest per week. Being able to work the muscles 2-3 times while also getting 4-5 days of rest is a winning combination and one of the reasons the "Old School" guys who trained in this manner had such great physiques.

The downside of a full body workout is that typically you can't really load up on one muscle group. You are hitting each muscle group with one exercise on average. If you really want to blow out a muscle region, it is hard to do with the full body routine.

Pros and cons of a Split routine

The basic advantage of a split routine is that it allows you to spend a lot more time on each individual muscle group than does a full body routine. With a split training approach you can overload a muscle in a maximum manner. Instead of one exercise, you can blast the muscle with multiple exercises and really push the workout to the wall. And you can do this on all the muscle groups if you arrange them systematically.

The downside of split training is that you don't get as much rest for your body's system. And while you may not work the same muscle group more than twice a week (or even once on some systems), you still are working some muscle group during the weekly routine on almost every day of the week. Your overall recovery system is under much more stress and that stress builds up over time. That can hamper your recovery capabilities, and in turn, your muscle growth. A split routine requires more time off on a periodic basis than does full body training.

Neither system is absolutely better than the other. As you can see, there are pros and cons to each and it is wise to try both before you decide on which path to take your own approach. And there is no law that says you have to do one exclusively – you can work a system where you go split routine for half the year and full body for the other half, for example.

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