Should I train full-body or a body-part split?

For the first several months of weight training, beginners can expect to raise the weight they are lifting in a linear progression, without any increased rest time needed – this means you will get regularly stronger day after day.

Beginners to weight training are defined by how quickly they can recover from exercise. For this reason, as a beginner, it is best to get as much work in as possible each week. If you do a full-body routine three times per week, that means you’re training your entire body roughly 12 times per month (144 times per year). A body-part split, hitting different body parts over a week is going to train your whole body one (maybe two) times per week, which is 4-8 times per month (48-96 times per year).

This review suggests strength gains in beginners are optimized by training three times a week. As one gains more experience and ability, a two-day split (like push/pull or upper/lower) is suggested as the optimal set-up.

To optimize hypertrophy, this review paper recommends a frequency of 2-3 sessions per muscle group a week for novice to moderately trained individuals.

Programs satisfying either or both strength and hypertrophy can be found in the adding physical activity page.

As a beginner, doing a body-part split is not taking advantage of your advanced recovery capabilities. Splits should be left to the more advanced strength trainees who need longer to recover.