All serious lifters do body-part splits, right? ? I mean, splitting the body up into 2-3 body parts per session and training about 5 days per week.
And full-body workouts are for beginners, right again?
Hmm, well the guy writing this (Hey, it’s me…Mark! ? ) uses full-body workouts more than splits – I simply get better gains. Now if that was just my ‘opinion’, then it’s not worth much. But now there’s the science to prove it…
A study on trained individuals (below) is suggesting that a 3-day full-body plan is actually superior for muscle size gains (hypertrophy). I’m not surprised. And even when on a cutting diet to get a six-pack, don’t be afraid to lift 3 x times a week.
But let me first make it clear that in my THT training (click to download free) we use both. They DO both work. We do:
- A 3-day full body plan for 10 weeks
- Then take a week off. Then…
- A 5-day split routine for 10 weeks.
- Then take a week off. Then…
- Back to the 3-day plan (and so on back and forth as you continue to get bigger and stronger)
3-DAY FULL-BODY VS 5-DAY SPLIT
STUDY TITLE: INFLUENCE OF RESISTANCE TRAINING FREQUENCY ON MUSCULAR ADAPTATIONS IN WELL-TRAINED MEN (link to pubmed)
Even before I get into the study results, just realizing that when each muscle is hit with DIRECT SETS 3 X TIMES A WEEK as opposed to just once (as in a 5-day split) – should be enough to get you thinking that there is real value in full-body training. Yep, you do MORE sets per muscle group on a split routine, but it’s still just one bout of direct stimulation per week.
Back to the study…
The subjects were 20 males, aged ~20-25, with good training experience (so no newbie gains here).
They tested for both size and strength gains…
“Subjects were tested pre- and post-study for 1 repetition maximum strength in the bench press and squat, and muscle thickness of forearm flexors, forearm extensors, and vastus lateralis.”
“Results showed significantly greater increases in muscle thickness for TOTAL [full-body 3-day routine] compared to SPLIT [5-day split].
That’s SIGNIFICANTLY GREATER. And …
“No significant differences were noted in maximal strength measures.”
So strength increases are pretty much the same no matter which option you go for (this has been my experience too).
But crucially…SIZE GAINS were better when training 3 times a week. That’s also been my experience.
The researchers concluded…
“The findings suggest a potentially superior hypertrophic benefit to higher weekly resistance training frequencies.”
That’s superior gains on a full-body workout. I make (slightly) better gains when hitting every muscle 3 x times a week. I tend to do mostly back-to-back 3-day training cycles. I’ve been training for many years now, so I use the ADVANCED 3-day cycle from Advanced THT Training 2.0.
If you have not yet downloaded THT Training (for free), or downloaded it but never used it, start today! You seriously do not know what you’re missing. Start with the 3-day plan in the 8-12 rep range.
You can download below. Also, make sure you get the free Android and iPhone app to track your workouts (search for musclehack in the app/play store).
WHY DO PEOPLE THINK 5 DAYS IS MORE EFFECTIVE?
Having been in this game for over a decade, I think I know why this is…
(1) 5 is a bigger number than 3 ?. So it must be better. However, total time spent in the gym per week is pretty much the same. Each full-body workout lasts longer than a split session.
(2) Tradition. People have believed it for so long, so it must be true. But tradition is not a good reason to believe anything. Science is.
(3) They ignore the fact that frequency trumps volume. Hitting a muscle directly 3 x times a week is more effective than once – even though you’ll do more sets in that one 5-day workout. Frequency > Volume.
Let go of past beliefs – they are holding you back! Try a full-body workout 3 times per week and watch what happens.
P.S. I know that putting together a diet for mass gains or getting shredded abs can be a pain in the butt, – that’s why I offer a service where I will do all the tough ground work for you. Want me to design your diet for optimal muscle gains or blistering fast fat loss? I’ll do it for you.
You probably don’t know how many calories you need, or how many grams of protein, carbs or fat you need (based on your personal stats)…BUT I DO. Then I can take these numbers and create an exact meal plan for you to hit those numbers spot on! You’ll know what foods to eat and even when to eat them. All you have to do…is do it. No thinking involved. If you’d like me to take care of this for you, see the Get Me Shredded option on my Coaching Page here.
Can I give you my free muscle-building workout?
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