Content of the material
- FULL BODY VS SPLIT ROUTINE: PROS AND CONS
- Why is that?!
- FULL BODY ROUTINE
- SPLIT ROUTINE
- Bear Crawls
- The Number Of Sets Per Muscle Group But You Should Adhere To These General Guidelines:
- 7. Loaded Back Hyper-extensions
- Pros of Split Workout Routines
- Why The Smith Machine is Bad For You
- 3-Day Full Body Workout Routine Intermediate
- Full Body Workout 1
- Full Body Workout 2
- Full Body Workout 3
- The Best Full Body Workout Routine
- (Part 1/2)
FULL BODY VS SPLIT ROUTINE: PROS AND CONS
Hey guys!! Welcome to another article of Caliathletics!
Today we are going to talk about a topic that is often much discussed and for which people do have very different opinions and feelings regarding it: FULL BODY ROUTINE vs SPLIT ROUTINE.
Usually, the split routine is often adopted in the Bodybuilding world compared to a discipline like Calisthenics where instead prevails a full body training system.
Now, we should also be aware of fact that, in the world of Street Workout as well, prevails (similarly to the bodybuilding approach) the Split Routine system compared to Calisthenics.
Indeed, it happens often to search on the web for new Street Workout routines and you come across those ones divided in multiple days of the week so that you can focus the workload on single muscular groups at a time rather than training all muscles together.
In fact, I would personally go for the Full Body Routine rather than the Split one.
Why is that?!
I do believe that, if you educate your CNS (Central Nervous System) to motor patterns more complex like in the case of full body routines, you will be able since an early stage of your life as well as of your body evolution, to acquire very high quality skills accompanied by a very good running technique (perfect form) and to maintain them later in your aging process.
With full body routines, your body will get strong and will also maintain and improve its mobility and flexibility (of course by keep having daily stretching and foam rolling sessions on the way).
It is better to build a strong body that is also flexible and mobile, rather than one that is only big in size, but lacks of all those elements that are allowing it to keep you training no matter the age.
When you’re young, you do not think about what will be of your body, bones, ligaments, tendons and tissues when you turn 40 and over.
It is ok, but you should seriously consider focusing on preventing injuries that could occur in those late stages of your life.
Diseases such as osteoporosis, poor ligaments and tissues or issues with your lower back (i.e. herniated disk) could come up because you didn’t train your body to stay flexible and mobile, but you focused only on putting on weight, mass and stress due to the excessive efforts.
In the next pages we will analyze the main differences between a full body routine and a split one so that you will have a better overall view and you will be able to decide what it suits you best.
FULL BODY ROUTINE
By adopting a full body routine you will focus more on compound exercises that will involve multiple muscles at a time, avoiding so the isolating ones (typical of Split routines).
This difference translates into a significant gain in terms of strength and mass growth; consider that it is sufficient to train just the regular average 2-3 times a week to see such improvements.
Also fact that, the volume/repetitions you will be able to perform will significantly increase is another element to consider.
As we all know, time is the most important variable and by adopting such kind of training you can save up a lot of it and be able to include, in the rest days, those activities considered complementary/of support to the workouts of the week.
So, once again, try to include in the rest days a good session of stretching in order to use a time range of 60 up to 90 minutes so that you can focus on flexibility; the same can be said for mobility where a good foam rolling session is a MUST.
In this second case, try to be creative and use again a time range of 60 up to 90 minutes more or less (it takes me this time to massage all the trigger points in my body by using the foam roller together with the massage ball/trigger ball).
To give you a very good example on which you can meditate, I will report here a part of the topic discussed by Steven Low in his book “Overcoming Gravity: A systematic approach to gymnastics and bodyweight strength”:
“To drive this point home, let us look at something like the planche exercise. In the above split routine examined it would be categorized into a pushing exercise. Therefore, you would get practice with it twice a week. However, with the full body routine we are getting practice with that 3 times a week. It does not seem significant, but over the course of a year that is 50 more workouts with the planche with the full body routine than with the split routine!
52 weeks * 2 times per week = ~ 100 workouts with the planche
52 weeks * 3 times per week = ~ 150 workouts with the planche
We can examine the math even more. The person using split routine with 2 pushing workouts per week is down of 50 workouts with planche compared to the full body.
50 workouts / 2 days per week = 25 weeks
25 weeks / 4 weeks per month = ~ 6 months
This means that he is about 25 weeks behind training the planche as his counterpart. And 25 weeks / 4 weeks per month is about 6 months behind the trainee using the full body routine.”
