There are a million different ways to attack strength training: Full body, body part splits, lower/upper body splits, frequency, and ways to move through progression. Do you lift before cardio or after? Do you lift heavy with low reps or light weight with lots of reps? Do you have a long rest period, or short? Do you superset movements or do them one at a time? Anywhere you look you will find contradictory information and it can be really confusing!
When it comes specifically to choosing workouts that are either full body or splitting up the movements here are some things to consider! Muscles grow and change the more they are challenged. Bones become more dense when more force is applied. Strength training has numerous health benefits and more people seem to be lifting now more than ever! And maybe once you get hooked, you will want to take your new hobby to a new level and prepare for a fitness or body building competition. Then there will be an entirely new game plan to consider, so for now let’s look at lifting for overall general health, muscle tone and body composition.
Person A is going to the gym 4 times per week and does lower body and upper body splits on alternating days with maybe some cardio thrown in on non-lifting days. In one month, each part of the body is challenged through strength training a total of 8 times.
Person B strength trains smaller body part splits and does 6 days something similar to biceps one day, triceps another, then maybe quads and core, back day, chest day and then finishes with a glute/hamstrings day. In one month, major force is applied to each muscle 4 times. Granted, some lifts will have secondary muscles that will be worked, however most of the work is done by the primary muscle so let’s just roll with it! And with each muscle group really being forced to work really hard only 1 day per week, pretty severe soreness follows each workout.
Person C moves forward with a full body program and strength trains 3x per week. Several functional and complex movements that have the muscles in the body all working together. In that same month, each muscle has a significant amount of time under pressure and external force applied a total of 12 times.
Realizing these are generalizations, it does give some scenarios for food for thought! My personal preference is scenario C. And future blog posts will discuss all of my reasons why! Which person are you?