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SPLIT SYSTEM TRAINING

A type of training that divides training sessions by body regions, pushing and pulling days, antagonist body parts (muscles that oppose each other are trained in the same workout), or movement-based splits (in which one compound movement is performed each day). These are just a few examples of different splits, but the list goes on.

Superset: When two exercises are performed consecutively without a break

For beginners, entire-body training sessions are sufficient because they provide an ample stimulus for neural adaptation and trigger muscle growth. In fact, effective full-body sessions may consist of only one set per body part. However, the gains from full-body sessions taper off rather quickly, necessitating more advanced protocols.

Super Sets, Giant Sets, Rest-Pause Sets, Drop Sets, Pyramiding, High-Volume Training and sets consisting of multiple movements, or triple sets, are used by bodybuilders to prompt more muscle growth.

Keep in mind that using these advanced tactics while engaging in full-body training sessions may be difficult due to the immense neural, mechanical, and metabolic demands placed on the body.

As such, a good idea is to shift your full-body training to split system training—a program of weight training that divides training sessions by body regions, movement patterns, or intensity prescriptions. This will allow for maximal muscle stimulation while permitting time for your body to recover.

If you decide to train the same exercises repeatedly throughout the week with a goal of accelerating neural adaptations, you could find yourself sacrificing intensity and working within percentages well below your one-rep maximum, thereby shortchanging any gains in hypertrophy or strength.

One classic program is the 5 x 5, which calls for performing five sets of five repetitions of the squat, bench press, and power clean, done three days per week.

Obviously you could choose to train each lift at full tilt during each session, but that would quickly lead to physical and mental burnout. Alternatively, you could fluctuate the training stresses throughout the week while still ingraining movement patterns, necessary to expedite neural

adaptations, by alternating heavy (H), medium (M), and light (L) days for each movement.

That would look like this:

Now neural adaptations can readily occur without running the risk of overtraining. Although the split may not be divided by body part, intensity is cycled or waved, which breaks up the training stimulus in a sensible manner. You can easily adapt the aforementioned outline to any series of lifts on a three-day-per-week training split.

Training splits can be arranged in a countless number of combinations. Another popular split, adapted from old-school college football strength and conditioning programs, is the push/pull system, broken down by training pressing and squatting movements one day and training pulling movements, which would include pull-ups, rows, and deadlifts, on the other day.

A time-efficient twist to the push/pull system is to combine the movements in the same session and perform them as supersets throughout the workout. A pushing movement would be paired with a pulling movement.

Examples include:

  1. Vertical Push Movement (Military Press) superset with Vertical Pulling Movement (Chin-up)

  2. Horizontal Pushing Movement (Bench Press) superset with Horizontal Pulling Movement (T-Bar Row)

Seemingly infinite combinations of training splits can be designed. Commonly employed splits include body-part training splits, in which only one or two muscle groups are targeted each workout; antagonist body-part splits, in which muscles that oppose one another are trained in the same workout; and movement-based splits, in which one compound movement, such as a squat, bench, or deadlift, is performed each workout.

Splits may also consist of training to failure, such as high-intensity training, or they may emphasize phases of muscular contractions to induce more muscle growth. The realm of possibilities is practically endless.

Regardless of what split you choose to follow, it is imperative that you adhere to proven training principles. You must maximize energy levels for individual workouts and know that the results of a training program are the sum of individual workouts. When things are done right, the outcome is greater than the sum. In other words, synergy takes place and puts you on the road to building a championship physique.

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My name is Steven Goldstein

With over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry, I have worked with clients of all ages and fitness levels. From professional athletes to individuals aiming to lose weight, I have helped countless people achieve their goals and improve their overall health through customized training and nutrition plans.

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