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    split routines and optimal volume and rest for muscles

    Hi,

    I am learning about split routines - single bodypart each session (chest, arms, shoulders, legs, etc) vs push/pull vs total body, and others. It seems to me that the more days you have available to lift, the more focused on specific body parts you split routine can be. That's why total body is good for people who can only work out 3 days a week, because they are always resting for 48 hours assuming they are doing it every other day. Since I work out almost every day, I like the idea of focusing my workouts on just one muscle group. Total body routines tend to make me feel sort of...distracted/unfocused. But what I don't like about this amount of focus is that I think you lose the compound movements that can be beneficial for overall fitness and neuromuscular efficiency. For example, on shoulder day, I'd like to incorporate some hang clean and jerk movements. But now I'm also working my glutes/legs. Or maybe on back day I want to superset some of my rows with some pushups, to balance out the pulling motion and give my grip a rest -- basically I don't want to just sit around and waste time resting if I could be working the antagonist. But it's still not exactly a push/pull day because I'm doing way more back than I am any chest - it's still a back focus. Is this "kosher" in bodybuilding weightlifting? In these two examples/scenarios, would it be detrimental to work the muscle group that was only minimally touched on the next day? E.g. if I did a few hang/clean/jerks, can I do I heavy leg day the next day? Or vice versa, if I had done a heavy leg day the day before, is there something wrong with doing those hang/clean/jerks the next day? I guess what I'm basically asking is, how strict are these rules about giving your muscle groups rest? Is the 48 hour rule really only applying to completely obliterating a muscle? And is doing a bunch of volume on one day a week for a muscle (aka obliterating it) going to yield the same results as splitting that same amount of volume up over 3, 4, 5, or even 6 days? If the answer is that it's really about total weekly volume and the timing isn't as important, then I guess that answers my question -- you could theoretically be doing total body workouts every day as long as you kept the volume lower each day. But I have a feeling that's not quite the case and I'm interested in hearing the thoughts of this community.

    Thanks,
    Christie
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    You have to try it and see what works best for you. What works for someone else may not work for you. What works for you today, may not work for you 12 months from now.
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    There's no "correct" answer, it depends on YOU, as in how your body responds.

    Personally I love simply structured full body programs, these worked for me for some time first starting with Stronglifts then some MadCow, then a few other things.

    But these days, just as one example... If I do some really hard OHP sets, I won't be able to perform well on Deadlift afterwards even with a 10 minute rest, I'm just a bit drained.

    So if I want to do both, I have to choose which one is going to get the focus in any given workout. So the obvious answer is to start splitting things up... Hey that's a split!

    IMHO keep doing full body until you can't make it work any more because full body is most time efficient. When you get to the point you are forced to split things up, then start using a split.
    Faith in Jesus first and faith in squats second.
    Then other details will start to slot themselves into place.
    Diet restarted, target 69.x Kg, progress poor so far :(
    Squat, Press, Squat, Press, occasionally some DL or other things too
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    And to make on one training of a full body heavy OHP , and on another-heavy deadlift to you what religion does not allow? That's the first question. And the second question would no longer be a question but a statement - the majority of so-called bodybuilders is sorely lacking General endurance, the physical quality, useful for health in General. And it is the full body programs that develop this quality. When did Reg Park and the other Oldies start using split mode? When the full body program ceased to fit into the format for 3 hours. Modern same (not know as this word on English) piled sh****ttt in trousers, not enduring the just-only 1.5 hour coaching received. Shame...
    bench press 167.5 kgx1, 125 kgx13, 100 kgх24
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    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    There's no "correct" answer, it depends on YOU, as in how your body responds.
    This is great advice right here.

