Total Body Training vs Split Routine – Which Is Better in 2020?

I have been working out with weights since my early 20’s and have mostly done total body workouts.  The main reason for this is because it gave me a overall better workout.  I sweated harder and just felt more complete when i was finished.

Now i did for a brief time do split training and i will admit being able to concentrate on fewer muscle groups did give me stronger bigger muscles overall.  The reason for this is that could lift heavier weight breaking muscle groups up because i was not as tired as when i exercised every muscle group in the same workout.

Below let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of working out using each method.

What Are The Advantages Of Total Body Workouts?

Balanced Look

One good aspect about training all the muscle groups all in the same workout is that you will have more of a balanced look to your body.  Having a well proportioned body will look better to the eye.

Use As A Cardio/Weight Training Session

It is also important to note here that you will get a better cardio workout doing a full body session which means you can kill two birds with one stone.  I for one used to do this all the time when doing full body workouts.

I would use HIIT (high interval intensity training) techniques roping three exercises together and doing them in succession and then take a sixty second break and do them again two to three times over.  Using this method will increase faster calorie loss and fat loss as well.

Missing A Workout Is No Big Deal

If you are doing full body workouts you are most likely working out three days per week.  If you have to miss one of those workouts it means you still did two workouts that week which is not a bad thing allowing your muscles a little more recovery time.

If you are a person who enjoys other forms of exercise  like golf, basketball, or running, the total body workout is going to be great for you because you still have 4 days left in the week to enjoy those other activities.

What Kind of Exercises Will You Be Performing?

If you are going to be working out three days per week then the type of exercises you will be doing is most likely be multi joint movements like squats, lunges, bench presses for chest, barbell curls or dumbbell curls, triceps, and different forms of sit-ups.

Doing these exercises 3 to 5 sets of each will give you a solid tough workout and if you are intense when doing them will give you a great sweat as well.  This is a straight forward approach that i have done many workouts with.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Total Body Workouts?

Not Enough Focus On Any Particular Muscle Group

One problem with working out all your muscle groups at once is you cannot spend ample time on any one muscle group.  Your focus will be going from one exercise to the next quickly.  This makes very difficult to get the most gain out of a muscle group because you are not burning it to exhaustion.

Recovery Time

Another problem associated with doing a total body routine is recovery time.  If you workout all your muscle groups doing more than six sets per muscle group you should be getting at least 4 days of rest in between.  Not allowing for proper rest could lead to fatigue not only physically but mentally as well.  Because of this injury could become a factor.

The Intensity Of The Workout

Doing a Total body workout means you are trying to workout each muscle group in the amount of time you have available.  This means you are being very intense doing it.  Over time this can be very draining both physically and mentally.  As you get stronger and move up in weight it becomes harder to fit a complete workout in without serious effort.  Because if this it is important to change up your workouts frequently possibly doing less sets or doing super sets with less weight.

What Are The Advantages Of Doing A Split Routine?

Best For Achieving Maximum Strength

Because you can spend more time working out a muscle like biceps, being able to do more sets will allow for maximum growth.  If you have a body part you feel needs more work then you can give it more attention.

Flexibility Changing Workouts Between Muscle Groups

Generally you will either do a 4 day split or if you are really training hard a 6 day split.  If for example you were doing a 4 day split you may train on Monday and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  This allows you to do Chest, Triceps, and Shoulders on Monday.  Tuesday you would do Back, Biceps, and Legs.  Then take Wednesday off and repeat Thursday and Friday with the weekend off to recover.  To keep from getting stagnant and keep your muscles guessing you could switch the muscle groups around.

One thing certain is working out with heavier weight means you will need more time off to recover.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Doing A Split Routine

Less Flexibility With Your Schedule

If you are doing a four day split like discussed above you are lifting heavy weights performing your exercises most likely.  If you had to miss a Monday workout you could just do a Tuesday and Wednesday, with a day off on Thursday and then do Friday and Saturday.  I even knew a guy who did a Thursday and Friday, Saturday and Sunday routine because it fit his work schedule the best.  It is all how bad you want to be strong and fit.

Less Calories Burned During Your Workouts

Doing a full body workout and pushing all your muscle groups in the same workout means you are burning more calories when making this happen.  I remember myself doing this and feeling more tired because i was lifting pretty heavy weight and taking less time between sets to try and get everything in.   It was tough you feel great when it’s done.

What Is Best For You?

If you are serious about weight lifting, have desire and enjoy lifting heavy while having the time to dedicate to this then do a split training schedule.  A simple measuring stick is if you are capable of hitting the gym 4 days or more per week then do the split body workout.

In the end you really want to hit each muscle group at least twice per week and get a good sweat doing it.  You may have to go back and forth between full body and split routines.

Thank you for looking over this article.

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