Full body, half body, split … How to organize your training?
This is one of the main questions we ask in bodybuilding, not just beginners. It is difficult to find the optimal training rhythm to work effectively all the muscles of the body, without leaving some parts and without upsetting its entire program when one day we can not go to train …
In this article I come back to the most popular programs, and my tips for organizing your week.
The different training programs
Full body, half body, split, Push Pull Legs … Some of these terms may already speak to you if you have arrived on this page, and others do not. So let’s go back to basics for 2 seconds. Each of these names corresponds to an organization different from your training sessions:
“The full body as its name suggests is to work the whole body in one session
” The half body makes work half of the body (usually up / down)
“The split consists of separating each muscle group according to the days of the week (1 day = back muscles, 1 day = shoulders, etc.).
” The Push Pull Legs, certainly the least known of the list, is to make a session on all the pushed movements, then a session on all the movements of draw, and finally a session dedicated to the legs.
What is the best organization?
Is it better to choose the full body, split, half or PPL for an optimal muscle grip ? If you are looking on the internet you will find almost everything on this issue, because everyone at his preference … And they do not necessarily say anything! Because on this subject all opinions defend themselves.
But for me, it’s a false debate.
Parallel with the diet
We find a little the same problem around the food … You will always see on the Internet, on social networks or in the books of coaches and other professionals of nutrition to sell the merits of this or that diet (fasting, low fat diet , etc.). In fact, studies have now shown that for the same caloric total these diets are in all respects equivalent. It’s not how you plan your diet, but the total calories at the end of the day / week. So in the end it’s up to you to manage how you want the timing of nutrients and the management of certain macro-nutrients (mainly carbohydrates and fats).
The case of bodybuilding
In training it is the same: whatever your organization, know that the 1 st vector hypertrophy is the volume of training. So if you have the same volume of training, whether you do split or full body, potentially you will have the same results.
Just choose the training organization that best suits your training frequency (= the number of times you will train per week), your personal tastes and also (and especially) your schedule. We can not all train 7/7, maybe some of you only have 2 days in the week to go to the room.
Each case is different: some will prefer to work the whole body on one session, and others will have better feelings by dissociating the muscles. The problem is that these organizations are often cataloged. For example the full body, if we search on the Internet we have the impression that it is only for beginners, and split for advanced practitioners. In fact, it’s more complicated than that …
Take a concrete example (a bit extreme I grant you) by comparing two training programs: a full body 4 sessions / week, against a split 4 sessions / week.
If you do 3×3 series for the back each session in full body, it is 9 series in all, or a week: 4×9 = 36 series. So to have the same volume of training with the split, it’s almost impossible because you will be too tired of the same muscle group. About 20 sets on a split session is more than enough, so 36 is almost double …
At this stage you will have understood: the important thing is the volume of training and not the distribution of sessions your organization. Just like in nutrition: we do not care about the timing of the absorption of nutrients, all we have to look at (to a certain extent) is the total caloric and total protein.
For training it’s the same: start from your training frequency, and from there try to place each muscle group as often as possible, simply. To optimize the training volume and ducoup to optimize muscle gain.
So, is the full body the most effective method?
Yes and no. The advantage of full body is that you will be able to work each muscle group several times in the week, so have a high training frequency. The problem of full body is that it is difficult to be constant on all muscle groups during a single session, or even to place all muscle groups: you will have a session too long and less effective because you you will have strength on the exercises of end of training.
Conversely in the split, you will have a good volume, but a low frequency (usually 1 muscle group / week).
In my opinion, there are compromises to be made … Maybe a half body arranged? It’s up to you to see how many sessions you will have per week.
The problem with conventional training programs and the split is that they have a big lack of flexibility that can cause you to miss sessions and so you will not work some groups as often as others. Ç has happens to us all … If Monday is the pecs, that happens if a Monday you can not go to the bathroom? You will not train this muscle group for 2 consecutive weeks.
What I do is that I organize my sessions in cycle : That I train 3, 4, 5 or 6 times a week, I will always have 3 different sessions. A lot if I have 3 different sessions and I train 6 days, that means that I will be able to repeat each session twice in the week. Higher training frequency, higher training volume and therefore higher muscle growth.
The advantage of cycling is that if one day you can not go to the gym, instead of missing a muscle group (which will upset your entire organization), just pick up where you stopped and so no organizational problem.
How to organize the work of each muscle group of the week?
In other words: if you work the shoulders on Monday, is it advisable to work on the pecs on Tuesday knowing that on pectoral exercises shoulders are solicited (and tired by the previous session).
Again for me it’s a false debate, which comes from a poor technique of execution.
This is a major factor: if you do not master the movements, it will always put you in the wheel. Your performance should be excellent to target the desired muscle group for each exercise. In this way if you work the pecs, you will only work the pecs. So if to take the example you are afraid to work the chest because you have already worked the shoulders the day before, I advise you to review your technique of execution because that is probably where the problem comes from 😉