You’re doing split training if you train chest and back one day, legs the next day, and arms and abs the next. It’s one of the most common ways to train. It doesn’t matter how you set it up, the point is always to separate training sessions so that they target certain body parts or groups of similar body parts. Even though split training can produce some great results, most people don’t think you can get great results from a full-body routine. That’s far from the truth.
Throughout this article, we’ll show you how to train your full body every day, which gets you even faster results. You’ll get a lot more training volume if you train your whole body every day.
More training volume
The first advantage of a full-body workout every day is you can get a lot more training volume. To put it simply, volume is how much work you do each day. The best way to define training volume is to look at the number of sets you do per muscle group.
If you’re a beginner, you can usually make optimal gains by doing just 9 to 10 sets per muscle group per week. Then you can train each muscle just once or twice a week and get by with a low training frequency. To keep making optimal gains, you’ll need a higher training volume if you’re more advanced. The reason for this is that more advanced people are more resistant to muscle damage and neuromuscular fatigue. Plus, they recover faster from workouts.
There’s a pretty close link between training volume and muscle growth for advanced trainees, according to research. The more sets you do, the more muscle you gain, according to a meta-analysis of training volume and hypertrophy. In another eight-week study, participants did one, three, or five sets of exercises. Once again, the results showed a dose-response relationship; higher training volumes consistently led to more muscle growth.
According to the researchers, muscle hypertrophy follows a dose-response relationship, meaning you get better results with more training. By using a higher training frequency, like if you did five full-body workouts a week, you could do more volume per muscle, which would help you gain muscle.
Maximum effective training per workout
You won’t always get better results if you train more. Too many sets can lead to overtraining, where your results deteriorate. But that’s another awesome thing about full-body workouts. There’s no way you’re going to do more than you’re supposed to A maximum effective training volume is around nine sets per muscle group per workout, based on the academic literature. You won’t get good muscle growth if you go over that number.
During a study on German volume training, it was found that nine sets per muscle per workout led to more strength and size gains than 14 sets per muscle. Another study found that optimal training volume is only 5 to 10 sets per muscle per workout. Muscle and strength gains were inferior to 15 and 20 sets per muscle.
You don’t want to do too many sets per muscle every workout, so that’s the bottom line. In high-frequency training, you can divide your regular training volume into more workouts, so you don’t go over the maximum effective volume per workout limit. Let’s say you want to train 30 times per muscle each week. That’s a good amount of training.
We’ll just use this number as an illustration since you’ll need at least four workouts per muscle group to avoid exceeding that limit since the maximum effective volume is nine sets per muscle group per workout. The maximum effective volume can’t be exceeded if you train at least five times per week on each muscle. If you’re trying for a higher training volume, say 40 sets per week, you’ll need to train each muscle at least five times per week. I’d recommend five full-body workouts a week in such a case. It’s important to note that not everyone has to train that hard.
Higher quality training volume
In terms of gains, more volume is better. Even if you’re doing less than 20 sets per week, you’ll get a higher quality training volume if you train the whole body. Even if you’re doing less than 20 sets per week, you can still get significant progress. My point is that if you follow a typical bro split, you’ll usually trash your muscles halfway through. As an example, let’s say you’re training your chest with bench press, incline dumbbell press, dips, and fly. Even though you can perform the first exercise at peak performance, fatigue will lower your performance over time.
Alternatively, you don’t have to worry much about your performance if you spread your volume out more frequently. You generally only do one or two exercises per muscle per workout when you train the whole body, even if you do it five days a week. You won’t get fatigued in the middle of your workout, which means you’ll perform better. It also helps you progressively overload yourself by lifting heavier weights over time, which leads to long-term muscle growth. You’ll also recover faster when you train your whole body.
To prove this, researchers divided male student weightlifters into two groups: a control group and a heavy training group. The more you train, the better your recovery capacity will be. The control group continued to follow the regular workout routine for two more weeks after four weeks, while the other group had the same two leg workouts and two upper body workouts per week. The heavy training group, however, trained their legs every day for two weeks. At the end of those two weeks, the heavy training group gained twice as much strength as the light training group.
The researchers found that daily workouts were more effective than split workouts when you take into account how powerful it is to increase your training volume. However, when the researchers looked at the recovery capacity of the participants, the results were more surprising.
Training daily improves fatigue resistance
It was shown that fatigue resistance was significantly improved in the daily training group. As a result, leg extension strength fully recovered within 22 hours after a heavy, high-volume workout. This is not a bad thing for recovery, as opposed to what is commonly believed. The quality of your sleep plays a major part in how fast you recover. As a result of more strength training throughout the week, you may be able to recover more quickly. As well as increasing testosterone, high-frequency training also improves the testosterone-cortisol ratio, which helps you recover.
Finally, training your entire body every day will make your workouts shorter, not longer. You can now spread out your training volume over more sessions, so you don’t have to split it up between two, three, or four workouts anymore. There’s also the issue of going to the gym more often, so that’s a matter of personal preference. Some people like shorter workouts but more frequent workouts, while others prefer fewer trips to the gym, even if they have to go longer.
For full-body workouts, there’s one trick that saves even more time. It’s called staggered sets. When you switch between two or more exercises that train opposing muscles, you do staggered sets. Your biceps flex your elbows, while your triceps extend them. By doing bicep curls, resting for a minute, and immediately doing tricep extensions, you can set up a staggered set for biceps and triceps.
Once you’ve finished bicep curls, rest for a minute and move on to chest presses. Keep doing that until all your sets for those two exercises are done. This allows you to do more training volume without compromising your performance.
Staggered sets will boost your gains
You’ll be able to work out even less, and staggered sets will boost your gains. Research shows full-body workouts with staggered sets can increase work capacity. Additionally, it shows that rows before bench presses increase power output and rows after bench pressing improve performance on both exercises. So if you train the entire body, try staggered sets. There’s no real downside, just lots of benefits.
To save time, you could workout circuit-style. For example, alternate between an upper body press, an upper body pull, and a lower body exercise. If you pair your exercises correctly, they won’t impact each other negatively, but you’ll save time. That’s why daily full-body training is so effective.
High-frequency full-body workouts aren’t for everyone
I should mention that, despite all the benefits of high-frequency, full-body workouts, they aren’t for everyone. Beginners don’t need such a high volume of training to make optimal progress. You might even get hurt.
In the case you’re short on time, you might want to do a more moderate training volume, like 20 sets per muscle a week, which we discussed earlier. Even if you do it in a full body routine or an upper-lower split, you’ll still get good results, but progress is a little slower. Stress and poor sleep can also sabotage your recovery. Five full-body workouts a week might be too much. A study even found that high stress cut recovery speed in half.
Calorie deficits make a recovery hard
Last but not least, if you’re in a calorie deficit, you’ll have a harder time recovering. You might want to save your five full-body workouts for when you’re eating for maintenance or surplus. During a cut, if you want to train your whole body five days per week, you can still do it, just keep the sets per muscle a little lower.