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  1. #1
    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    What are the advantages of full body vs Upper/Lower?

    Noobs are recommended to do full body 3 days per week and then progress to upper 3x per week and lower 3x per week on the in between days.

    If someone has a gym in their garage, is there any advantage to a newbie doing full body vs working 6x per week on an upper lower program?

    I see people who use a gym wanting to save on driving time. Maybe less totall warming up time too.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    Most here do not recommend anyone do upper/lower 6 days a week so I am not sure why you think this?
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    Registered User TheShadowMan's Avatar
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    6 day upper/lower might work for awhile, I did it. Learned my lesson though, too much accumulated stress on the body and not enough recovery. No recovery no development, so I switched to a more reasonable upper/lower/rest repeat. 2 on 1 off, I like it so far, keeps things in balance. Full body, unless it's designed very well - it's a type of program geared towards frequency over volume. Then you got your bodypart splits, those are mainly built to prioritize volume before frequency. The beauty of the upper/lower split is it's your middle of the road option - good volume and frequency. It all comes down to what your training goals are.
    Back to basics full body routine: https://pastebin.com/5BgKgrMv

    Training journal: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=178059671&p=1598034261#post1598034261
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  4. #4
    Registered User coachcalande's Avatar
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    I never could train a muscle 3 times a week, not even as a beginner, probably because I did so much volume and trained to failure from day 1.

    I have seen hundreds of newbies progress from 600-700 lb club kids to 1000 lb club with twice a week frequency and 6 -8 sets per body part, 3-4 sets per movement, 5-8 reps for most things 3-5 for deadlifts.
    "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

    Old Guy deadlifting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zMrim-0Dks
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  5. #5
    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by coachcalande View Post
    I never could train a muscle 3 times a week, not even as a beginner, probably because I did so much volume and trained to failure from day 1.

    I have seen hundreds of newbies progress from 600-700 lb club kids to 1000 lb club with twice a week frequency and 6 -8 sets per body part, 3-4 sets per movement, 5-8 reps for most things 3-5 for deadlifts.

    Thanks for that extra detail about the number of sets per muscle and movement.

    Must spread more reputation, it says.
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  6. #6
    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Heisman2 View Post
    Most here do not recommend anyone do upper/lower 6 days a week so I am not sure why you think this?
    I thought it was common to go

    Full
    Off
    Full
    Off
    Full
    Off
    Off

    To

    Upper
    Lower
    Upper
    Lower
    Upper
    Lower
    Off

    To

    Push
    Pull
    Legs
    Push
    Pull
    Legs
    Off

    Assuming it is the same number of sets, I dont understand how it is harder. But I did not try both, certainly not at the right intensities.

    I might just have to do one till I don't recover, then try the next.
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  7. #7
    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    It all comes down to weekly volume and recovery no matter which program you choose.
    If you don't get what you want you didn't want it bad enough
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    Registered User George2100's Avatar
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    I prefer full body because i train every other day. The extra recovery helps a lot IMO.
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    What's your routine like for push pull rest?
    I try push rest pull rest repeat and can't seem recover well, nervous system wise. Squat and bench on push days.
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  10. #10
    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Rsurf72 View Post
    What's your routine like for push pull rest?
    I try push rest pull rest repeat and can't seem recover well, nervous system wise. Squat and bench on push days.
    I also have concerns about putting a deadlift on an upper pull day or a leg day. I also want to do dumbbell lunges, hands down low. That further complicates the split in favor of upper body.


    I guess working the same muscle twice in a day just limits the second exertion, whereas next day maybe interrupts repair?

    I also am getting the gist that forearms can handle isometric sets more than dynamic, and that this is true of most muscles. So isometric participation might not need to be counted as much.
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  11. #11
    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Darkius View Post
    I also have concerns about putting a deadlift on an upper pull day or a leg day. I also want to do dumbbell lunges, hands down low. That further complicates the split in favor of upper body.


    I guess working the same muscle twice in a day just limits the second exertion, whereas next day maybe interrupts repair?

