The Training/Workout Split

The Training/Workout Split 2min read

A training or workout split is the way you divide or split up your training.

A split is about programming workouts to stress your body past its current equilibrium, to move you towards a specific goal. The stress triggers your body to adapt to stress and get stronger. But, without enough recovery in between workouts you can get over stressed. Meaning you will not be able to train the next session.

It is not the lifting that gets you stronger, it is the eating and recovery.

Initial Strength Gains

The first goal with training should be to develop a base level strength. This is best done through a linear progression of weight. Where we increase weight on the bar by 5, 2.5 even 1 kilogram each workout, until we can no longer add weight between sessions.

When you feel like you are reaching the end of the initial strength gains, ask yourself the first three questions put forward by Mark Rippetoe:

Have you:

  1. Had adequate rest between sets? Have you had enough sleep? Have you had enough rest between sessions?
  2. Made to big a jump between sets?
  3. Been eating enough protein and carbs (marcos) at the right ratios?

The "Starting" Strength Split

The standard linear progression prescribed by Starting Strength is a three day split. Typically done, on a Monday, Tuesday and Friday. With a rest day in between and two day rest after the the day cycle. It can be done on different days of the week, to better suit your schedule.

Day Movement 1 Movement 2 Movement 3
Mon Squats @60x3x5 Bench Press @40x3x5 Dead Lifts @80x3x5
Tue Rest
Wed Squats @65x3x5 Overhead Press @25x3x5 Dead Lifts @85x3x5
Thu Rest
Fri Squats @70x3x5 Bench Press @42.5x3x5 Dead Lifts @90x3x5
Sat Rest
Sun Rest

A Four Day Starting Strength Split

I wanted to train everyday, because I knew I wasn't going to be able to train everyday. So I programmed the four day linear progression split below. The theory being I had a days rest between leg and upper body workouts. And two days at the end of the split.

Day Movement 1 Movement 2
1 Squats @60x3x5 Dead Lifts @80x3x5
2 Bench Press @40x3x5 Overhead Press @25x3x5
3 Squats @65x3x5 Dead Lifts @85x3x5
4 Bench Press @42.5x3x5 Overhead Press @27.5x3x5
5 Rest


Start by doing 5 kilogram jumps on lower body lifts and 2.5 kilogram jumps on upper body lifts. Once those jumps become difficult decrease the jumps down to 2.5 kilograms for lower body and 1 kilogram for upper body lifts.

If you are struggling to recover between workouts  -- particularly if you are over 35 -- it is time to change your split. Maybe a Heavy-Light-Medium.

If you are still young, with lots of testosterone to aid recovery, then check out the Texas Method.


The Biggest Training Fallacy of All

The First Three Questions

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