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Full Body Or Split Routine?

As I said countless times before there are almost unlimited options when it comes to putting a gym programme together. 

One of the most common questions to ask is would a full body or split routine work better for you? 

As with most things health and fitness related, the overall answer would be… it depends. 

So let’s take a look at a couple of points it could depend on.

1 – Training Experience 

Generally speaking, the less training experience you have the more likely you would benefit from a full body training routine.

Asking a beginner to spend a whole training sessions just working lower body for example would more often than not mean they probably wouldn’t be able to walk properly for a week afterwards. 

A little soreness is fine and probably to be expected, but too much is more likely to do you more harm than good. 

2 – Training Frequency 

If you are training on the lower end of the scale when it comes to weekly gym sessions, that being 2 or 3 then again you maybe more likely to benefit from a full body training programme performed every 48 to 72 hours. 

On the flip side, if you are training at the higher end (i.e 4 times per week) then an upper body / lower body split works well. 

Let’s now look at a couple of examples of what an example programme could look like for either option. 


  • Split Squat
  • Lat Pull Down
  • Leg Curl
  • Shoulder Press
  • Plank 

Here you have a situation where all major movement patterns are being performed, primarily both upper and lower body exercises with push and pull varieties. 


  • Leg Curl
  • Back Squat
  • Back Extension
  • Forward Lunges
  • Calf Raise


  • Pull Ups
  • Military Press
  • Seated Row
  • Bench Press
  • Lateral Raise

The above are just examples of general movements involved, they can be made easier for beginners by choosing less complex exercises and harder for intermediate or advanced trainees by primarily focusing on big compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench press. 

Further more we have not even covered exercise order, reps, sets, tempo or rest periods because when we do this is where out opportunities become almost infinite. 

As always, if you have any doubts keep it simple. 

Start slow and progressively build your strength and fitness up over time. 

So many people are guilty of wanting to be as complex as possible as early as possible and whilst this can happen if you have a good coach by your side each session, if you are on your own with little experience I’d always recommend you take a long-term approach. 

Walk before you can run. 

Thanks for reading, have a great day.


Do you need confidential help with your health, fitness or nutrition? I have a range of services available, with Personal Training in my Private Gym in Manchester, also at your home or workplace in the surrounding areas. For clients further afield, I provide Online Personal TrainingNutritional Consultancy & Private Fitness Holidays.

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