Benefits of Training Multiple Muscle Groups for Growth

One of the best strategies to improve your gains is to optimize your training with workout splits. Splits are training routines that divide your training sessions according to muscle groups.

Most lifters divide their workouts into classic upper/lower body splits and push/pull splits, allowing sufficient training and recovery of targeted muscle groups. A workout split is not only for weightlifting but also for bodyweight exercises.

When it comes to exercise, there’s no cookie-cutter approach. You can only determine the ideal routine to maximize your gains if you try them out and see for yourself.

This article will discuss the benefits of training multiple muscle groups and how you can use them to maximize your training potential.

Each movement in your body is accomplished by different muscle groups rather than a single muscle. For example, when you do a bicep curl, you activate your biceps and the other muscles in your forearm and upper arms, such as the brachialis and brachioradialis.

As you get used to exercising, your energy levels also improve. This allows you to accomplish more sets and increase your rep ranges for each exercise in your training list. This means that you can do many more things in the gym to help you achieve your goals.

One thing you must consider, especially if you are a beginner, is training multiple muscle groups in one exercise session. For example, you can combine chest exercises with your shoulder exercises, and you can also combine back exercises with your leg exercises and more.

Upper/lower body split

The Upper/lower body split divides your workout into two. Upper body days include the chest, shoulders, arms, and back muscles. In contrast, the lower body days focus on the hamstring, quads, glutes, abdominals, and calves.

This routine gives sufficient time for your body to recover after two days of workout sessions.

  • Monday: Upper Body (Chest, shoulder, triceps)
  • Tuesday: Lower Body (Quads and glutes)
  • Wednesday: Off /Active Recovery
  • Thursday: Upper Body (Biceps and Back)
  • Friday: Lower Body (Hamstring and glutes)
  • Saturday/Sunday: Off

This split divides your training routine into 3 categories: Push, pull, and legs. “Push” emphasizes exercising your chest, shoulder, and tricep muscles. Your “pull” routine includes the back and triceps. Lastly, “leg” training includes your entire lower body.

This workout routine is best for intermediate or advanced lifters with better stamina to accommodate a 6-day workout schedule. Although a 6-day workout routine seems like a lot, you can maximize your muscle and strength gain much quicker using this method.

  • Monday: Push (Chest, shoulder, triceps)
  • Tuesday: Pull (Back, forearms, abs, biceps)
  • Wednesday: Legs (Quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves)
  • Thursday: Push (Chest, shoulder, triceps)
  • Friday: Pull (Back, biceps, forearms)
  • Saturday: Legs
  • Sunday: Rest

Here’s a plan that includes push, pull and leg training system:

The PHUL workout routine focuses on strength gain and improving the bulk of your muscle. It is an excellent program for athletes who train with heavy compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses. It follows 4-day workout sessions with two days focusing on strength training and two days for hypertrophy.

  • Monday: Upper Power
  • Tuesday: Lower Power
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Upper Hypertrophy
  • Friday: Lower Hypertrophy
  • Saturday/Sunday: Rest

This training split allows you to work on your body's agonist and antagonist muscles. The agonists or prime movers are the main muscles that perform the movement, while the antagonists are the ones that oppose the action of the prime movers.

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Studies show that exercising and stretching opposing muscles can dramatically improve the strength of your agonist muscle, allowing you to enhance your physique and exercise performance faster.

Agonist-antagonist training ensures you are training both sides equally and reducing the risk of having weak muscle groups relative to their counterparts. It improves muscle balance and prevents the development of poor posture.

Exercise Agonist (Prime Mover) Antagonist
Bicep Curl Biceps Triceps
Pull-up Lats Delts
Bench press Pecs Traps / Rhomboids (Upper/Mid back)
Leg press Quads Hamstrings
  • Monday: Horizontal Push/Pull (Chest & Back)
  • Tuesday: Legs (Quads / Hamstrings)
  • Wednesday: Vertical push/pull (Shoulder / Lats)
  • Thursday: Arms ( Biceps and triceps)
  • Friday: Rest/active recovery
  • Saturday/Sunday: Rest

Choosing the right workout split for you and training multiple muscle groups can help you improve your gains. Here are the main advantages of training multiple muscle groups.

Training multiple muscle groups in one session allows you to do more in less time. This translates to greater work output and provides better stimulation for muscle growth.

Proper prioritization allows you to perform greater volume and intensity of exercises for your target muscle group. Focusing your energy on building specific muscle groups for the day can exponentially increase your potential gains.

Targeting different muscle groups that are close together adds more volume and intensity to your workout. This gives an incredible exercise pump in your muscles due to the increased blood flow and lactic acid build-up, further enhancing muscle growth.

Working on your antagonistic pairs, like the chest and upper back or biceps and triceps will give you this increased pump on your upper body. Some even find the feeling of exercise pumps motivating, allowing them to push through.

Exercising multiple muscle groups means you’ll expend more oxygen and energy to fuel those muscles, which helps you burn more calories overall. As a general rule, the more you move, the more energy you use.

Training more muscle groups means stimulating more muscles to grow and become stronger. This is an efficient way to build a better physique and improve muscle growth quicker.

A well-planned workout split gives you enough time for each muscle group to rest and recover. An optimized workout routine can prevent things that can hinder your progress in the gym, such as exercise plateau, overtraining, and overuse injuries.

Exercising and prioritizing multiple muscle groups in your training sessions can maximize your time and results in the gym. It ensures that you provide sufficient challenge to each muscle group each session and prevents you from undertraining.

Performing leg workouts before upper body ones aren’t too bad, either. One Norwegian study found that performing leg exercises can temporarily increase serum testosterone and growth hormone, enhancing training adaptation and providing greater strength for upper-body workouts.

The study found that participants who performed 10RM for three sets of leg press, knee extension, and knee flexion before arm workouts had significant hypertrophy and strength gain in their biceps after 11 weeks.

You might take some time to finish your workout for one muscle group before jumping on to the next. So it is a great idea to perform a pre-lift before attempting the heavy lifts on your next muscle group. For example, after finishing your lower body exercises, perform a lightweight shoulder press to warm up your upper body and recruit motor neurons for the following sets.

If you are a beginner with low stamina or energy level, you may find it hard to train multiple muscle groups at first. Therefore, it is best to train your exercise endurance first. Training too hard and too quickly can lead to overtraining and plateau.

If you have lagging muscles or lacking strength in one particular muscle group, you can prioritize isolated exercises and focus on a single muscle group instead.

Training multiple muscle groups is an excellent way to optimize your exercise routine and get the most out of your time in the gym. It helps you build muscles in different areas quicker and improves your recovery. You can effectively train multiple muscle groups by creating a workout split tailored to your personal goals.

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Bert Bauzon is a licensed physiotherapist specializing in spinal care and sports rehabilitation. He writes articles and books about exercise science and health care.

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