What Is A Training Split?
In short, a Training Split is where you train certain body parts/muscle groups on different days of the week. For example on Mondays you train chest and back, whereas on Tuesdays you train legs.
This is how most top bodybuilders train in order to build muscle.
There’s no right or wrong way to set up a training split, it depends on your goals, how many times per week you train, experience, etc.
For example if you train 6 days per week, you could break up your muscle groups over 6 days e.g.
- Monday – chest
- Tuesday – back
- Wednesday – legs
- Thursday – arms
- Friday – shoulders
- Saturday – forearms, calves and abs
- Sunday – rest
Whereas if you only train 3x per week, you’d need to train more muscle groups per session e.g.
- Monday – chest, shoulders, triceps, abs
- Tuesday – rest
- Wednesday – legs, forearms
- Thursday – rest
- Friday – back, biceps
- Saturday – rest
- Sunday – rest
There are lots of different ways to set up a training split…
Common Training Splits
The common training splits are as follows…
Push, Pull, and Legs – This is where one session you focus on pushing movements (chest, shoulders, and triceps), the next session you do pull movements (back, biceps) and the last session you do leg exercises. This type of split works well for intermediate/advanced lifters.
Upper/Lower Body Split – one day you train the entire upper body (chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps), then the next session you do lower body (quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves). This type of split suits beginners and intermediate lifters.
Full Body Split – where you train all muscles in one session. This type of program is ideal for beginners – where you train the whole body 3-4x per week.
Like I said there are also lots of other combinations but the above are common training splits.
3 Day Muscle Building Split
Here’s a great muscle building routine, where you train 3x per week. It’s ideal for those of you looking to pack on some serious size…
This is a simple but effective 3 day muscle building split for the lateh beginning to intermediate lifter. It is recommend that you use a schedule similar to the following:
- Monday – Quads, Hamstrings and Calves
- Tuesday – Chest, Back and Traps
- Wednesday – Off
- Thursday – Off
- Friday – Shoulders, Triceps and Biceps
- Saturday – Off
- Sunday – Off
This workout uses the Rep Goal System. You can add in abdominal work after any of these days, based on needs and goals.
|Quads, Hamstrings and Calves|
|Stiff Leg Deadlift||3||25|
|Seated Calf Raise||3||40|
|Standing Calf Raise||3||40|
|Chest, Back and Traps|
|Hammer Strength Chest Press||3||30|
|Incline Dumbbell Flye||3||40|
|One Arm Dumbbell Row||3||30|
|Wide Grip Pull Us||3||AMAP|
|Shoulders, Triceps and Biceps|
|Seated Barbell Press||3||25|
|Bent Over Reverse Laterals||3||40|
|Close Grip Bench Press||3||30|
|Cable Tricep Extensions||3||30|
|Seated Dumbbell Curls||3||30|
|EZ Bar Preacher Curls||3||30|
Benefits Of This 3 Day Training Split
Low Frequency – You only train 3x per week. In order to build muscle you have to create a calorie surplus, basically consuming more calories than you are burning. One of the common reasons why people fail to build muscle is because they burn too many calories from training (training 6x per week), resulting in them not eating enough – thus they fail to grow!
For beginners and intermediates looking to pack on size, it may be better to train less frequently (3x per week), BUT to make these sessions more intense. This is because your body’s ability to recover will be less than a seasoned pro, and thus you may respond better to less frequency.
Effective Compound Lifts – when training 3x per week, it’s important to pick exercises which give you the most bang for your buck. You need to include lots of compound lifts. Exercises such as the: squat, bench press, deadlifts, pull ups, and seated barbell shoulder press. These compound lifts recruit multiple muscle groups all in one go. For example the bench press not only targets the chest, but also the shoulders and triceps. The deadlift hits the legs, lower back, upper back, traps, and abs.
Isolation Exercises For Detail – The training split shown above also covers isolation work, this is important for building muscle definition and bringing out the details to make each muscle pop. For example the leg extension exercise hits the rectus femoris (mid thigh muscle) which separates the other two quad muscles, vastus medialis – teardrop of the thigh, and the vastus lateralis, the outside thigh. Having a strong rectus femoris muscle will make your quads pop out.
Other isolation exercises in the program include incline DB flys – perfect for increasing chest width, and cable tricep extensions, which can be used to blow up the triceps, causing an insane muscle pump (beneficial for growth); it will also bring out the detail of each tricep head. One of the best exercises for making your shoulders wider is the lateral raise – which is also featured in the training split above.