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Split workouts are only useful in certain situations.
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On a given day, you can combine any muscle groups into a workout - as long as those muscles are healthy and you give them plenty of time to recover before working them again. For bodybuilders, or anyone who needs extra time to focus on a given muscle group, split workouts - which work only certain muscles on certain days - may be an effective tool.
Focus on Full-Body
Although bodybuilding splits - working only certain muscle groups every time you lift - are quite popular, full-body workouts have a number of benefits for beginners. First, they're easier to fit into a busy schedule because you can get in and out of the gym quickly, without skimping on your workout to save time. Second, they're a fast, effective way of building the general strength and endurance most beginners need to get started. And third, doing full-body workouts means you don't have to master as many different exercises as you'd need for doing split workouts.
Consider the Split
Split workouts allow you to spend extra time on a given muscle group or technique; for example, some bodybuilders spend an entire session working a given muscle group from every possible angle. Split workouts give you the time you need to focus intensely on that muscle group or technique, then provide those muscles plenty of recovery time as you work a different set of muscles on subsequent days. Less intense workouts may also be useful if you're truly pressed for time; you can squeeze in a couple of chest and back exercises one day, leg exercises the next, then arm exercises on the third day.
Follow Typical Splits
How you "split" your muscle groups between workouts is largely determined by how many days a week you plan to spend lifting. A typical two-day split, for example, works your lower body one day and upper body the next day. Or you can work your pushing muscles - chest, shoulders and triceps - one day, then your pulling muscles - back and biceps - the other day. Legs are usually done on the "pulling" day, or can be done separately on a third day. Another common three-day split is working a different set of opposing muscle groups every day - that is, muscles that have opposing motions at a given joint. So you might train your chest and back one day, quads and hamstrings the next day, and biceps and triceps the next. Remember to give yourself a rest day before starting over again, because your biceps and triceps assist with most chest and back exercises.
Remember to Rest
No matter what type of weightlifting workout you do, remember that your muscles get bigger - and stronger - during the time between workouts, not during the workouts themselves. So no matter what sort of split or full-body routine you do, don't train the same muscle group on consecutive days. Also, give yourself extra recovery time if you find yourself unusually sore or fatigued.
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