January 8, 2019 Jonathan 0Comment

If You Are Ready To Rev Up Your Workout Intensity, Then Discover Which Split System Will Work Best For You!

If you’ve been consistently lifting weights for more than six months on a full-body programme, you probably aren’t getting nearly as sore as when you started. Your muscle growth and strength gains may have slowed too. Even intermediate bodybuilders can’t make gains indefinitely.

WHY?

You’ve likely reached a point in your training called a plateau, with your muscles becoming accustomed to the workload, routine and intensity levels. So now what? To take your training to the next level, you must change your routine. One option is to follow a split system. By splitting up your muscle groups on different days of the week, you can work each bodypart at a higher intensity than in any full-body regime.

RULES OF SPLITTING

To improve the effectiveness of your training programme, follow these rules:

RULE # 1: WORK BIG TO SMALL

You should have done this even in your full-body workouts: train larger muscle groups like the chest, back and legs before smaller ones like the biceps, triceps and shoulders. Why? Because the smaller muscle groups help the larger ones in the execution of compound exercises. For example, if you trained your tri’s before you headed to the bench press, you would be unable to effectively overload your pecs because your fatigued triceps wouldn’t allow you to bench intensely.

In addition, strategically plan your split so that you don’t train an assisting muscle group the day before a corresponding major muscle group (for example, training biceps on Monday could hinder your back workout on Tuesday).

RULE # 2: KEEP YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT

Work the muscle group you feel needs the most improvement at the beginning of each split cycle or immediately after a rest day. You’ll be well rested, and your energy and motivation levels will be high. don’t always train your favourite bodyparts first – that’s sure recipe for an imbalanced physique.

RULE #3: TIMING IS EVERYTHING

More advanced bodybuilders favour the split system over full-body workouts because the latter can take hours to appropriately work every muscle group. It also requires a tremendous amount of energy to sustain intensity levels. With a split system, you can mix and match bodyparts so you finish your workout in 60-90 minutes. Train any longer and your energy levels begin to drop. This is the point of diminishing returns. If you can’t maintain intensity, get out of the gym and rest. To continue would be a waste of time and energy. Keep it short and intense.

RULE #4: GET PLENTY OF R&R

Take one or more days off during the week. Don’t choose a split routine and workout every day – that’s just as ineffective as training too long during a single workout. Remember: You stimulate your growth in the gym, but you grow when you rest. When you aren’t training, get your share of rest and relaxation.

WAYS TO SPLIT YOUR ROUTINE

Workouts can be split in hundreds of ways. If you asked ten pro bodybuilders how they split theirs, you would probably get ten different answers. I can tell you one thing, though: the effective ones follow the rules listed above. Here are just a few examples of how you can split your workout.

UPPER/LOWER SPLIT

This is a natural transition from a full-body workout: one day you train all upper body muscle groups and another day you train the lower body muscle groups. This allows you to do more exercises per bodypart because you don’t have to train the full body on any given day. The only disadvantage to the upper/lower split is that after a heavy quad workout, many bodybuilders find it difficult to effectively work smaller muscle groups like the hams and calves. One solution is to alternate starting with hams one workout and quads the next, enabling you to vary the intensity with which you work each muscle group so that neither is consistently neglected.

PUSH/PULL SPLIT

Divide your bodyparts into 2 to 3 workouts based on whether they are ‘pushing’ or ‘pulling’ muscles. Generally, the pushing muscle groups of the upper body are chest, shoulders and triceps. On chest day, the pecs would be considered the prime mover; the shoulders and triceps are assisting muscles. The theory is that if you train your chest, your shoulders and triceps get worked a little too, so why not go ahead and finish them off with some direct work? One advantage to this is that on a ‘push’ day, no ‘pulling’ muscles are involved, and on a ‘pull’ day, no ‘pushing’ muscles are involved. This helps prevent your routine from growing stale.

OTHER SPLIT SYSTEMS

If you’ve tried the push/pull routine and found that your tri’s are short after you work your chest and your bi’s are short after you train your back, you may benefit from a different split, such as the major/minor split. Instead of working chest with tri’s, you could pair your chest with a muscle group that isn’t involved at all with chest, like biceps. You could also train back with triceps and legs with delts. The benefit of this type of split is obvious: every muscle you work on a particular day will be fresh and capable of handling maximum weights for maximum intensity. Hey, isn’t that the formula for size?

A possible drawback is having to plan your workout schedule so that back day doesn’t immediately follow biceps day and shoulders don’t follow triceps day (as per Rule No. 1). If you don’t take this into account, your major upper body muscle groups like back, delts and chest could suffer due to fatigued and/or sore assisting muscles.

Another split system, the antagonist split, pairs opposing muscle groups (antagonist) like chest with back or biceps with triceps. You derive the same benefits of the major/minor split and ensure balance in each muscle group.

YOUR CUSTOMISED SPLIT ROUTINE

Determining which split routine is best for you is an individual choice. This depends on several factors including your exercise experience, time availability and bodybuilding and fitness goals.

Your experience with exercise, whether you’re a beginner to intermediate (less than six months work out) or a fully-fledged intermediate (longer than six months, but less than a year or so), will determine which split system you should start with. If you’ve been working out about six months, I recommend a two day split based on either the push/pull or upper/lower systems. These splits are a good transition from the full-body workout you may be accustomed to now. If you have more than seven or eight months of training under your belt, give a three-or-four-day split a try.

SAMPLE ROUTINES

TOW-DAY SPLIT ROUTINES

SPLIT NO.1: PUSH/PULL

Day 1: Chest, shoulders, triceps, abs

Day 2: Legs, back, biceps

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Repeat Cycle

SPLIT NO.2: UPPER/LOWER

Day 1: Chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abs

Day 2: Legs

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Repeat cycle

THREE-DAY SPLIT ROUTINE

SPLIT NO.1: PUSH/PULL

Day 1: Chest, shoulders, triceps

Day 2: Legs

Day 3: Back, biceps, abs

Day 4 Rest

Day 5: Repeat Cycle

SPLIT NO.2: MAJOR/MINOR

Day 1: Chest, biceps

Day 2: Legs, shoulders

Day 3: Back, triceps, abs

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: Repeat cycle

SPLIT NO.3: ANTAGONIST

Day 1: Chest, back

Day 2: Legs, abs

Day 3: Shoulders, triceps, biceps

Day4: Rest

Day5: Repeat cycle

FOUR-DAY SPLIT ROUTINES

SPLIT NO.1: PUSH/PULL

Day 1: Chest, triceps

Day 2: Legs

Day 3: Back, biceps

Day 4: Shoulders, abs

Day 5: Rest

Day 6: Repeat cycle

SPLIT NO.2: MAJOR/MINOR

Day 1: Chest, biceps

Day 2: Legs

Day 3: Back, abs

Day 4: Shoulders, triceps

Day 5: Rest

Day 6: Repeat cycle

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