Thursday, April 3, 2014

Are You a Bodybuilder? No? Then Answer This Important Question....

Guy:  "YES!  It's chest and bicep day!
Girl:  "I hate chest day."

Girl:  "YES!  It's leg day!"
Guy:  "I hate leg day.  I'll just do some curls."

Admit it.  You either are like this or you know someone who is.

With training, it is an age old tradition to do body part splits.  Meaning, your week might look something like this:

  • Monday - Chest/Biceps
  • Tuesday - Legs/Abs
  • Thursday - Back/Tris
  • Friday - Shoulders/Abs
But have you ever stopped and just asked yourself "why?"
Bodybuilders, power lifters, and physique athletes have done these type of training splits for a long time.  And they work.  For them.  And they totally could work for you.  But here are a couple of reasons why I think splits are not a good idea for most people.

One really common mistake and habit I see among people who practice splits is that they don't have a lot of variance in their programming.  They end up doing the same exercises on the same days every week.  They may add a little bit of weight and progressively get stronger, which is awesome, but fail to challenge their bodies with new exercises.  The body is extremely adaptive.  Be sure to throw in new exercises and challenge your body and your mind.  Have fun.

Are you a dude that hates leg day or a lady that absolutely hates working on her chest or biceps?  So what makes you think you are really going to try on those days and that you will enjoy your time at the gym?  You probably won't (aren't).  What if, instead, you did a little bit of each everyday?  I have found with myself and with clients that they give a much better effort when we are constantly changing and working different areas of the body.  You will strengthen those areas, you will feel it, and you may not be as sore in the following days after but still reap the same benefits. what do I personally recommend instead?

The first big thing is that I like to think in terms of movements.  This helps me pick more exercises that use more muscles instead of isolating just one thing.  For instance, some people will put the deadlift on leg day and some will put it on back day.  The deadlift uses many muscle groups.  So instead of thinking of the deadlift as a back or leg exercise, I think of it as a hinge movement (because the core of the movement is a hip hinge).  So instead of thinking of exercises in terms of legs, abs, chest, triceps, etc., I think of exercises like this:

  • Push (bench press, shoulder press)
  • Pull (rows, pull-ups)
  • Hinge (deadlift, kettlebell swing)
  • Squat (back squat, goblet squat, front squat)
  • Single Leg (Bulgarian split squat, single leg squat)
  • Power (box jumps)
  • Core (planks, Russian twists, wood chops)
  • Dynamic (bear crawls)
  • Combination (thrusters, renegade rows)
  • Metabolic (circuit training, HIIT)
As I recently discussed in a blog titled "A Look At My New Training Program", I showed how I do some of these movements each day in my training sessions and I mix them up.  What I have a found, is that a guy who hates working out his legs is much more likely to give it all in 2-4 sets of leg exercises as oppose to a hour of leg exercises.  

Here is a picture from that blog I posted that shows kinda what my training program looks like.

I have seen myself get stronger and enjoy my training sessions a lot more since starting this type of program.  

How do you train?  I am curious.  Do you do splits or mix it up everyday?  Comment below.  


  1. I focus mainly on compound movements - ones that utilize the majority of your muscle groups. My favorite movements are things like squats, deadlifts, thrusters, cleans, etc. But I also use sprints, KB work, and plyo stuff to improve my athleticism. What I'm working on right now is working out in different planes - in other words I'm trying to train movements in all directions.