Starting a new workout routine can feel exciting and overwhelming at the same time, especially if you're new to the gym or looking to start a more structured workout routine for the first time.
One of the most effective ways to organize your training is through following what we call a workout split.
In this beginner-friendly guide, we'll explain the concept of workout splits and provide you with the knowledge and tools you'll need to choose a fitness routine that is sustainable for your schedule and effective for your fitness needs and goals.
What are Workout Splits?
Let's Start With The Basics...
A workout split is another word for a structured plan that divides your training routine into different sessions that are each focused on a specific muscle group or type of exercise.
Breaking down your workouts into splits helps ensure you are targeting each muscle group effectively while planning for rest and recovery between training sessions!
Using workout splits to structure your fitness routine will also help prevent overuse injuries and promote balanced muscle development.
The Benefits of Workout Splits
Establishing and sticking to a workout split puts you in a powerful place to start achieving your health and wellness goals! By breaking your weekly workout plan down this way, you unlock a variety of benefits:
Properly structured workout splits (and workout routines in general) should include dedicated rest and active recovery days for all of your major muscle groups. These planned rests will enhance your muscle recovery between days when you are actively training them, plus it also minimizes the likelihood of over-training and burnout.
Improved Muscle Development
Because workout splits divide your workout routine by muscle groups or muscle movements, it allows you to train with greater intensity and volume during your session. Working a muscle group to fatigue is what stimulates muscle growth which is why using workout splits may lead to better results when building muscle!
Workout splits can be a secret weapon against fitness plateaus! By mixing up your training and targeting different muscle groups and movements on different days, you'll keep your body guessing and be able to continue to challenge it in new ways. The variety will help you stimulate growth, promote progress, and prevent yourself from hitting a fitness plateau.
3 Types of Workout Splits
Now, Let's Choose The Right Workout Split for You...
Full body is great if you're a beginner or just have limited time to get to the gym.
These workouts hit all your major muscle groups at once, giving you a well-rounded workout and building up strength for everyday activities.
Upper Body/Lower Body Splits:
If you want to give your top and bottom half the attention they need for a well-rounded workout routine, this might be the split for you.
Typically this type creates a 4-day-a-week program where you complete each type of workout twice. But depending on your goals and your body's recovery time, this plan can be adjusted to fit 2, 4, or 6 sessions per week!
If you have a better understanding of exercise and movement patterns, the push/pull split might be for you!
This split divides exercises by the movement of the exercise rather than specific muscle groups, so you can still get a well-rounded workout and keep things interesting.
Tailoring Your Workout Split
The workout routine that will work best for you likely will need a few tweaks in order to help you reach your goals effectively and efficiently. To make sure your workout split fits your needs, consider the following when designing your ideal workout split:
Have you set clear and realistic goals?
By setting clear objectives for your training, you will be better able to measure progress, make adjustments, and guide your split routine to best suit your needs.
How will this split fit into your schedule?
Finding a split where you can balance workout frequency, intensity, and rest days with your usual schedule is key. If going to the gym 4 times a week doesn't fit your schedule, consider alternative splits or talk with a personal trainer to learn how to get some workouts done at home!
Does this plan have room for progression?
It's important to choose a workout split that is flexible and allows for progression. This ensures your muscles are being challenged enough for results and that your plan can be adjusted as your fitness levels and goals change over time.
Starting to follow a structured fitness routine is a strong step in the right direction in terms of reaching your health and fitness goals. Get a good grasp on your workout basics, pick a split that works for you and your schedule, and adjust as your abilities and goals change!
Remember, the most important part of a successful workout routine is consistency AND keeping things fun. So find what fires you up and gets you excited to move.