Fitness and Nutrition

How is this workout split?

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[OP]
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Dec 27, 2011
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Waterloo

How is this workout split?

Hey everyone, I wanted your thoughts on this workout split. Some info first. I've been working out off and on for years, got back into it about 6 months ago and I want to change things up a bit. I do a mixture of compound and isolation exercises (I try to do more compound as those are generally better). My goal is to get bigger. My rep range is 8-12 using good form (if form is bad then your using too much weight). Once I can do 11 or 12 reps for every set, I move up in weight. 60 seconds between sets. Here is the workout split I'm debating on doing:

Day 1: Back and Biceps
Day 2: Legs and Shoulders
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Chest and Triceps
Day 5: Cardio

- I didn't want to do Back/Biceps and Chest/Triceps on back to back days as Back and Chest are both upper body and Biceps and Triceps are both arms.
- I figured Shoulders would be better the day after Back instead of the day after Chest as chest exercises use shoulders a fair bit.
- I didn't want a split larger then 5 days as I don't want to train each muscle too infrequently.

Thoughts? How can I improve this?
29 replies
Deal Fanatic
May 14, 2009
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You don't have enough frequency for each muscle group. Look up the Wernbom review or Eric Helms' stuff and you will see that naturals should work each muscle group 2-3 X per week for a total of 40-70 reps each time (cross over volume counts toward total reps). You talked about not wanting to work muscles too infrequently, but that's the main problem with the program. Once a week frequency is fine for people's PEDs or advanced/elite level trainees. To prioritize strength, ensure 3/4 volume is in the 1-6 rep range and to prioritize hypertrophy, ensure 3/4 volume is in the 6-12 rep range.
[OP]
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Dec 27, 2011
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I'm not really doing each muscle once per week though, but rather once every 5 days.
I'd imagine that doing each muscle 3 times per week is too much...that's basically once every other day. Can't see how not giving the muscles enough rest to recover and rebuild is a good thing.
I suppose I can just take out the rest day as the cardio day is just cardio. So then I'd be doing each muscle every 4 days...or essentially twice per week.
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Nov 15, 2010
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I'd also recommend doing more frequency if you've only been going for less than a year. You can try an upper body/lower body split and do something like this:

1) Lower body
2) Upper body
3) Cardio
4) Lower body
5) Upper body
6) Cardio
7) Rest

You could also do full body workout 3 days per week. I used to think that full body workouts or upper body/lower body splits wouldn't get results and that training a muscle 3 times per week was too much, but I have changed my mind. I think that's better for a beginner/intermediate lifter.
Deal Fanatic
May 14, 2009
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crystallight wrote: I'm not really doing each muscle once per week though, but rather once every 5 days.
I'd imagine that doing each muscle 3 times per week is too much...that's basically once every other day. Can't see how not giving the muscles enough rest to recover and rebuild is a good thing.
I suppose I can just take out the rest day as the cardio day is just cardio. So then I'd be doing each muscle every 4 days...or essentially twice per week.
You're right, the meta analysis must be wrong.

Sounds like you already know what you want to do.
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Nov 7, 2009
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scarberia
Day 1: Back and Biceps
Day 2: Legs and Shoulders
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Chest and Triceps
Day 5: Cardio

not bad...

id do this:

Day 1: Back and triceps
Day 2: chest and Shoulders and abz
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: quads and hamstrings day and triceps/forearms
Day 5: rest
day 6 deadlifts,full arms day
day 7 rest

well usually i do workout day, rest day and repeat

or just usually mon, wed fridays....weekends off :D

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Deal Expert
Nov 7, 2009
16955 posts
1538 upvotes
scarberia
Day 1: Back and Biceps
Day 2: Legs and Shoulders
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Chest and Triceps
Day 5: Cardio

not bad...

id do this:

Day 1: Back and triceps
Day 2: chest and Shoulders and abz
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: quads and hamstrings day and triceps/forearms
Day 5: rest
day 6 deadlifts,full arms day
day 7 rest

well usually i do workout day, rest day and repeat

or just usually mon, wed fridays....weekends off :D

#kinobody
i5 2500k PC RIP | Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB SSD | Samsung 840 Pro 256 gb SSD | Eco Coolit hybrid | MSI P67A-GD53 (B3) | 16 gb DDR3 RAM | GeForce GTS 450 x 2 SLI | Antec TP 650W modular | Antec 300 case | ACER H236HL IPS | DIR-880L AC router | Buffalo LS421DE NAS | Windows 8.1 Pro
Newbie
Jul 3, 2016
93 posts
84 upvotes
crystallight wrote: Hey everyone, I wanted your thoughts on this workout split. Some info first. I've been working out off and on for years, got back into it about 6 months ago and I want to change things up a bit. I do a mixture of compound and isolation exercises (I try to do more compound as those are generally better). My goal is to get bigger. My rep range is 8-12 using good form (if form is bad then your using too much weight). Once I can do 11 or 12 reps for every set, I move up in weight. 60 seconds between sets. Here is the workout split I'm debating on doing:

Day 1: Back and Biceps
Day 2: Legs and Shoulders
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Chest and Triceps
Day 5: Cardio

- I didn't want to do Back/Biceps and Chest/Triceps on back to back days as Back and Chest are both upper body and Biceps and Triceps are both arms.
- I figured Shoulders would be better the day after Back instead of the day after Chest as chest exercises use shoulders a fair bit.
- I didn't want a split larger then 5 days as I don't want to train each muscle too infrequently.

