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Split workout options: 2, 3, 4 and 5 days a week

Split training (English split – to split, split) is a method of organizing sports activities, which implies dividing the training program into parts and performing them on different days. This principle is used in bodybuilding and helps the athlete to load the desired muscles well in a short period of time.

  • Advantages of the technique:
  • Accentuated design . Each session is aimed at the development of the selected muscle group, which allows you to gradually increase the weight load.
  • Optimal rest . Thanks to the split principle, the risk of overtraining is reduced, and the muscles have enough time to recover.
  • Increase the intensity of the exercise . Using the split-method, the athlete gets the opportunity to conduct short but effective workouts.

The use of split programs contributes to the development of strength characteristics and stimulate muscle fiber hypertrophy.

Difference from other methods

Let’s consider two popular training systems and compare them with a split.

Full body

Working out the whole body. It is a program in which each lesson is aimed at developing the main muscle groups.

The advantages of the technique include complex strengthening of the muscles and ligaments of the body.

By cons – unsuitability for strength training for volume.

Difference of systems: due to the accentuated workout of muscles and a long recovery period, the split-training for mass, in contrast to the “full-body”, allows the athlete to gradually increase the load each session, stimulating the muscles to grow.

Experienced fitness trainers recommend full body to novice athletes in order to strengthen the muscle frame and ligaments and prepare the body for more serious loads. Conversely, trained athletes and professionals train according to the principle of separate split training.

Circular training

The basis is intense exercises performed in a circle, with minimal interruptions. Circuit training is recommended for those who want to have a toned functional body with minimal body fat.

The technique is designed to increase stamina and lose weight.

Cyclic exercises allow you to harmoniously strengthen muscles.

The disadvantage of such training and the main difference from the split is the impossibility of building large muscle volumes and strength.

Beginners and girls can start with low-intensity circuit classes so as not to overload the heart muscle … Professional athletes usually use this workout to work out the relief and reduce subcutaneous fatty tissue.

Recommendations for different body types

Read more about this classification in a separate article on somatotypes.

Типы телосложения


Lean people with thin bones, an underdeveloped muscle corset and low body fat:

  • Nutrition. To gain weight, you need a high-calorie diet (more than 3300 kcal / day). The menu should be based on “complex” carbohydrates: cereals, durum wheat pasta, whole grain bread. Protein and fat should be consumed in approximately equal proportions. You need to eat several times a day. If you cannot increase body weight, you can use a sports diet: creatine, gainers.
  • Exercise . It is undesirable for ectomorphs to get involved in aerobic training. Classes should be based on basic elements (deadlift, bench press, squat). Exercises should be divided into 3 sessions per week, that is, the preferred type of training for the ectomorphic type is a three-day split with pauses of 1-2 days.


Physically developed, strong people, most prone to power loads:

  • Nutrition . The basis of the diet of the mesomorph should be protein products: red meat, poultry, fish, cottage cheese. Caloric content of the menu: 3200-3400 kcal / day. People with a mesomorphic physique need to cut back on carbohydrates and fats in their diet. Recommended supplements: vitamins, protein blends.
  • Exercise . The basis of mesomorph training is all the same strength elements: squatting, bench press, deadlift. The exercises should be divided into 3 sessions. At the same time, a three-day split-training for men should be strength, that is, in each approach, you need to select the weight so that on 7-8 repetitions, you feel rejection. In addition to the basic elements, you should select “finishing” exercises that promote maximum blood circulation in the muscles. Rest between classes – 1-2 days.


Large-boned people with a high percentage of subcutaneous fat and weak undeveloped muscles:

  • Nutrition. The diet should be divided into small portions. Low calorie content: no more than 1800 kcal / day. The basis of the menu should be lean proteins (chicken fillet, eggs without yolks, fish, low-fat cottage cheese) and vegetable fiber (fruits, vegetables, herbs). The amount of carbohydrate food should be reduced to 15% of the daily value. Recommended supplements: vitamins, fat-burning complexes, high-quality protein isolates.
  • Exercise . The training program should be drawn up for three days a week. It is recommended that these activities be conducted in an aerobic mode, aimed at burning fat and tightening the body (for example, aerobics, circuit training). If an athlete wants to train according to the split method, the weights should be selected so that the approaches are multi-repetitive (15–20 times). Break between classes – 1 day. During recovery periods, you can do cardio outside (for example, cycling or light jogging in the park).

As a rule, people are dominated by mixed body types, such as ectomorph-mesomorph. For a more accurate determination of the type of figure and drawing up an effective training program, we recommend that you contact a professional fitness trainer.

By the way, split training for girls is not much different from male, the correction is made only for the weight of the apparatus.

Two-day split

The technique is suitable for all athletes who do not use anabolic steroids. It is known that muscles grow in volume with a constant increase in weight loads and quality rest. But many athletes, after reading “programs from champions” on the Internet, try to repeat the success of bodybuilding stars, completely forgetting that all professionals use expensive pharmacological support.

Naturally, the “natural” muscles do not have time to recover from such training, and the results leave much to be desired. Therefore, experienced mentors recommend that everyone who practices “clean” use two-day splits. These programs allow you to have quality rest between workouts, which has a positive effect on increasing strength and mass.

Principles of composition:

  • All muscles should be conventionally divided into two large groups.
  • Exercises that stress the muscles of the back and lower back should be “diluted” on different days.
  • The elements that put stress on the shoulder joints should also be distributed among individual workouts.

Three-day split

The most common scheme. The 3-day division is used by both beginners and professionals. With this type of training construction, the muscles receive an emphasized load and sufficient time to recover.


  • Basic elements are distributed over three workouts.
  • In addition the plan includes strength training exercises.

This type of training is used by trained athletes when it is necessary to increase the intensity of training. It is not recommended for beginners to practice this split.

The methodology is based on the same division of large muscle groups and working them out on separate days. There are no fundamental differences from the three-day program. It just adds one workout, to which some of the exercises are distributed, for example, for the shoulders and arms.

The schedule can be made in different ways, but the most popular scheme: Monday, Tuesday – training; Wednesday – break; Thursday, Friday – training; Saturday, Sunday – rest.

Five-day split

The most effective way to split the exercises. It is intended only for trained athletes with training experience in three- and four-day programs .

The principle of construction is the study of each large muscle group on a separate day. When drawing up a training plan, you should correctly distribute the loads so as not to overtrain any part of the body. For example, it is not recommended to put on the shoulders the next day after working on the chest, since the front and middle deltoids are actively involved in all kinds of presses for the pectoral muscles.

Tips for beginners

These tips will help inexperienced athletes get the most out of their training:

  1. Don’t start bodybuilding right away with splits. Prepare your muscles and ligaments with circular training.
  2. Do not copy the programs of famous athletes. Choose your plan based on your fitness and physique.
  3. Don’t overdo isolation exercises. Additional elements do not replace the basic ones.
  4. Watch the technique. It is not always possible to increase the load with every workout. It is better to do the set with the weight of the previous session, but it is technically correct.
  5. In the first months of training, do not push the muscles to the limit. Complete the set before failure.
  6. Do not drag out the duration of the session. 50-60 minutes is enough to properly load the target muscles.

While in the gym, track your feelings. If you feel a strong sprain or even more acute pain in the joint, discard the element and replace it with a safe analogue.