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Weight Training Splits

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What You Must Know About Weight Training Splits

Weight Training Splits

A training split is a relatively simple concept. A training split is how you partition your workouts to exercise different body parts for work on different days. You can also split your workouts with regards to sets and reps. You can perform high reps for a certain body part one day and low reps the other day, etc.

Why Are Weight Training Splits So Important?

Splits help allow body parts time to recovery while you exercise others. Rest is very important to your training program. If you do not allow your muscles sufficient time to recover, you will not make constant and noticeable improvements in your strength, stamina or body composition.

If You Exercise on Consecutive Days the Proper Weight Training Split is a Must

Training the same muscle group on consecutive days is counter productive as you will break down your body faster than the recovery process which builds it back up. A training split will allow you to have a weight training session on consecutive days without overtraining a muscle.

Proper Splits Allow you to Work Out More Times Per Week
If you are one of the select few who spends 5 or 6 days in the gym every week a training split is the only way you can train your body hard for 5 or 6 days without getting overtraining syndrome.

Using Training Splits Decrease the likelihood of Injury
Some muscles are part of multiple muscle groups. For example if you perform a bunch of shoulder exercises on Monday, Tuesday would be a horrible day to do chest, since shoulder exercises use the triceps, and anterior deltoids which assist in most chest exercises. Avoiding instances such as this example can reduce your risk of overuse and traumatic injuries.

The proper training split can also help you improve your posture and avoid posture problems. This is because you will strengthen weak muscles and avoid overuse of tight muscles.


How do You Know which Weight Training Split to Use?

To Determine Your Best Training Split you Have to Look at Your Schedule
Most people do not live, nor want to live in the gym. Sometimes it is very difficult to get to the gym 3 times per week if you have a busy schedule.

Your training schedule dictates which weight training split is best for your goals. You have many options for a Monday, Wednesday, Friday 3 days a week training split. If you train 2 consecutive days a week, say Saturday and Sunday you have less options.

Your Weight Training Split Must be Consistent with Your Goals

If you are a guy who really wants to build your chest a full body workout 3 times per week will not be the best training split. If you are a woman looking to lose 30 pounds and work out 3 times per week, a day solely dedicated to arms is not going to help you very much.


When do You Change Your Weight Training Split?

After a Major Schedule Change
If your schedule suddenly changes you should adjust your training split accordingly.

For example, you used have a training split of full body workouts Monday and Thursday. Your meetings were changed Tuesday to Thursday so now the only days you have available to hit the gym is Monday and Tuesday.

Since you have to work out on consecutive days, a full body workout will not work because your muscles will not have sufficient time to recover. You need to change your weight training split to accommodate for your schedule. A basic split would be upper body on Monday and Lower body on Tuesday but you have many options.

After Vacation or Periods of Inactivity
After a vacation or an active rest period of training is a good time to adjust your weight training split. It is not necessary but will rejuvenate you by making your workouts seem new and interesting.

Your Workouts are getting Boring
A home gym or membership cannot help you if you don’t use it. If you easily get bored with your workouts it may be a good idea to change your training splits every so often just to keep it fresh.


Where can You Find Examples of Specific Weight Training Splits you can Use?

Here are a Few Examples of Training Splits for Specific Goals and Schedules

These are just basic examples. You can build your own training split but remember to avoid training muscles 2 days in a row.

Weight Loss3 Non Consecutive Days per WeekDay 1: Upper / LowerDay 2: Upper / LowerDay 3: Upper / Lower3 Consecutive Days per WeekDay 1: Quads / Chest / TricepsDay 2: Hamstrings / Back / BicepsDay 3: Quads / Glutes / ShouldersMuscle Toning3 Non Consecutive Days per WeekDay 1: Heavy Quads / Light Chest / Heavy BackDay 2: Hamstrings / Core / Lower Back / ArmsDay 3: Light Quads / Heavy Shoulders / Light Back3 Consecutive Days Per WeekDay 1: Chest / Abs / Lower BackDay 2: Lower Body / Core / Back

Day 3: Lower Body / Shoulders / Triceps

Muscle Building

3 Non Consecutive Days Per Week

Day 1: Light Back / Heavy Chest / Arms

Day 2: Legs / Core / Lower back

Day 3: Heavy Back / Light Chest / Shoulders

3 Consecutive Days per Week

Day 1: Chest / Biceps

Day 2: Legs

Day 3: Back / Shoulders / Triceps

Weight Loss5 Days Per WeekDay 1: Legs / Chest / TricepsDay 2: Back / Core / BicepsDay 3: Legs / ShouldersDay 4: Back / BicepsDay 5: Legs / Shoulders / ArmsMuscle Toning5 Days Per WeekDay 1: Heavy Chest / Light BackDay 2: Legs / CoreDay 3: Shoulders / ArmsDay 4: Legs / CoreDay 5: Light Chest / Light BackMuscle Building5 Days Per WeekDay 1: Lower Chest / Biceps

Day 2: Back / Triceps

Day 3: Quads / Shoulder Isolation

Day 4: Back / Hamstrings

Day 5: Upper Chest / Shoulder Press / Arms


What Everyone Ought to Know about Weight Training Splits & Routines

  • Weight Training Volume
    Do you think you are training sufficiently? Make sure you train enough to cause your body to adapt by either gaining muscle or losing weight.
  • Weight Training Set Structure
    An overview of the various options for structuring the sets in your weight training program.
  • Sets and Reps
    You have a good weight training split, but how many sets and reps for each exercise?
  • Beginning Weight Training
    When beginning weight training it’s very easy to over-do it. It’s best to start slowly by performing full body workouts three days a week.
  • Ask The Trainer Q&A
    Do you train 5 days a week? What are the best exercises? Find more Q&A on weight training splits, workout programs designed to accomplish your goals and more.

See Also:

Author Profile: Mike Behnken

Mike Behnken is a personal trainer who holds multiple NASM certifications and a MS in Exercise Science. Mike loves fitness, travel, and photography among many other interests.

Disclaimer: The views of the author are his or her own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Ask The Trainer.

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Post Category: Exercise, Weight Training