Full Body vs Upper/Lower vs Push/Pull/Leg Split Routine: Which Is Best?

Full Body vs Upper/Lower vs Push/Pull/Leg Split Routine: Which Is Best?

There are two things people talk about when there is something related to a workout routine.

The first one is the different type of workout split and second one is which workout split is best for them, not you specifically.

In the diet and fitness industry, there are a lot of debates on this and similar split routine topics.

Many people know about ins and outs of the most common workout routine but when someone give their opinion, they start thinking like 

Should I do upper/lower or Push/Pull/Leg?

Or

Should I do a Full body or body split routine?

Or

Should I do this split routine or that?

It is obvious that someone’s opinion always influences others’ mind but in this article we’re going to clear which workout routine is best for you and why along with which workout split is best for muscle hypertrophy.

Workout Split 101

As you can see, I wrote “101” and the reason behind this you may know about the name of this workout routine but not what goes into that and I don’t want you to be confused by starting a direct comparison of these workout splits without knowing them properly.

The Full Body Split

  1. Monday: Full Body Workout
  2. Tuesday: off
  3. Wednesday: Full Body Workout
  4. Thursday: off
  5. Friday: Full Body Workout
  6. Saturday: off
  7. Sunday: off

It is very important for you to know, in the workout planning and exercising, you can add many different varieties by changing some variables.

So this full body workout routine is by far the most common one and you can see many gym goers start doing their workout with this routine(like ME, when I was a beginner!)

One of the biggest advantages of this workout routine is you can do high frequency training with enough volume, without skipping any muscle group and the consecutive rest day gives you enough recovery from the soreness.

The Upper Lower Workout Split

  1. Monday: Lower Body Workout
  2. Tuesday: Upper Body Workout
  3. Wednesday: off
  4. Thursday: Lower Body Workout
  5. Friday: Upper Body Workout
  6. Saturday: off
  7. Sunday: off

As you can see, I wrote lower body workout as a monday because I like doing heavy squats after the rest day, but you can do The Chest workout on “The International Chest Day” if you prefer so!

There are few more versions of this workout splits, which I talk about in this article along with the sample Upper Lower Body workout routine.

The biggest benefit of this workout split is you can train your upper and lower body very effectively, what I mean by that is you have to do all workouts in your Full body workout splits but in this workout split, you can divide volume and train each muscle group with more focus in mind.

The Body Part Split

I saw many people don’t know whether push/pull/leg and body part split is the same or not?

I don’t know if you guys know or not but let me know in the comments that these both workout routines are the same or different.

Anyways, as an example of the body part split we’re going to see how a Typical push/pull/leg workout routine can be seen.

Push/Pull/Leg Workout Split

Week 1

  1. Monday: Push (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps)
  2. Tuesday: Pull (Back, Biceps)
  3. Wednesday: Legs (Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, Abs)
  4. Thursday: off
  5. Friday: Push (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps) 
  6. Saturday: Pull (Back, Biceps)  
  7. Sunday: Legs (Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, Abs)

Week 2

  1. Monday: Push (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps)
  2. Tuesday: Pull (Back, Biceps)
  3. Wednesday: Legs (Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, Abs)
  4. Thursday: off
  5. Friday: Push (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps) 
  6. Saturday: Pull (Back, Biceps)  
  7. Sunday: Legs (Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, Abs)

Like all the other workout splits, this is the typical push/pull/leg workout routine you can see by a regular gym goer in the gym and like all the other workout splits, you can turn this typical routine into something like this!

Week 1

  1. Monday: Push (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps)
  2. Tuesday: Pull (Back, Biceps)
  3. Wednesday: off
  4. Thursday: Legs (Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, Abs)
  5. Friday: off
  6. Saturday: Push (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps)
  7. Sunday: Pull (Back, Biceps)

Week 2

  1. Monday: off
  2. Tuesday: Legs (Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, Abs)
  3. Wednesday: off
  4. Thursday: Push (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps)
  5. Friday: Pull (Back, Biceps)
  6. Saturday: off
  7. Sunday: Legs (Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, Abs)

There are few more versions of this routine like the upper lower workout split but it’s for the advanced level of athletes.

One of the biggest advantage of this workout split is you can divide the more exercise volume into the more workout frequency and when you increase your exercise volume and workout frequency(because you can’t do 20 sets of chest and then 20 sets of back on same day😳), there are more chances that you grow more muscle than the single day workout frequency and less exercise volume.

So, if you’re a kind of person who wants to maximize their muscle gains after hitting plateau or you’re at intermediate level, you can try this workout routine for better muscle gains.

The Ultimate Comparison Between Workout Splits

Full Body vs Upper/Lower vs Push/Pull/Leg Split Routine: Which Is Best?
Source

Now you know the ins and outs of the most common workout routine, so let’s do the ultimate comparison.

We’re going to compare this workout split based on a few variables which are most important for muscle growth.

  • Fitness Level
  • Exercise Volume
  • Workout Frequency

These are the most important factors when it comes to choosing workout splits for the individuals.

Fitness Level – Beginner

Let’s assume you just start going to the gym and you want to lose fat and build muscle so which workout split are you going to choose?

It won’t be push/pull/leg or upper lower workout!

It will be Full Body Workout Routine

Well, you may be wondering why I chose this only workout split(you may be thinking that I can do Push/pull/leg workout routine, save the Adrenaline my friend!😜)

The reason I chose this workout split for a beginner is, beginners have to focus on a few things before starting doing advanced things in the gym.

