Why you should probably train using full body sessions

Why Full Body Sessions are the best option for +90% of people

You may have heard many people talk about their gym sessions and refer to them as “leg day” etc where they dedicate one entire gym session to a body part. For most people however, this is not the optimal way to structure your weeks training or “training split”. Below we will look at why:

Although some research shows little difference in results from body part splits vs full body sessions, outside of a sports science labs, real people have less than 100% adherence. When we look at real world adherence levels, full body splits win. Due to other commitments including work, family, sporting or social events, the average gym goer manages 2-3 weight room sessions per week. Say you were doing 3 days, Push, Pull & Legs, but you missed the same session 2 weeks in a row. You have now not trained an entire part of your body in over 2 weeks. Whereas if you covered the whole body each session 3x per week and missed 2 sessions over 2 weeks, you would still have covered the whole body in your other sessions yielding better overall results.

In terms of effective repetitions over a week, due to in session fatigue on a muscle group, the loads lifted by, for example, the 3rd push exercise over a “push” session is likely to be lower than if the same exercises were split over multiple sessions. This will allow for potentially more tonnage to be lifted by each muscle group over the week on a full body split leading to greater strength & muscle development.

For athletes, single body part sessions could also cause greater muscle group specific fatigue and D.O.M.S. (delayed onset muscle soreness) which could diminish performance in sport specific sessions, this could reduce sport progression and potentially cause sport coaches to see strength training as negative instead of beneficial.

In conclusion, do body part splits work?

Yes, however, context is key. Unless you can consistently get to the gym 4+ times per week to resistance train as a minimum, full body sessions are probably going to yield superior results.