T Nation

Couple Questions Regarding Training

Just got a couple of quick questions:

  • What’s so wrong with Splits? I keep reading things about people saying Splits are a horrible way to train, and only started to arise in a POST Steroid Era, but now everybody’s on them.

Personally I’ve always used splits (3 day splits mainly such as Chest/Biceps, Legs/Shoulders, Back/Triceps etc) and seem to be gaining well, but this new reading of “oh splits are horrible” has me wondering whether I’m actually training optimally.

  • I heard that one of the reasons split training (such as 3x PW like I showed above) is bad is because muscles grow better off being trained MORE than once a week, and with split training the muscle will be recovered in around 3-4 days, and then it’s sitting there doing nothing for the next few days until you train it again.

Surely if you train it HARD enough & with enough intensity, once a week will be enough won’t it? I just can’t see how you can actually train a certain muscle TWICE a week on a 3 day split, and a lot of people say training only 3x a week leads to bigger gains than training 4-5x a week because of the added rest. Lots of conflicting info about.

  • Will I do any harm from training longer than an hour? My workouts tend to last around an hour & a half (including cardio) but I heard that Cortisol gets released at around the hour mark, which is detrimental to your gains.

Thanks.

No splits are not bad, and what you said in your post should answer that for you. You are getting results, it’s hard to argue with results

Some of the time muscles can take 5-10 days to recover, depending on the individual, in that case a split would be preferred. I personally also do a split, whether it be a 5 day split, 4 day, or an upper lower split, and get results, which is what we all want in going to the gym anyways.

And about workout length, well I do cardio on separate days, so if I did do it on the same day then my workouts would prolly go over an hour as well, I still recommend to an hour tops, but others may disagree.

[quote]Vanchatron wrote:
Just got a couple of quick questions:

  • What’s so wrong with Splits? I keep reading things about people saying Splits are a horrible way to train, and only started to arise in a POST Steroid Era, but now everybody’s on them. Personally I’ve always used splits (3 day splits mainly such as Chest/Biceps, Legs/Shoulders, Back/Triceps etc) and seem to be gaining well, but this new reading of “oh splits are horrible” has me wondering whether I’m actually training optimally.

  • I heard that one of the reasons split training (such as 3x PW like I showed above) is bad is because muscles grow better off being trained MORE than once a week, and with split training the muscle will be recovered in around 3-4 days, and then it’s sitting there doing nothing for the next few days until you train it again. Surely if you train it HARD enough & with enough intensity, once a week will be enough won’t it? I just can’t see how you can actually train a certain muscle TWICE a week on a 3 day split, and a lot of people say training only 3x a week leads to bigger gains than training 4-5x a week because of the added rest. Lots of conflicting info about.

  • Will I do any harm from training longer than an hour? My workouts tend to last around an hour & a half (including cardio) but I heard that Cortisol gets released at around the hour mark, which is detrimental to your gains.

Thanks. [/quote]

This discussion has been beaten to death on here. I recommend a search as you will probably gather a lot more info.
I don’t see how once a week per muscle can’t be enough. When I train legs they hurt for about 4 - 6 days after so it isn’t even possible to train more than once a week with the way I am doing things.

How many big people do you see using a split and hitting each bodypart once a week?

How many big people do you see doing “full body workouts” or avoiding bodypart split training?

The difference between the two groups is SEVERE.

[quote]mr popular wrote:
How many big people do you see using a split and hitting each bodypart once a week?

How many big people do you see doing “full body workouts” or avoiding bodypart split training?

The difference between the two groups is SEVERE.[/quote]

I don’t really delve too deep into the way OTHERS train as I’m usually to caught up in the way I train myself. I take it (and I’m hoping) you mean that split training is preferable for size over TBT?

