In case you don't know, split routines are simply workouts split up so that they only include a limited number of muscle groups per workout.
The reasoning behind splitting muscle groups up is to allow more work at a higher intensity for each muscle group and more rest between workouts.
When you opt for a split workout routine over a full body workout program…
You lose a good number of muscle building opportunities each year.
For example, a full body workout 3 times per week works the entire body 3 times each week.
A split weight lifting routine will work each muscle group a maximum of twice per week and usually only once per week. Which one do you think will give faster results?
If you make all the right adjustments between the different workout styles, the answer is obvious.
Do Split Routines Really Work?
Once per week muscle group splits really limit your muscle building opportunities. You only get one shot each week to provide your body with the proper muscle building stimulus.
You don't want to push it too much due to overtraining fears, but you want to make sure you provide the proper stimulus.
Many people on once per week split workout routines go to failure each set and even beyond failure. These people like to beat the muscle group down as much as possible.
I don't believe in doing so builds maximum amounts of muscle and strength.
The once per week muscle group split routine relies on intensity as the muscle building factor. Intensity is not the most important factor for building muscle and going to complete failure is definitely not necessary or optimal for building muscle.
Split workout routines do work, though. I'm not saying that they don't work. I am saying that they do limit the muscle building opportunities you have.
I will always opt for 2 or 3 muscle building opportunities each week compared to only one opportunity per week. That can really add up over the weeks, months, and years.
Split routines will work but for most people they will give much slower results.
A Common Once Per Week Muscle Group Split Routine
What does a once per week muscle group split actually look like? Here's a common example you'll see spread all over the Internet.
|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Day 5||Day 6||Day 7|
I want to make myself clear that I do not recommend any once per week split workout routine over one that works the muscle groups more frequently. Sometimes a once per week routine can give you the break you need, though.
That's why I am including information on split workouts. For example, you might be at a time in your life where you just don't get much sleep due to work and you have more stress in your life.
A once-per-week split routine might be what you need to get the rest you need.
Beginners should especially never use the once per week weight lifting routine. A beginner needs practice learning the best compound exercises and a split routine is not even close to ideal for learning and practice.
A split routine will fit a more advanced lifter much better. An advanced lifter has developed a good amount of muscle mass over several years and can see what muscles are lagging behind. A split workout can help the advanced lifter spend much more time on that muscle group and less on others.
The same can be done with full body workout routines too but split routines can provide more rest to an advanced lifter using very heavy weights.
A Better Option for the Split Workout Program
If you decide to split muscle groups up, you should at least work each muscle group more frequently than once per week. Once every 4 to 5 days is a much better option.
Let's look at an example of a better weight training schedule for the split workout routine…
|Workout A||Workout B|
In this example, you will alternate between workout A and workout B as shown in the 8 week weight training schedule below:
|Week||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Day 5||Day 6||Day 7|
The weight training schedule above allows you to work each muscle group every 4 to 5 days. This is a huge advantage over once every 7 days, but is still at a disadvantage to the full body workout.
To improve the above weight lifting schedule even more, you could opt to workout every other day. This would get you 4 more muscle building workouts every 8 weeks or 26 more opportunities per year.
So, I hope you've learned that split workout routines do work, but they do limit the muscle building opportunities you'll get. A full body workout is HIGHLY recommended over ANY split workout routine.
Of course, this advice goes for MOST people as there are a small majority of people with low recovery levels that may do better with split routines. Within the WLC System package, we show you how to find the best workout style for you.