Split Training ❚█══█❚ Split training is a great way to add variety and structure to your workout.
But what exactly is a training split and how can it benefit your training program?
What Is Split Training And Which One Is Best For Me?
A split workout is simply a way of dividing your workouts into different body regions. Workout splits are typically used in weightlifting, but can also be used in bodyweight training.
There is no one size fits for the best training split. Your training split depends on your goals, training age, schedule, and how much time you want to spend in the gym. In this post, we introduce you to the most popular workout splits so you can decide which one works best for you.
Why Is Split Training Important?
Split training gives you a path to a specific goal. There isn’t an NFL quarterback who doesn’t watch an opposing team’s movie or chat with their O-Line before stepping onto the field — the same concept applies to bodybuilders and strength athletes in general.
But the importance of split training goes beyond mental clarity – it’s also proven to lead to better results. A survey of 127 bodybuilders who competed found that every one of them kept a training split.
That’s because the importance of a training schedule has been emphasized since the early days of bodybuilding.
Steve Reeves and Eugen Sandow developed their own training regimens to sculpt a physique that to this day is considered by many to be the pinnacle of bodybuilding.
They studied how their bodies responded to different training and recovery times, found what worked best for them, and stuck with it.
Without a plan, your countless hours in the gym will come to nothing. When you develop a training plan, you can specifically select muscles and work them out. Then you give them enough time to recover and prepare for the next training session.
This calculated approach allows you to train with maximum effort.
How To Choose The Best Program?
When choosing a training split, the first thing you should think about is what you want to achieve, but there are other things to consider.
Your time commitment is an important factor. If you have a busy schedule, a six-day split may not be the best solution for you.
Your training experience is another important factor. Let’s say you’re a real beginner – then you should keep your training sessions light so as not to overload your muscles. A seasoned lifter, on the other hand, will likely need more stimuli to get the desired results, and as such will likely look for a program that includes more days per week in the gym.
And finally, you should also pay attention to your weaknesses. What do you mean by that? If your weakness is an underdeveloped core, you should choose a workout that focuses more on aesthetics than strength. Some splits are better suited to this than others.
How Split Workouts Are Organized
Ultimately, your training split will depend on what goal you’re pursuing. For example, someone who is training to improve their athleticism will have a different split than someone who is solely focused on strength. There are three main workouts, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
- Body part workout splits
- An upper/lower body workout split
- A workout split for push, pull, and legs
Body Part Split Training
With a body part workout split, you train one to three body parts per workout twice a week. This option is very popular with bodybuilders because body part splits allow you to train your muscles more frequently for more growth.
The main goal of a bodybuilder is to have a completely symmetrical physique with full muscle development. For this reason, most bodybuilders combine a larger muscle like the pecs with a related smaller muscle like the triceps.
Because both muscles work together in compound exercises like the bench press and push-ups, it makes sense to train them together. Other standard body part split pairings are back and biceps, legs and shoulders. So a training split for a body part might look like this.
Example Of A Body Part Workout Split
- Monday: Chest and triceps
- Tuesday: Back and biceps
- Wednesday: Legs and shoulders
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: Chest and triceps
- Saturday: Back and biceps
- Sunday: Legs and shoulders
Normally, muscles need about 48 hours of rest to recover. If you look at the breakdown above, you’ll see that each muscle group gets three days (or 72 hours) of rest. In some cases, a bodybuilder looking to fill a weak spot can train that muscle three times a week by swapping it into a less strenuous day.
Benefits Of A Split Body Part Workout
- You focus on two muscles throughout the workout.
- Allows full recovery.
- Less equipment is needed during the training session.
- You are less tired because you are not using more muscles.
Disadvantages Of A Body Part Split Workout
- If you miss a training session, it takes longer to catch up.
- You can get impatient waiting for a specific training session.
- Some parts of the body may recover faster than others.
Upper/lower Split Training
An upper/lower split splits training into upper body days and lower body days. This split is great for beginners, people on tight schedules, and those looking to get stronger. It forces the lifter to prioritize the basics and eliminate the fat from his program.
If you’re training more muscles per workout, you need to be selective about the exercises. An upper body workout not only targets the chest and triceps, but also the biceps, shoulders, and back. Instead of doing four to five chest exercises, only do one or two movements per body part or you risk fatigue and injury.
That’s why we recommend focusing on compound movements, that is, exercises that involve more than one muscle. Isolation exercises (or exercises for a single joint) such as B. Curls, chest raises, and side raises should be put to the test first.
That’s not to say these exercises are useless, but they offer less bang for your buck. An upper body day can include a bench press, barbell rows, military press, and pull-ups. If you train hard enough, you won’t be able to expend much energy on the smaller muscles.
One benefit of splitting into upper and lower muscles is that you spend less time in the gym. You condense your workload into four shorter, albeit more focused sessions per week. Don’t worry about your strength level either. You can get strong, if not stronger, with a lower training frequency.
However, bodybuilders may shy away from this split because the volume is lower, meaning you’re doing fewer reps per week. With the body part split, there’s more room for additional work—not so much with this split.
Example Of Upper/lower Body Split Workout
Benefits Of Upper/Lower Body Training
- You are less in the gym.
- You continue to train each muscle twice a week.
- You can work on increasing the key lifts.
Disadvantages Of Split Training For Upper And Lower Body
- There is less volume per workout.
Push, Pull, Leg Split Training
This workout split is similar to the upper/lower split. The main difference is that a PPL split separates upper body training into two categories: pulls and presses. This split is popular in the powerlifting community because it allows them to base their program around the “big three” — bench press (press), deadlift (pull), and squat (legs).
In addition, the training frequency is easily scalable. Busy lifters can train hard (ie, do more exercise for more sets and reps) three times a week. People who want to go to the gym more often can decrease the volume per session and do each workout twice a week. You can also train four times a week and add an extra session for the push, pull, or legs (depending on what you need to work on).
If you choose the six-day-a-week option, you should choose the training intensity and exercises carefully. During the first three workouts, you can prioritize the “big three” and lift heavier weights (these are your strength workouts). You can do the last three workouts with high volume to strengthen the smaller muscles like the biceps, shoulders, and triceps (these are your hypertrophy workouts).
Six days of training is a lot, so don’t overdo it. Let’s say you’re a powerlifter or strength athlete. In this case, you can use workouts three through six to focus on alternatives to the “big three,” e.g. B. the squat, the deficit deadlift, and the floor press.
Example Of Dividing The Workout Into Press, Pull And Legs
The aforementioned studies have all concluded that push/pull/legs are a viable option for muscle growth and strength gains. You work each muscle twice a week, giving the muscles ample time between workouts to recover and prepare for the next workout.
Benefits of Push, Pull, Legs
- The focus is on training specific muscles.
- Sufficient recovery time.
Disadvantages of Push, Push, Legs
- Less scope for changes to fix vulnerabilities.
- More time in the gym.
- More equipment is needed.
As an alternative, you can use the following split training as a beginner:
This training week can also consist of 4-5 exercises, 3-4 sets, and 8-15 repetitions.