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What Are Workout Splits And How To Find The Best One For You

by Power Life Team | April 06, 2022

Wake up your body and get more satisfying muscle gains with workout splits. If you feel your usual training routine isn’t cutting it anymore, it may be time to shake things up with a new strategy to reach your fitness goals.

Workout splits are a classic way of planning out your workout routines on a weekly or monthly schedule. It takes into account how many times a week you can “split” your exercises, and it offers different strategies for you to use that time efficiently and effectively. Splits involve dividing your training days into specific body parts — or into pushing or pulling movements.1

Read on to learn more about why workout splits are important, and how you can adopt well-planned splits to refresh your training routine. As always, make sure to get your doctor’s approval before putting any new exercise routine into practice.

What Are The Potential Benefits Of Workout Splits?

Workout splits are a targeted approach to maximize both your time in the gym and your rest and recovery periods. Tony Horton believes the right workout split helps you:

  • Focus your energy and efforts every training session (instead of randomly cranking out reps at whatever machines are available); and
  • Create a path towards achieving a specific workout goal, eliminating confusion and discouragement that could otherwise deter you.

Ultimately, a workout split may help you reach your fitness goals more quickly.2

What Is The Best Workout Split For Beginners To Try?

workout splits | My Power LifeIf you’re new to weight training in general, workout splits might not be the way to go – at least, not right away. Full-body workouts, or functional training that targets most (if not all) of your major muscle groups at once, might be a better approach to get your fitness footing. You’ll get a feel of what your body can do and build a good fitness foundation and work ethic. But once you’ve gotten more experience, and you feel ready to make some solid gains, you may explore workout splits.3

That said, even weight training newbies can gain insight into how to plan workout sessions efficiently by reading about the different workout splits intermediate and advanced bodybuilders use.

Body Part Workout Splits: Pros, Cons, And Who Should Try It

A body part split divides your weekly workout sessions into 1-3 related body parts (or muscle groups) twice a week. This gives your muscles about 48-72 hours to recover. Aside from guaranteed rest days, you also get to make sure you’re targeting your entire body equally and consistently – making this perfect for those looking to increase overall mass and support their overall physique.

Even if you’re training daily, you’re actually spending less time in the gym, as you’re only working 1-3 body parts. Keep in mind, however, that recovery times vary per muscle group. You may find yourself dreading certain workout days, depending on what body parts you’re working and when.

A sample workout split could look like this:

  • Days 1 and 5: Chest and triceps
  • Days 2 and 6: Back and biceps
  • Days 3 and 7: Legs and shoulders
  • Day 4: Rest and recover4

Upper/Lower Body Workout Splits: Pros, Cons, And Who Should Try It

workout splits | My Power Life

This type of four-day split separates your workouts into upper and lower body muscle groups. You perform about two exercises per muscle group, and you’re able to churn out a full-body workout within 2 days. You can vary your reps and weights, choosing exercises that allow you to target different angles of your muscles more intensively.

This is a good option for those who can only allot four days a week at the gym — while still continuing to build mass and definition. In terms of a “con,” it’s basically that you’ll need more days of rest because you’re working muscle groups harder.

A sample workout split could look like this:

  • Day 1: Upper body (chest, back, shoulders, arms)
  • Day 2: Lower body (core, quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves)
  • Day 3: Rest
  • Day 4: Upper body (can vary reps or weight)
  • Day 5: Lower body (can vary reps or weight)
  • Day 6 and 7: Rest5

Push, Pull, Legs Workout Split: Pros, Cons, And Who Should Try It

This split groups pushing muscles, pulling muscles, and legs together per session, allowing you to complete a full-body routine in three days. This is a more intensive split, as it calls for three exercises per muscle group, but it’s also good for those who feel it makes more sense to let connected muscles recover together. It’s a more flexible option, as you’re able to stay on the Push-Pull-Legs pattern while inserting as many recovery days as you need between workouts. But keep in mind, this is a six-day workout — so you’ll need to devote plenty of time to it.

workout splits | My Power LifeA sample workout split could look like this:

  • Days 1 and 4: Pushing muscles (chest, shoulders, triceps)
  • Days 2 and 5: Pulling muscles (back and biceps)
  • Days 3 and 6: Legs (core workouts can be inserted into any day)
  • Day 7: Rest6

Finding The Right Split That Fits

Each of these basic workout splits have their own merits, and it’s up to you to find which one suits you best. Again, this is an advanced exercise practice, and should only be put in place with your doctor’s approval.

Take into account both your training experience and time – how able are you to fully commit, and are your schedules feasible? Also, the importance of rest and recovery can’t be underscored. Allot enough rest days, even if you’re working towards a big goal.7

Consult a pro if you need to, and always listen to your body – this is a must in order to achieve your strongest and fittest physique.

Learn More:
The Ultimate Full Body Workout Routine For Strength, Fitness, And Growth
5 Kettlebell Shoulder Workouts For Building Strength
What Is The Best Time To Drink Protein Shake


Sources
1 https://greatist.com/fitness/what-is-split-training#1
2 https://barbend.com/workout-splits/
3 https://greatist.com/fitness/what-is-split-training#1
4 https://barbend.com/workout-splits/
5 https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/the-ultimate-guide-to-an-effective-training-split.html
6 https://advancedbodymetrics.com/workout-routines/5-of-the-most-effective-training-splits-for-muscle-and-strength/
7 https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/the-ultimate-guide-to-an-effective-training-split.html