Full Body Split: 3 Day And 2 Day Full Body Training Routine

The full body split is one of the oldest and most popular weight training splits there is, and it probably always will be. The reason why is simple: it works.

Both the 2 day and 3 day version of the full body split is as proven and effective as training routines get. It works for a variety of goals (building muscle, increasing strength, maintaining muscle while losing fat, etc.) and can work quite well for people at every level of training (beginner, intermediate and advanced).

That means that no matter what your specific goal or experience level is, the full body split is an extremely solid choice.

Let’s take a look at exactly how this popular workout split can be set up…

The 3 Day Full Body Split

  1. Monday: Full Body Workout
  2. Tuesday: off
  3. Wednesday: Full Body Workout
  4. Thursday: off
  5. Friday: Full Body Workout
  6. Saturday: off
  7. Sunday: off

The most common version of the classic full body split is the 3 day version.

As you can see, it’s a basic 3 day split (meaning you have three weight training workout days over the course of a week). The exact days of the week you choose really doesn’t matter at all as long as the same every-other-day format is kept intact with 2 consecutive days off at the end.

The exact schedule shown above is probably the most common way full body training is setup because most people like having the weekends off.

Each of the 3 workouts would typically involve training all (or nearly all) of the body in some form directly or indirectly with a big focus on compound exercises. For example, the bench press might serve as one workout’s chest, shoulder and triceps exercise as opposed to having 1 separate exercise for each muscle group.

This means that the 3 day full body split allows for a training frequency where each muscle group usually gets trained to some degree 3 times per week.

In most cases, this would be considered a high frequency split and would therefore require less volume (amount of exercises, sets, reps) per workout to compensate and allow for adequate recovery.

The 2 Day Full Body Split

  1. Monday: Full Body Workout
  2. Tuesday: off
  3. Wednesday: off
  4. Thursday: Full Body Workout
  5. Friday: off
  6. Saturday: off
  7. Sunday: off

Even though the 3 day version is by far the most popular and ideal setup for most people, this type of training routine can also be done with a 2 day schedule. This is perfect for people who can only manage to work out twice per week (that’s the main reason I’d ever recommend this version).

In fact, The 2 Day Workout Routine (only available as part of The Best Workout Routines) uses this exact split.

Once again, the exact days you choose really doesn’t matter as long as you have 2-4 rest days between the workouts.

Of course, since this is now a 2 day split, that means training frequency per muscle group is now twice per week (as opposed to 3 times in the previous version). However, this frequency is still perfectly within the optimal range for most people.

Who Does Full Body Training Work Best For?

Like I mentioned before, this type of routine can work well for pretty much every goal.

Whether you want to build muscle, increase strength, lose fat, improve performance, or any combination thereof, the full body split can get the job done.  This applies to beginners, intermediates and advanced trainees.

However, having said that, there are 3 groups of people who this split is definitely more ideal for than others. They are:

  1. Beginners with ANY goal.
    It doesn’t matter what your goal is. If you’re a beginner (meaning less than 6 months of consistent and intelligent weight training), literally all scientific research and real world results prove that a 3-times-per-week training frequency is what works best for you, and the 3 day full body split is the most effective way to make that happen. I fully recommend it to all beginners. (Check out The Beginner Weight Training Workout Routine)
  2. People whose primary goal is increasing strength and/or improving performance.
    After the 4 day upper/lower split, many of the most effective/proven strength and performance oriented weight training programs in existence tend to use the 3 day full body split. The higher frequency and almost required focus on the big compound exercises makes this type of split effective for strength and performance athletes. (Check out some recommended sample strength workouts & routines.)
  3. People who can only train twice per week.
    No matter what your goal or training experience is, if you can only manage to schedule in 2 workouts per week, the 2 day full body split is pretty much your only realistic option because it’s the only way to keep your training frequency within the optimal range. The 2 Day Workout Routine uses this split for that very reason.

These are the three groups of people who this split tends to be most ideal for and who I’d personally recommend it for.

Can it work for other people with other goals? Sure. However, there are other workout splits that will usually work better in those cases.

Jay is the science-based writer and researcher behind everything you've seen here. He has 15+ years of experience helping thousands of men and women lose fat, gain muscle, and build their "goal body." His work has been featured by the likes of Time, The Huffington Post, CNET, Business Week and more, referenced in studies, used in textbooks, quoted in publications, and adapted by coaches, trainers and diet professionals at every level.