Splits Info Part1

by Lyle McDonald

Hi. Well, having covered periodization in adequate detail, I would
like to say a couple more things aimed at the intermediate weight
trainers out there. At this point, the waters get a bit muddy regarding
what is "right", "best" or whatever. I'm not going to try to say that this
is the "best" routine for you. However, if you are an advanced beginner/
intermediate, this info may help you make the next step to a more advanced
routine.

What I would like to talk about this time is split routines. Now there
are about a billion different split routines and every one has their
favorite. Whether it be a 2on/1off or 3on/1 off split or whatever.
Only through experimentation can you discover what's best for you.
What I would like to present are two basic splits. In a way, splitting
workouts is very similar to periodization. Both techniques present
varying stimuli to the muscles in an effort to prevent a plateau. They
can be used simultaneously if desired. This would create a scenario
similar to the one I described where macrcycles, mesocycles, and
minicycles are all used within the scheme of periodization.

First, let me discuss exercise intensity briefly. Most likely, you started
out with and have been continuing with a standard three day, full-body
routine which is normal for most beginners. And this works great in
the beginning and as long as intensity is fairly low. However, as you
progress and start pushing harder, working each muscle group three
times a week begins to be too much and recovery is compromised.

In my opinion, unless you are a) on steroids or b) very genetically
gifted, working any muscle hard more than once a week is probably
too much. Hitting each muscle hard once a week and once easier seems
to work well for the "average" weight trainer. Too many high intensity
workouts merely put you in a state of overtraining or get you injured.
Both situations are extrememly undesirable.

So, here are a couple of basic splits. The first maintains the standard
three day per week workout with slight modification. It looks like this.
Mon: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Abs hard
Tue: Off or aerobics
Wed: Back, Biceps, Legs hard
Thu: Off or aerobics
Fri: Whole body easy
Sat: Off or aerobics
Sun: Off
The body is split over the first two workout days and are worked hard
and then an easy full body workout is performed on Friday. On the hard
days, since you have less muscle groups to work, you can do two or three
exercises per body part to work each a bit harder. For example, you could do
incline bench press and dumbbell flyes for chest. Do, 4-5 sets of each
exercise pyramiding the sets (15,12,10,8,6) or something similar. The
last three sets should be rep max sets meaning that you use a weight
with which you can only get 10, 8, or 6 strict reps. When you can get
more than six good reps on the last set, it's time to raise the weight.
On Friday, do one exercise per bodypart keeping the weight down,3-4 sets
and reps higher (12-15 range). This day just gets you into the gym
and gets some blood into the muscles.
Note that the split I've outlined (basically a push-pull) can be changed
according to preference. Another common one is:
Mon: Chest, Back, Shoulders
Wed: Biceps, Triceps, Legs
Fri: Whole Body

Choice between the two depends greatly upon personal preference. My current
split (for what it's worth) is
Mon: Whole body easy
Wed: Upper body moderate to hard
Fri: Lower body hard
I choose to split my workouts this way because, as a cyclist, I need more
focus on my lower body with less on upper. And, since I take Sat and Sun off,
working my legs on Friday gives them adequate time to recover without
compromising my cycling/skating workouts during the week.

In the second part of this series, I will outline a couple other common splits.
If you're just tuning in and missed some of my previous articles, a catalog
is available upon request from lyle…@delphi.com.
Lyle

source: misc.fitness newsgroup, 24 Jan 94.
Part 2 >

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