Full body or Split Routine?

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    I’ve recently decided to take a 3-month break from weight training at the gym to increase my strength with a bodyweight routine. I immediately assumed that I should be doing a 3-day split like I always do at the gym. So my first idea was one day for pressing, one day for pulling, and a third day for legs. But after researching a bit about bodyweight routines, it seems like the main focus for beginners is compound exercises (correct me if I’m wrong, please!) So with that said, is it better for me to begin training with a full body routine or a 3-day split like I originally planned?

    Side note: I’ve never attempted any advanced calisthenics; the most I’ve done with no weights from the gym would probably be pushups, pullups and squats. My main concern with a full body routine is whether or not I’d progress in strength as quickly as a 3-day split.


    Wow! I wasn’t expecting such a detailed answer from my question, thanks Robby!

    I definitely noticed that my ideas of isolating and targeting a specific muscle won’t work for calisthenics. I attempted a pushing workout yesterday and my chest and triceps were screaming at me halfway through! Not only did the second half of the workout seem like a waste of time, I felt like I wasn’t doing these movements at my full potential.

    The really interesting point you made was about the frequency of practicing movements. I completely neglected principles regarding the CNS! And for that reason I think I’ll be doing a full body routine! But I think I’ll need someone to check if I’m thinking in the right direction for this:

    I’m thinking of doing 2 sets for pushing, 2 sets for pulling, and 2 sets for legs. The first set in each category would be an easier movement while the second set in each category would be a harder movement. As I progress in calisthenics and movements become more and more compound, I’d change the exercises accordingly. Is this a good way to plan out a program?

    My last question is whether or not it’s a good idea to do a full body workout every other day and do cardio and core exercises on some rest days? For example, in a 7 day week, 4 days would be for the full body workout, 2 days would be for distance running and supplementary core exercises, and 1 day would be for rest.

    Robby Taylor

    Great! I’m glad you found my last post so helpful. So you’re saying do 1 set each of 6 different exercises? Or do you mean like multiple sets of 2 of each type of exercise, so like 3 mini-workouts? If you mean the former I’d suggest going for more volume. 6 exercises is kind of a lot, but I would personally shoot for at least 3 sets of each exercise of anywhere from 3-15 reps depending on how difficult it is.

    As to your second question, as long as you’re getting enough rest and still able to progress without hurting yourself or killing your motivation, it’s all good. Really, as long as you’re doing the exercises regularly you will continue to progress. Everything else is just about optimizing the way that you go about doing so so that you can recover more efficiently and continue training both in individual workouts and from day to day and week to week. Basically, if it works for you and helps you to achieve your goals, then it is worth doing.

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