Let’s talk about full body vs split workouts.
In this post, I wanted to touch on full body workouts again. My previous post on them got a lot of positive feedback, but there is still a bit more to discuss.
I don’t think full body workouts are the most optimal or effective way to train and here’s why…
Full Body Workout Problems
I knew, if I wanted to make the fastest and most consistent strength gains, I needed to let go of full body workouts.
As a teenager, I started out with full body workouts and saw great progress. The problem only set in when I got stronger. I got stuck, and couldn’t make the same progress I previously was. The main goal of your training program needs to revolve around getting stronger each and every week.
You simply cannot give maximum intensity on every exercise in a full body workout, especially if you’re strong.
For example, if you built up to 350 lbs squats, heck even 250 lbs; there’s no way you could do squats and then move into bench press and be just as strong.
You’re already fried from squats and lifting under sub-optimal conditions. I actually challenge you to perform, let’s say bench press, when you are completely fresh (first exercise of your workout) and also as a secondary exercise in your routine.
You will most definitely feel stronger and have a better ability with pushing yourself for new personal records when it’s your first exercise.
Again, this can be great for newbies, but as you move up in weight, it gets more and more difficult, and then to the point where full body workouts are not as effective compared to a body part split.
Now the reason it’s difficult to constantly push for strength gains other than being fatigued with all the heavy compound exercises in a single workout, is allowing for the proper recovery.
Muscular recover happens faster than neural recovery.
If you hit a really hard chest workout on Monday, your pressing muscles will be short of strength for at-least 3-4 days. Try and push for another personal record on bench too soon, and you’re naturally going to feel weaker.
The muscles may very well recover after 48 hours, but the local neuromuscular junctions that are involved in recruiting the muscle fibers in that specific muscle group take longer.
This is the reason as to why my Greek God Program is crafted the way it is.
Workout A is comprised of your pushing muscles. This workout would consist of you hitting incline bench, standing overhead press, skull crushers, and some lateral raises.
Next, in workout B, you’ll be hitting your pulling muscles. For example, some weighted chins, pistol squats, barbell curls, and rear delts (for weighted chins, make sure you’re using a high-quality weight belt to prevent discomfort). The real beauty of the program is that you’ll be rotating the workouts on 3 non-consecutive days per week (Ex. Monday Wednesday Friday).
Hitting ABA, BAB, ABA, and so on will allow you to come into the gym feeling fresh and powerful each and every workout session. Allowing you to constantly push for new strength gains, which should be the underlying goal of any effective program.
Not just to feel like you’re “doing enough” in the gym.
The final problem I wanted to discuss about full body workouts is the inability to hit all of the muscle groups in one session with enough volume for muscle growth.
With beginners, this isn’t a problem. Even doing 2 sets of an exercise on a muscle group is enough of a stimulus to grow because they are new to lifting weights. But when you become more advanced, trying to add in more volume to your chest, shoulders, back, arms, quads, hamstrings, even your calves is just out of the question in a single workout.
Yes, it is quite possible. And many people have done it with the proper set up and frequency, but that wouldn’t work for me.
It makes things far more complicated than it needs to be.
The Superhero Bulking Program is based on more volume than the Greek God Program to maximize muscle growth from the strength foundation you’ve built up too.
So instead of having a 2 day split (Greek God) that program is set up with a 3 day split to add in the proper volume.
For example, on Monday, you would hit your chest, biceps, and rear delts. Wednesday legs and Friday would be time to hit your shoulders, back, and triceps.
You’ll feel strong and powerful going into every exercise, and will be able to get in enough volume on each muscle group.
And if you think about it, even on that split you’re giving each muscle group a stimulus two times per week.
If you’re incline benching on Monday, your upper chest is still going to be hit a little when overhead pressing on Friday. Same goes with biceps on Monday and hitting weighted chins on Friday, and so on.
With all of that said, I have found full body workouts to not be the best at promoting the fastest and most consistent strength gains.
To build up to the strength level I accomplished, I needed to craft specific protocols to do so. Full body workouts would not have gotten me here.
It’s a losing proposition really. You already have so many exercises to do in a full body workout each session. That could mean more time in the gym and they are going to be more neurally taxing, which isn’t fun.
The trick is to keep your workouts as less overwhelming as possible.
When things are simple, it’s much easier to push yourself and actually enjoy getting to the gym and killing it.
Don’t make things harder than they need to be.
That’s why thousands of people have seen incredible transformations, seen the greatest strength gains in their lives, and loved everything in the process getting there.