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Full-Body Workout or Split-Body Workout: What's Better for Athletes?

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Full-Body Workout or Split-Body Workout: What's Better for Athletes?

Table of Contents

When it comes to working out, athletes must make many decisions. What time of day should they work out? How long should their workouts be? And, perhaps most importantly, what type of workout should they do?

Athletes can do two main types of workouts: full-body and split-body workouts. Both have their pros and cons, so it can be tough to decide which one is right for you. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at both types of workouts to help you make a decision.

Differences Between Full-Body and Split Workouts

Most people who hit the gym want the most out of their workouts. And while there are many different ways to approach fitness, one of the most common debates is whether it's better to do full-body or split workouts. So, what's the difference?

Full-body workouts, as the name suggests, work all the muscles in your body in a single session. It may be an excellent way to get a comprehensive workout and ensure that all your muscle groups are getting attention. However, it can be tough to push yourself when you're working your entire body simultaneously.

Split workouts focus on specific muscle groups on different days. It allows you to really put all of your efforts into targeting those muscles, which can lead to better results. However, it can also be pretty easy to miss out on other muscle groups if you're not careful.

The goal of a full-body workout is to train as many muscle groups within the same session. Therefore, there will be significant overlap between workouts and, thus, more extended periods for recovery so you can make progress safely.

Split workouts, on the other hand, can isolate specific muscle parts while allowing your tired muscles to heal, necessitating a training frequency of up to five to six days per week.

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Also, the exercise selections of both forms are different. For instance, full-body workouts give priority to barbell and dumbbell forms of movements, including squats, hinges, presses, rows, and lunges, to effectively use training time. The other enables the lifter to concentrate on a different muscle or muscle group daily.

It allows you to work more individual muscles in a single session because they don't overlap like barbell or dumbbell exercises. Machines, cables, and bands are all standard training tools for body part splits alongside traditional weight lifting equipment.

Ultimately, the best workout is the one that fits your goals and lifestyle. If you have the time and dedication for a split workout, go for it! But if a full-body workout is more your style, there's nothing wrong with that, either.

Just remember: no matter what type of workout you do, consistency is vital. So find a routine that works for you and stick with it!

Full-Body Workout Structure

Full-body workouts are a great way to increase the frequency of your training, with a high return on investment exercises. As you practice different moves multiple times a week, you will notice an improvement in your athletic performance, with or without weights. 

While barbell-centric workouts are common, they're not the only type of full body workout that can be effective. Unilateral exercises like calisthenics or kettlebells might interest you more than this article did because those things don't need much equipment.

Sample Exercises

Barbell Workout

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Barbell Squat

3

6

Barbell Romanian Deadlift

3

8

Barbell Military Press

3

10

Bent-Over Barbell Row

3

8

Unilateral Workout

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Bulgarian Split Squat

3

10

Single-Arm Landmine Press

3

10 Each Side

One-Arm Dumbbell Row

3

12 Each Side

Single-Arm Farmers Carry

3

20 Paces on Each Side

Single-Leg Glute Bridge

2

12 Each Side

Bodyweight Workout

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Push-Up

3

10-15

Pull-Up

3

8-12

Inverted Row

3

10-12

Dips

3

8-12

Walking Lunges

3

15 Each Leg

Split Body Workout Structure

Split workouts are the best way to get a strong, toned body. You can train each muscle or group of muscles between 1-3 times per week without overworking them.

You can organize your body into a training split in three ways, one that focuses on specific muscles, the second that divides the entire human form into upper and lower halves, and the third, an intense workout session focused on push-pull movements.

Body Part Split

Body part splits allow you to concentrate on only one muscle or muscle group throughout each workout. Four to six weekly sessions are typically necessary for a full week of body component training.

For instance, five days of the week should be dedicated to separate workouts for your chest, back, shoulders, legs, and arms. An exemplary chest exercise might resemble this:

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Barbell Bench Press

3

5

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

3

10

Machine Chest Press

2

AMRAP

Cable Fly

3

12

Upper and Lower Split

You can independently focus on your legs, torso, and arms when you do an upper/lower split. Exercises that combine your upper and lower body have a good "flow" and make your body work as a cohesive unit. For each side of your body, here are two samples of training days.

Upper

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Dumbbell Arnold Press

3

10

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

3

15

Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

3

12

Pull-Up

3

AMRAP

Hammer Curl

2

10

Lower

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Leg Press

3

10

Bench Step-Up

3

10

Dumbbell Hamstring Curl

3

12

Leg Extension

3

12

Back Extension

2

AMRAP

Push and Pull

You can arrange your exercise according to how your muscles work mechanically, much like an upper/lower split. A very well-liked training split is to perform "push" or "pull"-centered exercises since it enables you to engage your body synergistically and maintain a high frequency.

