Man working out on beach

Split vs Full-Body Workout: Which Is Best?

12 min read


05 Mar 2024

Grab your cheat sheet

  1. What are full-body workouts and split-body workouts?
  2. The differences between split vs full-body
  3. The similarities between split vs full-body
  4. How often should you train?
  5. Full body vs split — which one is best for you?
  6. Help fuel your workout with Crazy Nutrition

We all know that when it comes to building muscle and achieving those awe-inspiring gains, choosing the right workout routine is essential.

That's why we're here to highlight the importance of making the right choice to maximize your muscle growth potential. After all, why all the blood, sweat and tears if there aren't the results to follow?

In the realm of workout routines, there are two heavy-hitters that have been making waves: full-body workouts and split routines.

Here, we're going to take a deep dive on full-body vs split workouts, explaining the differences and similarities between them, how often to do them and which workout or workouts are best for your goals.


What are full-body workouts and split-body workouts?

Ready to flex your muscle knowledge? Let's break down what these workouts mean.

Full body workouts

A full-body program or full-body routine hits all the major muscle groups like a boss. Think bench presses, squats, deadlifts, and push-ups all in one sweat-dripping session.

The purpose of full-body workouts is to provide a comprehensive and efficient workout that targets all the muscle groups in your body in a single session. It means time spent at the gym is optimized.

We're talking about exercises that hit multiple muscle groups simultaneously and deliver maximum gains. 

But that isn't all.

Full-body workouts can skyrocket testosterone levels and smash your endurance, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and mobility. Impressive, huh?

In short, full-body workouts are a boss move as they crush endurance, strength, and muscle mass all in one epic swoop.

Who can benefit from full-body workouts? Anyone really. From those looking to lose weight, gain muscle, tone up and beyond.

Split-body workouts

A split workout, also known as split routine, is a workout "split" into different phases that target specific muscle groups on different days.

These specialized workouts are all about targeting specific muscle groups to unlock and hone all the muscle groups in your body, area by area.

For example, one day, you focus solely on your back and biceps. And on another day, you shift your attention to your upper body muscles like triceps and chest.

It's all about precision and power, targeting certain muscle groups for maximum results. No muscle is left behind with split body workouts.

So, who can benefit from split-body workouts? 

Well, everyone seeking to take their fitness to the next level. Whether you're just starting out and need structure or are a seasoned fitness enthusiast craving variety, split-body workouts offer a fresh perspective on training.

And the best part? By targeting specific groups of muscles, you'll experience amazing gains in strength, muscle growth, and your physique.

The differences between split vs full-body

Weightlifters in the gym

When it comes to designing your workout routine, you’ve gotta understand the differences between split and full-body workouts. 

Each approach has its own totally unique benefits and considerations, and knowing these can help you separate their pros and cons.

Muscle groups focus

In split workouts, you channel your inner beast by targeting specific groups of muscles on different days.

This enables you to devote focused attention and intensity to each muscle group. 

For example, one day might be dedicated to sculpting your biceps and sculpting your back, while another day is all about building a strong chest and powerful triceps.

On the other hand, full-body workouts are designed to engage all major groups of muscles in a single session. 

You basically become a fitness ninja, performing exercises that work your chest, back, arms, legs, and core, ensuring a comprehensive workout that hits every inch of your body.

Intensity and volume

Split workouts crank up the intensity and volume for each targeted muscle group.

It means you narrow your focus and your limits and stimulate greater muscle growth. 

This laser-like approach challenges you to perform more reps, increase weight, and really feel the burn in your muscles.

Full-body workouts, on the other hand, offer a balanced approach with less intensity per individual muscle group.

Instead of pushing to your maximum for each exercise, you spread your effort across multiple muscle groups. If you're tight on time, this can be a good option to fit in your busy schedule.

Difference in recovery time

While split-workouts allow for longer recovery periods for specific muscle groups, full-body workouts offer shorter recovery times due to engaging multiple groups of muscles in a single sesh.

The result? 

Muscle groups get the chance to rest and recover while you conquer other areas. It's like a power nap for your muscles, allowing them to recharge and grow stronger (don’t forget to add in rest days too).

