What is the best training split and why?
Welcome back Gym and Japan Fam!!! For those who have been training for a while now, we should all know the many varieties of training splits. This blog delves a little deeper into each one and will hopefully teach both beginners and veteran gym rats, the different types, their benefits and why we should or shouldn’t do them.
So, what are the different splits?
Now before we go further into these, lets see what the current research says about training in the gym:
“Most body parts, to be broad, should ideally be training 2 times per week, aiming to hit 10-20 sets per muscle group per week as a general rule”
With this in mind, we will now analyse the splits listed above…
So for me personally (Jake) I have run this type of split for a number of years. It is great for those who are able to train 6 days a week to ensure each muscle is targeted twice a week. It is also a good option because even if you did miss a day or two, you have at least targeted that group of muscles at least once that week.
I (Haydon) also agree with this, I'd say that push pull legs would be classified as intermediate to advanced because it does require a bit of commitment to go 6 days a week and great for those who like training legs like we do!
If you are looking for a good push /pull /legs program we recommend Jeff Nippard's website or Chris Bumstead's app! Super simple and easy to follow and a lot of guidance for newcomers.
Both can be found below :)
This type of split can often be great for more advanced lifters but also for those who are short on time and only able to train 4 times per week. For someone with more time or who are advanced, this can be run 3 days a week, where the upper portion can be divided into:
Upper 1 - chest focused
Upper 2 - Back focused
Upper 3 - Shoulder and arm focused
And the lower portion, rather than smashing the entire lower body each session 3 times per week, it may look more like:
Lower 1 - Quad focused
Lower 2 - Hamstring and glute focused
Lower 3 - Full lower focus
Otherwise there is the alternate route of doing 4 days per week and focusing more broadly on each muscle in each session to ensure we hit the muscle 2 times per week.
Now before we continue, I want to mention, it is not completely crucial to hit the body part twice a week, but more so to try and evenly spread those 10-20 working sets per week over multiple training days. Which now leads me into the next split...
I (Haydon) am a big fan of a full body workout but I wouldn't recommend this if you are looking to train 5 times a week because you will generally need 2 days (48 hours) recovery to be able to complete the next full body session. I mean you could split it but if you were to do that, why not just do push/ pull/ legs or some other split? It would be ideal for someone new to the gym where you would train 3-4 times a week. When completing these it is important to switch it up with different types of exercises for each muscle group, this will help develop your muscles better. For example you wouldn’t always do a leg press but you might switch it up and do a single leg press or a back squat. With a good program and structure it has the possibility to produce great results for those starting out or have limited time each week.
In my opinion (Jake) I did this workout split for almost 6 months and absolutely loved it. You train 5 days a week, going super intense and heavy on each of your exercises because you know you’re only working that body part once for that day. You still also get your weekly volume in too. Making this a great split, being 3 days a week or even 5 days a week. If doing 5 days, you can also ‘prioritise’ a specific muscle group, for example, on a ‘leg’ focused day, you would do a heavy squat and and RDL, then everything else would be upper body.
The way to do this properly is to work from the biggest muscle groups to the smallest but there are so many ways to do this and that's why I love it! You can do complete body weight exercises if you are at home, fully machine based if you are unsure of the gym or you can use dumbbells and other weights if you know what you are doing! This is what I started in the gym then moved up into Push/ Pull Legs.
Sample workout advanced:
All exercises 3 sets of 10 reps for simplicity and easy to remember.
Honestly not a fan. This sucks. 5 days a week training then party on weekends they say. And only one muscle group per day. No real gains will be made here...unless you have some of that good juice
Simple explanation for each
Push/Pull/Legs - ⭐Our recommendation⭐ Intermediate to Advanced but great if you are looking to put on a lot of size. We would also say that you’d need a decent understanding of most exercises to be able to do this.
Upper/Lower - Intermediate but has the potential to be advanced if you split it more and did 3 of each per week. This would mean A LOT of leg days which we would not be against.. You need some kind of idea of the gym to be able to complete this but not as complex as push pull legs
Full Body - From basic/ beginner plan because you can choose a simple exercise for each muscle group each session and away you go. Can also be adapted into a more advanced plan also very easily.
Bro Split - Like to party on the weekend? And hate legs? This is the workout for you. *Leg day is optional most of the time* HAHA!
Also remember when doing a program to keep track of your progress because the aim in the gym is to always improve so if you are always doing the same weights you will never improve.. Each week you should aim to either do more weight, reps or sets and obviously don’t go up too much because you can cause an injury.
Honestly when training in the gym it is all about personal preference and every person is different with the goals they want to achieve. Some people might just want to get a bit stronger and only train 3 times a week so a full body workout could be for you. Or you are free 6 days a week, super motivated to get huge then push/pull/ legs could be for you!
Don't forget supplements are important for muscle growth. We will be talking about them in the coming weeks so keep an eye out!
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