Why don’t you train body parts is a common question I get from people when they ask what I did in the gym on any given day. That I don’t train legs one day, back and biceps the other, chest and shoulders the next confuses some people.
The ‘Bro Split’ type of training is how most people start training in the gym, it’s probably the most accepted way of training, and works very well for certain people. If you are very lean and looking for specific aesthetic goals for instance, or if you want to manage your energy levels around other training training body parts per session can suit you well.
I think it’s useful however for people to understand that it isn’t the only acceptable way to train. Just like there are many ways to manage your diet and no one way is better, what works for some training wise will not suit others.
I teach group exercise, train PT clients and have a full time office job, I also like running, so I don’t really have time for four or five sessions all lasting an hour plus focusing on specific muscle groups. More to the point I don’t really have any interest in doing so. I’m not looking to get super lean with a six pack. I like food too much for that and to be honest just want to be fit, healthy, strong and enjoy my training sessions. For me a training session that leaves me feeling good and fatigued and is done within 30 to 40 minutes is the goal, and two, maybe three sessions is the max I can fit in – often training in my lunch hour.
So sessions that involve big lifts that use multiple body parts are more effective for me. Focusing on squats, deadlifts, rows, thrusters for example essentially give me more bang for my buck – maximum results in minimum time.
Of course for others, with different lifestyles and goals, that would not work best for them. Here lies the most important thing t understand about fitness. We are all different, what and how much we eat and what, when and how we train will be different for all of us. If your friend has amazing results and you do their exact same thing it doesn’t mean you will also have amazing results.
Get a coach, and follow their advice and ignore what everyone else is doing, as just because you’re doing something different to others doesn’t make you right or wrong. More to the point if you are training with a coach that gets everyone to do the same thing, ask questions. Because even if your coach specialises in a certain group or area and therefore advises generalised things specific to that group, your actual individual training will be slightly different to your peers. For instance I work with other group fitness instructors – there are general areas of advice which apply to the all – the type of training we work well with, nutrition and energy level challenges we face etc. tend to be quite common. However, we still al have different goals, different likes and dislikes, different starting points, so our actual training needs to be programmed differently and some pieces of advice may not apply to us specifically.
Understanding that you don’t need to follow every trend and can (in fact probably should) let some things pass us by and focus on the things that actually serve us, is probably the best fitness lesson out there.