If you are looking to get the most out of your workouts and do not yet have working out a schedule you stick by, it is something you should factor in. Rather than deciding what you will work on at the gym when you arrive there, if you want to optimise your workouts and target the correct muscles to build your strength and gain significantly, you should have an optimal workout split. If you are looking for effective ways to improve your fitness, this should be one of them.
Benefits Of A Workout Schedule
A great workout schedule should consist of two things, it should train each muscle group to an adequate amount for muscle growth, and also it should allow the muscle groups to have enough rest and recovery time. Having the balance of these two elements will allow for greater and faster results, however finding the right split might seem like a challenge.
Everyone has different capabilities and is at different stages of their fitness journeys. An intermediate gym attendee might find working out to be a breeze and their only concern might be what dressy leggings they should wear for the session. A beginner on the other hand won’t understand what their fitness level is yet. A beginner should get this balance of targeting muscles and recovery time balanced as early on as possible as they tend to find the most strain when it comes to muscle recovery. Not allowing your muscles the time to rest and recover from workouts means your following sessions of the week will not be done with optimal movements. There is no perfect workout schedule for everyone, and if there was we would all be doing it! The following ideas are just the favourites of experienced gym professionals, but you should trail them out with consistency to see what works best for you.
Full Body Split
The full-body split is a popular structure for beginners as it allows you to train all muscle groups in one session. Compound exercises are the focal point of a full-body workout as they are the best form of movement to target as many muscle groups as possible. If you are not sure what compound movements are, it is fairly self-explanatory, it is the process of using many muscle groups to perform one movement.
Some examples of compound movements are squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and many more to mention. With full-body workouts, it is also important to consider spreading the weight and volume over the week. For example, if you decide to train three times a week, you want to gradually increase the weight, reps, or both as you get more experienced and your muscles create better muscle memory. This is also known as progressive overload and it is an important part of any good workout plan.
Top Bottom Split
The top and bottom split is a great schedule that can work for anyone and it involves focusing on your upper body muscle groups on some days and then focusing on lower muscles on other days. Typically due to the greater attention to specific muscle groups, this workout schedule will have you in the gym 4-6 days a week.
One of the benefits of this split is you can focus on specific muscle groups per session, for example, one session might focus on the triceps and chest upper body, and another session might focus on the bicep muscles and abdominal strength building. On the bottom side, the other two days might be spent on lower body training like glutes, calves, and pretty much any muscles you are hoping to focus on. Due to the higher training frequency, you might find that you have more flexibility in terms of less time spent in the gym due to the spread across the week.
Some people however have found this workout split not to be optimal, as everyone’s muscle groups work differently and people differ in how specific workouts may or may not target the intended muscle groups.
Push, Pull, And Legs Schedule
This split is often used by more experienced strength trainers to get more out of their workouts if they have hit a wall in their muscle growth. This split divides the muscles into three groups:
- Push – Chest, triceps, and shoulders
- Pull – Back and biceps
- Legs – Your whole lower body such as quads, hamstrings, and calves
Your abdominals can fit into whichever scheduled day you deemed fit, however, with this workout split, it is recommended you follow a 6-day training schedule to train each muscle group twice. It is a good idea to spread out your sets across the week so you don’t overload yourself in one session which would result in lower-quality workout outs for the rest of the week. Similar to push and pull, you can split half your push between two days, split your pull into two, and finally your legs into two, mixing up your sessions to allow the working muscles time to rest whilst you work on others.
Overall, allowing yourself to explore the different workout splits is important to find what your body responds best to. Sticking at each routine for at least a month is recommended to find out if that is what you’re seeing the best results from.