Full Body vs. Split Routines: Which is better?

An age old question people who workout have, is should I do split routines or full body routines? A split routine is where you work on certain muscle groups on certain days, splitting the muscles you work on over a week. For example, on Sunday you would do shoulders and arms, Tuesday would be chest and back, and Thursday would be abs and legs. A full body routine is where you work on every muscle in your body in the same workout and you work them cohesively and include compound movements to work your body as a unit. I myself do a full body routine, but the answer to the question people have really depends on what they want. So in this post I’m going to highlight the pros and cons of each, making your decision as to which path you desire to take easier and more beneficial in the long run.

Full Body

Pros

  • Full body routines allow you to build a body like an athlete. One that works better together and looks symmetrical.
  • Missing a workout one day won’t seem like as much of a bummer because you already worked all your muscles the previous day.
  • In full body routines, you’re constantly moving and and your heart rate stays high (MINIMIZE BREAKS!).

Cons

  • It’s hard to focus on a muscle group that is lagging or needs more work than others.
  • Working out every muscle every day of the week can lead to over training if not done properly.
  • Beginners might not be able to handle HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which raises your heart-rate and adds a cardio component to weight lifting

Split

Pros

  • Easier to develop muscle groups that you need more work on and more control over your targeted physique.
  • More manageable to work on less muscles and less intense.
  • Weekly schedule is easier to change and more flexible.

Cons

  • You burn much less calories and won’t burn as much fat.
  • You see those guys at the gym with the chicken legs and muscular upper bodies? That’s a con of split routines and can lead to muscle imbalances (asymmetry).
  • In split routines, you would hit a muscle group once a week and missing a workout can be problematic when trying to fit the workout in somewhere else or it can lead to muscle imbalances.
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10 thoughts on “Full Body vs. Split Routines: Which is better?

  1. As an athlete I found this post very interesting. I would like to say that for split routines one should do them temporarily because it seems like there are many more cons or disadvantages to them. I found it humorous how you compared the result of misuse of split routines to the guys with chicken legs and a lot of upper body muscle, because I honestly see people like that all the time. Full body workouts are guilt-free because we all know that missing a day of gym isn’t out of the norm sometimes. You showed the difference between them in a clear way and really felt like you knew what you were talking about, good job Souman !

  2. herzallatariq says:

    Very informative, great post. I learned a lot, i like how you listen the pros and cons of each so that we can decide whats better for us.

    • Fitness is a very personalized thing. What one thing someone does might not work for another, so you have to make your own decisions to get the best results.

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