There’s more to lifting weights than just picking up heavy objects and putting them back down again. A well-rounded lifting program includes hitting every muscle group at the right frequency throughout the week.

There are two ways to do this: doing only full body workouts or splitting up muscle groups over specific days. But is one more effective than the other? Let’s break it down.

The pros and cons of a muscle group split workout

The best-known example of a split weights routine is the Push, Pull, Legs (PPL) program. This involves one day of working chest, shoulders and triceps, another day of working back and biceps, and the third day dedicated to legs. This can be done over three days or six.

As a split hits every muscle group in detail, it can be a great way to not only zone in and sculpt a particular area of your body. This potentially means a more focused mind-muscle connection.

If you happen to miss a day, then that particular muscle group might not get worked to an adequate frequency to reach your goals.

This routine also requires you to spend more days in the gym if you want to hit each muscle group twice in a week.

The pros and cons of a full-body workout

A full body weights routine is pretty self-explanatory. You hit every muscle group in every workout. This allows you to train each muscle group more frequently across the week.

You might work out on alternating days, or on set days across the week— for example, Monday, Wednesday and Friday — to allow for a rest day in between. This means you can work out for three or four days each week, leaving yourself with more rest days or cardio days.

Structuring rest days are more important with full body workouts because some muscle groups should not be worked two days in a row. This is to ensure you’ve fully recovered and aren’t inhibiting muscle growth.

Full body workouts also tend to be longer than muscle split workouts, so aren’t ideal for people who can only lift in short sessions.

Which is more effective?

So which is more effective— a full body routine or a lifting split? That’s a trick question. It’s not about how you divide your workouts. It’s about how frequently and intensely you train each muscle group.

So long as you’re following hypertrophy training (that means lifting to failure!) enough times across the week, you’ll definitely make progress.

The most important factors in an effective weight lifting routine are consistency and rest. Yes, rest. This is the time your muscles repair— that means grow bigger! You might be tempted to be all “Team No Rest Days”, but you’re actually hindering your gains by doing so. Give your muscles time to grow!

Whether you prefer a split or full body routines, NC Fitness has the right equipment to help you reach your goals. Check out the range today.