Full Body vs Split Workout According to Science

full body vs split

It is widely known that full body (training the whole body in one session) is optimal for beginners and ineffective for advanced athletes. We must admit that these statements were passed from mouth to mouth, despite the experience of athletes who train 5-6 times a week for several hours a day, developing certain sports qualities. A side effect of such training (legs for skaters and cyclists sprinters, arms, and shoulders for gymnasts) they quite by accident receive hypertrophy of individual muscle groups, often more significant than that of bodybuilders. So, what to choose full body vs split?

The eternal dilemma

Let us remind you that full body or split is not a training system, but the organization of a training process. Imagine a class schedule at the university for a week, in which there are three classes of higher mathematics. What is the difference in terms of the amount of knowledge, how they will be distributed during the week, all three hours on Monday or per one on other days?

But the difference is that some students are not able to absorb information after one class, and some do it easily. We hope the analogy is clear.

That is why there are opponents and supporters of the one and the other variant of the distribution of the training volume. And what will science tell us in this regard?

The science chooses full body vs split

full body vs split workout

After a meta-analysis, the famous scientist Brad Schonfeld came to the following conclusions: “When comparing studies in which a muscle group trained 1 to 3 times a week, it was found that the frequency of training twice a week gives better results in terms of hypertrophy compared with a single.”

Thus, we can conclude that the main muscle groups should be trained at least twice a week to maximize muscle growth.

American sports scientist Michael Thomas in the process of writing a doctoral dissertation, entitled “Increasing muscle mass and strength: a comparison of the high and low frequency of strength training,” showed that the amount of training load performed in one training session (9 working sets) and the same volume, but divided into three days (3 per day) gives similar scales of muscle growth.

During the experiments, it was found that in experienced athletes (accustomed to training loads), the growth period is reduced, reaching 16 hours. The mysticism with the huge legs of cyclists does not seem to be mysticism.

The duration of the period of increased synthesis varies between beginners and experienced trainees. Studies show that in beginners, synthesis processes can last two days; simply put, after each workout, they can grow for 2-3 days.

full body workout vs split

American athlete and methodologist Greg Nuckols, in his article “Training Frequency for Strength Development: What the Data Say,” came to the same conclusions.

Output. There is no need to choose and contrast these two options and use the option that allows you to most effectively perform a given volume of load, i.e., with maximum intensity.

Additionally, see “what is better front vs back squats?”.

What is more, why not read how to choose working weights correctly?