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Setting Up an Effective Training Split

Gym membership is purchased. Meal plan is set. Sports nutrition game is on point (1Up Nutrition has you covered on that). Now the only thing left to do is set up your training routine.

The goal is simple: get leaner and build muscle. The objective in that is to keep the workouts intense and productive.


When anyone is setting up a training split, they are looking at putting focus on a particular muscle group through isolated training. So, one could say that Monday is going to be devoted to legs, Tuesday is back, and so on. This approach is extremely effective for getting results because, so much emphasis is put on one or two muscle groups during each training session, allowing hypertrophy to be maximized to promote growth.


But in order to keep workouts intense and productive, knowing the body and its muscles are important. Having a good baseline understanding of which muscles are worked directly and indirectly during a training session can pay off huge when it comes to having awesome workouts in the gym and keeping muscles engaged and ready to work.


Putting together a training split does not just mean just pick a day to train a muscle group. You don’t want to work the small muscles (bicep, triceps, or shoulders) first because you will need them for assistance when training a larger muscle group (Chest, Back). Example doing biceps before back, or shoulder or triceps before chest would not be a good idea.


So, when setting up a training split, one should avoid training these muscle groups around the same time together. So, if Monday is a bicep day, making Tuesday a back day could pose a challenge because the muscles involved to train back indirectly (biceps) were just trained directly which means the muscles could be fatigued and could hinder the current workout. Don’t train the smaller muscles even the day before, as they won’t recover fully in time to do a good job assisting the larger muscles. The smaller muscles are already a weak link in assisting in compound movements, and training them first will only hurt the effectiveness of your workout for the larger group.


Another thing to avoid would be training core in the beginning or legs or before any compound movement. The core is engaged and utilized at a high level during these movements, so by training the core first and weakening it, it could take away from, your compound or “big” lifts. 


An example of a good training split would be:

  • Monday: Legs
  • Tuesday: Chest
  • Wednesday: Back + Core
  • Thursday: Shoulders
  • Friday: Biceps and Triceps + Core


This split is a safe one that would allow the muscles to work at a high level without being fatigued from a previous workout.


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