Tip: Is a Whole-Body Split Right for You?

Here are the pros and cons.

People who use this split usually train 3 days a week. Each workout addresses both lower and upper-body muscle groups, although not with the same exercises each workout. Example:


  • Front Squat
  • Incline Dumbbell Press
  • Back Extension
  • T Bar Row
  • Barbell Curl
  • Pushdown


  • Leg Press
  • Dip
  • RDL
  • Pull-Up
  • Standing Calf Raise
  • Sit-Up


  • Lunge
  • Military Press
  • Seated Leg Curl
  • Dumbbell Row
  • Hammer Curl
  • French Press

The Pros

  • With the whole-body split, each muscle group gets trained not once, not twice, but three times per week. This is likely ideal (or close to ideal) for most lifters.
  • If you perform your exercises circuit-style, whole-body sessions provide a superior cardiovascular benefit.
  • Training three times weekly helps to ensure complete recovery since you'll have four off days per week.
  • For busy lifters with limited time, training three days a week may be more practical than higher frequencies.

The Cons

  • While whole-body workouts allow for higher training frequencies, the total amount of focused work per muscle group is somewhat limited compared to bro splits (one muscle group per day usually) and upper/lower splits.
  • Some folks simply enjoy the gym and feel deprived if they only go three times per week. Now some of my harder-core colleagues are already thinking, "Do what you need, not what you like!" But as an experienced coach, I've learned the value of accommodating people's individual preferences for motivation and compliance.
Charles Staley is an accomplished strength coach who specializes in helping older athletes reclaim their physicality and vitality. At age 56, Charles is leaner than ever, injury free, and in his lifetime best shape. His PRs include a 400-pound squat, 510-pound deadlift, and a 17 chin-up max. Follow Charles Staley on Facebook