    I also am getting the gist that forearms can handle isometric sets more than dynamic, and that this is true of most muscles. So isometric participation might not need to be counted as much.
    Judging by the state of your questions, in this thread and others, I doubt you really need to be this concerned about recovery.
    Age: 29

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  12. #12
    Registered User EliKoehn's Avatar
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    ^^ I agree

    However, I do think the sentiment of your question is valid and relatable, just that it won't end up mattering that much provided that you're checking all of the boxes on what you should be doing. Until you get to a solidly intermediate level, just follow a proven novice program, eat the protein you need, and closely within a calorie range tailored to cutting, maintenance, or a slight surplus, and it'll take care of itself.
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  13. #13
    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Darkius View Post
    I also have concerns about putting a deadlift on an upper pull day or a leg day. I also want to do dumbbell lunges, hands down low. That further complicates the split in favor of upper body.


    I guess working the same muscle twice in a day just limits the second exertion, whereas next day maybe interrupts repair?

    I also am getting the gist that forearms can handle isometric sets more than dynamic, and that this is true of most muscles. So isometric participation might not need to be counted as much.
    I used to deadlift immediately after squatting simply because I had the plates out and didn't want to put them back only to get them out again later. I stopped doing that once I reached 3 plate squats when it became an actual recovery concern for me, not a hypothetical one (emphasis on hypothetical).
    Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
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  14. #14
    Registered User EiFit91's Avatar
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    OP I highly suggest you read this:

    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...hp?t=122509811
    The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.

    - Richard Feynman
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  15. #15
    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    I used to deadlift immediately after squatting simply because I had the plates out and didn't want to put them back only to get them out again later. I stopped doing that once I reached 3 plate squats when it became an actual recovery concern for me, not a hypothetical one (emphasis on hypothetical).
    That sounds pretty convincing. So I should not worry about back to back forearms unless I notice them not recovering. Got it.

    I think I'll go with full body in a day, and take a lunch break if I don't finish within an hour or feel worn out. I'll aim for 9-12 sets per muscle group per week and divide 3 ways. Isometric (grip) counts as maybe half a set, stopping more than 2 reps before failure is half a set, hitting failure is maybe 1.5 sets. I can increase that till I notice recovery is an issue, then back off a notch.

    Some people alternate 2 workouts that are similar but workout A throws in curls and B has tricep extensions, or A has incline bench press and B has decline bench press. I think I'll incorporate that somewhat.


    I'm guessing lat pull downs are only partially interchangeable with back row. So if I would have aimed for 3 of either, maybe I should do only 5 total between them, alternating 3 and 2 sets.
    Or, since I have a hunch back, maybe back row should always get 3 and lats always 2.
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  16. #16
    Registered User tssfJEXnsrb's Avatar
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    I did full body 2x a week a it worked for me but before I did push pull full body
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    Originally Posted by EiFit91 View Post
    It was a good read
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    Registered User TAWS6's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Darkius View Post
    I thought it was common to go

    Full
    Off
    Full
    Off
    Full
    Off
    Off

    To

    Upper
    Lower
    Upper
    Lower
    Upper
    Lower
    Off

    To

    Push
    Pull
    Legs
    Push
    Pull
    Legs
    Off

    Assuming it is the same number of sets, I dont understand how it is harder. But I did not try both, certainly not at the right intensities.

    I might just have to do one till I don't recover, then try the next.
    Problems crop up once you reach a certain level of strength. That would make a 6 day upper lower near impossible.

    Basic guideline for bodybuilding
    Novice - 3 day full body/higher frequency (practice)
    Intermediate- 4 day upper lower all days heavy (fierce 5 upper lower) higher volumes.
    Late/intermediate- getting too strong for 2 heavy work outs per week. Something like phat or a heavy/light works well.
    Advanced/advanced- focus /rotate muscle groups with specialization phases.

    After that find a new hobby or cell tech.
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  19. #19
    Registered User jaxqen's Avatar
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    If you split the volume, I assume 6 times upper lower can work... but you will do more warmup sets, it can be a little more difficult, I guess.


