T Nation

Frequency vs Split


have been seriously lifting since September (before, mostly cardio, low weight, high rep lifting here & there)
SO my current routine basically neglects legs, mainly because I already have large legs, and didn't want to make them any bigger than they already are. (trust me, I don't have chicken legs) But other than that, I have had some nice results, gaining 20 pounds of muscle, mostly in the upper body since August. My routine was every mon, wed, fri, do a full upper body routine, with occasional Saturdays for HIIT and abs.

The more reading I have done, the more I have discovered how important legs are. So I want to fit them in somewhere for training & start doing squats.
I have read somewhere on this post, and my brother told me as well that the split routine isn't as good as a frequent, high intensity routine (for those who don't take steroids at least) If someone could link me to these articles/evidence, that would be great. But for now, what do you guys think of these two routines: A & B.


mon, wed, fri: three sets of: chest, back, triceps, biceps, shoulders, legs. All within the 8-10rep range, the last set of each workout would be a drop set.
(basically just adding legs into what I have already been doing)


Chest: 90sec between sets
- Wide-grip Dip: 1xUntil Failure
- Dumbbell Pullovers: 2x8-10
- Flat Bench: 3x8-10
- Incline Bench: 1x8-10
Back: 90sec between sets
- Bent Over Row: 1x15, 2x8
- Lat Pull Down: 2x8-10
- T-Bar Rows: 1x8-10
- Seated Rows: 2x8-10 *Drop Set

Legs: 90sec between sets
- Squats: 1x15, 2x8
- Leg Press: 1x5 (Heavy)
- Lunges: 2x10-12
- Dead lifts: 2x8-10
Shoulders: 90sec between sets
- Seated Dumbbell Press: 3x8-10
- Lateral Raise: 2x8-10
- Upright Barbell Rows: 2x8-10
- Dumbbell Shrugs: 1x8-10

Biceps: 90sec between sets

  • Seated Concentrated Curls: 2x8-10
  • Preacher Curl: 2x8-10 (Palms Down, Slow)
  • Preacher/Cable Curl: 1x8-10 *Drop Set
    Triceps: 90sec between sets
  • Skull Crusher: 1x15, 2x8
  • Close-grip Bench: 1x8-10
  • Cable Triceps Pushdown: 1x8-10 *Drop set


ok nvm, just found out full body is better..


Maybe, maybe not. At your current level of training experience I'd personally recommend doing a full body routine due to the following reasons:

1) It'll give you more opportunities to practice the lifts. At this stage a lot of the strength gains are coming as a result of becoming more neurologically efficient.

2) Being a newbe you don't have the ability to lift heavy enough weights to really tax your CNS/recovery systems. So, you can get away with training more frequently.

But, as you progress then you might find that you can't continue to progress with that type of frequency. Either that or you're going to have to decrease your training intensity (or intensiveness as some like to call it), or volume. Or you're going to have to switch to a conjugated approach where you'll do different exercises each day for different set/rep schemes (and even then you'll still need to decrease intensity).

One final piece of advice, do not do drop sets for your third set of each exercise. Drop sets are an advanced training technique and at this point in your development you don't need to be doing them to see progress (in fact doing them may even hinder or limit the progress that you see). If you want to take your third set to failure, then feel free to do so. But do not drop sets, or rest-pause, or forced reps, or forced negatives, or any advanced training technique.

Hope this helps.

Good training,



I'd second the idea of full body. I like frequency. But it really comes down to what you like better--whatever you do stick to it for a while before switching to another plan.

I like frequency because it gives you more chance to practice the lifts, and because I think it builds work capacity more efficiently than splits. If you condition your body to be able to work loads more frequently, I think it pays off in the long run and makes it easier to get into the more advanced stuff like smolov, shieko, etc, because you started building up your preparedness from the beginning. I also can't prove this, but I firmly believe the more you get used to frequent training the better you're able to recover and avoid overtraining b/c of a better conditioned CNS.


alright thanks!