Our Favorite Training Splits and Which Is Best For You?

Our Favorite Training Splits and Which Is Best For You?

If there's one thing that all lifters have debated with them self long and hard about, is what training splits are best for me.

 

Sadly the answer is what nobody likes to hear; "It depends". It depends on goals, training age, schedule, recovery ability, other sports and exercise you are doing and what you enjoy.

 

But in this article I'm going to go over the training splits we like best for different scenarios and clients. So hopefully there there a few new ones you can try out.

 

1. Whole Body

Whole Body workouts are generally used for beginners but can be used for more advanced trainees in a German Body Composition (GBC) style workout for fat loss.

Generally there will be 2 different whole body workouts that are alternated.

Or three different whole body workouts which are cycled through once per week.

Whole body workouts will generally involve super setting upper and lower body exercises or using antagonistic super sets.

Day 1: Whole Body A

Day 2: Whole Body B

 

2. Two Day Training Splits

Two day training splits are the usual next step for beginners after they have done whole body workouts. This allows for a bit more volume and greater exercise variation. They work well training 2-4 days per week where you simply alternate between the two days. Examples include:

Day 1: Upper Body

Day 2: Lower Body

 

Or divide the body up differently for example

Day 1: Chest / Shoulders / Triceps

Day 2: Legs / Back / Biceps

OR

Day 1: Chest / Quads / Arms

Day 2: Back / Hammies / Shoulders

OR

Day 1: Quads / Chest / Triceps (pushing day)

Day 2: Hamstrings / Back / Biceps (pulling day)

 

 

3. Three Day training Splits

When trainees begin getting a bit more serious they will get into a three day training split.

This is a classic three day split we use with many of our clients who are training three days a week. Most of the time we do antagonistic super sets. So alternating chest/ back exercises, quad/hamstring exercises and bicep/tricep exercises.

Antagonistic super sets allow the trainee to increase motor unit recruitment and save time as rest periods do not need to be as long.

Day 1: Chest / Back

Day 2: Quads / Hamstrings

Day 3: Arms / Shoulders

Intermediate to advanced 3 day training split

A great way to use this three day split for someone more advanced is to increase the frequency of training to more than just once every 7 days. So you train each body part once every 5 days and train in total 4-5 days a week instead of just three. So it would look like this.

Mon: Legs

Tue: Arms / Shoulders

Wed: Off

Thur: Chest / back

Fri: Off

Sat: Legs

Sun: Arms / Shoulders and so on

 

Below is a good powerlifting split or for those really wanting to bring up the big 3 lifts. Assistance exercises are exercises designed to help and assist the main lift.

So on squat day you would do squats then possibly paused squats, leg curls, safety bar squats etc. depending on what you need.

 

Bench day assistance lifts would be dumbbell press's, over head pressing, board pressing, other pressing variations and triceps work.

 

Deadlift day assistance would be back and posterior chain work so pull ups, rows, Romanian deadlifts, hyper extension and so on.

Day 1: Squat + assistance

Day 2: Bench + Assistance

Day 3: Deadlift + Assistance

 

This is a 3 day split that divides legs over two days. When pushing hard leg days can be brutal and if you really want to concentrate on them doing them over 2 days can be a better option so you don't end up like the guy below.

Day 1: Quads / Chest

Day 2: Hamstrings / Back

Day 3: Arms / Shoulders

best training splits

4. Four Day training Splits

Again an opposing muscle group split over but over 4 days also training shoulder, calves and abs together.

Day 1: Chest / Back

Day 2: Quads / Hamstrings

Day 3: Biceps / Triceps

Day 4: Shoulders / Calves / Abs

 

Below is a prime mover + synergist split. Usually the exercises will be alternated with the other body part. For example

Incline DB press paired with Reverse grip EZ bar curl. You would alternate the two exercises until all sets are completed.

Again this allows you to fit more in to your training time as one muscle is resting while the other is working.

This is great for some people who prefer pairing their big body parts like chest with a smaller one like biceps. Instead of a traditional opposing muscle split like chest and back.

Day 1: Chest / Biceps

Day 2: Legs

Day 3: Back / Triceps

Day 4: Shoulders / calves

 

This is another great split for powerlifters or just those trying to bring up the big 3 lifts. I did this split myself for a long time when I was training at a powerlifting gym. The fourth day is used to do whatever you enjoy or need to focus upon.. So could be bodybuilding work, a Strong man style day with exercises like farmers walks, sled push/pull, log press. Or some cleans and snatches if you like some olympic lifting.

