Benefits I’m seeing from a full body training split so far 💪
Earlier this year I switched up my training at the gym and made a couple of changes to my workout regime. It’s only been about six weeks but I’m experiencing some positive changes already and I wanted to share them.
For most of last year I was doing a pretty basic upper/lower split, three times per week (upper, lower, repeat three times, have a day to rest). Training splits are how you structure your workouts, typically structured around certain muscle groups. In the case of upper/lower, I basically grouped upper body muscles and lower body muscles and worked them out on separate days.
There are several other common splits, such as the traditional “bro split” – training each muscle group once per week, and a push/pull/legs split – training pull movements, push movements, then leg exercises. I had done a bro split for most of my lifting experience, and I had tried push/pull/legs, albeit not for very long. I learned that I hated training specific muscle groups. When I started lifting weights, there was no way in hell I was going to do a lot of leg exercises. Then I got onto it after my colleague said to me, “But you walk, and use your legs every day, so…” honestly, he had me at that, and I decided I might as well avoid a muscle imbalance between my upper and lower body. 😂 Then I began to hate training any upper body muscles. Then I hated squats. I was going around in circles and every time I disliked something, I thought it was my reason to change my split again. I didn’t have the patience.
I had always been sceptical about the full body split. Part of it was because I had done Body Pump classes which involved a shit tonne of endurance and fatiguing every muscle in the body, and I always felt weak as shit afterwards, not to mention I didn’t burn anywhere near as much calories than in a standard leg workout. I had a misconception that I would just be pretty exhausted if I were to try it. I was convinced to actually try a full body split after watching a video by Jeff Nippard. I’ve been watching Jeff’s videos for quite some time and he shares a lot of science-backed information about weight training and bodybuilding. He had shared a few videos about full body workouts but I was not convinced until later on. He explains that one big advantage of the full body split over most other splits is being able to manipulate a week’s volume of lifting by splitting it up across many days. Instead of doing three or more exercises for one muscle group with six sets each, you split that across the week by doing one exercise per training day, with less sets.
I won’t go too much more into the details but so far I have really loved it for several reasons.
Need to rest from strenuous exercise but still feeling the need to move? You can do an active rest day, where you’re still walking, or doing something less taxing on the body, like stretching, yoga, or Tai Chi from somewhere like the Tai Chi For Health Institute.
I am no longer incredibly fatigued after each workout.
Previously, I did not look forward to my upper body days. I enjoyed them the least. I just wanted to train legs all the time because my legs hardly fatigued the way my upper body did. My upper body felt really weak because I couldn’t push past my own personal records, and I was doing a large amount of reps to fatigue my arm muscles (shoulders and biceps – I didn’t train triceps, haha), because I was not feeling strong enough to challenge myself and lift a heavier weight.
But now it’s very different. After my first full body workout, I was absolutely sold. I felt fantastic after my workout. I was full of energy, and it didn’t feel like I just trained every muscle in my body. I do three sets for each exercise, and at first I thought it was far too little, but now that it’s been six weeks, I think it’s adequate.
With my previous upper body workouts, I felt fucking exhausted after twenty minutes, but now, I feel like I’m just getting started! It’s exciting.
I find my workouts fun.
There’s not much else to say here. Working out every muscle every day is actually fun. Initially, it was a challenge trying to find a different exercise to do that would still target the same muscle group. Because I didn’t train abdominals or triceps at all, and I rarely did leg isolation exercises like leg curls and leg extensions (for hamstrings and quads), I had to start doing them as part of my training. 😆 I thought I was going to dislike it, but I made myself do it, and now it’s not that bad.
I have been doing tricep extensions with a plate and cable pull-downs with a rope attachment, and I think my triceps are actually a lot stronger than I thought. I was just not a fan of doing tricep work because I have a funny right tricep that twinges every now and then. As for abs, I don’t do anything creative, because I don’t really want thick and muscular abdominals. I just want a strong core. So it’s less weighted stuff and more core exercise kind of stuff.
So I have really been finding the workouts enjoyable. I now have a bit of structure to the exercises I do, and I’m doing certain exercises more frequently than I was doing before.
Equipment not available? No problem.
One of my least favourite things about the gym (and a gripe for many others too, I’m sure) is when the piece of equipment you want is not available. You don’t want to waste any time! I used to find it frustrating when I had something planned out and it went down the drain because the gym was very busy. But now it’s a different story. Doing full body workouts has made me get a bit more creative with some of the equipment and do exercises I normally wouldn’t do, so if a piece of equipment I want to use is not available, I have an alternative.
The other fantastic thing is that, since I am working out each muscle group every training day, it doesn’t matter if I don’t get to do a certain exercise. I know that tomorrow I will have an opportunity to do it again, because I train every muscle group! 😊
I feel stronger and have been hitting PBs! 💪
Before I did a full body spit, I was plateauing like hell. I don’t really count calories (and that’s a story for another day), but, I had gained several kilograms of fat that was not decreasing, which was really frustrating because I was doing so much exercise. I was also not feeling stronger in the gym and making very little – if any – progress. But slowly, after pushing through a bit more, I found myself getting much stronger in my lifts. Practice really does make perfect. I guess prior to trying full body workouts, I wasn’t getting a lot of practice in for some of my exercises, but now I am doing them many times a week.
I used to do a lot of deadlifts and I haven’t done very many recently, but I focused on doing other exercises and hit 160kg on the leg press (which I never did until a few months ago), 65kg on the squat (!!!!!!), 100kg on the hip thrust, and have a pretty strong 40kg bench press.
The most I’ve ever done for a bench press was 45kg and it was just for one set of three. My form was probably terrible though. It was about a year ago. So being able to do three sets of 8 at 40kg was great.
It’s also worth noting that I stopped doing squats for two years, and I got to 50kg but felt strain in my lower back and I couldn’t squat much lower than parallel. Now my range of motion is much better, my form is better, and I can squat heavier. I also changed the shoes I was wearing so maybe my shoes are contributing to support my bone structure better (I have long femurs for a short person – my squat mechanics differ from other folks’). I had also been stuck on an 80kg hip thrust but I pushed through.
So all in all, I am feeling really fantastic and seeing a lot of progress. I’m still a bit bothered by the excess fat I haven’t dropped, but hopefully I continue to build muscle as I build up strength, and then maybe that fat will reduce a little more easily. 😉 I’m also keeping healthy by maintaining a balanced diet, but I’m not strict on counting calories or anything like that.
I’m planning to give this change the time of day and be really patient with it. In the past I was not patient at all, and I think I also wasn’t trying hard enough. My goals are to keep getting stronger and to get more toned shoulders and quads, as well as drop some fat from my midsection. 😆 Most of all, though, I’m enjoying the ride. 😎