Thoughts? How can I improve this?
If you like this type of split then stick with it. The best split is the one that allows you to be consistent.

Now to touch on your split I have a few questions:

1) do you do deadlifts on back day and squats on leg day? If yes, then your squats will suffer since your back for support.

2) as everyone is different, I would never be able to complete a shoulder workout after a leg workout.

Here are some great four day splits I have used in the past:

Legs
Chest/tris
Rest
Back/bis
Shoulders
Rest
---
Legs
Chest/tris
Back/bis
Shoulders (can do triceps here instead of chest)
Rest
---
Chest/tris
Back/bis
Rest
Legs
Shoulders
Rest
---

Notes- I would usually traps and abs with shoulders. I preferred to hit triceps with chest so that they were recovered by the next chest day.

Right now my training looks like this:

Back/rear delts/traps/biceps
Chest/shoulders/triceps
Legs
Back/rear delts/traps/biceps
Chest/shoulders/triceps
Legs (if needed)

Lower volume, and weights are cycled meaning first part of the program I focus bigger movements like deads, flat bench, squats and second half is higher rep with a focus on time under tension.

This is more of an in depth routine, but the others I also, got great results.

Like I said just stay consistent and when you develope a program try to use one that will not cause a pre-exhausted muscle group to hinder your next workout.
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Deal Fanatic
May 14, 2009
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1211 upvotes
But working a muscle group just once a week isn't enough frequency for naturals. Wernbom meta analysis, and all that jazz ;) The programs that are arranged as typical bro splits where you work a muscle group once a week are mainly written for either elites or people on gear.
Newbie
Jul 3, 2016
93 posts
84 upvotes
Once per week has worked just fine for me in the past.
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Mar 9, 2007
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Think of the Childre…
Day 1 - Shoulders, Triceps, Abs
Day 2 - Biceps, Back
Day 3 - Rest
Day 4 - Legs, Chest, Abs

WOULD SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!
Deal Fanatic
May 14, 2009
6402 posts
1211 upvotes
CanProDan wrote: Once per week has worked just fine for me in the past.
Ah, the ol 'it worked for me'.
Newbie
Jul 3, 2016
93 posts
84 upvotes
amz155 wrote:
CanProDan wrote: Once per week has worked just fine for me in the past.
Ah, the ol 'it worked for me'.
Anything works as long as you're consistent with it. Can you say that a once per week routine doesn't work? I feel the problem with fitness and nutrition these days is that people try to over complicate things. Sure science may claim this will and that will work better, but if it's unrealistic for you to put into practice, you're not able to be consistent, or you simply don't like them, then they just won't work as good for you than a basic routine or diet.

Sure, theory is great, but when you start putting it into practice it's a different story.

For me, I like once per week because I could mentally focus better on one muscle group that day, so yes, it did work great for me. I'm doing a split right now that is twice per week and although I like it, I don't like it as much as once per week.
Owner and Founder of Canadian Protein
Deal Fanatic
May 14, 2009
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CanProDan wrote:
amz155 wrote:
CanProDan wrote: Once per week has worked just fine for me in the past.
Ah, the ol 'it worked for me'.
Anything works as long as you're consistent with it. Can you say that a once per week routine doesn't work? I feel the problem with fitness and nutrition these days is that people try to over complicate things. Sure science may claim this will and that will work better, but if it's unrealistic for you to put into practice, you're not able to be consistent, or you simply don't like them, then they just won't work as good for you than a basic routine or diet.

Sure, theory is great, but when you start putting it into practice it's a different story.

For me, I like once per week because I could mentally focus better on one muscle group that day, so yes, it did work great for me. I'm doing a split right now that is twice per week and although I like it, I don't like it as much as once per week.
I guess there are really two questions at play: will it work? And will it work optimally?

I'm all for not complicating things. I'm a natural lifter for now so I just do the minimum amount of work that's been shown to optimize hypertrophy. I work it as a four day upper/lower split. Been using the template for about three years. Nothing complicated about it! If I used less frequency this whole time, I definitely feel like I wouldn't have achieved as much hypertrophy as I do with working everyone 2x per week. If I wasn't lazy af I'd throw in a fifth day. But four days a week is enough.
Deal Addict
Jun 21, 2016
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with your split it would be better to not do back and leg day back to back, this will put strain on the lower back. When you said you didn't want to do back/chest back to back because it's both upper body, then wouldn't doing back and legs/shoulders back to back be the same since shoulders is upper body too?

I'd put the rest days before leg and back day, and do chest before back day or after

Day 1: Back and Biceps
Day 2: Chest and Triceps
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Legs and Shoulders
Day 5: Cardio

Your training is fine, as long as you're getting stronger then your body is progressing and will grow. When you aren't getting stronger then you either:

1) need more rest
2) need more food

If you're natural, training 2x a week is only for noobs who have noob gains or those who are enhanced who can recover at faster rates. After you are able to train the muscle efficiently (not a noob), it needs to recover and rest for longer periods of time. 1x a week is more than enough for gaining muscle.

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