My new job and new address imply that, for some months, I will need to switch from gym to home workouts and under time restrictions.

I had been doing a full body workout at the gym, with between two and four rest days in between depending on how I evaluated other variables (sleep hours, DOMS...). I can do the most part of it at home with my adjustable dumbbells and suspension straps.

Is there any disadvantage in doing exactly the same exercises but split in two or three days (provided that each pull is done with its corresponding push and after sufficient warm up)? Since I was taking 2~4 rest days between workouts, each muscle will work out the same number of sessions per week anyway.

For those interested in more details, here is what I have been doing for 4 months now:

  1. Superset of BW Squat, Inverted row hanging from a Smith machine bar, and Push up on a Smith machine bar.
  2. Lat Pulldown (a recent addition)
  3. Superset of dumbbell lateral raise, internal rotations with elastic band, external rotations with elastic band.

That is what I might do from now on:

Day A: BW Squat (it will be goblet squat soon) and I will introduce some lower body pull (e.g. dumbbell straight-leg deadlift).

Day B: TRX row and push up.

Dat C: Dumbbell lateral raise, internal rotation with band, external rotation with band.

Or I might group the exercises in two days, push (squat, push up, lateral raise, internal rotation) and pull (db deadlift, row, external rotation).

Each of those days will take no more than 20~25 min. It is a fraction of time I can afford before breakfast for instance, and at home. There is no surrogate for the lat pulldown (I don't want to attempt band assisted pullups yet until I get stronger at rowing), but anyway I still have to make progress on the inverted row, or TRX row from now on (yes, yes, they are not 100% equal, I know).

  • 1
    You say you're doing a full body workout. Is that each time you train? And, it appears that you are planning to switch to a push/pull routine. Is that correct?
    – rrirower
    Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 12:25
  • @rrirower. Essentially, yes. I will add details to my answer.
    – Mephisto
    Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 19:49

1 Answer 1


I am not a big fan of whole body workouts. For me, whole body workouts, depending on the intensity, can require too much recovery time. The benefits of split routines is generally acknowledged.

Regularly performing a weight training routine that combines both push and pull muscle groups within the same workout is ideal for several reasons. First, since push and pull muscle groups contract through opposite directions in movement they tend to not be used as a secondary muscle group to support the primary muscle group that required to perform the exercise.

In other words, when performing a flat barbell bench press (chest is the primary) the biceps are not required to support the movement of the barbell. In this case, the triceps muscles would be considered the secondary muscle group and are required to support the chest muscles in order to perform the actual exercise (i.e. the flat barbell bench press). By not working the primary and secondary muscle groups within the same weight training workout each of the muscle groups that are going to be exercised will be fresh and ready to be aggressively worked.


The key is to plan your workout in the manner explained above. I, for one, continue to train like a bodybuilder because I find that splitting up body parts into various days allows me to focus more on each individual body part and still recover sufficiently before the next time that body part is trained again. From your previous posts and comments, it appears that recovery is sometimes a concern for you. With that, I feel that switching to a split routine will benefit you more given the constraints (and prior concerns) you’ve listed. Additionally, changing up your routine is a good way to stimulate some new potential muscle growth.

  • I guess you can even do a single exercise a day (provided there is enough warm up previously).
    – Mephisto
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 19:22

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