With exercise, everyone has a unique opinion and is very fast to share it with you as the best method to train. This is usually followed up with a sales pitch on how you can also get great results if you followed this exact method.
There are thousands of options for exercising and in particular lifting weights. Full body workouts, push/pull/legs, upper/lower body splits or a bro split (1 or 2 muscle groups per day). People usually follow the biggest guy or girl in the gym and take it all as gospel.
I want to give you the pros and cons of each training method and give you the knowledge to make your own mind up. There is no right or wrong answer. All of these methods will increase muscle, strength and burn calories. You need to find what works for you, what fits into your schedule and which one you enjoy the most.
Full body workouts
Full body workouts are exactly what they say on the tin. Within every session you train a range of muscle groups across all of the body.
- Great for beginners – This would be ideal for anyone starting out in the gym to understand and learn as many exercises as possible.
- Ideal for busy people – If you miss a session or need to reschedule it doesn’t matter as much as you can catch up in other sessions.
- Suited to almost any goal – From building muscle, losing body fat and gaining strength, this program could work for you.
- Focusses on big compound movements – Exercises that use multiple muscle groups should be included in everyone’s program.
- Recovery – It may be difficult to recover from a tough workout in time for you to train the same muscle groups again. For example if you carried out heavy squats on Monday, you may not be ready to do another leg exercise on Wednesday.
- Only 3 -4 times a week maximum – This program would suit those that go to the gym 3-4 times a week. If you train more than this you may be suited to one of the other options.
- May miss out on some of the glory muscles – As you focussing on the big compound lifts like deadlifts, squats and bench press, smaller muscles like your calves and arms may not get as much attention.
During this program you will assign each training day to either push, pull or legs. The muscles responsible for pushing is your chest, shoulders and triceps. The muscles responsible for pulling is your back and biceps. I think the legs part is self-explanatory (anything below your waist).
- Hitting every muscle group twice per week – Your muscles will get a chance to perform twice per week which should be a chance to recover in between sessions.
- Greater amount of volume – As you will be using similar muscle groups per session, you will be increasing the amount of work carried out per session. The more volume you can do (up to a certain point) could mean more muscle growth.
- Good way to learn movement patterns – As you are learning certain movements like a squat, hip hinge, shoulder press, you can dedicate whole sessions to them instead of 10 minutes at the end.
- Some people may struggle with recovery – If you are new to exercise and lifting weights, hitting them twice a week may be too much.
- Prioritises upper body – You work the upper body over 4 session but the lower body over 2 sessions. If your focus is on building bigger legs in comparison to upper body, it may be worth opting for a different option.
- Trying to train chest on Monday is brave – Putting your push day on a Monday could be risky. This is prime time for everyone to train chest and getting access to equipment could be difficult.
A bro split is a workout program that focussing on individual muscles per day. This is the most common gym program as it has been popularised by bodybuilders over the years and it is highly likely the ‘big boys’ in the gym train that way.
- Large amount of volume per body part – Each muscle group is going to experience much more volume per session than the other options, which is ideal to build muscle.
- Everyone else trains like this so you can fit your training schedule with others – If you have a training partner and need to sync schedules, this is probably the best option.
- Get a good pump – Some people really enjoying getting a pump from lifting weights. That feeling of your muscles being tight and looking big. You are likely to get more of a pump from this program than other s due to the high volume per session.
- May be limiting muscle growth – You are only exercising each muscle group once per week. Your muscles are likely to recover faster than that instead of waiting the full 7 days before training them again.
- Some movements fall under multiple muscle groups – Do you put deadlifts on a back day or legs day? This sorts of movements have a crossover between many days and can be difficult to decide which day to put them on. This may have a knock on effect to other muscle groups and recovery between sessions.
- It could be too much volume for beginners – If you are new to the gym or lifting weights, carrying out 4 or 5 different exercises on just legs is likely to leave you walking like you have shit yourself.
These three options are all great workout schedules. They could play a part in building muscle, gaining strength and helping you lose body fat. They all have their pros and cons and should be considered carefully before jumping into the plan that big Dave carried out. Find one that fits your schedule, goals and current lifestyle.
For the average person that is looking at looking good naked, any of the plans will work if carried out with enough intensity and supported with the correct diet. If you need assistance in deciding what plan is best for you or a more detailed workout plan, get in touch and I can help you out.
The brains, brawn and beauty of Dackattack (basically it’s just me). A personal trainer with a private gym in Norwich, dedicated to giving out simple, actionable advice that will give you outstanding results.