So what training style is more effective, training the whole body or splitting the body parts up throughout the week?
Firstly let me tell you, I remember the first day I was introduced to lifting weights and it was at the age of 14 by my childhood buddy Michael Wiseman. If I remember rightly we trained chest and biceps which is about the norm for any male teenager, in fact I think I primarily trained chest and biceps for a good few years before focusing on any other body parts properly! Saying that we did used to do a little bit of legs using the leg press machine, leg extension etc before being introduced to squats a little later down the line which was a game changer for me.
Anyway since I started lifting 15 years ago I can tell you that I have pretty much tried and tested every type of training there is out there, from Weightlifting to teaching spin classes and for my sins even dabbling with crossfit and Insanity!! Nothing will get you better results when it comes to an aesthetic physique than lifting weights properly. Also in terms of connecting with your body, longevity, bone density, hormone production, the list goes on… Lifting weights will blow every other type of training out of the ball park, if done properly. Since I qualified as a Personal Trainer over a decade ago, I have probably trained well over a thousand people from all walks of life. I discovered health and fitness was my passion a long time ago and I have achieved a lot within the fitness industry simply from doing what I love and spending thousands and thousands of hours in the gym. (primarily lifting weights) I decided to compete as a Men’s Physique Competitor 4 years ago at a local bodybuilding event and since then I have taken my whole fitness and health journey to another level. I have competed 8 times in total with 2 different bodybuilding federations (IFBB and WBFF) and worked my way up to the Professional Level and I am currently ranked within the top 10 in the world as a Wbff Pro Fitness Model. Around 18 months ago I tuned into a podcast by the name of Mind Pump Media and these 3 guys have completely shifted my paradigm. Through the evidence they have gathered from conclusive studies, they have proven that Training the body as a whole 3 times per week will yield better results than hitting each body-part individually once or even twice a week. The question is why???
Training Frequency and Adaptation:
We will build our muscles at a faster rate the more frequently we hit each body-part, also allowing our bodies to adapt to a specific stimulus such a Strength Training will produce better results simply because the body is an adaptation machine!! The body is extremely clever and whatever you throw at it, you can bet it will get very efficient at whatever that is. So allowing our body to adapt to a type of training is actually a good thing, however you must not let it adapt to much because you will hit a plateau. So you should do strength training for around 3-4 weeks, hypertrophy for around 4 weeks and then strength endurance/muscle pump training for around 3 weeks. So when your body hits its peak at each training stimulus you then move onto the next phase. Now for me the true game changer was the concept that hitting your body-parts more frequently for example performing 3 total body sessions per week, which means you are hitting every body-part at least 3 times per week…. would get better results. I was always under the impression that you had to damage the muscles which is a term named DOMS, (DOMS- Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) in order for the muscle fibres to grow back bigger and stronger therefore making them grow and develop. This is true however if you are just hammering each body part once per week, then you spending 2-3 days recovering which means that the body-part you damaged is only stimulated/repairing for 2-3 days and then their are no anabolic muscle building signals being sent to that muscle group for another 3-4 days until you hit it again. Why not hit every body-part every other day or even every day?!?! The way I do it is I do my 3 total body foundational workouts every week and then I will either do what I call ‘trigger’ sessions on the days in between. This consists of 1-3 total body resistance band workouts which only take around 8-10 minutes each. What are the benefits of doing this?? I am hitting every muscle group 1-3 times on the off days, in other words I am sending the muscle building signal to my whole body frequently and as a result of that your body adapts and responds efficiently. Another option on the off days are just to do a 45 minute free weight session choosing 1-2 body-parts and focusing on your lagging areas, for me this is normally shoulders and calves or quads and calves. So now you get the jist?? It was a crazy concept for me to digest initially but lets face it, we want to illicit the most change with the least amount of time and effort right?? Also I want to be lifting weights pretty much until the day I die and training this way puts less stress on your body and is MUCH better for overall health and longevity.
Recovery is another very important tool when it comes to training and digging out maximum results with your time spent in the gym. What I tend to find is most people either over train or under train. I can relate to this myself because up until I discovered this style of training I would fall into the over training category from time to time. I find like most things in life, moderation and balance are extremely hard things to master… this is why i have discovered most gym goers are either not training frequently enough or they are smashing the hell out of their body by training at a high intensity once or twice a day and applying way to much stress to their body therefore not being able to sustain the regime they are following. Going back to training the body as a whole, what I have found is you actually recover faster by stimulating your muscles and just generally moving more on your off days. Especially the resistant band workouts combined with maybe 1-2 yoga classes a week or some for of stretching/mobility on those days in between. Don’t get me wrong rest is key when it comes to muscle growth and repair however if you doing nothing on your rest days then you quite simply are not sending any beneficial signals to your body when it comes to hitting your goals whether that may be for aesthetics or just improving mobility.
Stay tuned because I will be releasing my very own 9 week training plan inspired by @Mindpumpmedia. (instagram handle) I started listening to the Mind Pump podcasts a few years back and it is these guys who have educated me on these new training concepts. My new 9 week training plan is based on numerous scientific studies which have taken place and which prove that hitting the whole body delivers better results than doing split body-part training. Also don’t forget to sign up on my website for notifications on my free articles, blogs and workouts!!
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