How to build the perfect workout split

I had someone come to me during the week wanting to join a gym and get herself in shape. But their worry or issue was that they felt they were clueless in what to actually DO in the gym. They said they couldn’t afford a PT and were worried that they wouldn’t be able to achieve the results they wanted on their own.
Are you finding yourself in a familiar sounding scenario? Let me help J I’ve realized that I’ve posted both my March and April splits, but those may be slightly more tailored towards intermediate/advanced lifters like myself. I’m sorry to the beginners, it wasn’t my intention to omit you!!

So you’re not sure what split you should be doing in your lifting program? Well, the biggest thing here, is just to get lifting. And, there are a few things to take into consideration and just about a million ways to work it but I will get you started. Once you are experienced, evaluate your physique as you go and fine tune your program all the while keeping your nutrition in check to optimize all that hard work in the gym. For guidancde, or diet tips, I list mine every week under the Nutrition tab 😊
So what is the best training split for you?

 

First things first, there are a few things to consider.

 

1. What is your goal?

Are you looking to improve your general fitness and body sculpting? Or are you looking to get into some serious body and booty building?
If you are looking to get some curves, stay fit, feel good in your clothes and just plain look good naked, then you need to find a split that will work within your schedule.
But if you’re looking for some serious bodybuilding to either compete or just become all beast mode, then you need to be lifting more volumes each week.
2. What is your level of experience? Are you a beginner, intermediate or experienced lifter?

Here though I am not talking so much about knowledge of proper form and technique, but more with relation to how long you have been lifting?

 

You have to keep in mind, newbies will build muscle no matter what split they are doing versus a more experience lifter who needs every advantage they can get to build. I would definitely recommend getting a tour of the machines in your new/local gy however vefore starting out. This will help with knowing what machine works what body part, and they will be able to help you with your form. Usually, most gyms offer these tours free for your first session. Make use of it, and ask all the questions you can.
3. How many times a week will you/can you work out?

Are you going to be able to workout every day? Every second day? Four times a week? These are all important things to also consider when designing your training plan/split. External circumstances can often creep up out of nowhere or at the last minute, and you don’t want to let these get you discouraged. Also something to consider is WHEN are you going to workout? Morning time? Evening time? Are you going to split your sessions? Do cardio some mornings? Weights on others?
Now what is most important to do when starting out is that you squeeze out as much effort while you still have the motivation of being ‘new’ to the gym. BUT remember this one golden tip or piece of advice I am about to give you, and don’t let it discourage you…. Starting new in the gym, or even starting a new program will lead to serious muscle aches, and it will take your muscles some time to adapt to the stress of lifting etc. So be prepared to hobble like a penguin for a few days, and not be able to do even the smallest of tasks like taking off a jumper, but remember, those are the most satisfying aches, they mean you’ve worked your butt off.

 

So I’ve decided to classify the different groups as follows:

▪ A beginner is a person who has lifted less than a year.

▪ An intermediate person has lifted 2-5 years.

▪ An experience lifter has lifted 5+ years.

So let’s get onto splits.
The Beginner Split

▪ A person who has been lifting less than a year

▪ Lift each muscle group 1x per week

▪ Rep ranges per goals

o 1-5 reps = Strength

o 6-12 = Hypertrophy (size)

o 12+ = Endurance

 

▪ Starting with endurance rep ranges for a few months moving to or rotating through hypertrophy and strength rep ranges is a good way to plan your program.
▪ Do 3-4 exercises for each muscle group.

▪ Do 3-4 sets per exercise.
o Example: Day 1- biceps

o 3 sets of DB bicep curls. 10-12 reps each set.

o 3 sets of cable curls. 10-12 reps each set.

o 3 sets of concentration curls. 10-12 reps each set.

 

This is a typical split where you lift each muscle group once per week. Great for newbies. These splits can be put into a 3, 4 or 5 day splits. Here is one example:
▪ Day 1: Back

▪ Day 2: Chest

▪ Day 3: Rest

▪ Day 4: Legs and abs

▪ Day 5: Biceps and triceps

▪ Day 6: Shoulders

▪ Day 7: Rest
OR
▪ Day 1: Back and biceps

▪ Day 2: Rest

▪ Day 3: Chest, shoulders and triceps

▪ Day 4: Rest

▪ Day 5: Legs and abs

▪ Day 6: Rest

▪ Day 7: Rest

The Intermediate Split

 

▪ A person that has lifted 2-5 years.

▪ Lift each muscle group 2x per week for increased volumes.
▪ Rep ranges per goals

o 1-5 reps = Strength

o 6-12 = Hypertrophy (size)

o 12+ = Endurance

 

▪ Vary the rep ranges rep ranges when working muscle groups multiple times per week. (see below)

▪ Do 3-4 exercises for each muscle group.

▪ Do 3-4 sets per exercise.
o Example: Day 1- biceps

o 3 sets of DB bicep curls. 10-12 reps each set.

o 3 sets of cable curls. 10-12 reps each set.

o 3 sets of concentration curls. 10-12 reps each set

 

This is a split where you work muscle groups twice per week in differing rep ranges. Great for beginners with good form and intermediate lifters. A typical example is a push/pull split:
Push movements: chest, shoulders, triceps
Pull movements: back, biceps
▪ Workout A: Pull- Back,biceps + core – high reps 15-20

▪ Workout B: Push- Chest, shoulders, triceps- heavy reps 6-8

▪ Workout C: Legs – high reps 15-20

▪ Workout D: Pull- Back, biceps + core -heavy reps 6-8

▪ Workout E: Push- Chest, shoulders, triceps- high rep 15-20

▪ Workout F: Legs -heavy reps 6-8

▪ Rest.

 

Experienced Lifters’ Split

 

This is a great split for experienced lifters who have lifted for 5+ years to bring up weak muscle groups. You will work a weak muscle group 3x per week while continuing to lift other muscle groups 2x per week. If you have a very strong muscle group, you can bring that down to 1x per week. This helps to create overall symmetry between muscle groups.
Say you need to bring up your shoulders while your back, biceps and triceps are in a good place but your legs are da-bomb (this is my scenario). I would do something like this:
▪ Day 1: Shoulders+ core – 15-20 rep range

▪ Day 2: Back, biceps, triceps – 8-10 rep range

▪ Day 3: Shoulders + core- 3-5 rep ranges

▪ Day 4: Legs – 8-10 rep range

▪ Day 5: Shoulders + core- 8-10 rep range

▪ Day 6: Back, biceps, triceps – 15-20 rep range

▪ Day 7: Rest
What ever program you are working, pay attention to symmetry over time. Tailor the program to your own lifestyle taking into account the 4 things I mentioned above that needed to be considered before sitting down to devise a plan.
Make sure whatever exercises you now plan to include, that you research them properly. Research proper form. Research exactly what muscle group etc they will work. You will realise that some of the more compound movements will work more than one muscle group, eg. Deadlift.
Don’t be afraid to play around with the exercises. Find what works for you. But give yourself 6-8 weeks before changing up your plan. Make sure you make a conscious effort to stick to it, keeping the end goal in sight. Happy lifting 💕

Sophs xx

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