Take it from the pros, splitting is the way go. Full-body training, provided that the intensity is high and the routine is good, can produce some amazing results, but splitting lets you get more from less: more results from a shorter period of time spent in the gym. If you had to train all your body parts in one routine, it might take a full two hours. There’s an advantage to keeping your daily routine short: higher intensity, better focus, more energy and strength, and a reduced likelihood of “overtraining.” Plus, spending only 45-60 minutes a day gives you more time for other things. The following are a couple of basic tips to keep in mind when you’re converting your old routine into a new one.
1 – ASSESS YOUR WEAKNESSES
Depending on your genetics and your structure, you may be blessed with mas- sive quads but puny pecs. It makes sense to begin your weekly split routine cycle with your pecs. In other words, if your routine begins on a Monday after a Sunday rest, start with pecs and end the week with legs. Prioritize your weakest body parts first and your strongest last. That way, you’ll be able to devote more energy and focus to bring up lagging body parts.
2 – WORK BIG TO SMALL
Your body’s largest muscles include your legs, back and chest. When it comes to splitting, these body parts should be trained before you hit your smaller body parts such as your shoulders, biceps, and triceps. These smaller muscles function as support muscles for your basic lifts such as the bench press, squat, military press and so on. Tire these muscles out and you won’t be able to grow your pecs, quads or lats effectively. For example, if you’re working your back and your biceps, be sure to do your rows before your curls.
3 – GET PLENTY OF REST
Rest is just as important as training. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re going to maximize muscle growth by training for two hours every day on 6 hours of sleep. Most bodybuilding pros sleep anywhere from 8 to 10 hours a night. So should you. As a rule of thumb, if you have to use an alarm clock to get up in the morning, chances are, you’re not getting enough sleep. Remember, anabolic growth hormone (GH) levels reach their peak in deep sleep. Just another reason to turn in early and skip the Late Show.
4 – KEEP INTENSITY LEVELS HIGH
Regardless of your goal, you need to keep your intensity level as high as it can be. The whole point of training is to tear your muscles down, thus allowing for it to grow back larger and stronger. If you’re training for maximum power, keep your rep schemes lower (no more than 6-8 reps per set). If you’re trying to achieve superior shape, then higher reps is recommended. Regardless, keep your intensity high.
5 – BASIC SPLIT ROUTINES
Split routines can vary tremendously. Two of the more popular methods include the “push/pull” split and the “upper/lower” split. With the push/pull method, you divide your weekly routine into exercises that require you to “pull” and those which “push.” For example, seated cable rows are a pull-type exercise. Push-type exercis- es include bench presses and seated presses. If you want to keep things simpler, you might consider an upper/lower routine. Train your upper body one day and your lower body another day. Whatever method you choose, stick to it for 8 weeks and see what kind of results you get before switching to another method.
2-Day Upper/Lower Split Routine
• Day 1: Quads, hams, calves, abs
• Day 2: Chest, back, triceps, shoulders, biceps • Day 3: Rest
• Day 4: Quads, hams, calves, abs
• Day 5: Chest, back, triceps, shoulders, biceps • Day 6: Rest
• Day 7: Repeat
3-Day Push/Pull Routine
• Day 1: Back, biceps, abs
• Day 2: Hams, quads, calves
• Day 3: Chest, shoulders, triceps • Day 4: Rest
• Day 5: Back, biceps, abs
• Day 6: Hams, quads, calves
• Day 7: Chest, shoulders, triceps • Day 8: Rest
• Day 9: Repeat