Beginner Workout Principle: Split Body Workouts

When you initially start up on a workout program, often the most common approach that's used is a full body style session.  This will have you working all the muscle groups in the single workout as you get used to the overall movement pattern of the various exercises you're going to perform.

While you can stick with full body workouts regardless of what your progression level is, as soon as you've performed a few weeks of training and are ready to try something new, you may want to consider split body workouts.

Here are some of the important things to know about split body workouts.


What Split Body Workouts Are

What a split body workout consists of is where you will divide up the body into upper and lower sections.  So instead of how you would normally perform exercises for both the arms and the legs in one session, you're going to be devoting an entire section to just a few muscle groups.

Different people have different preferences for how to split the workouts up and there are a very large number of programs that will help illustrate this fact that you can choose from.


The Most Common Split Body Workout Set-Up

Possibly the most common way that full body workouts are split up is into an upper and a lower workout. With this approach you will perform all lower body exercises one day, all upper body exercises, the next, and then take a day off before repeating the cycle once again.

Most people find this works fairly well since so many of the lower or upper body exercises work more than one muscle group.

Another common way to split the body up is into 'push' and 'pull' days where you will perform all exercise that have you pulling on one day and any that have you pushing another.  This can also be a good approach to use however you have to be a bit more careful as you may wind up training one muscle group two days in a row. 


Advantages To A Split Body Workout

Some of the major advantages you'll see with a split body workout are first, it allows you to specialize a lot more with each muscle group.  If you're doing a full body workout you're not really going to be able to perform much more than a single exercise per muscle otherwise the workout itself is going to end up getting very long.

A second advantage is that it provides more total training days during the week.  Usually you'll be lifting weights four days a week with a split body program which is something that would have been impossible on a full body workout.

This can help if you're training to build muscle since it will keep the body in an anabolic state more often, assuming you are eating enough fuel to support the training and are still getting appropriate rest between sessions.


Disadvantages To A Split Body Workout

Finally, the main disadvantages that you should know about that can come with a split body workout are that if you aren't careful with your scheduling, you may end up overtraining.  This is especially important for the beginner because typically you can't handle a high volume yet.

As long as you make sure you have at least two full days off for recovery however and are not overloading your week with other activities such as sports or high intensity cardio, you shouldn't usually have to worry about this too much.

Second, and what is sometimes a disadvantage in some cases is the fact that it does call for more training sessions per week. If you're someone who has a busy schedule, you may find that it's difficult to fit all the workouts in, in which case the full body program might be the better option.

Keep in mind that you can alternate between workouts and still keep a split body plan to three days a week but at minimum you should be hitting each muscle group at least once every five day period.

So if you feel you'd like something other than a full body workout program and have been at your workout for at least a couple of weeks, the split body plan may just be what you're after.