This all depends on how long you have been training for. Basically, advanced techniques like forced reps or drop sets can be used about 3 months after you have started training because that is when you typically hit a plateau. So if you feel like you need something changed, if strength or muscle gains have come to a halt, then advanced techniques may be good for you to try. Forced reps, where you have a training partner help you through a few additional reps after hitting initial failure, are a good place to start as long as you do not overdo them.
What’s the best kind of split for a novice? Training whole body three times per week? Upper-body-lower body? Some other split?
The upper body-lower body is advisable because it allows you to focus hard on major compound lifts for each half of the torso without the risk of overtraining. This type of split also allows you to focus on properly learning the movements. My suggestion for a novice would be lower body on Monday, upper body on Tuesday, rest on Wednesday, lower body on Thursday, upper body on Friday and rest on Saturday and Sunday.
With legs being just about everyone’s hands-down pick as the toughest bodypart to train, physically and mentally, it is better to train them on their own. This bodypart takes all of your energy resources of worked out properly and calculated intensity. Having to go heavy and hard on legs sometimes has bodybuilders passing out or throwing up. It is better to train legs separately, when you can pour everything you have got into them.
Belts are viewed as more of a necessity, simply because your lower back is crucial to everything else you do. There are a lot of people who believe that by wearing a belt, you are limiting your lower back development, and that is true to some extent. But just like with straps, if your lower back is out of shape and you are a bodybuilder, you will want to offer it some additional training exercises with back extensions or lighter deadlifts to make sure the area gets the attention it needs. You are only as strong as your weakest link. Do not leave your belt in the bag because you think it makes you less of a lifter, though. It can be the tool that helps you train safer and for longer than guys who choose not to wear one.
1) Perform an equal number of exercises with the same relative intensity between opposing muscle groups (eg, back and chest, hamstrings and quads, biceps and triceps). If you already have a deficit, try to do more sets on the weaker/disregarded bodyaprt until you have achieved better balance. Then train bodyparts equally.
2) To bring your training into balance, focus on isolation (single-joint) exercises while also modifying the compound movements that target the various muscle groups. For example some exercises, such as the squat and leg press, are generally regarded as quadriceps moves, even though they absolutely involve the hamstrings and glutes. However, by altering foot placement (wider, higher on platforms etc.) you can shift the emphasis to the less involved hamstrings.
3) If you have an existing deficit between opposing muscle groups, spend some extra time stretching the stronger muscle group and strengthening the weaker one.
4) If you find a specific bodypart to be particularly stubborn at responding to an adequate training stimulus, consider adding an extra day (or two) specifically dedicated to working the stubborn bodypart until it catches on.