    Ultimately you have to figure out what training style and how much volume gets you the results you want. There is no one way solution. As you keep training and gain experience you will learn how your body responds to training, what works better and what doesn’t, etc.
    - Your mindset influences your outcome. It's time to take out phrases like "I can't" or "I don't have time" and replace them with phrases like "I will make the time" and "I will keep working at it until I find a way that works." Success starts with the right mindset and believing in yourself and your dreams.
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    if you like split routines and one muscle a day, then you do you

    nothing wrong with doing cleans then hitting heavy legs the next day if it works for you. there's no hard rules when it comes to how to split your workout although most beginners would greatly benefit from at least 2x frequency. the main benefit of frequency is to increase your volume per body part and likely the quality of those sets.

    there are people who do 4x full body routines, they would likely hit the same muscles 2x in a row, but obviously with different prescription in terms of exercise selection, reps and intensity.
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    Originally Posted by dazitmayn View Post
    if you like split routines and one muscle a day, then you do you

    nothing wrong with doing cleans then hitting heavy legs the next day if it works for you. there's no hard rules when it comes to how to split your workout although most beginners would greatly benefit from at least 2x frequency. the main benefit of frequency is to increase your volume per body part and likely the quality of those sets.

    there are people who do 4x full body routines, they would likely hit the same muscles 2x in a row, but obviously with different prescription in terms of exercise selection, reps and intensity.
    That's basically what I'm doing

    Day 1- bench(heavy) squat(light) chinups(heavy) accessory (usually tricep pushdown, leg lifts and facepull)
    Day 2 deadlift(heavy), ohp(light) rows, accessory (db fly instead of tricep)
    Day 4 squat(heavy), bench(light), chinups(heavy), accessory
    Day 5 ohp(heavy), deadlift(light), rows and accessory

    The light days are pretty light. I'll superset deadlifts and ohp or squat and chins, and giant set all the accessories because it already takes an hour. Like 25 percent less than the heavy days, so that doesn't cause problems with training 2x in a row.
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    Registered User John Prophet's Avatar
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    the answers to most of your questions are hotly debated lol. Everyone has their pet way to do things and the popularity of each method waxes and wanes. things are ridiculed, then next thing you know they become gospel, then next thing you know some paper comes out and they are "out" again. cest la vie

    " basically I don't want to just sit around and waste time resting". "Sitting around and wasting time resting" is how 99% of bodybuilders (and olympic weightlifters) have built their bodies.


    There is nothing wrong with an "eclectic" split setup. It doesnt have to be symmetrical or cookie cutter etc. For one thing, there are people who do fullbody routines daily lol. As u mention, its a matter of managing the volume etc. You mention cleans etc. Olympic weightlifters do either cleans, snatches, and/or squats 6 days per week. So in essence they work their legs 6 days per week.

    I will mention here the value of a periodic deload. To me this is the great "catch all" equalizer in case your programming isnt perfect. In other words you might indeed (you will) overwork certain muscles or movements during a week of training, and even if u had a perfect split etc, youd still start to accumulate overall fatigue as the weeks pass. So its good to take a periodic deload to let this accumulated fatigue dissipate. There r many ways to deload. Some people have formulas for it and some people (me) just come into the gym and sort of half-ass it for that week.

    A normal set up might be 4 training weeks then a deload or 5 training weeks then a deload. If you are the psycho type that destroys yourself weekly then you might even do a 3 weeks training-1 week deload setup. The deload helps lessen the worries about getting some sort of perfect workout split and also the worries about, omg, overtraining.

    The "work only one muscle group per workout" is nowadays called a "bro split". In the 70s the guys like Arnold would do massive long workouts and do stuff like work each bodypart 3x per week. Then they might also do something like push/pull/legs/push/pull/legs and thus workout each muscle 2x per week. In the 80s guys like Lee Haney might do 3on/1off so it might be push/pull/legs/off and then repeat so that each week it would fall on different days.

    The "bro split" got popular in the 90s. So you'd have "chest day" which by law was always on Monday then youd have "leg day" "arm day" "back day" etc etc. Some people still swear by this type of split but I think research has shown that its not optimal to work a muscle only 1x per week. Hence the somewhat derogatory label of "bro split". of course there are various ways to set up a bro split too. one could set it up where most muscles actually get some work 2x per week. for example if u did chest on Monday and arms on Thur, you could start off triceps with close grip bench press and your chest is actually getting hit 2x per week.

    for what you describe, you might want to start listing out the compounds that you want to do on each day and then start filling in the isolation work etc etc. Just try to keep it from getting too wacky where u r obliterating a muscle 2-3 days in a row etc.

    you might try something like this push/pull/push/pull/push/pull where push is chest/front-side delts/tris and pull is legs/back/rear delts/bi. And then each day you just have a different emphasis.