In terms of muscle mass and muscle growth, split workouts take the spotlight. By harnessing separate days dedicated to specific groups of muscles, you can unleash a barrage of exercises that target each area with precision.

 And guess what? You’ll see gains like never before.

Suitability for different fitness levels

If you're just starting out working out, full-body workouts are going to be your jam. 

These workouts engage all your groups of muscles. Consult a personal trainer to learn proper form and see your foundational strength improve as you go.

But watch out for split workouts, which can be overwhelming for beginners with their high-intensity demands on specific groups of muscles.

For more advanced athletes who want muscle hypertrophy, they can try isolate-and-overload split workouts where they focus on targeting specific groups of muscles with intensified isolation exercises to stimulate big gains.

But, if you're looking to focus on overall strength and power, then full-body workouts are your superpower.

The similarities between split and full-body 

Let's take a quick look at what makes each body workout similar to the other.

Muscle growth

Both split and full-body workouts bring the gains! By pushing your muscles to their limits with the intense nature of both approaches, you'll see yourself gaining muscle like never before.

Weight loss

Both split routines and body routines have a secret power—shredding those pounds.

How, exactly?

When it comes to torching those extra pounds, both split and full-body workouts have got your back but they go about it in different ways.

Firstly, both types of workouts help to supercharge your overall energy expenditure, which means you burn more calories throughout the day. 

This happens because of the activation of multiple groups of muscles and the intense nature of the workouts.

Secondly, both split and full-body workouts kickstart muscle growth and maintenance. 

Did you know? The more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate? So that means you burn calories even when you're not exercising.

Split workouts zoom in on those problem areas, giving them a precision strike that leaves no fat cell untouched. Meanwhile, full-body workouts turn up the heat on your calorie-burning, making way for your lean, mean self.

Lifting weights and resistance training occur in both split routines and body routines. More muscle? More fat burn.

Exercise variety

Whether you're rocking a split routine or going all-in with a full-body workout, you've a ton of different exercises at your fingertips. 

Mix it up, hit different groups of muscles, and keep your workouts as exciting as possible to keep the goalposts moving and the motivation brewing.


The bonus about these workouts is that they can be tailored to your goals and needs. You call the shots. Whether you're craving muscle growth, supreme strength, or an all-around fitness feast, you can customize your routine.

Rest and conquer

Both split workouts and full-body sessions demand some quality rest. Rest days give your muscles the chance to regroup, rebuild, and come back even stronger. It's like recharging your gym batteries for even greater gains.

How often should you train?

Man training in the gym

Let's talk about training volume and then go on to discuss the specific exercises you could try for each.

When it comes to training frequency for split workouts versus full-body workouts, it is totally based on your goals.

For split workouts, the more advanced fitness fanatics out there like to focus on specific groups of muscles on different days. 

That means you can hit each muscle group once or twice a week, depending on how intense and pumped up your training sessions are.

On the other hand, full-body workouts are all about embracing the power of the entire body in each session. 

If you're just starting out, aim to conquer it two to three times a week. But if you're a seasoned pro, you can go all in and push the limits four to five times a week like a boss.

But hey, don't forget rest days are crucial for muscle recovery and growth, so make sure to sprinkle in at least one to two rest days per week. This way, you'll give your body the chance to repair and rebuild.

Let's talk about exercise examples.

Split workout example…

Day 1: Chest and triceps. Three to four sets of eight to 12 reps.

Day 2: Back and biceps. Three to four sets of eight to 12 reps.

Day 3: Legs. Three to four sets of eight to 12 reps.

Day 4: Shoulders and abs. Three to four sets of eight to 12 reps.

Full body workout example

Squats - Three to four sets of eight to 12 reps.

Bench press - Three to four sets of eight to 12 reps.

Bent-over rows - Three to four sets of eight to 12 reps.

Shoulder press - Three to four sets of eight to 12 reps.

Lunges - Three to four sets of eight to 12 reps.

Push-ups - Three to four sets of eight to 12 reps.

Plank - Three to four sets of eight to 12 reps.

Bicep curls - Three to four sets of eight to 12 reps.

Tricep dips - Three to four sets of eight to 12 reps.