    Originally Posted by George2100 View Post
    I prefer full body because i train every other day. The extra recovery helps a lot IMO.
    Didn't you have a PPL routine on the Iron Meditation journal, with high intensity, high volume, low frequency?


    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    However, I do think the sentiment of your question is valid and relatable,
    Dude, when I read your comments, sometimes I think you would be perfect for a psychologist.
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  20. #20
    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TAWS6 View Post
    Problems crop up once you reach a certain level of strength. That would make a 6 day upper lower near impossible.

    Basic guideline for bodybuilding
    Novice - 3 day full body/higher frequency (practice)
    Intermediate- 4 day upper lower all days heavy (fierce 5 upper lower) higher volumes.
    Late/intermediate- getting too strong for 2 heavy work outs per week. Something like phat or a heavy/light works well.
    Advanced/advanced- focus /rotate muscle groups with specialization phases.

    After that find a new hobby or cell tech.
    Sounds like the weight lifted counts as much as the number of sets once the weight gets high enough, as far as recovery per week. Makes sense.
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    Formerly grouchyjarhead GrouchyUSMC's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Darkius View Post
    I thought it was common to go

    Full
    Off
    Full
    Off
    Full
    Off
    Off

    To

    Upper
    Lower
    Upper
    Lower
    Upper
    Lower
    Off

    To

    Push
    Pull
    Legs
    Push
    Pull
    Legs
    Off

    Assuming it is the same number of sets, I dont understand how it is harder. But I did not try both, certainly not at the right intensities.

    I might just have to do one till I don't recover, then try the next.
    Upper/lower is typically four times a week. I don't see much progress with 6 days a week. Too many people think more is better, and end up wasting time or even diminishing gains they could be making otherwise.

    Many of the old school greats lifted 3-4 times a week tops, many still utilizing full body routines as advanced lifters. It all depends on programming and your goals.

    Reg Park was a good example of this. 3-4 times a week total, he usually aimed for about an hour each session. He was a super strong dude and looked great.

    Here's an excerpt from a book called "Keys to Progress" by John McCallum, a collection of articles from the old Strength and Health magazine back during the years of the Golden Era of Bodybuilding.



    A bunch of us went down to the gym one time to watch Reg Park work out. He was in town doing a show. We lined up along the wall with our eyeballs hanging on our cheeks and tried not to look too jealous when he started lifting.

    Park walked in looking more like Hercules than Herc did. He was weighing around 235 and it all bulged. Every time he moved he looked like he was coming through his skin.
    The kid standing beside me poked me with his elbow. “Check the arms,” he whispered.
    I poked him back and whispered from the corner of my mouth like they do on T.V.


    “Okay,” I said. “You keep the motor running.”

    It went over his head. “Watch his arms,” he said. “Watch how he works them.”

    Park warmed up his lower back with some prone-hyperextensions.

    “He may not do too much arm stuff,” I said. “He was saying he just wanted to get his weight back up a few pounds.”

    “On his arms,” the kid said. “On his arms. Watch!”

    Park finished warming up and started on his legs. He loaded on weight till the bar bent slightly and did squats like his life depended on them. He had everybody pushing with him on the way up.

    He finished squatting and did some front squats and a few calf raises.

    “Now his arms,” the kid said. “Watch!”

    Park did a few heavy bench presses. He bounced the big bar off his chest and jammed it up like a rocket.

    “He spends a lot of time on his arms,” the kid said. “Forty-five minutes on the biceps and forty-five on the triceps.”

    “Gee,” I said. “That’s an hour and a half. I shoulda brought a lunch.”

    Park started his back work. He did power cleans and heavy bent forward rowing.

    “He’s saving his arms for the last,” the kid whispered. “Watch!”

    Park took the bar off the squat rack and did some presses behind the neck. You could see everybody’s lips moving when they added up the weight on the bar. It’s kind of discouraging. Park presses more weight than most guys squat with.

    “Now,” the kid said. “Watch!”

    Park picked up his towel and walked into the back.

    I looked at my watch. “That took him an hour and four minutes. I think he’s finished.”

    The kid curled up the corner of his lip. “Don’t be a nut. He hasn’t done any arm work yet.

    Just wait.”