    Mon-push with chest emphasis (but still hitting delt/tri to some degree etc)

    Tu-pull with quad emphasis

    Wed-push with delt emphasis

    Thu-pull with back emphasis

    Fri-push with tri emphasis

    Sat-pull with glute/bi emphasis

    Su-off

    Personally id mostly ditch the antagonist superset idea in this type of a setup. If you absolutely must keep in constant motion, u can always do ab or calf work in between sets of other stuff or even more of a bodyweight/calisthenic type of deal. for instance on pull day with back emphasis you might do a set of pulldowns for the back, then maybe something like bodyweight only glute kickbacks for the right side, then another set of pulldowns, then bodyweight glute kickbacks for the left side etc. Last set of pulldowns then a set of abs.

    I think that type of workout is great for becoming extremely "fit" but I wouldnt do it for serious muscle growth. If someone pointed a gun at me and said "build huge thighs now" then id do a set of squats, write in down in my logbook, get a sip of water or energy drink, pace around and briefly contemplate life and next thing you know 2-3 minutes have gone by and its time for the next set and im not totally winded from constant motion. on some of my stuff like delt laterals, calves, all arm work, its only 60 seconds rest between sets anyway so there is no feeling of "sitting around wasting time"....besides which I never sit in the gym anyway lol.


    of course you might also even try a hybrid approach for rest times etc. say you start the workout with squats or power cleans. Ok, those are big compounds that demand concentration and good form so you do them like a bodybuilder or olympic weightlifter would. You do your set, you sit or stand 2-3 minutes, you stretch, you focus, you visualize then you do your next set. IMO you dont want to do your compounds with a "cardio bunny" approach unless u want to have crappy form and invite injury.

    But after that first main compound you might then go into more of an alternating thing. for example this type of workout:

    squats (normal boring bodybuilder style, do a set, pace around glaring at people etc, another set etc)
    pulldowns alternated with bodyweight calf raises
    glute cable kickbacks alternated with crunches
    curls alternated with supported knee ups

    you would pretty much always do compounds and/or "skill" movements first. for example you would never put power cleans at the end. Youd work sort of from "biggest" to 'smallest' with the isolation stuff coming last etc. Skill stuff first.

    of course you first might want to really clarify your goals. If you want to generally add muscular size to the whole body then you take one approach. if you just want to be fit with big round glutes and delts then its another approach lol.


    Peace, JJ
    "Humility comes before honor"
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    Thanks for the detailed response. Definitely interesting and useful approach, I think I'll try the big lifts with rest between and then maybe superset more of the accessory groups.
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    Originally Posted by John Prophet View Post
    the answers to most of your questions are hotly debated lol. Everyone has their pet way to do things and the popularity of each method waxes and wanes. things are ridiculed, then next thing you know they become gospel, then next thing you know some paper comes out and they are "out" again. cest la vie

    " basically I don't want to just sit around and waste time resting". "Sitting around and wasting time resting" is how 99% of bodybuilders (and olympic weightlifters) have built their bodies.


    There is nothing wrong with an "eclectic" split setup. It doesnt have to be symmetrical or cookie cutter etc. For one thing, there are people who do fullbody routines daily lol. As u mention, its a matter of managing the volume etc. You mention cleans etc. Olympic weightlifters do either cleans, snatches, and/or squats 6 days per week. So in essence they work their legs 6 days per week.

    I will mention here the value of a periodic deload. To me this is the great "catch all" equalizer in case your programming isnt perfect. In other words you might indeed (you will) overwork certain muscles or movements during a week of training, and even if u had a perfect split etc, youd still start to accumulate overall fatigue as the weeks pass. So its good to take a periodic deload to let this accumulated fatigue dissipate. There r many ways to deload. Some people have formulas for it and some people (me) just come into the gym and sort of half-ass it for that week.

    A normal set up might be 4 training weeks then a deload or 5 training weeks then a deload. If you are the psycho type that destroys yourself weekly then you might even do a 3 weeks training-1 week deload setup. The deload helps lessen the worries about getting some sort of perfect workout split and also the worries about, omg, overtraining.