  • Understand the exercise Form
  • Acquire the mind muscle connection
  • Understand the importance of working out and so on

Now as a beginner, if you do focus on these things, you can increase your muscle growth without having any kind of injury and maximum workout effectiveness.

But if you don’t focus on those things, you will not be able to progress in the gym as you think.

What if you’re not a beginner?

Well, in that case, to be honest, you’re not reading this article but let me tell you that if you’re not a beginner, you can choose either upper lower or push/pull/leg workout routine or any routine that suits your goals and lifestyle.

Exercise Volume

You may not know about this but exercise volume is the number one factor for driving muscle growth, so if you’re not giving your muscle enough mechanical load, you will not grow more muscles.

There are many many many studies on this topic but if you want to read a super in-depth article about the best exercise volume for you and your goal based on scientific research, give this article a try!

P.S. I presume you guys already know what I mean by the Exercise Volume!

So, when it comes to compare those workout splits based on the exercise volume, it’s really hard to increase your exercise volume with the full body workout routine.

You have to choose upper lower or as you progress push/pull/leg workout split.

Now there is no rule which workout split should you choose but it is very important for everyone to divide your exercise volume effectively so that you don’t injure yourself and feel more muscle soreness than on regular days.

Upper lower and push/pull/leg workout routine gives you this flexibility by increasing the workout frequency.

So, If your fitness level is at Intermediate then go for the Upper/lower and if you’re at advanced level go for the push/pull/leg.

Before reading more, just keep in mind that these are my general recommendations, there are few more things that go into choosing workout splits based on the person.

Workout Frequency

It has been scientifically proven that workout frequency is not as much as important as the exercise volume but…

Doing a workout 3 times a week(push/pull/leg) can drive more muscle growth than the once a week(full body split) when the exercise volume is equal.

Now you can choose how many days you want to workout based on your personal needs and time.

If you chose 4 days a week then go for the Upper Lower Workout Routine,

If you chose 5 or more days a week then go for the Push/Pull/Leg workout routine.

If your workout frequency is different than these, you can always go with the full body workout split.

But keep in mind that you’re not doing overtraining by performing a full body workout 6 times a week, make sure to add a rest day between 2 or 3 days full body workout routine.

Which Split is The Best?

Now you understand properly about which workout routine you should use and when you should use but which workout split is the best? That’s what I was thinking back in the day.

To be honest, as I said earlier there is no best or top thing in the fitness industry, you can literally choose any workout split and lose fat and gain muscles if and only if you follow a proper diet and give your muscles proper stress.

There are many beginners who do push/pull/leg(A personal trainer is MUST!) and there are also many advanced level athletes who do a full body workout routine.

As you can see, there is no one size fits all approach in fitness, so just choose what you find best or what works best for you!

Which Workout Split is Best For You?

Let’s see which workout split is best for you specifically!

So, what I’m going to do here now is chose two most common scenario which I saw everyday in the gym in order to choose optimal workout split for you!

Scenario 1 – Mary 

  • Goal: want to lose 5 Inches from the lower body and gain some muscles
  • Fitness level – between beginner and intermediate
  • Workout split: Upper Lower workout split

As you can see here, I chose the upper lower workout split for Mary, now why I chose this routine specifically.

Mary wants to lose her lower body and can workout 4 times a day as she is a businesswoman.

So, if we want to lose the inches in the lower body, we need to prioritize her lower body workout with the Upper Lower workout routine.

You may be wondering that we can focus much on the lower body by implementing Push/pull/leg workout routine but Mary can’t workout 5 or 6 times a week.

Moreover, it is hard for Mary to keep note of everything when it comes to the push/pull/leg workout routine.

Scenario 2 – Ethan

  • Goal: he is a skinny guy and wants to build muscles
  • Fitness level – Beginner
  • Workout split: Full Body Workout Routine

You may be thinking that the reason I chose a full body workout routine for Ethan is the fitness level of him.

Ethan’s fitness level is Beginner so it’s best for him to do Full body workout right?

The answer is NO!

Of Course I chose Full body workout routine for Ethan because he is at beginner level but that’s not the MAIN reason, the main reason is he is skinny and we don’t want him to do more of a workout in the gym by implementing more complex workout routines.

We want Ethan to focus more on the diet side rather than at the gym and on the workout.

If he does a push/pull/leg or upper/lower workout routine, there are chances that he will not learn a few important things every beginner should learn.

I hope you understand how to choose proper workout split as per your goal and your needs.

FAQs

  1. Is Upper Lower Body Split Effective?

Every workout split is effective as long as you’re providing continuous and progressive mechanical load(that is exercise volume!)

  1. Are Full Body Workouts the Best?

Full body workouts are best for the beginner to grow muscles but as you progress you need to switch that to Upper lower or something like a push/pull/leg workout routine.

  1. When Should I switch from full body to body part splits?

It is really hard to tell when an individual should change their workout routine but let me tell you something so you can make a decision.

If you’re a beginner and doing full body workout like for 6 months and done progression you can switch to upper / lower body workout or any that suits your needs and lifestyle.

  1. I want to lose fat, which is better: full body or upper/lower?

Tbh, it doesn’t matter which workout split you chose if you want to lose fat, you can choose whatever workout routine and still lose fat as you’re going to lose fat because you’re in the calorie deficit not because you chose THIS workout specifically.

If you have specific questions regarding these workout splits other than above, then you can ask me in the comments.

What’s NEXT!

Now you know what is the difference between all these workout routines and why you should choose this split.

If you decide, just make a workout routine for you and try following it for more than 6 weeks or so in order to see the results.

Doubts?, Thoughts?, Comments? Drop them Below!

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