They say that consistency is the key to success. The same rule applies when you want to reach a certain fitness goal. Being consistent and following a good and adapted workout routine are crucial to achieve results in the gym. However, when you’re new to the gym world, you can easily get confused when building a proper workout plan to follow.
This article will present some of the most famous options you can choose from when creating your routine.
Things to take into consideration
-How many days a week can you work out?
-How well do you recover?
-What is your goal? Weight loss? Weight gain? Endurance? Strength?
-Is there a particular muscle group you want to focus on?
-What is your experience at the gym?
The different workout splits
It basically consists of training your whole body in a single workout.
For that, you choose one to two exercises per muscle group. It is perfect for beginners and can show great results. However, you cannot do it two days in a row, as you need to give your muscles at least 48h to recover.
This one means that you would divide your workouts into “lower-body days” where you’d train legs and “upper-body days”. This is suitable for people who want a balanced body or put a strong emphasis on their leg/booty gains. It is arguably one of the best split for women as their goal usually is to focus on their lower-body, while still maintaining a fit and toned upper body.
A Push/Pull split is great as your body will work the way it is meant to, meaning that muscles used to perform the same movement will be working together during the whole workout. For example, a pushing movement will primarily involve your chest, shoulders and triceps’ muscles that will work together. During a pull-workout, you would be working on your back and biceps (possibly traps too).
If you wish to split your routine into three workouts, you should do a Push/Pull/Legs split. However if you prefer to divide it in two days, you can add your leg-workout to the pull day.
Split by muscle group
This is one of the most commonly chosen workout routines among gym-goers. You simply focus on one big muscle group per workout, or on one big muscle and its smaller counter part. For example, the first option could look like this:
day one: Chest
day two: Back
day three: Legs
day four: Shoulders
day five: Arms (Biceps and Triceps)
The latter would be like:
day one: Chest and triceps
day two: Back and biceps
day three: Legs
day four: Shoulders
The advantage of this split is that you can really target the muscle you want to work on. However, you can usually only work on it once a week.
You also have the option of putting chest and back together in the same workout, repeating it twice a week, which is what Arnold Schwarznegger used to do, to get a ridiculous upper body pump.
Perfect for beginners but also for regular gym-goers who want to improve their strength gains. This split consists of performing only the big compound movement (i.e. our article in our previous issue about the magic of compound movements), for 5 sets of 5 reps. You would therefore majorly do squats, deadlifts, bench-press, overhead press and barbell rows (sometimes pull-ups too). As you would hit the weights pretty heavily, it is recommended to train only three to four times a week so your body can recover from that gruelling workout.
A few examples of routines depending on the time you are willing to put in to achieving your goal
-2 days split (non-consecutive days)
. Two full-body days.
. Two half-body workouts, with one lower and one upper-body training.
. A push day (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps) and a Pull/Leg-day (Back, Legs, Biceps).
. Two 5×5 trainings.
-3 days split (non-consecutive days)
. Three full body workouts.
. Two upper-body and one lower-body training (or vice-versa if you wish to focus on legs)
. A push-pull-legs split
.Three 5×5 workouts
-4 days split
. Four half-body trainings, distributed according to your priorities (lower body or upper body gains)
. A four days split by muscle group as shown before
. Four 5×5 trainings, even though this may be a lot and the exercises would have to be picked wisely to allow for a good recovery
-5/6 days of training
. A split by muscle group, a prioritised muscle can be trained once again if given at least 48h of recovery.
These are only a few of the several options you may hear about.
Please bear in mind that in fitness, there is no “one size fits all” as there is not one best routine. We all have different bodies that will respond differently to training. This is why your workout routine should be personal and you should try what works for you and your goals. If needed, ask a friend who is into fitness for advice, do your research on the web or even come and talk to our personal trainers at Corner4 on campus.
Till then, stay strong!