Bodybuilding Training Splits

Man Lifting Weights At Gym

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There are various ways in which you can split up your workouts when training for bodybuilding. There are many different ways of doing this and a lot of times it can get down right confusing. For example, do you workout six days straight without a break and then rest on the seventh day? Or do you workout two days and then take one day off? Or, do you workout three days and take one day off? Just how do you split it?
Let's examine the different bodybuilding splits and look at some of the practical applications of each one.

What Is a Bodybuilding Split?

If you're not training your entire body in one session, then you are using a bodybuilding split. "Split" means nothing more or less than splitting up your workouts so that different body parts are trained during different training sessions. 

Types of Splits ​

The Push/Pull Workout: One very common split is to train all of the "push muscles" in one session, and all of the "pull muscles" in another session (a push/pull workout). The push muscles consist of the chest, shoulders, and triceps. The pull muscles include the back muscles and biceps muscles. Abs, calves, and legs are trained in a separate session. This is often referred to as a "push/pull" routine. The idea behind push/pull routines can best be explained as follows: As you train chest, you also use your shoulders and triceps to "push the weights". When you train your shoulders, you are in turn, utilizing your triceps muscles to push the weights.

 Likewise, on pull sessions, as you train your back, you also incorporate your biceps to assist in pulling movements. The idea is to group the body parts that assist each other and therefore fatigue together during that particular workout. The pull/push system is one of my favorites and is the predominant manner in which I trained over the course of my bodybuilding career.

The Antagonistic Muscle Workout: Train the back and chest together, the arms and shoulders together, and then the legs in a separate session (an antagonistic split). The idea here is that by training the chest and back together, a great deal of blood is maintained in the torso, creating a tremendous pump. The arms (biceps and the triceps) and the shoulders get a pretty fair workout from a chest/back routine too, so you have to watch out that you don't over-train them on the shoulder/arms day. A typical way of organizing this particular workout would be to train the chest and back on day one, the legs on day two, and then the arms and shoulders on day three. This allows a day of rest in between, for the arms and shoulders.

The One Bodypart A Day Split Yet another way to split up the body parts is to train one body part per day (the one body part a day split). This works well for some people. One body part is trained each day. For example, on the first day, you might train chest, on the second day you might train biceps, on the third day you might train legs, and so forth until you have completed a training cycle for your entire body during a period of a week.

The only drawback to this system is that a lot of time lapses between workouts for each body part, and in my opinion, this can be detrimental. Personally, I like to hit each body part once every 72 hours, or about once every three days. At times, I may take a greater amount of rest than this but this is typically the amount of time that I allow in-between workouts for the same body part. 


Now that we've talked about splitting up body parts and muscle groups, assembling a workout that will "work" is just as important as when you workout. Knowing about various types of routines and on the advantages and disadvantages will help your workout be the most effective in producing results. 

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