Squat + assistance

Bench + Assistance

Deadlift + Assistance

Bodybuilding day/strongman day/oly lifting day

 

Below is a great four day split to bring up legs because it splits up quads and hamstrings allowing you to hit them harder than just doing a single leg workout. Also calves are done twice a week for those like myself who have calves that resemble chop sticks.

Hamstrings / Calves

Back / Shoulders

Quads  / Calves

Chest / Arms

 

Heres a Basic four day split with a whole day dedicated to chest and one for back so good to really smash those and bring them up.

Day 1: Chest

Day2: Back

Day 3: Legs

Day 4: Arms / shoulders

 

5. Five Day training Splits

A traditional bodybuilding style split with body parts divided up to allow you to get high volume in on each one and allow for five to seven days recovery until you hit it again.

Chest

Back

Shoulders

Legs

Arms

Another 5 day split we often utilise with our clients is:

best training splits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This split allows for more back and leg work to be completed as these are two areas that are generally lagging in strength and size with the average trainee.

 

Another great 5 days training split directed more at hypertrophy is:

Day 1: Chest / Biceps

Day 2: Back / Triceps

Day 3: Quads / Abs

Day 4: Hamstrings / Calves

Day 5: Shoulders and Remedial

Again this is a great program to help bring up the thighs as they are paired with a small muscle group and spread over two days. It also allows some real work to be put in to remedial exercises for the shoulders such as external rotations, trap 3 raises, scapular retractions etc as these are often thrown on the end of days and done without effort or not done at all.

 

6. Six Day training Splits

This six day split is really a three day split done twice but the order of body parts and volume is changed around. For example on day one the workout is mostly chest and shoulders and less volume on biceps. Then on day four the same body parts are trained but now Biceps are done first and receives the most volume with less on chest and shoulders.

 

This is a really good split if you can handle training 6 days a week. This is different to other bodybuilding splits as you are hitting each body part twice a week rather once.

Chest Shoulders Biceps

Back Triceps

Quads Hamstrings

Biceps Chest Shoulders

Triceps Back

Hamstrings Quads

 

7. Two a day training Splits

Two a day splits involve doing two training sessions in one day. This is great for bringing up strength and size in certain areas that are lagging behind or including some conditioning work separate to your resistance training.

Obviously two a day training is time intensive and recovery needs to be prioritised. This is type of split shouldn't be used long term and deload weeks defiantly should be utilised.

An example of a Two a Day Split may be:

Day 1 AM: Upper Body (Strength focus)

Day 1 PM: Upper Body (Hypertrophy focus)

Day 2: AM Lower Body (Strength focus)

Day 2 PM: Lower Body (Hypertrophy focus)

Day 3 AM: Arms (Strength Focus)

Day 3 PM: Arms (Hypertrophy Focus)

Day 4: AM Lower Body (Strength focus)

Day 4 PM: Lower Body (Hypertrophy focus)

Day 5 : Upper Body

 

Rest Days

I haven't included when to put rest days in any of these splits because there are so many options and whats best depends on the person and when they can train. Most will just divide their workouts over the week and fit the rest days in between where its most logical. So beginners with a three day split will have four rest days. Four day split three rest days. Five day split two rest days, and six day split one rest day.

 

My suggestion though if you are doing a three or four day split which is what most people will be doing, is to rotate your workouts every five to six days.

 

So if you are doing a three day split only have two rest days worked in, then on the sixth day repeat workout one. Here's an example using the Chest Back - Quads Hamstrings - Arms shoulders split

Mon: Legs

Tue: Arms / Shoulders

Wed: Off

Thur: Chest / back

Fri: Off

Sat: Legs

Sun: Arms / Shoulders and so on

 

 

The advantage of this is that you get a slightly higher frequency. Hitting each body part every five days instead of every seven. Over the long run this means more results if you recover from the workouts properly.

 

The disadvantage is you do different workouts different days each week and your rest days change each week. So if you like doing the same thing on the same day each week. Or always want to have Tuesdays off for example that won't work well on this setup.

 

To wrap it up

Here are just some of the examples of training splits that can be used and that we utilise with our clients. There are many more combinations that can be used depending on the trainee, the goal and the situation.

 

The key is to not get caught up on using that same old split for months or even years on end. Use a given split, and if it keeps producing results, great! Keep using it, if not try something new, ideally something you haven't done before to provide variation and hopefully cause the body to adapt and improve.

 

So if you've been banging away at the same old split since you first set foot inside a gym, try one of the splits above and enjoy the process of experimenting with new ways of training.

 

Stay Strong.

Brent Cosnett.


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