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  • Ingri Pauline

The Gym 101: P.3: Training Splits and Organizing Your Week

There are many theories on training and a lot of them are pretty good. No, really, they are. Because most people are over-fat and under moved, Literally anything they do will be useful and benefit them greatly. Physical fitness is 80% you DOING SOMETHING and 20% WHAT you do. When we get into weightlifting, we want to work the body evenly and towards our goals. So lets go over how to plan your training for the week.

A well thought out training program will have some guidelines and follows a pattern. It is simple and easy to follow, but at the same time challenges your body enough to make it stronger and build muscle.

A program that changes everyday or have you working in the same movement, body part or intensity for more than three days a week is usually garbage. You will get fatigued or injured and then you will make weird excuses - bored, not enough time - not to go to the gym because you wont recognize what your subconscious does: that this program is hurting you. So I'll go over how to program your training for the week to build strength and avoid fatigue.

Traditional body building has people training what they call splits. You split up the body part training. A regular 4 day split looks like this:

  • Day 1 - Back and Biceps

  • Day 2 - Chest and Triceps

  • Day 3 - OFF

  • Day 4 - Quads, Hamstrings and Calves.

  • Day 5 - Shoulders, Traps and Forearms

  • Day 6 - OFF

  • Day 7 - OFF

This is a nice place to start and if you are training for a body building show, it make sense to focus on training a muscle group. Why? It is aesthetically oriented training and make sure that you hit every major muscle group in your body. This particular 4 day split program is also male oriented; you can tell because they have only programmed lower body once in the entire week. Lame.

I don't train any one like that anymore. Because I don't train professional bodybuilders and I have seen some seriously buff people that can't climb a rope or haul lumber up a ladder for shit.

I like two ways of splitting it: either Upper Body/Lower Body days OR Push/Pull days

In the beginning of your lifting journey, it is easiest to follow a simple outline or template as a workout guide. I gave you a nice little workout template here. With this template you can organize your training into UB/LB splits. This insures that you have enough time to recover before pumping your shoulders again.

If you are a beginner and training only two to three days a week, you need to stick with the combo days and training both upper and lower body on the same day.

  • Day 1 - Lower/Upper Body

  • Day 2 - OFF/Stretch/Walk

  • Day 3 - Lower/Upper Body

  • Day 4 - OFF/Stretch/Walk

  • Day 5 - Lower/Upper Body

  • Day 6 - OFF/Stretch/Walk

  • Day 7 - OFF

Here is a good five day, beginner/intermediate, female training oriented split. I find that most people like to go to the gym five or six days a week when they are in the habit. Where you see the /slash, just choose one or two of the options written.

  • Day 1 - Lower Body

  • Day 2 - Upper Body

  • Day 3 - OFF/Stretch/Walk

  • Day 4 - Lower Body

  • Day 5 - Upper Body

  • Day 6 - Lower Body/Core

  • Day 7 - OFF

Another good way of training is movement function. This is my favorite way of training because it is the most sensible for the real world. most of us not only want to get fit to look good, we also want to be able to participate in cool activities: sailing, hiking, playing with kids, sports, renovating our house. Instead of training muscle groups (aesthetically oriented) we train movement patterns (functionally oriented).

So instead of bicep curls and triceps extensions, you are doing overhead pressing and lat pull-downs. These are typically big movements and allow you to throw heavier weight and build strength much faster than if you were to just lift one muscle group at a time.

It also just makes more sense. In the real world you would literally never come across and activity where you are pressing something backwards using only your elbow joint (aka: a triceps extension) but you do shove, twist, heave and press. Any stage past the absolute beginner stage (lifting for 4x a week consistently for more than 6 months) the press/pull/legs split is great.

So we just split the training between pressing, pulling and legs. On the leg days, you really don't want to do BOTH deadlift and squat. These are the lifts you will move the most weight so it behooves you you heavy deadlift and then do a bunch of accessory work (glutes, hip thrust, lunges) instead of doing heavy squats and deadlifts in the same session. This way you can recover and focus you energy on one big movement.

Here is a good four and five day split. Again, where you see the /slash, just choose one or two of the options written:

  • Day 1 - Press

  • Day 2 - Legs (Deadlift more)

  • Day 3 - OFF/walk/stretch

  • Day 4 - Pull

  • Day 5 - Legs (Squat more)

  • Day 6 - OFF/walk/stretch

  • Day 7 - OFF

  • Day 1 - Press

  • Day 2 - Legs (Deadlift)

  • Day 3 - OFF/walk/stretch

  • Day 4 - Pull

  • Day 5 - Legs (Squat)

  • Day 6 - OFF/walk/stretch

  • Day 7 - Core/Carries/Jumps/Hip Hinge

Make no mistake, you will be sore. But as you get older, NOT doing anything will make your body hurt more anyway. If you workout, YOU are in control of the pain and not the other way around.

Make sure you have a recovery day in between your leg training days because legs take the longest to recover. and yes, an upper body training day counts as a leg recovers day because you are not really using those muscles.

If you are a shiny, new beginner to weightlifting, I suggest you train two or three times a week. But you can get into the habit by going more frequently. Even though you are training twice, go to the gym and just stretch or foam roll of use the sauna. The idea is to get you in the habit of being and existing pleasantly at the gym.

Try out these training splits for a couple of months and you will be pleased with how your training progresses.

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Check out The Gym 101 Series

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