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Split Workout Routine or Full-Body Training

Which method is better for untrained women?

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Woman completing split workout routine

Do you have a female client who’s brand-new to fitness? You have more than one good option to help her get results. Women who are beginning a weight training program will see the same improvements in strength, muscle mass and explosiveness whether they do full-body training twice a week or a split workout routine four times a week, according to a study in BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation (2022; 14 [87]). Both programs included the same exercises and weekly number of sets and reps, and each exercise included three sets with an 8–12 repetition max load.

Study authors noted that their initial hypothesis—that shorter, more frequent training sessions would permit higher training intensity—was incorrect. They also discovered that new participants dropped out more often when faced with higher training frequency. The best program structure for beginners, therefore, is the one they prefer to do, whether a full-body or split workout routine.

See also: Split Workout Routines Versus Total-Body Training

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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