    The "work only one muscle group per workout" is nowadays called a "bro split". In the 70s the guys like Arnold would do massive long workouts and do stuff like work each bodypart 3x per week. Then they might also do something like push/pull/legs/push/pull/legs and thus workout each muscle 2x per week. In the 80s guys like Lee Haney might do 3on/1off so it might be push/pull/legs/off and then repeat so that each week it would fall on different days.

    The "bro split" got popular in the 90s. So you'd have "chest day" which by law was always on Monday then youd have "leg day" "arm day" "back day" etc etc. Some people still swear by this type of split but I think research has shown that its not optimal to work a muscle only 1x per week. Hence the somewhat derogatory label of "bro split". of course there are various ways to set up a bro split too. one could set it up where most muscles actually get some work 2x per week. for example if u did chest on Monday and arms on Thur, you could start off triceps with close grip bench press and your chest is actually getting hit 2x per week.

    for what you describe, you might want to start listing out the compounds that you want to do on each day and then start filling in the isolation work etc etc. Just try to keep it from getting too wacky where u r obliterating a muscle 2-3 days in a row etc.

    you might try something like this push/pull/push/pull/push/pull where push is chest/front-side delts/tris and pull is legs/back/rear delts/bi. And then each day you just have a different emphasis.

    Mon-push with chest emphasis (but still hitting delt/tri to some degree etc)

    Tu-pull with quad emphasis

    Wed-push with delt emphasis

    Thu-pull with back emphasis

    Fri-push with tri emphasis

    Sat-pull with glute/bi emphasis

    Su-off

    Personally id mostly ditch the antagonist superset idea in this type of a setup. If you absolutely must keep in constant motion, u can always do ab or calf work in between sets of other stuff or even more of a bodyweight/calisthenic type of deal. for instance on pull day with back emphasis you might do a set of pulldowns for the back, then maybe something like bodyweight only glute kickbacks for the right side, then another set of pulldowns, then bodyweight glute kickbacks for the left side etc. Last set of pulldowns then a set of abs.

    I think that type of workout is great for becoming extremely "fit" but I wouldnt do it for serious muscle growth. If someone pointed a gun at me and said "build huge thighs now" then id do a set of squats, write in down in my logbook, get a sip of water or energy drink, pace around and briefly contemplate life and next thing you know 2-3 minutes have gone by and its time for the next set and im not totally winded from constant motion. on some of my stuff like delt laterals, calves, all arm work, its only 60 seconds rest between sets anyway so there is no feeling of "sitting around wasting time"....besides which I never sit in the gym anyway lol.


    of course you might also even try a hybrid approach for rest times etc. say you start the workout with squats or power cleans. Ok, those are big compounds that demand concentration and good form so you do them like a bodybuilder or olympic weightlifter would. You do your set, you sit or stand 2-3 minutes, you stretch, you focus, you visualize then you do your next set. IMO you dont want to do your compounds with a "cardio bunny" approach unless u want to have crappy form and invite injury.

    But after that first main compound you might then go into more of an alternating thing. for example this type of workout:

    squats (normal boring bodybuilder style, do a set, pace around glaring at people etc, another set etc)
    pulldowns alternated with bodyweight calf raises
    glute cable kickbacks alternated with crunches
    curls alternated with supported knee ups

    you would pretty much always do compounds and/or "skill" movements first. for example you would never put power cleans at the end. Youd work sort of from "biggest" to 'smallest' with the isolation stuff coming last etc. Skill stuff first.

    of course you first might want to really clarify your goals. If you want to generally add muscular size to the whole body then you take one approach. if you just want to be fit with big round glutes and delts then its another approach lol.


    Peace, JJ


    Would you say that the idea that compound lifts should come at the beginning of the workout, with ample rest time between, can be generalized to any exercise that you are specifically trying to work on or train for? E.g. pull-ups - I suck at them and want to get better, so I should prioritize them with rest in between at the beginning of the workout? Or even extending it further, if I’m a sprinter looking to work on my speed, I should prioritize explosive movements designed for speed training first, and THEN lift since I’m lifting more as an accessory to my speed in this case? Or, should certain compound lifts (squat, deadlift, bench; snatch, clean, jerk) always come first regardless?
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