Which Split to Choose?
If you’ve ever looked into working out, or you are currently working out, you have probably been asked or curious about your “split”. This isn’t anything fancy, it’s just how you split up your workouts. Workouts can be centered around the whole body, multiple body parts, or even just one.
Now, none are necessarily better than the other. It just comes down to your preference and what you are trying to accomplish.
However, let’s breakdown what each looks like.
One Body Part Per Day
This is a very common approach because it has a ton of focus. You are going to be walking into the gym and only worrying about one body part. That may mean legs, arms, shoulders, back, chest, or abs. Regardless, you just worry about hitting that one section of the body.
When doing so, you can approach this by choosing multiple exercises that will hit the same things, but from various angles. If bodybuilding is a goal, this is a great approach. It can really help to dial in the details for your physique.
Now, you will also have a longer workout week in theory. Each of your workouts will be focused on something different. This means that you aren’t overloading the same body parts multiple times a week. Doing things this way allows for a much more manageable volume on the body.
If you are someone who likes to hit the gym every day of the week, this would be a great approach for you.
Multiple Body Parts
This is very similar to the first, except you are adding in one or two more body parts. This is great if you are someone who is trying to minimize the amount of time you spend in the gym. You can choose a couple of areas that you want to hit, focus on those, and get it done.
For example, you may hit shoulders and arms. Your workout would focus a ton on hitting various angles of the shoulder and then follow up with something to build the arms up. Instead of having to come to the gym seven days a week, you can cut down to 4-5 instead.
This is an attractive approach for many people because it saves time, but also allows for you to put the proper focus on each muscle group. The more you try to do in one day, the less focus there will be.
Doing multiple body parts is also a great option for someone looking to maximize their muscle potential or even body build. The focus and attention to detail is still there, which is crucial for these goals.
This approach has become quite popular recently. People are busier than they ever have been. Thus, everyone is looking for the most bang for their time. Hitting a quick, full-body workout seems to do the trick.
This usually entails that you come into the gym and hit a general area on the upper body and also pair that with some compound exercise on the lower body. This is also popular to approach as a sort of circuit. You basically set up stations for the exercises you want to do and do them back to back in a circuit fashion. This is possible because while you are hitting one area of the body, you can let the other rest. Low rest times, high intensity, and compound movements are a great combination. However, always keep safety first!
With this approach, you also want to allow the body to rest. Since you are doing multiple things in one session, you will need more recovery days. Instead of going to the gym 5-7 days of the week, you can get by with 3-4.
Again, it depends on your preference, goals, and schedule.
A Push/Pull Split
This split can be similar to either the two body parts or even the whole-body split. Really this approach comes down the type of movement that is being done. There are pushing movements such as pressing or squatting, and then there are pulling movements such as deadlifts or rows. These movements use different muscle types and provide varying stimuli for the muscles.
You can combine the two into a really good workout that covers a lot of bases and allows for a higher volume of work.
For example, you can do a push/pull day using pressing and deadlifts. This would work the whole body, but also be utilizing the push/pull approach. While you are resting from the pressing, you are using different muscle types on the deadlifts and vice versa.
Another way to approach this would be a total upper body day. You can combine bench pressing movements with rowing movements. While you are pressing, you can recover from the pulling and while you are pulling you can recover from the pressing. This is a great structure if you want to utilize super sets.
Lastly, you could just split your week up this way. Monday may be a push day for you, so all of the movements would be some sort of pushing pattern. Then, the next day would be a pulling day and you would primarily focus on movements that involve that pulling motion.
Either one you choose, there are great benefits for you and you will save a ton of time using this approach.
All splits are not the same, but they all have a place in people’s training. What really matters is what that person is trying to achieve. You also have to look at time management, schedule, and preference in exercise. All of which should be considered to make the best choice on exercise split.
You can also play around with different approaches and see which one sits best with you. Remember, the program you like the most and have fun doing will be the most successful!