T Nation

Beginning Splits: Please Analyse, Critique, Pro and Cons

Hey guys. Princess recently had a couple of threads going concerning workout splits. There was some excellent feedback, but I just had the feeling that the reccomendations MAY not neccesarily be geared toward the beginner. (As I stated a few weeks ago, I am starting to have a LOT of beginners ask me for advice, and with you guys help, I would like to get them started on the right track). PROVIDED WE HAVE FORM DOWN AND HAVE GONE THROUGH ABOUT A MONTH OF SIMPLY GETTING USED TO THE WEIGHTS, what are your thoughts on the following two splits:

1)FULL BODY, three times a week-Often reccomended for the beginner, but I don't really like it. I like to give a little more focus to bodyparts, but not to the degree of only one bodypart per week. (Do you guys feel, INDEPENDENT OF HIT PHILOSOPHY, that one bodypart per week is for the more "advanced"?) (By the way; I don't completely discount HIT. I will periodically use it during what I call an "active rest" phase).

2) I favor a 4 day split (1/2 of the body twice a week). Gives a little more bodypart focus; gives adequate rest and recuperation; favors hypertrophy, etc. CONS: a)Many feel that ANYTHING short of a full body workout is "inappropriate" for the beginner (I disagree).b)Of couse there is the one bodypart per week group that feels that the beginner will grow with just about ANY workout, so you may as well make it brief and intense.

So...FOR THE BEGINNER, what are your thoughts on the two splits, AND/OR what would you reccommend (and why!)?

i just takin my lil brother to the gym he is 13, i have doing total body 3 times (mon, wes, fri) i have him using 4 sets on squats, deadlifts, chins, bench press, and 3 sets on Military, curls, and crunches, the first couple of workout he is just using the bar till he gets the form down. After a few weeks we will probaly switch to Push/pull/legs or something along that lines but still focusing on compound lifts

OK I am not going to say anything abouh HI… ooops anyway I do think 3sets per bodypart 3x’s per week is the best way for a beginner to train. Irontank, PLEASE be real carefull w/deads,squats,military presses, ect… on a 13yr. old. their spine is not fully developed and I don’t see the reason to chance compressing it too much. peace hetyey225

I currently do the 3 days a week, full body. I like it for two reasons, my workouts only take about 45 minutes and I can move most of my body the next day. I would probably see results sooner if I did a 4 day split, but I’m involved in many other sports besides lifting and I need to rotate my soreness (you know what i mean?)

I think the 3 day split is good for beginners - and intermediates - because it allows for adaptation to the 'building lifestyle. It also gives someone the option to work their training into their life. for example, i don’t train legs on the day before or of my riding lesson, and that removes two days from my week - if I did the four day split it would be much more difficult for me…I would imagine this would be the same for a cycling or rowing enthusiast. people new to lifting often have many outside interests and if lifting really interferes with something else they love to do they are going to drop the lifting first.

When I first started working out, I was real soft and about 17 percent BF. I didn’t know any better, so I drank Creatine and worked out my whole body every other day. I worked really, really hard and after about three months, I was exhausted. Plus, who the heck has time to do a full body workout every other day?
Now I work out for three consecutive days, and break the workouts into three zones (legs, upper body, back) and do some peripheral/small muscle work each day, too. That keeps my workouts to one hour or so, and I’m not exhausted any more.
From that experience, I do recommend a full body workout for the beginner until their body just can’t handle it. After they reach that point of physical exhaustion (about 2 or 3 months)their body will be fully awake and their joints should be conditioned enough to begin serious hypertrophy work. The hypertrophy training will require good sleep and near complete recovery, which the 3 or 4 day intervals will provide.

Michelle: A simply outstanding reply…as is often is the case, someone on the Forum brought up a point that I did not consider. Let me explain. Hundreds of post on this site have proven that we have a lot of VERY active individuals involved in activities that run the spectrum from Martial Arts to LaCross. Four days in the gym would be inpractical at best and counterproductive at worst for many of them. My focus is on building a strong, aesthetic physique; sort of an “eveyday, non-competitive bodybuilder” would probably be the best way to describe it. So…being in the gym and dieting have become my major “atheletic” activities. So…a hypothetical…and your opininon…how would you rate the four day split if this was your major focus? As always…thanks!

right now he is just lifting the bar to get the form down and just doin body weight squats…i just what him to get a feel for form and understand that it is the big lifts that he most learn to love…irontank

thats great and I do not mean to say “don’t do them” hey, when he adds wt. have him do sets of 20, he’ll get used to that kinda pain and won’t see it as that big a deal, imagine the progress he’ll make when he is done w/puberty!! peace.