Split workout routines divide each of your workouts through the week by body areas, like upper/lower for example. You’d do a full upper body workout on a Monday followed by a lower body workout on Tuesday. This concept can use various combinations of muscle groups, which is what is known as ‘split training’. Here we outline a few common variations of split training, and the overall benefits of splitting your weeks up this way.
- Allows for a more intense workout per muscle
- Extra days of recovery for each muscle group
- You can fit in multiple muscles per workout if needs be
- Helps to maximize muscle growth
- Helps to assess any muscular imbalances
- Harder for people who are short on time
- Single muscle splits can be intense for beginners
- Missed workouts can take a week to come back around
- Some muscle groups may not be getting trained as often (goal dependent)
Common Workout Splits
Upper Body/Lower Body
This is a common split, alternating days of exercising only the upper body and only the lower body. It’s a good choice for general fitness. Abdominal exercises are done on your choice of days.
This type of split is very popular and works pushing muscle groups one day then pulling muscle groups the next. This is great for keeping a good overall balance with your body. Pushing will include the chest, shoulders and triceps and pulling (e.g., curls, rows, pulldowns, or a deadlift) that target the back of the body and biceps. Usually you’ll train legs on a totally different day (although you can also include leg exercises on a push and pull day), making your split look like this:
Examples of opposing muscle groups include: chest and back, biceps and triceps, quadriceps and hamstrings etc. Similar to single muscle group training as it allows focus on one particular area. So if you’re looking to work on imbalances, strength or general size this is a good way to go.
Single Muscle Groups
This is a kind of advanced bodybuilding split where you solely focus on one muscle group per workout. Great for getting in more set per muscle group, which in turn is great for adding mass. This requires a lot of commitment though as you’d essentially need more workouts per week to cover each area.
Another very common split and great for beginners or those shorter on time as you can generally get away with 3 workout per week. This would be done on a day on – day off protocol to allow for adequate rest and recovery. Great for strength, general fitness and building muscle as most people will include more compound movements (squats, bench press, rows) on each workout which are great for adding lean tissue and strength.