Most beginners will have heard the term ‘training split’ yet very few of them will have any idea about putting one together! Often a beginner’s training split will be based around every machine in the gym they train at, bench pressing and bicep curls. How often do you see beginners walking around the gym jumping from one machine to the next? One minute they may be curling, the next they are doing calf raises and then sit ups. Clearly I am talking from the point of view achieving muscular hypertrophy and decreasing your body fat percentage. If the goals I just listed are not high on the agenda then I suggest the rest of the advice in this article may be of no use to you! For the rest of you, follow me!
Beginners, you need to break your body down into separate training sessions and hit each body part once a week, that is all! Personally, I do believe that there are intelligent ways to put a weekly training split together which will help aid overall recovery, enable you to train harder and help prevent injuries. Below would be my chosen beginner’s training split.
Monday – back & calves
Tuesday – chest & triceps
Wednesday – off
Thursday – shoulders & biceps
Friday – Legs
Saturday – off
Sunday – off
Back and legs are the two largest muscle groups therefore it is logical that these workouts will be the most taxing, legs especially let me tell you! This is why we have got these two workouts at opposite ends of the week, to maximise your rate of recovery. Training legs on Friday actually gives you two days off the gym to recover!
When you train back your biceps are going to come into play which is why I believe you need to give your biceps a few days rest before you train them. Personally I never think you should train shoulders before you train chest in the week, because a degree of the weight transfer on your chest workouts goes through the shoulders. If your shoulders are in pieces there is a good chance you will begin to fail before your chest is maxed out!
I hope by explaining a few of those points you can understand why we have set the programme out in such a way!
Sets, reps & rest periods
This really is ‘how long is a piece of string’ topic because there are a million and one ways to train! Having said that for a complete beginner I do think that 3 working sets with 3 different exercises for each of the smaller muscle groups is more than enough. For the larger muscle groups such as back and legs I think you should go for 4 working sets with 4 different exercises as a maximum!
The rep range should be between 8-15, but please remember to warm up for a good 10 minutes before you train properly. This doesn’t mean going on the treadmill, this means using exercises which will warm up the muscle you are about to smash up!
In regards to rest periods go for 90 seconds between each working set as a starting guideline, this allows for adequate time to recuperate without having too long to rest!
Form is absolutely crucial for beginners in particular, and there are several very good reasons why. First and foremost sloppy form can lead to nasty injuries, and as a beginner your core strength and attachment points in the joints are going to be weaker than a seasoned trainer! Secondly, your results will be very limited if your form is poor because the muscle contraction you are achieving will be near non-existent!
There you go, an easy to follow guide for beginners looking to get their transformation off to a flying start!