Jump to Topics

Gym dilemma: Split routine or full body workout

Gym dilemma: Split routine or full body workout

Both of them may have the similar benefits, but it is important to choose a routine based on your goals and fitness levels
Split routine targets individual muscle groups. In full body workout, multiple exercises targeting various muscle groups are performed in a single session.
Photo by Anantha Subramanyam K / Happiest Health

Planning a workout schedule can get complicated. Many things have to be taken into account – your physical fitness, goals, the kind of gains you want, the exercises you are comfortable with, injuries, diet, etc., The factors seem endless. Negotiating through all of them, you finally decide on weights as your go-to activity, mixed with a couple of days of cardio or running.

But that introduces a new dilemma. A weight training routine is not as simple as lifting iron on the given day. One of the basic questions to answer first is whether you should opt for a split routine or a full body workout.

What are split routines and full body workout?

As the names suggest, in a full body workout routine, all the muscle groups of the body are targeted in a single session. In a split routine, the exercises are selected in a way that specific muscle groups are targeted and a maximum of one or two muscle groups are worked in a single session.

According to the research paper, Split or full-body workout routine: which is best to increase muscle strength and hypertrophy? by Alexandre Lopes Evangelista et. al, both routines have a similar effect when it comes to enhancing muscular adaptation and increasing strength. It concludes that split routine and full body workouts facilitate similar gains in muscle strength and thickness in the upper and lower limbs. Both training strategies are equally effective in enhancing muscular adaptation in individuals during the early phase of resistance training.

Since both provide similar gains, how do you pick the one that works best for you?

Selecting the right workout

“Before selecting a fitness routine, the first thing to consider is the physical condition of the person and then the goal of the person, whether it is improving endurance, increasing muscle mass, fat loss or muscle toning,” says Madhav Prasad, personal trainer at the Fitness Fuel Factory in Bengaluru, India. “For improving endurance and muscle toning a full body workout routine is advisable but if someone is looking for increasing muscle mass, then it is essential that each muscle group is targeted separately. So a split routine is the best suited for this. For weight loss either of the two can be selected or a combination of the two routines can also be followed.”

Mixing split and full body workouts

While mixing the routines or shifting from one to another, the changes incorporated should not be sudden or intense.

“Care has to be taken that it is not a sudden shift as the body gets accustomed to one set of routines when it is being done regularly,” says Prasad. “If someone is looking forward to adopting a full body routine, initially three muscle groups should be targeted each day. Later, it should be progressed to a full body workout routine. Similarly for a split routine, initially exercise for two muscle groups should be done and then gradually progress to a single muscle group.”

Those who are doing it after injury should start with a less intense full body workout and then progress towards a split routine.

A medical clearance is necessary for those with high blood pressure, postural issues and individuals above the age of 40, before they start either of the routines.


  • Split routine is ideal for increasing muscle mass since each muscle group needs to be targeted separately.
  • For improving muscular endurance and for body toning a full body workout works best.
  • Both full body and split routines help in burning fat.
  • The shift from one routine to another should not be sudden.

Share Your Experience/Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation is an emergency lifesaving procedure performed when the heart stops beating. According to American Heart Association, immediate CPR can double or triple chances of survival after cardiac arrest. Keeping the blood flow active, even partially, extends the opportunity for a successful resuscitation once trained medical staff arrive on site. It is an important lifesaving first-aid tool that can be performed by anyone.
A new lifestyle adaptation seems to be about breaking a set of habits that are not as innocuous as they are believed to be
Chocolates have been credited for providing better heart health. According to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology in 2020, eating chocolate at least once a week helps reduce the risk of heart disease. The study says that eating chocolate more than once a week was associated with an eight per cent decreased risk of coronary artery disease. But how does one choose a good dark chocolate? Watch to find out.
People with vitamin D deficiency have a lower insulin secretion than those with optimal levels of the vitamin, according to some studies




Opt-in To Our Daily Newsletter

* Please check your Spam folder for the Opt-in confirmation mail
We use cookies to customize your user experience, view our policy here

Your feedback has been submitted successfully.

The Happiest Health team will reach out to you at the earliest