This is Your Quick Training Tip, a chance to learn how to work smarter in just a few moments so you can get right to your workout.
The biggest challenge for most exercisers, especially if they're looking to lift weights to build muscle and strength, is how to structure their workouts in order to make consistent gains. Knowing exactly what to do can be just as much of a challenge as showing up to the gym.
When you’re new to strength training, total body workouts are almost always the way to go. Regardless of whether your objective is greater strength, power, hypertrophy (building muscle), or muscular endurance, you can achieve it by performing as few as two to three comprehensive training sessions per week. But once you get some experience under your weight belt, it pays to be more strategic about how you go about your training split.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, “training split” refers to how you divide up your weekly routine. There are countless ways to go about this structuring, but the classic approach focuses on body parts—back and bis on Monday, chest and tris on Tuesday, shoulders and legs on Wednesday, etc. (continued below)
That’s a smart strategy if you’re a bodybuilder, or someone whose primary focus is hypertrophy. But if your goals extend beyond muscle-building—or even if they don’t—you should regularly change how you split up your training sessions. Why? Because by switching the focus of your split from individual body parts to, say, push and pull, upper and lower body, or even movement patterns, you can inject some much-needed variety into your training programme, reduce the risk of hitting a plateau, and help to prevent overuse injuries.
Your move: Alternate between two different training splits on a weekly basis or stick to the same one each week. Either way, the key is to change your split (or splits) every two to three months. That way you’ll ensure that your muscles never become too accustomed to the same training stimulus, and in so doing, you’ll also ensure that they never stop adapting—which is the key to building muscle and strength.
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