Training with Time Limitations: Body Splits

I am NOT a fan of body split workouts.  Serious body builders needs them; they are not going to gain that size without damaging muscle fiber to the point that it needs to rest several days before being fatigued again.

Most everyone else simply needs full body workouts 3-4 times a week and we are well on our way to fine.  That’s normally what I do.  At the moment, however, there are outside factors effecting my workouts: time constraints where I have only 45 minutes or an hour to get into the gym, warmed up, worked out, showered and out.  That leaves me maybe 30 minutes on the gym floor for weight work. I’ve been able to get the gym almost every day, however, so while the time there is short, the week-long is the same.

While I can do a circuit workout in that 30 minutes if the machines are free and if I WANT a machine workout, I really hate using the machines.  I’m a happy girl with my free weights, my dead lifts, my cable rows.  Don’t fence me in with the circuit machines. For this reason, I’ve been choosing to do body splits now so I can get a good workout of a few muscle groups each time I get into the gym.

Now how do you plan a body split workout if you are working out for either general strength, weight loss or slight hypertrophy (muscle definition-muscular tone)?

Adhere to general rules of program design.  For these goals do:

  1. Sets 4-6 sets of 8-12 reps for the big muscles  Use a weight that will be challenging to complete the second and third set, and hard to unlikely to complete for 5th and 6.  If the 3rd set is completed without a real challenge, increase your weight.
  2. Use Supersets.  In this body split training, train the big muscle first and the supporting muscle second. The 2nd set should be lighter weights.  For example: Chest Press heavy, bicep curl light.
  3. Rest 45-90 seconds between sets.
  4. ONE major exercise per muscle.

Plan to rest these muscles for 2 days before working them in even a stabilizing/assisting manor.  This would imply the general workout would be for example: Day one: Back/bi; Day Two: Legs, Day Three: Chest/tri. Day Four:Rest or Core work.

I like my alternate day work (legs and core) to be heavy on balance and stabilization work NOT strength alone.

Questions?

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3 responses to “Training with Time Limitations: Body Splits

  1. Well I’m switching from a split routine to upper/lower split. I was doing each muscle group 1x week b/c of joint issues, but I’m going to try upper/lower 2x week. I think this will also fix any detraining that seems to be going on. I hate full-body routines bc I always feel like some muscle group is getting short shrift. It’s probably mental.

  2. This is all your fault, Deb:
    The movement of my body in a way that it has never moved before.
    The skirts that aren’t really tight any longer.
    The empowerment that I feel when I lift a big bag of dog food much more easily than I used to.
    The common occurrence of slinging 1.5 tons of steel around in my living room 8 or 15 pounds at a time.
    The husband wanting to lift weights with me.
    The wonderful ache in my arms and legs that lets me know that I am stretching myself just a little further each week.
    Thank you for all of these things. I don’t know much about what body splits mean and what muscles I’m working when I do each exercise, but I know that I feel good when I do this. I know that every day I’m excited to lift even a few more pounds than I did the last time that I picked up those dumbbells. And I know that I am going to live a little longer (And look a little better!) than I would have if I weren’t doing this right here, right now. Thank you for your inspiration and guidance!
    OXOXOXO
    —S

  3. S,

    I’m in tears. Seriously. BEST. COMMENT. EVER.

    But how did you know I needed to read this today?

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