When should you move to split training?

Or in other words, when to move from whole body training to split training?

You’ve read and learnt that you should be doing whole body workouts and that this kind of training has a lot of benefits. You followed that religiously for a while, maybe for a long time even. But there comes a time when you need to move on to the next level: split-training. How do you know when it’s time to ditch your current training? Start first by recognising the following drawbacks to whole-body workouts.

Time factor

The biggest advantage to working your whole body in one session is also its main drawback: lack of time to thoroughly challenge all your muscle groups. You have only a short period of time to work your whole body, usually 1 hour. But why limit yourself to 1 hour? This is because usually after 1 hour, your body starts to run out of energy and will start cannibalising your muscles. This is the last thing you want. It becomes easy to overtrain in this case.

So you have only 1 hour to dedicate to legs, chest, back muscles and so on and it’s simply not enough for each muscle group after a while.

Lack of intensity

A successful workout is measured by how much intensity you generate during the training time. The shorter the workout, the more intensity you can generate. If you work a marathon workout of a few hours, you can be sure the intensity level will be low. After a while in your whole body workout, your muscles will need a higher level of intensity to progress. And you will be unable to provide that because you have to divide this intensity among too many muscle groups.

Not enough volume

One way to provide more intensity and more challenge to your muscles is by increasing your volume of training. One or two exercises or 1 or 2 sets of exercises for a major muscle group might not be enough anymore. But how can you dedicate 5 sets of exercise, 3 exercises per bodygroup if you have limited time, limited energy and plenty of bodygroups to train? Not possible.

More volume, more exercises, more intensity and energy in a training session work your muscles in greater depth and this is what they need to keep progressing.

How do you provide all this? By following a split-training routine of course.

Time to split-train

It is usually recommended for complete beginners to keep to whole-body workouts for a year approximately. But everyone is built differently and progresses at a different rate. So if your progress is quick, you might find that this kind of training starts to limit yourself after a while and 1 year is way too long.

When you recognise that your workouts are starting to be hampered by the above disadvantages, then you know that the time is ripe for you to break them down into smaller groups and adopt a split-training routine.

My next blog post will explain how to devise a split-training routine.

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