Above all things, the most important aspect of building muscle is the stimulation of those muscles during an intense workout.
To ensure all the hard work and commitment you are putting into your workouts actually pays off, creating a set structure should be seen as crucial. I call this your weekly workout split and today's post will outline the exact ways to ensure your workout split is working in your favor!
How things were at the beginning…
Think back to when you started working out, for most of us our routine and workout program was little more than training a few muscle groups whenever we felt like it. After only training the 'big' muscles and the ones we could see when wearing our favourite shirts, we realised that training in this manner really wasn't getting results, it wasn't applying the appropriate amount of stress to our entire body and didn't supply us with enough recovery time for our muscles to actually grow!
Time for some changes…
So you woke up to the fact that your old ways weren't working and implemented some much needed changes. It's at this point where you may have gone in the right direction or got influenced by others and followed the wrong path. The fact is each person's weekly workout split can be right for some and wrong for others, but following the exact same split that someone else is using will most likely NOT work for you.
Take a look at your current split right now and ask yourself how you came up with it?
Making things simple…
For purely bodybuilding with the intention to build muscle fast, you are going to need a workout split which targets each muscle group as much as physically possible while supplying sufficient recovery times throughout the entire week.
Here's how to break down each individual muscle;
Here is a break down of each muscle group that we apply during our workouts;
Biceps & Forearms
At this level, we have 8 different muscle groups to target throughout the week. You now need to ask yourself;
Which days during the week can you workout?
Which bodyparts do you feel need the most development?
Combining muscle groups together…
For most of us, free time isn't something we have a lot of, so I recommend that you create a split based on 4 training days per week with the option of a 5th.
For this to work effectively you will need to train different muscle groups together on the same day. This is where lots of people make mistakes that will ultimately be slowing their results.
The common belief that training chest with triceps and back with biceps is ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT.
I honestly don't care where or who you heard it from but the fact is, training 2 muscle groups that compliment (support) each other during an exercise, means that the supporting muscle CANNOT be trained at maximum capacity during a workout due to it being partially fatigued before being fully isolated.
Let's say you are training chest & triceps on the same day and your muscles capacity is at 100% when you walk into the gym. Your first exercise is the tried and trusted barbell bench press which uses your chest muscles as primary and your tricep muscles as a secondary supporting muscle. After performing 6 sets of bench press, your chest muscles are now at a capacity of 60%, due to using this exercise your triceps have also been recruited heavily and are now at a capacity of 75% meaning that they CANNOT be correctly targeted during this same workout because they are already partially fatigued.
Now if you're still thinking that for example, training biceps on a Monday and back on a Tuesday (which uses biceps in back exercises) you were not giving your biceps enough time to recover and are at risk of overtraining, my answer is simple;
When a muscle is recruited in a supporting or secondary role, it is not stimulated to a level high enough to impact on it's growth. Although it is fatigued, it will be fully recovered within several hours post workout and can be trained as primary the following day.
The correct way around this is to ensure you combine muscle groups that DO NOT impact on eachother during exercises.
Here is how I recommend combining muscle groups around their sizes and exercise mechanics;
CHEST with BICEPS/FOREARMS
BACK with TRICEPS
SHOULDERS with TRAPS
LEGS with CORE
You now need to spread these over a full 7 day week.
Due to the fact that I am not sure which days you can workout, instead of listing Monday to Sunday, I will list from day 1 to day 7;
DAY 1CHEST & BICEP/FOREARMS
DAY 2BACK & TRICEPS
DAY 3REST DAY
DAY 4LEGS & CORE
DAY 6REST DAY
DAY 7REST DAY OR REPEAT DAY 4
It's really simple, you now know the most effective way to combine all the muscle groups.
All you need to do now is organise them around your availability and ensure the muscle that needs most attention is trained on the 4th day of your split so it has over 48 hours of recovery before being retrained again on day 7.
I hope all of the above answers some questions for you and helps you create a better schedule for your training.