I mentioned this the other day in my post about over-rated fitness ideas, but I wanted to go deeper on the topic. (If you missed that you can find it here.)
Body split routines are where you split up your body to work on different areas over different days.
A simple example would be upper and lower body.
A more complex example would be legs one day, back, biceps and calves the next, chest, triceps and abs after that.
There are many, many variations. This one I found poking around online is actually called the Bro Split. Hey Bro! Do you do the Bro Split, bro? 🙂
Of course, there is some utility to this idea in that you don’t want to over-stress muscles. But overall, I would say it is built on a very shaky, very flawed foundation.
That is because the body is not a collection of parts.
This metaphor guides our thinking if we believe in it. It has led our science and medicine even so far as discarding those parts that we didn’t perceive usefulness for. (For example, tonsils which are part of the lymph system or the appendix which is a microbiome storage area.)
Instead, it is far more useful to see the body as ecology…because that is what it actually is!
But let’s think about it training-wise for a minute.
What muscles does a clean and jerk use?
What about carrying around a heavy rock?
What weird collection of parts gets used in a bent press or a getup?
And kettlebell juggling or animal flow exercises?
A front or back lever?
You see, if you think in terms of splitting up the body, you’re often going to neglect those exercises that don’t fit such defined categories. And if they don’t fit your categories you’re likely to discard them.
Take a look at your typical big-box commercial gym and you see this exemplified. You’d be hard-pressed to find a single example of any of the exercises mentioned above done there. (In fact, many such gyms would frown upon such exercises.)
You see large machines designed to isolate small single muscles. Do we really need a thousand dollar machine for the hip abductors?
You see a bunch of people running on their hamster wheels (because this same line of thinking says that strength must be done separately from cardio too).
Divide and conquer.
Again, this doesn’t mean if that every exercise is full body or that if your legs are sore you should work them just as hard the next day.
But I say unite and conquer.
The point is that you should think of your body as your body and not a collection of parts. As such, you then want to learn how to move your body in a myriad of ways.
Think outside the box and you’ll get results outside the box.
Take a look at my many books and courses. You scarcely see any that are focused on body parts but instead on outcomes and different exercise groups.