I mostly like doing all upper body 2 days a week and lower body 2 days a week. Once in a while, I'll do a few weeks of split upper body, so each is only worked once, but then I go back to full upper body ones. I would like to know Cathe's and others thoughts on this too.
Are you referring specifically to split training? With splits, where I'm spending 40-70 minutes on only 1-3 body parts, I'd be unlikely to train those parts more than two times a week each. The volume of reps would be awfully high if I was to train every body part three times a week, if doing splits However, with a total-body workout program (Cathe's circuit workouts, Muscle Max, stuff like that), some people can handle doing those three times a week. It took me awhile, but eventually I worked up to handling a total-body workout (60 minutes or so) three times a week just fine, with cardio three times a week on other days. (I almost always do cardio three times a week, no matter what other training I'm involved in.) I think it took about six months to build up enough strength and endurance for me to train total-body three times a week consistently without experiencing any signs of overtraining.
I personally don't stick with one particular training model myself. My body gets used to set workout schedules or splits too quickly. I switch it up based on listening to my body and going by the overall results I'm getting, not rotating according any particular timeframe. I may train lighter weight/higher rep/total-body three times for a month, then do Gym Styles or Pure Strength for a month each, as an example. At times I will work smaller groups - abs, adductors, abductors - more than three times a week. I've done floorwork for the legs/glutes/hips daily before with fantastic results and no overtraining problems. The Glute Guy, Bret Contreras, has clients that work glutes with several different exercises 7x a week all the time without problems. (Although I will say that these clients are clearly not beginners, and all appear at least to be physically very
fit...far more than I am, LOL.) I'm guessing that the training volume each person could handle depends upon genetics, as well as current fitness level. Personally, I cannot train abs/core more than 3x a week without experiencing some serious neck and back pain. I hope I may eventually get strong enough to train core more often, but I'm not worried about it.
On a side note, I was once so ridiculous about believing I needed
floorwork for the legs every day or I would just never trim down my lower body. Getting results from a split training my lower body only twice a week seemed absurd to me, LOL. I was so scared of weight-training with heavy weights (i.e., more than 20 lb. dumbbells) and lower reps. I always stuck with total-body workouts as well, because I was terrified split-style workouts would bulk me up. It must have been my child of the 80's, "women like me need aerobics class-with-leg lifts-style training" thinking. I am a big girl to begin with, but heavier weight-training didn't end up bulking me up! If anything, doing splits fired up my metabolism and allowed me to eat more without gaining weight. With me, that's major. Had I dropped that erroneous thinking about split training creating bulk, I would have seen far more results both visually and in strength gains much earlier in my training life. It wasn't until I began training heavy that I started to lose my perpetually flabby look, unfortunately an inherited trait for me. I wish I'd started splits years before I did! Both splits and total-body, metabolic training have their place, and I believe that's true for all body types. Just my humble opinion, though...