Let’s be honest, nobody is going to give you a routine with which you will magically achieve the fitness goals that you bring in mind. It takes years of hard work, good nutrition, supplementation and a lot of trial and error, to achieve the physique you want. We can give you recommendations on the best exercises, training programs and the best training techniques, but at the end of the day you are the one who judges what really works for you.
Within the path that will take you to meet your goals is a good organization of your training program. The elaboration of your training and the division of it into the parts of the body that you will train for each day of the week revolves around specific factors for you. That is, there are elements that you must keep in mind before deciding what day you will make chest and arm.
1. Experience Training
Those who are beginners require less volume (series and repetitions) and intensity in their training programs. However, their training volume should increase as they evolve in strength and resilience.
Are you trying to lose weight, burn fat, gain weight or get muscular ?. If you do not know what you want to achieve, you will not know how to get there. It is important that you trace your goals so that you can make decisions that bring you closer to them.
Can you commit to training five days a week, or is your schedule so tight that you can only go to the gym for a few days? Whatever it is, note that each workout is based on the previous one, so you need to be willing to go to the gym at least three days a week.
4. Rest and recovery needs
Depending on your work, lifestyle and recovery skills (including sleep), you may need more or less rest days. Rest days should not be overlooked in your search for more muscle. The growth takes place outside the gym, with good nutrition and adequate rest. As for recovery, you should not train a muscle group that is still sore from previous training. You have to learn to listen to your body.
Recovery also includes mental recharge. If you feel very exhausted from the excess time in the gym, include more days of rest can really help. It is not necessary to train days in a row, you can alternate your rest days with your training days.
5. Your weaknesses
If you have any part of the body that needs improvement, this should be the first thing to train after a day off, which is when your energy reserves are at maximum. Also, if you divide your muscle groups in such a way that they are separated from each other it may be possible for you to add a second training session for that muscle group that needs more attention.
The division of the trainings
Below are five very common training divisions, starting with the easiest and progressing to the most advanced. It is worth mentioning that there are many more options to divide your training but these are a good starting point. While beginners should start with the first option, other more experienced lifters should consider the five factors mentioned above when choosing which division of training they will follow.
You will realize that as you gain experience and become a more advanced lifter, you will need to use more exercises and greater intensity or volume for each part of the body. Keep in mind that more volume and intensity require more days of recovery. There are advanced lifters who can divide their training to a muscle group once a week.
1. Division of the Whole Body
The training of each muscle group in a single training is usually the scheme of the beginners, and is characterized by a single exercise per muscle group and with few series. One of the main reasons why the volume of training is kept intentionally low, is that the first primary adaptations obtained in the beginners come through the nervous system. In this stage you are teaching the body to activate and use more muscle fibers, and you will begin to have physical gains in size of your muscle fibers and strength. This requires a greater frequency, and although the volume of work is low, this training should be repeated three times a week, with 48 hours between each training.
Be forewarned and do not let many days pass between each workout. If you wait too long, you will not be able to rely on your previous training and you will return to the point where you started.
Another reason why volume and intensity remain low for beginners is to minimize muscle pain the next day. Muscle pain can be very daunting for a beginner.
Muscle pain can be very daunting for a beginner. Full-body workout routines help familiarize you with the equipment, and also allow each part of the body to exercise sparingly. If you are a beginner, and in a training session you only work on your leg, you will begin to feel severe pain in that muscle group for at least a week, which can make you not want to return to training.
2. Division by upper train and lower train
The volume of work (number of sets and repetitions) performed on each part of the body is low when you work the whole body; The next step is a division of your training in which you work your entire body for two days, and perform two exercises per muscle group. This is usually done by separating the body into muscle groups; upper body (chest, back, shoulders, arms) and muscle groups of the lower body (quadriceps, buttocks, hamstrings, calves, abdominals).
By increasing the volume of work done in each part of the body you can exercise the same muscle from different angles to achieve a better development, in addition to there will be an increase in the intensity of your training. In sample training it is recommended to do 6 sets (3 sets of 2 exercises) for each muscle group.
