So you’ve decided that you’re ready to start weight training….
You’ve even picked your gym clothes and set a date to start.
But what’s the next step?
The next step is picking the right workout split. If you’re a beginner it’s crucial to have a workout split in place so there’s no second guessing if it’s a training day, rest day, leg day or full body day.
A workout split is a plan that tells you which muscles to work on each day. There are a lot of different splits out there, and each has its benefits and drawbacks. So, how do you pick the right split for you?
In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps of picking the perfect weight workout plan for your goals. We’ll start by discussing the different types of splits, then we’ll help you figure out which one is best for you.
Finally, we’ll give you a few tips on how to stick to your split once you’ve chosen it.
- What is a Weight Training Split?
- Understanding Your Fitness Goals
- How to Choose the Right Plan for You
- How Do Workout Splits Differ Between Women and Men?
- Examples of Different Workout Splits
- Planning the Workouts of Your Weight Training Split
- How to Progressively Increase Intensity With Your Workout Split
- Is There a Best Workout Split For Fat Loss?
- What is the best one?
What is a Weight Training Split?
A weight training split is a workout schedule divided by muscle groups. This allows you to focus on one or two muscle groups per workout, and train them more intensely.
There are a variety of different ways to divide up your split, and the best one for you will depend on your specific goals.
Some common ways to divide up your split are by body region (e.g. upper body, lower body), by movement (e.g. pushing exercises, pulling exercises), by body part (e.g. chest, shoulders, triceps), or by lift (e.g. squats, bench press, deadlifts). However, the most effective way to train all of your muscles is with a full-body split.
Understanding Your Fitness Goals
One of the most important steps in picking the right split workout for you is understanding your fitness goals. What are you looking to achieve? Do you want to increase strength? Lose weight? Tone up?
Working with a qualified strength and conditioning specialist can help set fitness goals that are realistic, measurable, and achievable. They can also help you design a program that will help you reach those goals.
Split training, which involves dividing your weekly workouts into different muscle groups, is a popular approach because it allows you to focus on each muscle group more intensely. This can be especially helpful if you want to improve strength or size.
To get the most out of your split training, it’s important to write down the weight and repetitions you use for each exercise. This will help ensure that you’re challenging yourself each time you hit the gym.
How to Choose the Right Plan for You
Now that you understand the basics, it’s time to pick the one that’s right for you. As a general rule, lifting one muscle group per day is ideal. This gives each muscle group enough time to recover before you work it again.
But if you’re short on time, you can still get good results by training muscles at least twice per week. Just be sure to do a different exercise for each muscle group each time. This will help make sure you’re targeting all the muscles evenly.
And finally, don’t feel like you have to do a million exercises per muscle group. Just one or two can give you all the benefits you need.
How Do Workout Splits Differ Between Women and Men?
You may be wondering if there is a difference between workout splits for women and men. The answer is yes, but not as much as you might think.
Generally, women will benefit from the same workout splits as men. In my experience women mostly crave the same things when working out, they want to burn fat, tone up, and get stronger. Picking the right training program will help with achieving that and it comes down to the same things as men, getting your training frequency and training volume right.
Generalizing again here but women tend to pick workout routines that prioritize quads, hamstrings, and glutes while men prioritize chest, shoulders, and back.
Women who favour legs and looking to train three times per week may go with a push-leg day, pull-leg day, and an upper body day. This is an effective way to overload the legs for more growth and definition.
Examples of Different Workout Splits
It’s time to dive into the different types of weight training splits that you can choose from. It’s important to note that all of these will have their pros and cons, so take some time to think about which one fits your schedule best.
The Full Body Split
First is the full-body split, which is where you train your whole body every second day. A 48-hour window is what is recommended for muscle recovery so if you decided to go with a full body split, you would train day on, a day off.
Ideally you want to get in at least 3 sessions a week so you could go with Monday, Wednesday, Friday with the weekend off.
Here is a basic example:
|Full Body Workout||Rest||Full Body Workout||Rest||Full Body Workout||Rest||Full Body Workout|
· Can Be Time Efficient Training Every 3 Days
· Train Once Every 2-3 Days
· Good for Muscle Growth and Strength
· Good routine to have the weekend off
· Can Be Physically Taxing
· Time Consuming If Training Every Second Day
· End up training on different days if you decide to train every second day
· High Risk of Injury Without Proper Warm-ups and Cool-downs
The Push/Pull/Legs Split or the Push/Pull/Upper Body Split
Another option is the push/pull/legs split (my personal favorite), which involves targeting different muscle groups on different days. Females might see more attraction to the push/pull/upper body version.
This is great if you’re looking to increase muscle size and strength, as it allows you to focus on each individual muscle group more thoroughly.
Heres a basic example:
|Barbell Bench Press||Rest||Deadlifts||Rest||Barbell Squats||Rest||Rest|
|Dumbbell Incline Press||Barbell Row||Hip Thrusts|
|Barbell Shoulder Press||Seated Row||Reverse Lunges|
|Weighted Dips||Weighted Chin-ups||Leg Extension|
|Tricep Extensions||Bicep Curls||Calf Raises|
· Simple training method and easy to follow for balanced results
· Allows for a higher training frequency allowing you to train your muscles more than once per week.
· Can be time-consuming due to the number of sets and reps required to complete the routine.
