Training Splits by Seth King
Below is a guest post by Strength & Conditioning specialist Seth King of King Fitness Solutions. It’s about how to structure your weight training routine – something that’s of paramount importance to anyone looking to get fit!
So you know how to use the machines, do a squatting exercise, curl a dumbbell or two. But now what?
As a trainer and strength & conditioning specialist, I’m asked a lot of questions on a daily basis about a wide variety of things pertaining to health and fitness. Questions like, “how do I get rid of my bingo flaps?” and “can you make my butt look bigger? It’s too flat.” (both true stories to speak of another day). Of all of the great and sometimes hilarious inquiries, workout routine organization–or program design–seems consistently to hold the majority of confusion among my clients and friends alike. Especially when it comes to lifting weights–an essential part of anyone’s workout routine.
In the fitness biz and bodybuilding world, this “exercise organization” is called a “training split“, referring to splitting up different exercises strategically throughout a week. And the simple truth is that you may be missing out on some serious results if you are just randomly putsing around the gym or your basement, going into your exercise session without any strategic flow of exercise order.
I want to clear it all up for you right now and give you a few practical, down-to-earth training splits that you can easily use from now on when you hit the gym or the basement. Here are a few tried and true, results-getting, goal-reaching approaches to organizing your exercises each week:
1.) Mowfri (or Mo-W-Fri)
The Monday, Wednesday, Friday arrangement for lifting days is ideal for someone who has just begun to add weight lifting (good choice!) into their normal exercise routine. With this plan, hit the weights on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with a full body routine. I suggest picking one exercise for each body part–whichever you’ve found to be most effective. Start a circuit with the largest muscle groups and then continue on to the smaller muscle groups (i.e. hamstrings–>quads–>glutes–>back–>chest [...]). Repeat this circuit at least once so that you end up completing 2 to 3 sets of each exercise.
Monday–Front Squats, lunges, single-leg bridges, pull ups, magnet dumbbell press, supinating dumbbell curls, close grip pushups
Wednesday–Front Squats, lunges, single-leg bridges, pull ups, magnet dumbbell press, supinating dumbbell curls, close grip pushups
Friday–Front Squats, lunges, single-leg bridges, pull ups, magnet dumbbell press, supinating dumbbell curls, close grip pushups
2) Lower Body / Upper Body
This kind of routine works optimally for beginning-intermediate weight lifter. Dividing your week into TWO exercise patterns increases the workout’s intensity and concentration on developing muscle groups. This also keeps it interesting as doing full body workouts 3x/week can start to become pretty monotonous. Begin this training split by creating two exercise routines: one that targets only lower body muscles (quads, glutes, hams, calves) and one that targets only upper body muscles (chest, back, arms, abs, shoulders). NOW, adjust your training to fit in FOUR days each week. In order to provide adequate resting for your muscles to recover between sessions, give yourself at least 2 days rest before you work the same muscle groups again. MY favorite way:
3) Push / Pull
Dividing your weight training days into pushing movements only and pulling movements only is another way for the intermediate weight lifter to change things up a bit. Again working out FOUR times per week, use the same schedule above Monday through Friday, replacing lower body day with PULL-only day and replacing upper body with a PUSH-only day.
Your pull day should be a full-body exercise day consisting of only exercises that involve pulling weight towards your body. Examples of pulling exercises are: Deadlifts, Lat Pulldowns, Cable Flyes, Biceps Curls…
Likewise, your “other” day should be a PUSH-only day, consisting only of exercises which require you to push away away from your body. Examples of these are: Squats, Bench Presses, Triceps Kickbacks…
This is one of my favorite way to train because it’s so unique, so PRIMAL, and so effective.
So what do YOU think? Are you sick of randomly moving through several exercises? Do you have any routines that have worked wonders for your fitness goals?
These are just 3 of my favorite training splits for beginning to intermediate-experienced weight lifters. Check back soon here at Fitness for Humans or at my blog for two more, intermediate to advanced methods of organizing your workouts!
Check back soon at www.kingfitnesssolutions.com for part two of this article, where Seth will go over his two favorite training splits for more advanced weight lifters.
Seth King, SPT, CSCS hails from Michigan, USA and works as a personal trainer and strength & conditioning coach for Gold’s Gym in Howell, MI. He currently studies at The University of Michigan-Flint in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, hoping to specialize in orthopedics and sports therapy.
Seth is the owner/author of www.KingFitnessSolutions.com (hyperlink), where he writes about health, fitness, and rehab. Connect with him on Facebook @ ( www.facebook.com/KingFitnessSolutions ) or on Twitter @KFS_fitness !