Dan Keegan | Owner Temple Gym

Split vs Full Body Workouts

“What is going to work better for me to achieve my goals, working a specific muscle group or several in each session”

In a full-body routine, you train every major muscle in your body, like your chest, back, arms, legs and abs, in each workout.  

They incorporate exercises that engage many of those muscle groups in one movement, like squats, deadlifts, overhead presses and bent over rows, all of which are also called compound movements. Compound movements demand a lot of energy and burn more kilojoules, but they are also very taxing on the muscles and typically require you to rest more between each set of exercise.  

The upside is that when you work out the same muscle groups by doing the same or similar exercises multiple times each week, you improve your overall body strength.  

If I am just starting out, what would work best for me? 

If you’re just starting to pick up weights, are short on time or are more interested in shedding some kilograms, full-body programs work great.  

For beginners, these programs are simpler, help you learn and constantly practise the major compound exercises, and can lead to major strength and muscle gains because of how often you’re working out the same muscles. These full-body movements will help you lay down a solid strength base and these compound movements engage so many muscles that they skyrocket your heart rate and burn more kilojoules, making them ideal for weight loss goals.  

Compound movements beneficial for beginners: 

  • Deadlift
  • Squat
  • Overhead press
  • Bench press
  • Pullup or Assisted Pullup
  • Bent over row 

You can incorporate these movements into a routine that will be highly beneficial for both weight gain, weight loss and strength gains. 

I am a regular to gym training, what is the best option for me (full body or split workouts)? 

This really depends on what you are trying to achieve and how many days you have dedicated to your gym workouts. 

If you are looking to train 3 days a week then a typical routine may be: 

Day 1: Chest, shoulders, abs 

Day 2: Off 

Day 3: Quads, hamstrings, calves, abs 

Day 4: Off 

Day 5: Back, biceps, triceps, abs 

Day 6 & 7: Off 

This split covers all major muscle groups. 

If you are looking to train 5 days per week then you have a couple of options that may suit: 

Day 1: Chest, shoulders, abs (chest dominant) 

Day 2: Quads, hamstrings, calves, abs (quad dominant) 

Day 3: Back, biceps, triceps, abs 

Day 4: Shoulders, chest, abs (shoulder dominant) 

Day 5: Hamstrings, quads, calves, abs (hamstring dominant) 

Day 6 & 7: Off 

You can play around with the split to make it work best for your body type and desired goal. One thing you may change with the routine is if you your back was a lagging body part, then train that twice per week and put chest to once per week etc. 

Another option is to train each body part once per week and fully split up the muscle groups you are working, for example: 

Day 1: Chest, abs 

Day 2: Back 

Day 3: Legs, abs 

Day 4: Shoulders 

Day 5: Arms, abs 

Day 6 & 7: Off 

This split ensures every muscle group gets enough attention and adequate recovery time in-between workouts. 

Some programs also incorporate a little bit of both: You can follow a split routine and then use full-body circuit training-style workouts to add an extra bit of intensity at the end of a workout.  

Either approach will help you get to your desired goals with the right eating habits, but one may help you get there faster and more efficiently.

Contact the Temple team to workout which style of training will best suit you. (this will be dependent on your goals and availability)

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