Introduction to Training Splits
The training schedule that an athlete uses for weightlifting is exceptionally important to fitting not only their training goals but their lifestyle as well. The body parts targeted on specific days of the week directly affects the order of the body parts in correlation to the days of the week. The placement and pairing of body parts being trained must be done in a way that training is maximized and no body parts counteract each other. The order and pairing of the body parts is called a ‘training split’. The training splits an athlete uses are categorized by the number of days the athlete wishes to train. Using the available days, a training split can be tailored to the days to fit the athlete’s goals.
Science behind the Split
The basic principle of a training split is to divide the selected muscle groups so that they do not interfere with one another, and therefore yield maximum gains. This means separating closely related muscle groups, and coupling groups that compliment each other. To the extent that an athlete pairs the body parts must determined by the days available.
Groups that compliment each other:
The reason for pairing chest/triceps and back/biceps is that the triceps and biceps are supporting muscles that are worked out while doing the chest and back. Therefore they can be paired effectively in the same day allowing for a very efficient workout. The logic behind not doing chest/biceps and back/triceps, is whichever group you do first is a supporting muscle for the next day. For example: If chest/biceps is done on Monday, and then back/triceps on Tuesday; on Tuesday the athlete is doing a back workout with his supporting muscles (biceps) exhausted from the previous day. This will greatly impede the gains available to the athlete.
When performing a chest/triceps or back/bicep workout, it is imperative that the athlete concentrate on the larger ‘main’ body party first (chest or back) because in doing so, not only are they maximizing their gains for the main body part but using the supporting muscles as (biceps or triceps). If an athlete does the supporting muscles first (biceps or triceps) then the larger body part will suffer since the supporting muscles are already fatigued. To effectively pair these body parts, perform the larger body part first (chest or back) and then isolate the supporting body parts in the conclusory portion of the workout.
On a five day split, the athlete will perform one body part a day in an order that separates any supporting muscles. This split allows the athlete to concentrate on one specific body part for an extended amount of time for whatever goal they wish. This is a very time consuming endeavor, that can impede any cross training with another sport without the implementation of ‘2-a-days’. Yet, it is a very effective method for achieving whatever weight training goals the athlete may have.
1) Two day split
First day- Chest/triceps/calves
Second day- Back/biceps/hamstrings/quadriceps
2) Three day split
First day- Chest/triceps
Third day- Shoulders/legs
3) Five day split
First day- Chest
Second day- Back
Third day- Legs
Fourth day- Shoulders
Fifth day- Arms (biceps/triceps)
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