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Workout Splits


WHAT IS A WORKOUT SPLIT?

A workout split refers to how you break up which areas of the body you are training on different days of the week. It is essentially a detailed, systematic weekly training schedule that you will repeat week after week for an extended period of time (i.e. 4-12 weeks).

In the most basic sense, a workout split will be created based on:

  • How many days a week you will train (i.e. 3, 4 or 5 days per week)

  • Targeted muscles for each workout session (i.e. chest, shoulders and triceps for one of the workout days)

  • (Usually) specific exercises that you will do for each of those workouts.

But, we are sure you already know what a workout split is...You are here to find out what’s the best split for YOU!

Thankfully, by the time you finish reading this, you will have all the info you need to choose a training split that fits your demands.

WHY ARE WORKOUT SPLITS IMPORTANT?

Workout splits are great because they provide you with a clear path toward a specific goal.

While you can go to the gym and workout without any training plan (just doing whatever you feel like each day), deciding on a workout split and sticking with it will provide you with the best possible results.

The main benefit of doing a workout split is that it helps you divide and conquer your body in a way where you exhaust specific muscles and then let them recover while you train other muscle groups. It’s a calculated approach that allows you to maximize the intensity, training volume, training frequency, and recovery time of all your muscles.

What’s more, workout splits enable you to track progress and focus on purposeful goals such as building muscle, strength, endurance and/or athleticism. Without following a plan, it’s extremely hard to achieve positive results. In fact, we highly recommend when determining your plan using the FITT principle guidelines, so you can identify what your goals are and how frequently you'll be able to work on them. This all plays into picking the perfect split for you.

Overall, workout splits are important, which is why everyone knows they should be doing one. However, not all workout splits are “created equal”. There are so many different kinds of workout splits and different splits will be better for different people.

To start, let’s go over what factors you need to consider when choosing a workout split.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT WORKOUT SPLIT?

There are several things you need to consider when deciding on a workout split.

1. Training Experience

The right training split for a beginner will look a lot different than one for a more advanced lifter. While the overall strategy and goal can be similar, the workout splits training frequency, volume and intensity will differ based on your training experience and fitness level.

Note: If you are a true beginner, like brand new to working out, you will always be recommended to do full body workouts.

2. Goals

People’s fitness goals vary. From establishing a solid foundation and baseline of fitness to maintaining muscle to building muscle to improving strength to improving endurance to improving athleticism, etc., what goal you are trying to achieve will determine both your split and the finer details of it.

The workout split you choose should be influenced by whatever your end goal is. A workout split for someone who wants to strictly build muscle will look a lot different than someone who wants to lose fat.

3. Availability

Not everyone has a schedule that allows them to workout whenever the want. You need to determine how many days of the week you can actual commit to working out as that will be a big factor on what workout split you should choose. For example, if you can only guarantee a commitment of 3 days per week, then your workout split will need to be designed so that you hit all muscle groups and the most important movements in those three days.

So, how many days you workout per week is not just decided on your fitness level, but also your availability. A 3 or 4 day workout split can be effective for even the most experience lifter if designed appropriately.

It’s very important that you truly think about your availability because sticking to your plan to the T will give you best possible results.

4. Rest & Recovery Needs

This relates back to your training experience but it also includes things like your job, lifestyle, and age. It’s not just beginners who may need more recovery time between workouts. For example, older people and people who have trouble getting plenty of sleep will likely require a workout split that gives them more recovery time.

Don’t underestimate rest and recovery! It’s just as important as the workouts. Remember, your growth will take place outside of the gym as a result of good nutrition and sleep. The last thing you want is to be on a split that is too demanding for you and you are constantly training sore muscles. That is a recipe for disaster, or in other words, overtraining.

So, choose a split that you feel will give you the recovery time that your age, fitness level, and lifestyle needs, and if you have plenty of energy on a rest day, then do another activity like a sport, hiking, cycling or whatever you like. Think of it as active recovery.

5. Weaknesses

If you have certain weaknesses that you want to emphasize then choose a workout split or structure one in a way that allows you to improve upon those weaknesses to the fullest potential.

For example, if you feel your legs are way behind, then make sure you are doing legs on days that you will definitely be fresh and full of energy or choose a split that allows you to hit legs twice or just legs during one workout session.

Note: Just because you have a weak area doesn’t mean that’s all you should focus on. Your training should be well-rounded. But, you can ensure that your split is designed to tackle that weakness.

All in all, your workout split should be dictated by your goals, training experience, lifestyle, age, availability and weaknesses, which is why there is no one size fits all in the world of fitness.

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