If I’m not training full body (which I am a fan of actually), then I’m training upper/lower splits.
Even though in bodybuilding, many people will train chest on one day, back on one day, legs on one day, arms on one day, and shoulders and abs on one day, I’ve never found that style to be effective for me. I like to train the basic upper body exercises on the same day.
Upper/Lower split is like this:
Monday: Lower body
Tuesday: Upper body
Wednesday: Rest day
Thursday: Lower Body
Friday: Upper body
Sat/Sunday: Rest days or other workouts, yoga, exercise classes, various activities, outings, etc.
Full Body workout would be like this:
3-5x per week with various daily emphasis and listening to your body for recovery purposes. If you are doing Orangetheory Fitness, then it’s possible you’re already doing this. That being said, if you’re serious about gaining more strength, you’ll want to do dedicated strength training sessions and not just cardio/weights combination every time.
I mostly believe in either Full Body training and in Upper / Lower training.
If you read the muscle magazines, you really need to understand that mainstream bodybuilding magazines are full of men and women on steroids and/or performance enhancers. The reason is because illegal steroids are easy to order online and widely accessible to anybody who’s willing to do a little research. Also, they work really well and have a lot of side effects.
What those people put into their bodies is none of my business, but it creates false perceptions when it comes to the, “what,” “how,” and, “when” can I see those results for myself. Most fitness magazine cover models have bodies that are simply unattainable for people who are unwilling to risk their health by taking steroids.
Benefits of full body training and upper/lower splits: Frequency
You really shouldn’t be so concerned about shredding/destroying your muscles during an excessively long weight training session full of drop sets and exercises to failure. Instead, train for frequency and continually get stronger in key exercises such as squats, deadlift variations, bench press, rows, weighted pull ups, dips, overhead press, arm curls/extensions, and leg curls.
All you have to really do is practice on the key exercises and make progress. Most people can recover the muscles sufficiently within 48 hours as long as you didn’t burn yourself out or always going for 1 rep maxes or always going to failure.
Just imagine if you trained your bench press 2-3x/week, your db row 2-3x/week, squats and leg curls 2-3x/week! You’d make progress way faster than just doing it once per week along with a bunch of isolation exercises.
Train like an athlete and follow prominent personal trainers that train athletes.
Of course my demographic is not bodybuilding on this blog even though some people will have an interest in bodybuilding. Let me tell you, I am also interested in bodybuilding and I follow it sometimes, but I am not interested in being a bodybuilder. Fitness is my game. There’s no shame in that.
Athletes are probably the fittest people on the planet and most of them are required to take some sort of drug tests. I’d suggest to look into how athletes train — be goal oriented and don’t spread yourself too thin in your training.
Keep it simple stupid: KISS was the mantra of a personal trainer I worked with.
For my upper body workout, I’ll usually spend a couple months prioritizing about 3-4 exercises that I would typically do first in a training session. For example, on lower body, I have recently prioritized rear-foot elevated split squats and I went from doing 135lbsx8 reps per leg to doing 205lbsx6 reps per leg — the glute growth was noticeable and my running strength improved.
No need to be fancy, just set a goal on a few exercises at any given point and prioritize them. All of the other exercises are just to support the goal of increasing strength in the ones that you are prioritizing (or to promote injury prevention).
Weight training is a lifestyle.
I can program an exercise routine for you that is top notch, guaranteed to be effective. However, if you constantly go to bed late, drink alcohol often, and neglect your nutrient intake, then you’ll never make it past the “newbie gains.”
I love strength training with weights because of the sense of accomplishment and because I know that there is literally no way I am going to make progress in the weight room if I don’t take care of my nutrition and sleep. The weight room teaches me lessons about myself and encourages me to take care of my body.
Having some muscles doesn’t hurt either.
I feel confident from my experiences, not so much from my body. But I can tell you that if I didn’t didn’t take care of myself, then those experiences I’ve had over the years wouldn’t have been as rewarding or opened nearly as many doors.
Thanks for reading and I’m excited that this blog is growing. It seems like we’re getting new followers everyday!