training split

How Should You Split Your Workouts?

What is a Training Split?

Three-day Split Workout

Divide your weekly workout into a three-day training split where you split upper body work into a push/pull routine over two days and work your lower body on a separate day. A typical three-day split would include chest, triceps and shoulder work on Day 1, back and biceps on Day 2, and legs on Day 3.

The Upper/Lower Training Split

One popular option is to train certain groups of muscles together during each science-based workout. An example of this is the upper/lower split, which is a 4 day workout split. Essentially, the upper body is trained on one day and the lower body on the next. This is followed by a day off.

Training Split

  • Monday: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps
  • Wednesday: Back/Biceps/Forearms/Abs
  • Friday: Legs

Workout Duration

  • 3 Hours Max (1-2 For Beginners)
  • Never Fully Exert yourself
  • Advanced Athletes can do 2 a day, one in the morning and one at night

In general, the muscles which you focus on initially will be better activated. Evidence shows that you should focus on the muscle which are most important to you at the start of the workout. This leaves those that you want to focus on less to near the end.

Rest Between Sets

  • No More Than 3 Minutes, Keep Muscles Warm All The Way Through Workout

Your body absolutely needs those days off to rebuild your muscles and prepare for the next workout. Not giving the body sufficient time to do this is guaranteed to result in decreased performance and overall results.

Rep Ranges For Desired Goals

  • Raw Strength: 1-4
  • Strength/Muscle Mass: 5-7
  • Muscle Mass(Hypertrophy): 8-12
  • Deeper Cuts/Muscular Endurance: 12+

To maximize muscle hypertrophy, you will want to aim for sets of 6 – 8 reps. If the weight you are using is too light, you will be able to perform more and if it is too heavy you wont be able to perform quite enough reps.

Volume Per Muscle (Sets x Exercises)

  • Beginner: 3 x 3
  • Intermediate: 3 x 4
  • Advanced: 4 x 4
  • Hardcore: 5 x 4
  • Beast: 5 x 5 (Don’t kid yourself, you’ll need a few years)

*Keep A Training Log To Track Progress

When you use a training log, you give yourself access to your own fitness history, which then allows you to use that information to figure out how to improve your success. That’s what you’re aiming for when you use a training log, or any form of tracking. You collect data, so you can improve your progress.

Training Split Day 1-Chest/Shoulders/Triceps

Chest workout ideas for training.

Chest Exercises

  • Weighted Push-ups
  • Chair or counter top (feet up) push-ups
  • Machine Press
  • Standing Cable Chest Flies
  • Dumbell Chest Flies
  • Incline Dumbell Chest Flies (upper chest)
  • Decline Dumbell Chest Flies (lower chest)
  • Dumbell Press
  • Incline Dumbell Press (upper chest)
  • Decline Dumbell Press (lower chest)
  • Bench Press
  • Inclined Bench Press (upper chest)
  • Decline Bench Press (lower chest)

Shoulder Exercises

  • Arnold Presses
  • Overhead Dumbell Presses
  • Overhead Cable Presses
  • Single handed plate presses
  • Machine Presses
  • Military Presses
  • Behind-The-Neck Military Presses
  • Lateral Flies (Dumbells, Cables, Obscure Objects like chairs)
  • Frontal Flies (Dumbells, Cables, Barbells, EZ-Bar, Obscure)
  • Bent Over Flies (Dumbells or Cables)
  • Shrugs, Shoulder Rolls (Trapezius – connects neck, shoulders, and back)
  • Weighted Windmills (be careful not to pull rotator cuffs)
  • Upright Rows (Traps)
  • Isometric Holds (Shaolin Eagles Wings)
  • Handstand Push-Ups
  • Bent Over Single-Arm Rows (elbow locked for rear delt activation instead of triceps)

Triceps Exercises

  • Close-Grip Bench Press
  • Close-Grip Bench Press extended from midsection
  • Close-Grip Push-ups
  • Weighted Dips
  • Cable Tricep Pull-downs (elbows locked down, 3 different grips)
  • One-Arm Push-Ups
  • Overhead Plate Extensions
  • Incline Plate Extensions
  • Lying Plate Extensions
  • Weighted Rope Extensions
  • Standing Stretch Cable Extensions (Cable based under feet)
  • Dumbell Kickback extensions (shoulders and elbows locked)
  • Weighted Bench Dips (2 parallel benches, hands on one, feet on the other, weight plates on lap)
  • Overhead Dumbell Extensions (keep elbows close)
  • Incline Dumbell Extensions
  • Skull Crushers (With Barbell or EZ-Bar, keep elbows locked and lower weight to forehead, dont go too heavy for obvious reasons aforementioned in the name)
  • Double Handed Single Dumbell extensions (3 positions)
  • EZ-Bar Extensions (3 positions)
  • T-Bar Extensions (3 positions)
  • Barbell extensions
  • Behind-The-Back Extensions (Barbell, Cable, Dumbell, EZ-Bar, T-Bar)
  • Weighted Backpack Extensions
  • Kettlebell extensions

