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Split Routines – Experienced Lifters Use This Technique

Elvis Elvis

The split routine is not a new concept nor did I just invent it. In fact, many of you more experienced lifters have, probably already used this technique. Also, if you’ve just completed the “Weight Training For Beginners” phase, then you used a variation of the split routine.

For those of you who are relatively new to weight taining, I’m going to show you a simple method for setting up your own 2, 3, 4 or even 6 day split routines, quickly and easily.

But first, here’s the low down on the split routine. You “split” your muscles into parts and work each part on separate days. For example, a three day split routine might look like this:

Day 1: Chest, Biceps, Triceps
Day 2: Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, Abs
Day 3: Back, Shoulders

What this is supposed to do is allow you to more thoroughly work your muscles with many more sets and reps than if you were to do a total body routine.

Split Routines   Experienced Lifters Use This Technique

It’s also supposed to allow you to work the muscles from several angles. For example, a chest workout might look like this:

1. Incline Bench Press for the upper chest.
2. Flat Bench Press for overall chest development.
3. Decline Bench Press for the lower chest.

You’ll notice that you’re working your chest muscles from its different angles, and this really allows you to isolate those pecs. This is great in theory but the truth is that no muscle lives on an island. It’s next to impossible to truly isolate a muscle.

Aside from that fact, trying to isolate any particular muscle leads to unbalanced development, and may even lead to injury.

According to Pavel Tsatsouline in Power To The People (1999), “you should try to avoid one-joint exercises (because) they are inefficient, they negatively effect your athletic performance, and make you more injury prone.”

I realize that pressing exercises are multi joint, but don’t focus on trying to develop one muscle group over another.

Tudor Bompa in Periodization Training For Sports (1999) states that one should “train movements, not individual muscles.”

So we’ll be splitting the body’s muscles according to movements, and we’ll be using mostly compound exercise to work them. These muscle movements can be divided in 4:

1. Upper Body Push: chest, shoulders, triceps
2. Upper Body Pull: back, trapezius, rear deltoids, biceps
3. Lower Body Quad Dominant: quadriceps, gluteals, and to a lesser extent hamstrings and calves
4. Lower Body Hip Dominant: hamstrings, gluteals, lower back, erector spinae, and to a lesser extent trapezius and calves

You can even include the midsection movements, which can be divided in two:

5. Abdominal Rotation: obliques, abdominals
6. Abdominal Pikes: abdominals, obliques

You’ll notice that there is some overlapping between muscle groups in the specific movements. That’s quite alright. That’s how the body is supposed to work.

With this method, it’ll be much easier to set up your own split routines. I’ll get you started with 3 different split routine variations.

You’re going to be splitting up your routines according to muscle movement. I’ll give you a few examples and then I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to figure out what works best for you.

2 Day Split
Day 1 – Upper Body Push, Upper Body Pull, Abdominal Rotation

Day 2 – Lower Body Quad Dominant, Lower Body Hip Dominant, Abdominal Pike

3 Day Split
Day 1 – Upper Body Pull

Day 2 – Upper Body Push

Day 3 – Lower Body Quad, and Hip Dominant, Abdominal Rotation, Abdominal Pike

4 Day Split
Day 1 – Lower Body Hip Dominant

Day 2 – Upper Body Push, Abdominal Rotation

Day 3 – Lower Body Quad Dominant

Day 4 – Upper body Pull, Abdominal Pike

All you have to do now is plug in the exercises according to muscles worked. You can look in the exercise section of my website to get some ideas for which exercises to perform.

Here’s an example of a 2 day split routine that should get your creative juices flowing.

Don’t forget to warm up before your workout, and to stretch afterwards.

Sample 2 Day Split Routine

Day 1 Upper Body Push, and Pull, Ab Rotation

Bench Press 3×8, 1×10
One Arm Rows 3×10
Incline Bench Press 3×12
Upright Rows 3×12
Side Raises 2×15
Triceps Dips 2×15
Reverse Russian Twists 2×15

Day 2

Hamstring Curl In 3×8
One Legged Wall Squat 3×8
Romanian Dead Lift 2×15
Overhead Squats 2×15
Seated Calve Raise 3×15
Weighted Crunches 3×10

You can work this routine in several ways. Here are some options for you to play around with:

1. Here’s an option that’s perfect for the busy person. Because you have more rest days in between workouts, feel free to add a set or two to each exercise. If you’ve only got a couple of days per week to workout, then here’s how you can work this routine:

Sun – Rest
Mon – Day1
Tue – Rest
Wed – Rest
Thu – Day2
Fri – Rest
Sat – Rest

2. This next example allows for maximum recovery. You’ll work the muscle groups twice on one week, and once the next, and so on.

Sun – Rest
Mon – Day1
Tue – Rest
Wed – Day2
Thu – Rest
Fri – Day1
Sat – Rest

Sun – Rest
Mon – Day2
Tue – Rest
Wed – Day1
Thu – Rest
Fri – Day2
Sat – Rest

3. Here’s another option which allows for more volume per muscle per week without adding undue exercises:

Sun – Rest
Mon – Day1
Tue – Day2
Wed – Rest
Thu – Day1
Fri – Day2
Sat – Rest

Or

Sun – Rest
Mon – Day1
Tue – Day2
Wed – Rest
Thu – Day1
Fri – Rest
Sat – Day2

4. This next example is for the individual with loads of time, and an amazing work capacity:

Sun – Rest
Mon – Day1
Tue – Day2
Wed – Day1
Thu – Day2
Fri – Day1
Sat – Day2

That’s all the examples I have for you. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any more variations. Play around with it. I’m sure you can come with something I haven’t even thought of.

The great thing about this two day split is that you can switch it up from week to week. For example, if you’ve only got two days to work out next week, then use the first example of the two workout per week.

If the following week you’ve got four days to work out then use the 4 day example. If the week after that you’re feeling particularly energetic, then use the 6 day example, and so on. You get the picture.

You can also add cardio exercises if you like and perform them during non weight training days. There are so many options with this simple split routine.

The possibilities are almost limitless when you know how to set up your workout split routines. With this simple method of thinking in terms of muscle movements, you can put together powerful routines of your own in no time flat.

Go ahead and give it a shot. You’ll be surprised in what you can come up with.