I’d venture to guess that most of you landing here at Primal Strength Camp for the first time train using some kind of body part split.
Does your routine look like one of these?
Chest Chest and Tri’s
Arms Back and Bi’s
Legs Legs and Shoulders
Back and Shoulders More Legs
I bet it is fairly similar. What I’ll also bet is that you are not a professional or aspiring bodybuilder.
So let me break the bad news to you; unless you plan on getting on that stage any time soon to compete, you are sabotaging yourself.
Body part splits are “gain killers”. Stop doing them. You can’t keep working out the way these awful muscle magazines or the meatheads at your local gym tell you.
Recruit More Muscle to Build More Muscle
Seems like a straightforward concept right? The more muscle you can stimulate in a given period of time, the more growth you can trigger.
The key to accomplishing this is through total body workouts, or for the intermediate and advanced lifter, an upper/lower split. Instead of just training your chest and triceps in a given workout, using your entire body recruits far more muscle resulting in much bigger gains.
Want a real world example? Think about male gymnasts. Ask any dude out there if he would want to look like a gymnast and I bet he can’t tell you no with a straight face. Those dudes are jacked!
Think they look like that because they focus half their gym time in a given day on their biceps? No! They train total body each and every day.
By recruiting more muscle, you will make far bigger strength gains than you would training with isolated body parts as well.
Eliminate the Garbage
Workouts consisting of squats, clean and presses, pull-ups, and pushups are going to recruit far more muscle than one consisting of lat pulldowns, bent over rows, preacher curls, and concentration curls.
Cramming a total body workout into a single training session forces you to eliminate the crap and choose your exercises carefully. Ditch the isolation movements and feed yourself a steady diet of compound exercises and plyometrics.
Most of us aren’t bodybuilders so there is no sense in training like one. You will get far better results training like an athlete.
Looking at the split routines I laid out in the beginning of this post, you will see it takes 4 days of work to fully train the entire body. Add in a prescribed two days of rest, and your week of training is over.
Now let me ask you, who ever got good at anything by practicing once a week? Because that is exactly what you are doing if you are following a body part split; the way the spit works out, you hit your chest once a week, your back once a week, etc.
With total body workouts, or upper/lower splits, you are hitting your muscle groups with at least twice as much frequency meaning you are triggering twice as many growth phases. In any given year, if you are only training each body part once a week, that is 52 growth phases. Lose the body part split and you are already up over 100 growth phases. That should blow your mind!
Now ask yourself, who is going to be bigger and stronger at the end of the year? The person growing 52 times a year or 100?
And since you are not spending inordinate amounts of time on any one body part, your recovery times for muscle groups are cut in half, leading to more growth time and avoiding a possible onset of overtraining.
So what is the best training split?
I’d start with none! If you are experienced, switch to an upper/lower.
If you need a jumpstart, check out this post on a full body or upper lower split.
If you want an entire 8 week program based on using an upper lower split, then join the thousands of others in Primal Nation and download Uncaging Your Primal Strength from the right hand side of this page.
Have questions, feel free to email me via the contact form or drop a comment here on this post and I’ll be glad to help!