Workout Splits

gym schtuff

Despite sounding like some Dexter serial killer level stuff, a workout split simply means what body parts you work out on what days. Whew. 

Before we discuss workout split options, remember this:

There is no right or wrong to this. 

What works for Karen in accounting might not work for your schedule. Your best friend's favorite workout split might feel like Chinese water torture to you. What split you do is infinitely less important right now than just getting to the gym and building the habit of exercising.  

Here are some popular workout splits and their pros/cons. Pick one and try it. If you love it, stick with it. If you hate it, switch. If you get bored, try another one. 

You can't mess this up.

Time + consistency = results. Workout splits are the icing on the cake (but in a more nutritious way).

 

3 Day Workout Split 

A three-day workout split is good for people just getting started in the gym for two reasons: One, you won’t spend as much time on just one body part. If you’ve just started training, you don’t necessarily need an hour devoted solely to your back, so back day is combined with another body part to split the time. Secondly, while you settle into your new routine, it gives you more flexibility. If you miss a day, it’s easier to make sure you hit every body part in a week than a five-day split.  

Day 1: Back and Biceps 

Day 2: Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps 

Day 3: Shoulders and Legs  

After day three, you can start back at Day 1 or take a rest day (or a few rest days) and then start back and Day 1.  It's a matter of how many days a week you'd like to be in the gym. Something is always better than nothing, so start with what's comfortable and trust momentum to propel you forward.

 

4 Day Workout Split 

The four-day split is very similar to three. The only difference is that leg day gets its own day. Your legs are your biggest muscle group and leg days can be intense. No one wants scrawny chicken legs (hence the expression never miss leg day) so this split ensures this important powerhouse gets the attention it deserves. I've included shoulders as the other solo day, but you can easily swap that third day out and do any other exercise on its own.

Day 1: Back and Biceps

Day 2: Chest and Triceps 

Day 3: Shoulders 

Day 4: Legs

 

5 Day Workout Split

The five-day split is great as you get stronger and more disciplined with your routine. It puts more focus on each body part, as each one gets its own day.

Day 1: Back

Day 2: Chest

Day 3: Shoulders

Day 4: Arms (Biceps and Triceps)

Day 5: Legs 

After day five, you can take a rest day or start over and take your rest day later in the week. As always, if you need to sneak a rest day in the middle of the split, that’s totally fine. Just pick back up the next day. 

Remember, this isn’t about perfection. 

Don't get caught up in paralysis by analysis: thinking about details so much that you never start. Pick a split and try it. You always have permission to switch it up. 

Consistency is key. The rest is details.

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