Training Split Day 2-Back/Biceps/Forearms/Abs

Back Exercises

  • Barbell Deadlifts
  • Single-Arm Barbell Deadlifts
  • Dumbell Deadlifts
  • Seated Rows
  • Standing Cable Rows (Cable around pole, works rhomboids)
  • Cable Pull-Downs (in front of or behind neck, 3 grips plus grip width, elbows in or spread, works lats and biceps)
  • Pull-Ups & Chin-Ups (variations of grip and grip width)
  • GoodMornings
  • Squats & Lunges (primarily hit legs, but also hit lower back)
  • Machine Back Extensions (lower back)
  • Bent Over Rows (Upper Back and Rear Delts)
Training split bicep workout ideas.

Biceps Exercises

  • Barbell Curls (different grip variations hit muscles from different angles)
  • Reverse Grip Bench Press
  • Lying or slanted Chin-Ups (feet planted, similar to reverse push-ups)
  • reverse push-ups (suspended, feet as high as hands)
  • Machine Cable Curls (several variations of handle, grip and grip width or single vs. double handed)
  • Dumbell Curls
  • Lying Incline Dumbell Curls (supinated, pronated, or neutral (hammer curls))
  • Lying Dumbell Curls(supinated, pronated, or neutral (hammer curls))
  • Stretch Cable Curls (few variations)
  • EZ-Bar Curls
  • Hammer Curls (hits all 3: brachii (standard bicep muscles), brachialis (on the outside between brachii and triceps) and brachioradialis (forearm muscle))
  • T-Bar Hammer Curls
  • Isometric Holds
  • Reverse Curls (several variations, hands pronated)
  • Preacher Curls (isolate the brachii, hammer, standard supinated, reverse pronated, barbells, dumbells, machine cable or stretch cable
  • Concentration Curls (seated, elbow fixed on inner knee, pinky turns outward as you lift)
  • Pull-Ups & Chin-ups
  • Seated Row Curls

Forearms Exercises

  • Wrist Curls (Seated, with wrist on knee, or Standing, barbell behind back, Dumbell, Barbell, Cables, or Stretch Cables)
  • Reverse Wrist Curls (Dumbell, Barbell, Cables, or Stretch Cables)
  • Reverse Curls (Several Variations)
  • Hammer Curls
  • Supinated Weighted Stick Lift
  • Pronated Weighted Stick Lift
  • Single Handed Twists (wrists isolated, turn horizontally inward and outward, use stretch cable or dumbells, work inner and outer forearms)
  • Towel Pull-Ups
  • Wet Wash Cloth Single Handed Roll Ups
  • Farmers Walk (Staple Exercise for strongman, great for grip strength)
  • Isometric Barbell Hold
  • Deadlifts
  • Hand Grippers
  • Thick Rubberbands (available at IronMind)
  • Hand Over Hand Truck Pull with Rope (Strongman Favorite)
  • Plate Grips (Flat Plates for pinch grip strength, Lipped Plates for Mid-Finger Strength)
  • Stretch Cables are very effective and versatile for developing forearms
  • If you have or buy one of those peg boards that you climb up by putting the peg in the hole then I wanna come over and I promise not to hit on your wife, but we should knock back a few cold ones, get rowdy, and throw down and do some mma shit, son.

Training Split Day 3-Legs

Quadriceps & Hamstrings Exercises

  • Barbell Squats (Free Weight or Smith Machine)
  • Dumbell Squats (Weight held up to chest)
  • Single-Leg Bodyweight Squats (Harder than you think)
  • Box Squats
  • Barbell Lunges or Lunge Walks
  • Dumbell Lunges or Lunge Walks
  • Dumbell Box Step-Ups*
  • Barbell Box Step-Ups*
  • Dumbell Squat Jumps (Plyometrics)
  • Barbell Squat Jumps (Plyometrics)
  • Dumbell Lunge Jumps (Plyometrics)
  • Barbell Lunge Jumps (Plyometrics)
  • Leg Press (inclined or declined)
  • Leg Extensions
  • Glute Machine
  • Adductor (I know this is one for the ladies, but maybe these muscles shouldn’t be ignored)
  • Abductor (I know this is one for the ladies, but maybe these muscles shouldn’t be ignored)
  • Yoke Walk
  • Duck Walk
  • Isometric Squat Hold (Shaolin Horse Riders Stance, hold for one minute)

Calves Exercises

  • Standing Machine Heel Raises
  • Seated Machine Heel Raises (Donkey Lifts)
  • One Footed Heel Raises (Point Toes Inwards or outwards to target different muscles)
  • Weighted Stair Climbing (Walking or Running)
  • Jump Rope with ankle weights