Full body vs split — which one is best for you?

Abs exercise

Let's discuss whether you're a split workout or full body workout kinda person. And it all comes down to…you guessed it goals!

Ask yourself what you want to achieve from your workouts.

Here's a quick reminder…

  • Split workout. Perfect for muscle growth and targeting specific areas. Ideal for bodybuilders or those looking to sculpt specific groups of muscles.
  • Full-body. Amazing for overall strength and conditioning. It's time-efficient and effective for those with busy schedules.

Now, let’s look at specific goals.

Muscle mass and bodybuilding

Split workouts are the one. By focusing on different muscle groups on different days, you give each muscle or body part all the attention you choose.

Lean muscle

Want to sculpt a physique to be proud of?

Combine the power of full-body workouts with compound exercises to incinerate calories and boost your metabolic furnace. 

And don't forget to add some targeted exercises in a split routine to chisel those muscles.

Weight loss and fat-burning

If weight loss is your goal, then full-body workouts squeeze in ahead because they engage multiple muscle groups. So if you crush your weights, the weight loss will come. Don’t forget, the more muscle, the higher your metabolic rate.

And for an extra fat-blasting turbocharge, go ahead and hit some cardio exercises like running or cycling.

Strength and power

Ready to reach new heights of strength and explosive power? 

You can get the best of both worlds with a mix of full-body and split workouts. 

Wake up your muscles and incorporate heavy compound lifts and focused exercises that leave no muscle unturned.

Endurance and stamina

Concentrating on your energy and endurance? 

Well, you can choose either workout! There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question as both workout split and full body workouts have their advantages with smashing endurance and stamina. 

Some studies say full-body workouts are more effective in improving endurance and stamina, while other studies say split workouts may also help improve endurance and stamina depending on the training intensity and duration. 

The choice is yours.

Flexibility and mobility

Listen up, when it comes to flexibility and mobility, both workout splits and full body workouts can be your go-tos as they work in different ways.

Full-body workouts, with their comprehensive approach to crushing multiple muscle groups, can help improve your flexibility and mobility. 

By engaging various muscle groups in one session, you increase the range of motion and promote flexibility throughout your body. Boom.

Workout splits allow you to dedicate more time and focus on specific muscle groups. This means more time for targeted stretching and mobility exercises that can enhance flexibility and mobility in those specific areas.

Should beginners do a full-body workout or split?

Okay, you’re starting out in the world of workouts and wondering: Should beginners kick it old school with full-body workouts or level up with a split routine? 

Let's break it down into the basics.

Full-body workout for beginners

Picture this. You're hitting all the major muscle groups in one epic session. 

It’s the perfect approach for newbies craving a full-body awakening. And it’s ensuring balanced growth and strength development. 

Plus, it's a time-saver for those with a busy schedule – work smarter, not harder, right?

Split routine for beginners

Now, imagine sculpting your body, focusing on different muscle groups on different days. 

If you're hungry for more targeted muscle growth and some extra TLC for each muscle, a split routine is the name of the game. 

It's like customizing your fitness journey, so each muscle gets its spotlight to shine and grow.

To summarize…

Full body. It's like a crash course in fitness – hitting all the muscle groups to build a solid foundation and overall strength.

Split routine. Perfect for those who want to dive deeper into sculpting specific muscles and enjoy a more tailored approach to growth.

Help fuel your workout with Crazy Nutrition

So whether you’re all about a split workout, a full workout or both, you’ll need to think about which protein shakes and pre-workouts are going to bolster your performance.

Crazy Nutrition’s TRI-PROTEIN is a premium protein formula crafted for athletes and gym goers who want the best taste, performance and power.

Specifically formulated with four natural, non-GMO proteins that break down in three phases for a staggered release of energy and strength, it's more efficient than soy, hemp or whey protein formulas. FACT.

And to get your energy levels bursting at the seams, Crazy Nutrition's INTENSIVE PRE-TRAIN means razor-sharp focus, increased energy and determined drive all thanks to a unique blend of 13 powerhouse ingredients including beta-alanine, taurine and en-extrar.

So go on, arm yourself with the fuel to crush your workouts and smash your results into orbit.