Being lost in the gym is more common than you think, not figuring what to do in terms of working out can be intimidating. It is always best to have a game plan for the gym so you’re not just working out randomly with no sense of direction. This is where a training split comes in handy. The term split refers to separating training days based on body parts (Upper body, Lower body) and movements (Push, Pull, Hinge). Everyone has different wants and needs when it comes to fitness, whether it is to put on muscle, lose body fat, or get in better shape, it is best to determine what workout/training split is right for you and only you.
Here are a few questions you must ask yourself in order to find out what workout split is right for you:
- What are your goals?
Before starting any training program you must know what your goals are. Are you training for a marathon, maintaining weight, slimming down, or bulking up?
- What is your training experience?
Beginners require less intensity (weight) and volume (sets & reps), but more frequency (training days). Advanced lifters need more intensity & volume, but less frequency.
- How often can you workout?
Are you able to go to the gym 5-6 times a week? Do you have a tight schedule to
where you can only workout 3 times a week (the minimum)?
- How much rest and recovery do you need?
Your job, sleep, and life’s responsibilities will determine how many rest days you may
need. Rest days are important to make sure you can keep going to the gym the next
time and recharge mentally. .
There are 4 common training splits that most people use, of course there are more than 4 but these ones are simple to follow and easy to break down. You may notice that the more advanced you become as a lifter, the more volume and intensity you will do for each muscle group but only train them once a week.
- Upper/Lower Body Split:
- For this split you’ll train the upper body muscle groups then the next day the lower body while you rest on the 3rd day. You’ll do 2 exercises per muscle group which will increase the volume and variety of exercises per day with 3 sets of 15 reps.
- Day 1: Upper Body – Chest, Back, Shoulder, Biceps
- Day 2: Lower Body – Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes
- Day 3: Rest
- Push/Pull/Legs Split:
- With more experience comes greater intensity. Adding a 3rd exercise per muscle group is a great way to increase the total volume and with this split you can isolate muscle groups even further. You can manipulate this split by either working out all 6 days in a row or 3 days in a row while resting on the 4th day. Great for those with the most flexible schedules and is a great format to follow if you want to train in all the movement patterns.
- Day 1: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
- Day 2: Back and Biceps
- Day 3: Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes
- Rest on Day 4 or 7
- Total Body Split:
- This split has you training every major body part in one workout session. You can go from one chest exercise, then to a back exercise, and so on until you train every body part at least once for 3 sets of 15 reps. This split works best for beginners as it doesn’t put too much stress on your body which allows you to recover better and works well for those on a tighter schedule.
- Day 1: Whole Body – Chest, Quads, Back, Hamstrings. etc.
- Day 2: Rest
- Day 3: Whole Body – Chest, Quads, Back, Hamstrings, etc.
- 5 Day Split:
- This may also be referred to as the “bro” split, as it focuses on one single muscle group only, without working any other muscle that day. Each muscle group will be targeted on each day of the week. This will put a tremendous amount of stress each day as you’ll increase the total volume (sets & reps) on a muscle for that day and rest during the weekend. You’re going to want to make sure that you split each day correctly or else your muscles are going to be too sore to perform their best the next day. This split will add a ton of variety to each muscle group as you can hit each one at a different angle (incline, decline, single leg, deficit).
- Day 1: Chest
- Day 2: Back
- Day 3: Shoulders
- Day 4: Legs
- Day 5: Biceps and Triceps
- Day 6-7: Rest
Always remember to stay consistent with your training program and make sure you give yourself enough recovery time between all your training days. You will be blown away with all of your progress.