    We waited.

    The talking died down and I listened carefully. “That’s it,” I said. “He’s having a shower.”

    “He hasn’t finished yet,” the kid protested. “He can’t be having a shower.”

    “Well, if he ain’t,” I said, “He better lay off the coffee. That’s a helluva lot of water running back there.”

    “Gee,” the kid said. “He didn’t do no arm work at all.”

    “He did some,” I said.

    “Not like he’s supposed to. All he did was leg and back stuff.”

    “So what?”

    “I thought he trained hard.”

    “He does.”

    “Legs and back? What the heck kinda training is that?”

    “That,” I said, “is training for gaining. Advanced training.”

    If you’ve been following this series, you’re just about ready for some advanced training yourself. Before we get into that, though, let’s review what we’ve already covered. Every item is important. Pick up some back issues if you’re just starting. You’ll slow down your progress if you miss anything.

    We’ve covered the time factor. Keep your workouts short if you’re a beginner or trying to gain weight. Long, tedious workouts won’t help yet unless you’re a real easy gainer.
    The guys who use long workouts are extremely advanced men. Even then they’re not intended for pure weight gains. Most of the long programs you read about are intended to define bodies that are already bulky. Don’t confuse building up with sharpening up. We’ll get into long programs eventually, but by then you’ll be big and you’ll be ready for them.

    Training is a progressive thing. Any nut can sit down and list a pile of exercises. That doesn’t make it a program. Some of the programs you see advertised in other magazines and supposedly followed slavishly by hordes of grateful Samsons are right out of the authors’ dreams. That’s one of the troubles with claiming pupils who won’t even talk to you on the street.
    Last edited by GrouchyUSMC; 10-17-2021 at 11:49 AM.
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  22. #22
    Registered User Darkius's Avatar
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    I read that power lifters stick to full body 3x per week. Only body builders go for volume and splits.

    Curls is not an olympic event. Nor is triceps extension. Those are for spot adding muscle.
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    Originally Posted by Darkius View Post
    I read that power lifters stick to full body 3x per week. Only body builders go for volume and splits.

    Curls is not an olympic event. Nor is triceps extension. Those are for spot adding muscle.
    You read from a very uninformed source my friend..
    Splits, 3xfb, upper/lower,4x fb, 7x fb, ppl... Are All used in powerlifting, and records/championships go to all of them.

    Curls are actually the 4th powerlift, still practiced in some federations and certainly still has world records going right now.
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  24. #24
    Registered User Rsurf72's Avatar
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    I wonder if push pull rest caliestics rest pull push would be good

    On calisthenics days weighted pullups and pushups, maybe this is bad...

    Seems like alot to fit these in on my pull day with rdl, rows, pullups, curls.

    Plus I like to hit neck abs calves... And forearms when my wrist heals.. been like 5 months, still have a very sore tendon
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    Formerly grouchyjarhead GrouchyUSMC's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MyEgoProblem View Post
    Curls are actually the 4th powerlift, still practiced in some federations and certainly still has world records going right now.
    It's amazing to see guys curling what most young dudes on here brag about benching.

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    Full Body vs. Split

    (There’s actually a “third”; “One Body Part”. I’m not recommending it but it’s not unusual to see guys who *only* workout their arms or ladies who *only* workout their legs/butts ;-)

    A big advantage of Full Body is ONLY 3 days at the gym … vs. 5 or more.

    Perfect for beginners who could become discouraged by a larger time commitment. For some this will be their “forever” routine. For others, as volume (exercises, reps, sets, weight) grows so does session time … which could force one into a Split.

    Full Body is also perfect for old men like me. Weightlifting is all about the “micro tear down” of the muscle and then the muscle recovering / rebuilding into something bigger and better. Split routines allow for “big” micro tear downs and big recoveries which require longer (2 to 3 day) rest periods. Old guys like me (as well as many beginners) don’t (or can’t) do a “big” tear down so a 3 day rest is too much. We do “little” micro tear downs so the 1 day rest a Full Body allows is appropriate.
    Last edited by joewattie; 10-19-2021 at 07:54 AM.
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