While even the term “bodybuilding” can mean different things to different people, bodybuilding splits also have their own purpose for different strength goals. Bodybuilding splits are a standardized way of organizing your lifting efforts by muscle group, day, effort, and intensity. Splits can vary from working each muscle group once in a workout, several over the course of a few days or week, or by how precisely each muscle group is worked.
You may have heard from your buds at the gym that working out with bodybuilding splits has changed lives and moved muscle mountains! But depending on what your particular goals are, you may find it’s a lot of extra time spent organizing and not so much time actually reaching your own strength goals. If you’re a professional bodybuilder or have worked with personal trainer who’s customized a plan for you, this article may not be for you. But if you’re someone who wants to build muscle, get lean, and not feel overwhelmed by what to work when, here’s why you might want to rethink the bodybuilding splits strategy!
Pros for Splits
It’s a step-by-step process
Anyone looking to change up their exercise plan shouldn’t just lift the biggest thing they can find in the gym on day one. Starting with a beginner type of bodybuilding split will teach your body how to ease into the lifting process without injury and with a doable progression. Start with one exercise per muscle group.
You can increase volume
If you’re looking to lift more at one time, you can use bodybuilding splits to climb your way into that goal personal best. As you progress from training one muscle group each workout to working that muscle group 2-3 times over the course of a day, or a couple of days, your load will naturally increase.
You can increase your size
If your goal is to get bigger in size, combining a caloric diet increase with amping up your splits. You’ll start seeing results in a matter of weeks. Just be patient. Some of the more advanced splits can take up to a year or more but with good reason. Doing it right means taking the time to be a little more pragmatic.
Cons for Splits:
Each individual workout can take a while
Unless you have a wide open schedule, this workout plan may not be the best for you. If you don’t have a schedule that will allow for working your entire body every day, or completing the required number of exercises and reps per muscle group on “chest” or “leg day,” you might find yourself doing two-a-days or even having to cut out on important things like work.
Genetics play a part
Let’s face it, some of us were not born Arnold Schwarzenegger. All the workout plans, bodybuilding spits, supplements, and diet plans in the world can’t fight what’s in your genetic make-up. Aim for doing what’s healthy for your body type and work what you got!
Limiting days to one muscle group can add to injury
Some of us, admittedly, like bragging about what workout day it is as if we have it going on. But in reality, if you limit one workout to one muscle group, you’re really risking injury and excess inflammation in your body. Balance is key, so while working one muscle group on one day can be safe, remind yourself that Rome wasn’t build in a day. Manage the amount of weight you lift each day.
What to do Instead:
Balance out your full body workouts
Rather than focusing on one muscle group per day, try to do complete workouts that utilize multiple muscle groups at once. This can also save time in the gym while keeping to the goal of gaining strength. These workouts can include exercises like your basic push-up, a squat into an overhead press, or doing a chest press with your lower body off the bench in a bridge.
Pay more attention to your rest and recovery days
Rest is just as, if not more, important than your lift days. With all the hard work you do in the gym, you need to remember that lifting creates micro-tears in your muscle tissue that only repair and increase when you’ve made adequate time to let them rest.
Sometimes doing the same exercises each week–with the only variety being the amount of weight you use–can be both boring to you and your muscles. Try workouts that keep a strength element but maybe also add a power, cardiovascular element as well. Add in boxing, basketball, swimming, or even running to your bodybuilding splits days to get variety and keep all of your body systems challenged!
Your biggest priority is your number one goal. Whatever it is, bodybuilding splits don’t always work. So, consider your time commitment, energy, and overall health when making the choice to do bodybuilding splits or to go it on your own. Do you split?