If you’re a woman who works with the fitness schedule from a bodybuilding magazine or trains with her boyfriend, you may miss a lot of progress. The vast majority of women who do strength training aim to develop a toned body with beautiful, feminine curves. So why start with a split schedule that explicitly works on your arms or chest muscles?
Training with a so-called split schedule is very popular. But why have a ‘chest and triceps’ day if your goal is not to build big triceps and chest muscles? It is logically unnecessary to devote an entire workout to these muscles. You would be better off spending this on training your entire body.
In this article, I will tell you why as a woman it is better to train with a full-body schedule than with a split schedule.
What is a split schedule?
A split schedule means that you divide your workouts into various muscle groups. For example, you train your chest and biceps on Monday, your legs on Tuesday, your back and biceps on Thursday, and your shoulders and stomach on Friday. Other days are for rest and/or cardio training. When you use this schedule, you train each muscle group once a week, or if you do it smarter and divide the muscle groups into 3 different workouts (for example with a push, pull, and legs day) with 4 workouts a week, once in the 5- Six days.
What is a full-body schedule?
Training with a full-body schedule means that you train all (large) muscle groups or movements every workout. Every day you go to the gym you spend time working on exercises like squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts, pull and push movements, and all variants of these. Depending on your training frequency, you can indirectly train each muscle group 2-5 times a week.
(There are a few other ways to organize your training schedule, including a division in training your lower body and upper body which ideally both are covered twice a week. These upper body/lower body workouts can be valuable for advanced users, but we will discuss them later. not in the article right now.)
Women recover faster and can therefore train more often
As a woman, with strength training, you create less attack on your central nervous system than is the case with men. As a result, you recover faster and can therefore train each muscle group with a higher frequency. Research also shows that by training a muscle group more often, it is more likely to increase in volume.
For many women, it is the desire to develop a tight, round buttock. For the reasons mentioned above, it is recommended to train these buttocks more often. If you give a muscle group a training stimulus more often, it will increase in size more easily, thanks to the faster recovery capacity.
Training more often means mastering techniques faster
Another important reason to train each muscle group more frequently is that you simply master the technically more difficult exercises like deadlifts, squats, hip thrusts, and all their variations of these more easily by doing them more often. One ‘leg day’ a week means that you can only practice once a week to learn the all-important exercises. Moreover, you only have roughly an hour to do all those beautiful exercises for your legs and buttocks. So you have to make choices and that can mean that you have to leave valuable exercises out of your schedule.
Less severe muscle pain
Yes, muscle soreness can be a pain in the ass for some while others love it and see it as a reward for hard work. Opinions differ about this, but the fact is that muscle pain is not an indication that you have trained well, it can also be very annoying.
Training with a full-body schedule generally ensures that you will have less muscle soreness because you do not work on one or two muscle groups for an entire workout. This allows you to function normally the day after your workout and even train two days in a row.
How do you proceed?
Even with a full-body schedule, it is possible to train more than 4 times a week. It is advisable to distinguish between the exercises you do and the number of repetitions you perform them with. If you train 2 consecutive days, you make a few repetitions in your first training, think of 3 or 4 sets of 3 to 6 repetitions. For example, do a deadlift, hip thrust, push-ups, chin-ups or pull-downs, and the plank.
On your second day, do more reps with a relatively lighter weight. Now do split squats, pull through, Fire hydrant, seated pulley row, and standing dumbbell presses. On this day, do 8 to 12 reps each set. Day 3 is rest and then on days 4 and 5 you do another full-body training with different exercises than before, or a variant with which you train your muscles at a different angle.
To avoid overtraining, make sure you don’t fail. That is, stop one or two reps each set before your technique deteriorates.
Of course, these rules do not apply to everyone. If you are a (competitive) bodybuilder or fitness athlete and you really only need mass in, for example, your biceps, it can be advisable to have a well-programmed biceps day in your training schedule. You could make the choice for this because it gives you time and space to train the muscle at different angles and with different rep ranges.
However, if you are like most women and you want a tighter, slimmer body and more volume in your buttocks, it is wise to focus on full-body workouts. Pay attention to all the big exercises every workout and don’t waste time with a special workout for your chest and triceps.
Do you have good experiences with full-body workouts or are you going to try it after reading this article? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!