Thursday, May 8, 2014

Training Splits

Holy smokes can you believe we are already 8 days into May?! Time is flying by and summer will be here before you know which means shorts, tanks, and swimsuits. Are you ready? A friend reached out and asked about strength training and body parts to couple together. This can be confusing especially if you lift 6-7 days per week or maybe you weight train 2 times per week with a group exercise class thrown in mid-week.

How you program your weight training sessions will depend on your individual goals, your training frequency, your starting point (novice, intermediate or advanced), and many other factors. First let’s look at training frequency and by frequency, I mean how many days a week you weight train.

If you weight train 2 days per week, it is best to do a whole body circuit that includes the chest, back, legs, shoulders and arms. You can combine exercises such a squat and bicep curl or lunge to overhead press or you can rotate through exercises such as incline chest press, lat pull downs, goblet squats and incline shoulder press. This way you are targeting all the major muscle groups twice a week. Depending on your training goal (whether it is endurance, strength, or hypertrophy) your sets and reps will vary. If you are training for an endurance event you will most likely stick with 3-5 sets of 15+ repetitions but if you are training for muscle hypertrophy the recommendation 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.

If you weight train 4 days per week say Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, your sessions could alternate between upper and lower body. Monday would be an upper body day consisting of chest, back, shoulder, and arm exercises. An efficient workout might include rotating through each body part, performing 2-3 exercises per muscle group. Tuesday would be a lower body workout consisting of exercises for your glutes, quads, hamstrings and I would add in abdominal/core training. Again, you could rotate through legs and add in core training towards the end of your workout, after you have performed your major lifts such as squats and deadlifts.

If you train 5-6 days per week, your sessions will most likely consist of training individual muscle groups on separate days. For example, if you train Monday through Friday, you might start your week with shoulders on Monday, back on Tuesday, legs on Wednesday, Chest on Thursday, and arms/core on Friday. You will want to give sufficient rest (48+ hours) before training the same body part again, so if you train shoulders on Monday, you will want to wait at least 48 hours before training shoulders again. If you have a body part that you are really trying to develop, you could incorporate training it twice per week or separate leg day and do a quad only workout followed by a hamstring/glute workout a few days later. If you are training 5-6 days per week, I highly recommend taking a day to completely rest and recover or if you can’t stand the idea of taking a day off, have a day of active recovery in which you take a yoga class or go for a stroll around the park. Take it easy and allow your body a chance to recover before you hit another strenuous week of training.

Depending on you and your goal(s), your training program should be programmed just for you! If you are unsure how to program your weight training sessions, please please feel free to contact me or if you are working with a trainer, they should have your workouts tailored for you.

I am always looking for delicious post-training or recovery meal ideas that are quick and easy. I have found that taking certain products post-workout make a HUGE difference in my recovery, especially with muscle groups that take F-O-R-E-V-E-R to recover! This is one of my favorites that I can make ahead of time and freeze or right when I get home from the gym.

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