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The Best Training Splits

Gold Coast Health, Fitness & Personal Training Post - Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A training split is basically what you train or what type of training you do on any given day of the week.  For instance if you train your legs on Monday, back on Wednesday and chest on Friday, that would be an example of a training split.  In the never-ending quest to enhance our training results, athletes, fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders have experimented with a number of different training splits – some good, others terrible.  Here are some of my favorite splits I use for athletic training, fat loss and rehabilitation that you are more than welcome to take or adapt for your own purposes.

Before I go further, there a few basic rules I have that you should know before designing a training split.

The first is that simple things work best so don’t make it anymore complicated than need be. 

The second (and this one relates especially to athletes) is you should always train speed before strength and strength before endurance during the week. 

The third is that the upper body can usually handle more load than the legs because the muscle groups aren’t as large and will recover quicker.  This means you can train them more often in your training split. 

The fourth rule is that I do not to regularly pair two big compound movements in one session e.g. a bench press with a pull up.  By avoiding this, it allows the trainee to concentrate more on the dominant exercise in the session.  NB: Check out Bodybuiliding Split #1 to see how I have done this. 

The fifth is that you want to train antagonistic muscle groups in your sessions 60-80% of the time e.g. if you train the biceps, you also train the triceps or if you train the quads, you also train the hamstrings in the same session.  By doing this, you get more overall work done in the session and you will get stronger a lot quicker due to a neat nervous system function called reciprocal inhibition.  However you can’t do this all the time especially if you start using the Olympic lifts and you can see how I have slightly modified the splits in Bodybuilder Split #2 and Fat Loss #3 to reflect this.

The sixth is you should design your split around a 7 day cycle as this is what most people will naturally be able to fit their schedule into the easiest.  I am not a big fan of shorter training splits (e.g. 5 days) because most people (even elite athletes who do not have to work) are simply preprogrammed to be working on 7 day cycles.

Unlike training the splits, training splits help you organize your training

So check out these possible training splits for different scenarios that again you are more than welcome to take and adapt to your own training:

Football (AFL, League, Union, Soccer) Off Season #1 (Can train twice daily)

Monday AM: Speed

Monday PM: Lower Body Weights

Tuesday AM: Upper Body Weights

Tuesday PM: Interval Training/Strongman Training

Wednesday: Off

Thursday AM: Speed

Thursday PM: Lower Body Weights

Friday AM: Upper Body Weights

Friday PM: Interval Training/Strongman Training

Saturday: Aerobic Training

Sunday: Off


Football (AFL, League, Union, Soccer) Off Season #2 (Can only train once daily)

Monday: Speed

Tuesday: Chest & Biceps

Wednesday: Legs

Thursday: Interval Training

Friday: Back &Triceps

Saturday: Aerobic Training

Sunday: Off


Bodybuilding #1

Monday: Chest & Biceps

Tuesday: Quadriceps & Knee Flexors (e.g. hamstring curl)

Wednesday: Shoulders & Calves

Thursday: Back & Triceps

Friday: Hip Extensors (e.g. deadlift) & Abs

Saturday: Weak Points (e.g. the body part the trainee feels lets them done the most)

Sunday: Off


Bodybuilding #2

Monday: Chest & Shoulders

Tuesday: Quads

Wednesday: Back & Calves

Thursday: Hamstrings & Abs

Friday: Arms

Saturday: Weak Points (e.g. the body part the trainee feels lets them done the most)

Sunday: Off


Bodybuilding #3 (Can only train 4x week)

Monday: Chest & Hamstrings

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: Back & Shoulders

Thursday: Quads & Calves

Friday: Off

Saturday: Arms, Forearms & Abs

Sunday: Off


Fat Loss #1

Monday: Upper

Tuesday: Lower

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Upper

Friday: Lower

Saturday: Interval/Aerobic Training

Sunday: Off


Fat Loss #2 (Can only train 3x week)

Week 1

Monday: Upper body

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: Lower body

Thursday: Off

Friday: Upper body

Saturday: Off

Sunday: Off

Week 2

Monday: Lower body

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: Upper body

Thursday: Off

Friday: Lower body

Saturday: Off

Sunday: Off


Fat Loss #3

Monday: Quads, Back & Biceps

Tuesday: Hamstrings, Chest & Triceps

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Quads, Back & Biceps

Friday: Hamstrings, Chest & Triceps

Saturday: Interval/Aerobic Training

Sunday: Off

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