With this division of training you can train in two different ranges of repetitions; the first is oriented more towards strength. For this, choose a weight that does not give more than 6-8 repetitions. The second range focused on hypertrophy should select a weight with which you can lift 10-12 repetitions. Because you will be getting a little more volume for each part of the body, you will need more rest days before repeating the same workout again.
3. Push / Pull / Leg
As you gain experience and progress, this will allow you to introduce more volume to each muscle group, so you will be able to train your entire body over the course of three days. Although there are many options and recommendations on how you can join muscle groups to work on the same day, one of the most popular strategies (shown below) is to gather all the muscles that “push” (chest, shoulders and triceps), then all the muscles that “pull” (back and biceps), and finally leg exercises. The abdomen can be performed on any of these days.
The main reason why it is recommended to jointly train the muscles of “Push” or “pull” is that, with multi-joint exercises, various parts of the body are activated during training. For example, when you press the chest muscles activated are the pectorals, deltoids and triceps. So, when you train your pectorals, you will also be working your shoulders and triceps. The scheme of doing chest Monday, shoulder on Tuesday and triceps on Wednesdays, will not give you enough recovery, since some of the muscles will be activated again on consecutive days.
Adding a third exercise per muscle group is the simplest way to add more volume to your workout, which guarantees that you can rework the same muscle from a different angle for a more complete development. Here you can also use different repetition schemes, and less repetitions are recommended in compound movements for each part of the body. These should be done at the beginning of the exercise session, which is when you are fresh.
You can divide your training in such a way that you repeat it twice during the week (six workouts a week), or do it once a week (the first training on Monday, the second on Wednesday, and the third on Friday) . By doing it twice, you can also add a rest day every three days (three days of training for a rest day). Of course, that choice will depend on your schedule and need for rest.
4. 4 days of Training
This training division is more intense. With fewer muscle groups trained per day, you will be able to increase the volume and intensity of your workouts; factors that are important for there to continue to be progress in your body. The four-day training division takes place over the course of a week (that is, you will rest for three days), but it can also be divided into one day of training for a day of rest, or two days of training for two days of rest.
An efficient way to group the parts of the body is to unite a large muscle group with a small one; like the chest and triceps (again, both muscles push). Because the triceps are worked on in many chest exercises, you will exercise them again later. The same reasoning applies to the back and biceps.
Although you can also join antagonistic muscle groups, such as the chest with the biceps and the back with the triceps.
When training a large muscle with a small one, such as the chest and triceps, it is imperative that you train the largest muscle group first. The smaller the muscle, the faster it becomes fatigued, so it will be more difficult to train the big muscle afterwards. You should not train the triceps before your chest, because the triceps help the chest in the push. If your triceps are fatigued before chest exercises, your ability to push heavy weights will be very limited.
With greater volume and intensity, rest days become more important. There are times when taking a break makes you think you are doing something wrong, but no. To avoid this type of sensation you can take an active rest like jogging, swimming or even taking your dog for a walk. In this way you will be active, but your body will rest from normal high intensity training.
4. 5 days of Training
This training division is of advanced level, and allows you to give each part of the body its own training day, which increases the volume and intensity to maximum levels without having to worry about saving energy for another muscle group. Each muscle group is trained when it is rested, so there will be no prefatigue to limit your volume and intensity.
With this type of division you can train a muscle strongly and be out of the gym in an hour or so. In addition, the rest days are reserved for the weekend, although you can change the rest days on any day of the week depending on your schedule.
Be especially careful when organizing this type of training division. Breastfeeding on Mondays, Shoulders on Tuesdays and triceps on Wednesdays can lead to inadequate recovery. These key muscles should be separated by 48 hours. The same reasoning applies to the back and biceps.
Tip for your workouts
The divisions that are established here do not include the smaller muscle groups like abdominals and calves, nor do they include cardio; you can add them for convenience. The recovery of the smaller muscles is very fast and they can be trained every two days. The best thing you can do with these small muscles is to leave them until the end of your workouts. Remember that each body is different and reacts to several stimuli. Try to identify which division of your training days is right for you and make your attendance at the gym constant.