In order to fully exhaust your muscles, it's also typical to include a third day in your "rotation" just for leg exercises. It results in two cycles of three different workouts every week. For instance:

Push

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Dumbbell Bench Press

3

8

Seated Chest Press Machine

3

10

Dips

3

10

Triceps Pushdown

3

12

Overhead Triceps Extension

3

15 Each Side

Pull

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Seated Cable Row

3

10

Lat Pulldown

3

12

Band Kneeling Lat Pulldown

3

12

Dumbbell Bicep Curl

3

12

Cable Bicep Curl

3

12 Each Side

Leg

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Leg Press

3

10

Romanian Deadlift

3

12 Each Side

Bulgarian Split Squat

3

12 Each Side

Leg Extension

3

12

Hamstring Curl

3

12

Pros of Both Workout Types

We know you like to pump up those muscles and shed some sweat, but we can’t decide whether to go for a full body or a split session. Don't worry. We are here to help. Let's look at the pros of both types of workouts so you can decide which is right for you.

Pros of Full-Body Workout

  • In the short term, a full-body workout can help increase energy levels, improve circulation, and reduce stress.
  • It helps increase the number of calories burned during exercise because all major muscle groups are worked during a full-body routine, which means more muscles are used, and more calories are burned.
  • Additionally, a full-body workout can help improve your cardiovascular system more compared to a split routine because the body has to continuously work to transfer blood from the upper body to the lower body several times throughout the session.
  • Finally, it is often considered more efficient than split routines since it takes less time to complete this routine, leaving more time for other activities.

Pros of Split Body Workout

  • The main benefit of split routines is that they allow you to target specific muscle groups, which is ideal if you have specific goals, such as increasing your bench press or building bigger biceps.
  • Additionally, it helps you avoid overtraining any one muscle group.
  • By targeting multiple muscle groups on different days, you can give your muscles time to recover between workouts.
  • This type of workout is also more efficient in terms of time and effort.
  • Rather than spending hours at the gym doing different exercises for different body parts, you can focus on a few key areas and get better results in less time.

Which One is Best for You?

It's the eternal question: full body workout vs. split body workout? Both have their perks, but which one is right for you? If you're trying to decide, here are a few things to consider.

Are you short on time? If you only have a short time to workout, then a full body workout might be the way to go. You can get a lot done in a shorter time, and you don't have to worry about missing a muscle group.

Do you have specific goals? A split body workout might be more effective if you're trying to build muscle in a particular area. You can focus on the muscle groups you want to work on and really give them the attention they need.

Do you like variety? If you get bored quickly, a full body workout might be better. You can mix things up and keep your body guessing, making working out more fun.

There's no right or wrong answer when it comes to full body workout or split body workout. It's all about what works best for you and your goals. So take some time to think about what you want to achieve, and then decide based on that. Whichever way you go, just make sure you enjoy the journey!

FAQs

1. What is the best training split for athletes?

There is no one "best" training split for athletes, as the best split will vary depending on the individual's goals, abilities, and other factors. However, a typical split that can be effective for many athletes is a three-day split, with each day targeting a different muscle group.

On day 1, you may focus on the chest and triceps; on day 2, you may focus on the back and biceps; and on day 3, you may focus on the legs and shoulder workout.

2. How long is a full body workout?

A full body workout is typically around 45 minutes to an hour long.

3. How do you train an athletic body?

The best way to train an athletic body is to mix up your routine and use a variety of exercises. You should also concentrate on strength training and conditioning.

4. How do you train like an athlete?

Athletes have different training methods that help them stay in shape and perform at their best. Many athletes use a combination of strength training, conditioning, and sport-specific exercises to prepare for competition.

One common type of strength training is weightlifting. Weightlifting involves lifting weights to increase muscle mass and strength. It may be done using free weights, machines, or bands. Weightlifting can improve performance in sports that involve jumping, sprinting, and throwing.

Conditioning exercises help athletes improve their endurance, speed, and agility. These exercises include running, biking, swimming, or playing sports like basketball or soccer. Conditioning helps athletes maintain their energy level throughout a game or race.

Finally, athletes often perform sport-specific exercises to improve their skills and techniques. For example, a basketball player might do drills that improve their shooting accuracy or dribbling skills. These exercises help athletes become more comfortable with the movements required in their sport.

The Bottom Line

Both full-body and split workout routines have benefits and drawbacks that you must consider before starting any new workout program. Athletes who are just starting or want to improve their overall fitness levels may find that a full-body workout is more effective in gaining strength.

However, splitting the body into different segments may be more beneficial if an athlete wants to focus on a specific muscle group or improve performance in a particular sport. Ultimately, it’s essential to experiment with both routines and see which one works best for you – after all, there’s no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to working out!

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