Weightlifting split routines are not the preserve of muscle-bound jocks or bodybuilders. Split routines enable you to target specific muscle groups each workout and are ideal if you want to focus on troublesome body parts such as your butt or the back of the arms. But this should not be to the detriment of other body parts or a balanced workout program.
A basic split routine could see you target a single body part per workout. For example, chest on Monday, back on Tuesday, shoulders on Wednesday, legs on Thursday, butt on Friday and arms on Saturday. But Exercise Scientist Shannon Clark says this split routine is ineffectual, and recommends routines that allow you to target each body part two or three times a week. To derive maximum benefits from a split routine, keep your workouts short and intense and get plenty of rest away from the gym to ensure adequate recovery between workouts.
Combine multijoint compound movements and single-joint isolation movements in your split routine. For example, your chest workout could comprise three to five sets of the dumbbell bench press and three sets of bench flyes. Your leg workout could include three to five sets of barbell squats, three sets of leg curls and three sets of hip abductors. Compound movements make you stronger and increase lean muscle tissue. Isolation movements target specific muscles or body parts
Four-Day Split Routine
A four-day split routine involves working your upper and lower body on different days over a four-day period. For example, target your chest, shoulders, back, biceps and triceps on Monday, and your legs, hips, butt and abs on Tuesday. Do your cardiovascular exercises, or rest, on Wednesday, then repeat the upper-body and lower-body split on Thursday and Friday before resting over the weekend.
Push and Pull Split Routine
Divide your weekly weightlifting routine into pushing exercises, pulling exercises and leg exercises. Pushing exercises work your chest, shoulders and triceps, while pulling movements work your back and biceps. Pushing exercises include the bench press, shoulder press and the triceps pushdown. Pulling exercises include the lat pulldown, dumbbell single-arm rows and barbell curls. Lower-body exercises include both pushing and pulling movements. For example, barbell squats for the quadriceps and butt, together with calf raises are pushing movements, while the leg curl for the hamstrings is a pulling movement. The seated hip adduction for the inner thighs may be considered a pushing movement, and the seated hip abduction for the hips considered a pulling movement. Focus on your upper body on the first two days, hit your lower body on the third day, rest on the fourth day and repeat the split over the next three days. For example, target your chest, shoulders and triceps on Monday; back, biceps and abs on Tuesday; and legs, hips and butt on Wednesday.
Ollie Odebunmi's involvement in fitness as a trainer and gym owner dates back to 1983. He published his first book on teenage fitness in December 2012. Odebunmi is a black belt in taekwondo and holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Kingston University in the United Kingdom.