On Training Splits
A question I get asked often is what training split to do. A training split is simply the way your workouts are divided through the week, so this question translates to... "how should I divide my training?"
For me, a good training splits are ones that:
- Give you great results
- Works for your lifestyle
- Is simple enough to stick to
There isn't the best training split because it depends on your goals and lifestyle. Training for an obstacle course race requires a different method than a bodybuilder or a powerlifter. The split for someone who's looking to build muscle and get leaner in general can look different, too.
The Traditional Body Part Split
This is the more traditional bodybuilding-esque training route. Body part splits divide training into different days based on specific muscle groups. The sessions are usually longer sessions with more training days.
Day 1: Chest, shoulders, triceps
Day 2: Back, biceps
Day 3: Legs (Quad-biased)
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Chest, shoulders, triceps 2
Day 6: Back, biceps 2
Day 7: Legs (Glute-biased)
This split is great for bodybuilders because it's extremely specific. It also gives each muscle at least 4 days of rest before you train it again, making this great for recovery.
I don't believe it's the body part split great option for non-bodybuilders though. The problem with body parts, is that if you miss a day, you don't really have a day to make it up, and you've missed an entire muscle group.
Movement Pattern Splits
While body part splits are great for isolating certain muscle groups, movement pattern splits are another way of breaking up training. Instead of specific muscle groups, exercises are grouped into movement patterns instead.
Here's an example of a 4-day movement pattern split:
Day 1: Squat + Pull 1
Day 2: Hinge + Push 1
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Squat + Pull 2
Day 5: Hinge + Push 2
By breaking up movement this way, you're able to hit different parts of the same muscle group on different days. Instead of hitting every leg muscle on one day, you can train different sections of the leg muscle throughout the week. This can lead to less soreness and better recovery.
My pick - Movement Pattern Splits
My clients programs involve simple strength training that takes less than an hour to complete. Most train 3-4 days per week, depending on their short-term goal for that month. Because of that, the movement patterns work best for most of my clients.
Remember, just like most things in training, the best split is the one you can stick to. Find a program that's designed to get you to your goals with a split that you can follow and enjoy it!
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