Workout Tips

Are Full-body or Split-body Routines Better for Getting Bigger?

Are you training the right way to facilitate gains?

Muscular Man Flexing
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / MNPhotoStudios / Getty

THE QUESTION: 

I’m trying to add serious size this year. Should I follow a full-body or split-body-part routine?

THE ANSWER:

As a general rule, full-body routines work amazing for beginners and for people tight on time—they’re short and effective. Plus, focusing on full-body, compound movements—like deadlifts, pullups, bench presses, squats, and cleans—build a great base level of strength.

On the flip, once you have a solid base of strength and muscle, split routines work well, too. Why? For starters, a split routine allows you to log more gym time and work your muscles more frequently. Assuming your recovery is on point, this means more gains. Also, focusing on just your lower or upper body—or even two muscles at a time—can help most lifters bust through training plateaus, as those areas are getting extra love.

—Jim “Smitty” Smith, C.P.P.S., the owner of Diesel Strength & Conditioning (dieselsc.com).

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