· Can be difficult to maintain intensity levels if done too frequently or with too many sets.
· It can be difficult to progress with this routine due to the number of exercises needed for each muscle group.
The Upper Body/Lower Body Split
The upper/lower split has become popular among elite-level powerlifters as well and involves splitting up upper-body exercises and lower-body exercises into two workouts per week. Depending on training frequency, this can allow plenty of time to recover while also providing sufficient stimulus for growth.
The Push/Pull Split
Finally, the push/pull split is similar to the upper/lower split but with slightly more emphasis on pushing movements (like bench press) or pulling ones (like rows). This works particularly well with compound movements, allowing for more effective workouts in a short period.
What are Bro Splits?
Bro splits, or body part splits, get a bit of a bad wrap and it’s generally due to not planning correctly.
The main problem comes in when routines aren’t set up correctly and things like training Triceps on Monday and Chest on Tuesday, happen. You don’t want to compromise your larger muscle group by working with the smaller group first.
The last thing you want is to start your chest workout with fatigued triceps.
Focus on one to two muscle groups per day. This usually means splitting the body into upper and lower body days and then working each one separately.
For example, you might do chest on Monday, back on Tuesday, legs on Wednesday, shoulders on Thursday, arms on Friday and abs on Saturday.
Or if you prefer something more challenging, you could split it up even further and do something like chest & triceps together one day and back & biceps together another day.
One of the benefits of this kind of split is that you can concentrate all your energy into a few muscle groups at a time. But it does require training five to six days a week (depending on the split), which not everyone has time for or wants to commit to.
There’s also the downside that some people see this type of training as ‘bodybuilder’ style training which can lead to overtraining or an imbalance in muscle development since only certain muscles are trained every day.
So it’s important to remember that there’s not necessarily anything wrong with bro splits—it just depends on what you are wanting to achieve and how much time you have to spend.
Recovery is important – let recently worked muscles recover. You need ideally 48 hours for recovery. You want to avoid restimulating a recently trained muscle group.
Planning the Workouts of Your Weight Training Split
Now that you have an idea of the split that’s right for you, it’s time to start planning your workouts.
You should plan your workouts by focusing on one muscle group per day. This will help ensure that each muscle group gets sufficient attention and allow you to push yourself as hard as possible.
When creating a weight-training plan, it’s important to keep in mind that the number of reps and sets matter. For example, if you are looking to build strength, then you should emphasize low reps (3-6) with heavier weight closer to your 1RM (one repetition max), while if your goal is hypertrophy (building muscle), then focus on higher reps (8-12) with a moderate weight roughly 60% – 80% of your 1RM.
How to Progressively Increase Intensity With Your Workout Split
Once you have your workout split figured out, the next step is to learn how to progressively increase your intensity. This is critical if you want to maximize your goals for strength and muscle growth.
As far as reps are concerned, I’m personally of the mindset of having a number in mind but just as a rough target.
Say you want to build muscle, shoot for 8 – 12 reps, if you’re pushing out far more than that increase the weight, if you can’t make it to 8 or you have compromised form, reduce the weight.
Once you hit the top end of the set that’s where the intensity comes into play. You want to squeeze every single last rep out as you can, as some people say, the gains start when you want to stop. If you’re not wincing on those last reps, consider increasing your intensity.
For those who want to focus on strength gains, try changing up the rep ranges every so often, starting with lower reps (3-6) and heavier weights in one week and then transitioning to higher reps (8-12) and lighter weights in the next. This strategy will help shock your muscles into growth as your body adjusts each week/month.
Be sure to also track every workout, so you can look back at what worked best and where you need to improve. With this information, you’ll be able to make tweaks and adjustments as needed.
Is There a Best Workout Split For Fat Loss?
If fat loss is your goal, then you probably want to know which weight training split is best.
The answer isn’t completely straightforward – it depends on a few factors like how much time you have available and your skill level – but in general, full-body workouts are a great choice when training 2-4 days per week. This allows you to work on all of your major muscle groups in each workout.
You want to hit each muscle group at least once a week minimum. P.S guys, don’t skip leg day if you want to burn fat.
If you’re able to train more often, try a push/pull split, which can be done 3-5 days per week.
With push/pull workouts, you’ll be able to move heavy weights more frequently and get more volume into your training. If you want even more volume, try an upper/lower workout split. This split gives you the option to use different rep ranges on each day so that you can get both frequency and volume into your weekly regimen.
What is the best one?
Truth is there’s no “best training split”.
My recommendation is to test different routines and see how your body responds. Your ideal routine should be based on your overall goals and lifestyle.
Don’t be afraid to adjust your routine or training session as necessary to maximize performance and strength. Also, keep experiment with different splits until you find the best one for you.
When it comes down to it, the main focus is on how regularly one lifts and which muscles are trained.
Remember, strength training is more of a marathon than a sprint.
Take into consideration the coming months and plan accordingly. Most important, make sure you show up.
So, there you have it. A guide to picking the perfect weight training split for you.
Remember to always individualize your routine, focus on your specific goals and turn up.
With a little bit of hard work and perseverance, you’ll be on your way to the body you’ve always dreamed of.
If you’re not sure where to start, be sure to seek out the advice of a qualified personal trainer.
And if you’re looking at an online program, bodybuilding.com has industry leading workout plans that suit beginners all the way through to seasoned pros.
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