To summarize what explained above, we can say that training with a full body routine will allow you to considerably increase the work volume by performing more repetitions/sets of each exercise and, at the same time, keep growing in strength and body mass.
More important, you will be able to make steps in the skills progressions in a shorter time lapse without the risk to injure or to over train.
To conclude this first analysis we can say that with a Calisthenics full body routine (as mentioned also in previous articles) you follow a propaedeutic progression to achieve the advanced stages of each skill.
By doing so, you will be working all the time involving all muscles in your body starting from the core all the way through biceps, triceps, chest, lats, shoulders, traps, legs, calves and so on.
Contrarily to the full body routine, the split one focuses more on isolating the workouts on single muscle groups.
For instance, consider the common ones such as chest/triceps, back/biceps, push/pull/legs, upper body/lower body where as you can see you will be focusing on gathering multiple exercises for the same muscle group at a time.
Now, we do not wanna state that working out with a split routine is forbidden, but considering the pros and cons of it, surely someone who is novice or intermediate will have to work more on the basics and focus on the quality of the work hence adopting the Full Body routine rather going on isolated exercises.
Different thing is, if you are at an advanced level where instead you can consider to focus the work on single muscles in order to improve the quality and the strength in that specific movement.
As mentioned also in the previous paragraph, nowadays you can come across many Street Workout routines where you hit single muscle groups at a time in the same way you would do if you were a bodybuilder.
You will have the back/triceps day, the chest/biceps one and for instance shoulders and legs; by doing so you will surely increase the mass of these muscles and they will be stronger, but the time it will take you to achieve this stage will be longer than the one employed with the full body routine.
To summarize also this aspect of the training, we can say that a split routine is used more by professional/elite athletes or by those who have injuries where it is necessary to start a recovery plan that involves many exercises meant to re-enforce and re-habilitate those injured parts of the body.
Again, an elite athlete of a specific sport can prefer a split routine to a full body one because of the high intensity workouts throughout the week; specific days are defined in order to focus the workload on single muscle groups.
Now that we have given you an overall view on the main differences between the two types of routines, I would like to show you some practice example of how it can change the result:
Like I said, in Calisthenics you focus more on progressions rather than a single exercise. This means that, if set as main skill the Front Lever and the planche, you will include in your workouts a range of exercises that involves basically all the main muscle groups.
With the front lever progression, indeed, you will start by building up enough strength in your triceps, lats, core and shoulders and so if you perform a tuck front lever hold, many muscles are already involved in this basic movement.
The same can be told about the planche progression, where a lot of shoulder, bicep and core strength is required. In this skill, you will be focusing on working on push-ups variations as well as planche holds on the floor, on parallettes and in a more advanced stage on rings.
As you can see, you do not think about doing multiple exercises hitting for instance only biceps or only chest, but you are working simultaneously on both at the same time.
If you peform a pseudo plank push-up on floor, you will involve at the same time core, shoulders, biceps, chest and shoulder blades.
If you peform a tuck front lever hold, you will involve at the same time core, shoulders, triceps, lats and shoulder blades.
In this case, as you can see already the target muscles are the chest and the triceps.
This means that, by working out according to the Street Workout routines, you will include exercises such as dips on parallettes or on rings, triceps on floor (diamond push-ups for instance), triceps extensions on a mid-bar.
By performing all these exercises in a row, you will hit only the main target muscle that in this case is the tricep.
Same rule applies for the chest, where you will be performing in a row exercises such as push-ups in all their variations, push-ups on bar, parallettes and on rings.
It is clear that, assuming that target muscles are chest and triceps, by mixing in a routine all the above exercises at once, you will be repeatedly hitting only them by isolating the workload.
Once again, this way of working out is not wrong and it is recommended instead for all those who want to firstly increase their strength, grow in size for going then into more specific exercises in order to achieve the skills.
Like I said before, remember that in this way you won’t be able to adapt your body to different and various motor patterns, because you will be isolating rather than involving multiple muscles at once.
- Assume a press-up position with your knees bent at 90-degree angles and directly underneath your hips. Your knees should be elevated.
- – Without allowing your lower back to rise or round, brace your abs as if you were about to punched in the gut. Hold this contraction the entire time. This is your starting position.
- “Walk” your right hand and left foot forward a few inches. Pause, and then return to the starting position.
The Number Of Sets Per Muscle Group But You Should Adhere To These General Guidelines:
- Larger muscle groups like chest, back, shoulders, quads – 9 to 15 sets.
- Smaller muscle groups like triceps, biceps, calves, abs, hamstrings – 6 to 9 sets.
- Smallest muscle groups like rear delts, traps, and forearms – 1 to 4 sets.
Note that the number of sets per muscle group should be shifted up or down depending on your body goals. You should also consider how much you are willing to endure. It is advisable to work out with progressive intensity. However, you should not push yourself to the point of injuring muscle.
7. Loaded Back Hyper-extensions
Does anything with the word hyper sound good to you?
What about a “hyper” extension of your low back?
Unfortunately, this exercise has been misnamed to the detriment of the fitness industry.
I’m sure you’ve seen this exercise many times before.
You get on a back raise machine, hold a weight on your chest and go to town bending at the spine all the way down…
… and then all the way back up until you can’t anymore.
Your low back should never extend beyond its natural capabilities. Ideally, it should never extend past a neutral spinal position.
Here’s a shocking statistic: According to the NIH, 80% of adults will develop low back pain at some point in their lives.
This is a proper back raise: Note that the spine should never hyper-extend beyond this point.
Keep your glutes engaged at the top of the movement.
Pros of Split Workout Routines
100% Effort Can Be Dedicated To Each Muscle Group Each muscle group is honed in on with complete focus when following a split workout regime, other body parts (including secondary muscle groups) are not pre-fatigued prior to commencing your train. This allows you to get the best ‘bang for your buck’ as your other muscle groups won’t be holding you back from pushing out those last few repetitions you would normally be able to.
Lagging Body Parts Can Be Managed Split workout regimes allow you to prioritise and alter your training regime in order to sculpt your physique as proportional and asymmetric as possible. If your back is lagging like mine was you can simply add additional volume to your back day, move your back day further away from your arm day (as biceps are the secondary muscle group used when training your back, these may be causing you to fall short of those last few reps or that additional weight if they are still fatigued) or schedule in an additional back workout later on in the week – they really are that flexible.
In short, split workout regimes are more personalized for you.
Optimal For Strength And Intensity On a split workout regime you won’t be performing 4 – 5 heavy compound exercises in one session. Typically, you’ll perform 2 heavy compound movements for the muscle group you’re targeting before moving on to a small amount of isolation. From my experience my strength and overall workout intensity is far higher during this structure of workout as opposed to performing one or two of these compound lifts on the same day as other muscle groups.
Why The Smith Machine is Bad For You
- The fixed bar path does not allow a natural range of motion of barbell exercises (especially the smith machine squat).
- Removes the elements of needing to stabilize the weights in functional barbell exercises
- Risk of injury increases as the fix bar path forces your body into suboptimal positions
3-Day Full Body Workout Routine Intermediate
Once you have developed good form, you can increase the intensity of your workout. You may add more weights depending on what you are comfortable with. Below is a sample 3-day full body workout for intermediates.
Full Body Workout 1
- Bench press – 3 sets of 5-8 reps
- Lat pulldown – 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Squats – 3 sets of 5-8 reps
- Leg curl – 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Dumbbell shoulder press – 2 sets of 5-8 reps
- Incline curl – 2 sets of 10-15 reps
- Triceps press down – 2 sets of 10-15 reps
Full Body Workout 2
- Incline dumbbell press – 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Seated cable row – 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Leg press – 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Romanian deadlift – 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Lateral raise – 2 sets of 15-20 reps
- Dumbbell hammer curl – 2 sets of 10-15 reps
- Overhead triceps extension – 2 sets of 10-15 reps
Full Body Workout 3
- Cable crossover – 3 sets of 15-20 reps
- Dumbbell row – 3 sets of 5-8 reps
- Leg extension – 3 sets of 15-20 reps
- Leg curl – 3 sets of 15-20 reps
- Bent over lateral raise – 2 sets of 10-15 reps
- Preacher curl – 2 sets of 10-15 reps
- Lying triceps extension – 2 sets of 10-15 reps
The Best Full Body Workout Routine
So to sum the video up, here’s what your full body workout A could look like:
Barbell Bench Press: 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps
Barbell Back Squat: 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps
Pull-Ups: 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps
Lying Hamstring Dumbbell Curls: 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
Standing Overhead Press: 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps
Face Pulls: 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
Drag Curls: 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps
Calves and/or abs exercises can definitely be added as part of the accessory movements as well.
Just keep in mind that if you’re a beginner lifter, sticking to just the main compound movements and the low end of the range of sets per exercise would likely be best to start. And then you can gradually add more volume overtime.
So by knowing what each exercise in this workout targets, you can re-arrange the exercises based on what you want to prioritize. For example, if you wanted to focus on pull-up strength and back growth, you could simply perform the pull-ups first rather than the bench press.