The way I train at the moment is by doing a 6 week cycle of 5x5 (squat/bench/row etc 3x per week) for size/strength gains followed by a 6 week cycle of a program with more volume which I use 3x10 for & add isolations in (which the 5x5 doesn’t include). I then take a week off. I like the 5x5 part, I’m just not sure about the 3x10 program because of what I’ve read numerous times about bodypart splits being crap.

I read in some places that bodypart splits only favour people on AAS and that a normal trainee should work towards training a muscle group at least twice a week.

Sure you see the IFBB Pro’s using bodypart splits and they’re the biggest people on the planet, but again as I said above, they’re on AAS and/or have amazing genetics which I myself do NOT have, therefore I’m wondering whether a split is optimal for me.

Obviously I’m not sure how much of that information is credible because there’s never any arrow pointing to which info is right and which is wrong, so that’s why I’m asking.

[quote]Vanchatron wrote:
I’ve read numerous times about bodypart splits being crap.

I read in some places that bodypart splits only favour people on AAS

Sure you see the IFBB Pro’s using bodypart splits and they’re the biggest people on the planet, but again as I said above, they’re on AAS and/or have amazing genetics which I myself do NOT have,
[/quote]

What a fucking cop out, these are just reasons ‘coaches’ come up with to get you onto their new ‘fad’ program.

It is NOT hard to recover from a 4-5 day split program, especially if you ramp up the volume.

You would be hard pressed to recover from the volume pro’s do if you immediately jumped into their program, but you have to WORK UP to that volume and PROGRESS OVER TIME, so your body can ADAPT.

Your body isn’t ‘stuck’ at a permament ability to recover, it adapts to physical/mental stressors and gets better at handling them, it’s ability to do this is actually quite amazing.

People forget your body’s physical capabilities can change (EVEN THOUGH PUTTING ON MUSCLE IS A CLEAR FACTOR TO THIS POINT), assume they are a ‘hardgainer’ and will ‘overtrain’ if they go to the gym more than 3 times a week.

When have you ever overtrained, really? When have you ever beat yourself into the ground so badly that you feel depressed, lethargic, weak and don’t want to do anything SOLEY FROM WEIGHT TRAINING? Probably never.

The terms ‘hardgainer’ & ‘overtraining’ are just bullshit terms brought up by coaches to get skinny guys onto their new program.

The skinny guys also reinforce these two terms by being pussies and not sticking to a diet/training program long enough to see real results.

Additionally, it is only ever people that have not achieved anything worthwhile in the gym that spew this rubbish over splits & TBT training.

The people that HAVE achieved something, spend less time making excuses & theories, and just straight up train their ass off (usually on a split program!) & eat properly over long periods of time. Enabling themselves to know their body, and what training will most benefit them, more than any coach will.

So what you’re saying is Body Part Splits are perfectly fine to grow optimally?

I do believe you, but please take a look at this link and you’ll then see what I mean by “conflicting info” all over the Internet.

Thread - elitefitness.com/forum/weight-training-
weight-lifting/how-did-pros-used-train-614454.html

Please read posts 2,4,5,6

That’s TWO people basically saying Splits are shit.

Like I said, I DO believe you, but I’m just wondering WHY some people think splits are bad, it’s pretty confusing.

[quote]Vanchatron wrote:

Like I said, I DO believe you, but I’m just wondering WHY some people think splits are bad, it’s pretty confusing.[/quote]

fads, this “splits are the devil” thing is a fad and it will soon pass…hopefully.

[quote]Vanchatron wrote:
So what you’re saying is Body Part Splits are perfectly fine to grow optimally?

I do believe you, but please take a look at this link and you’ll then see what I mean by “conflicting info” all over the Internet.

Thread - elitefitness.com/forum/weight-training-
weight-lifting/how-did-pros-used-train-614454.html

Please read posts 2,4,5,6

That’s TWO people basically saying Splits are shit.

Like I said, I DO believe you, but I’m just wondering WHY some people think splits are bad, it’s pretty confusing.[/quote]

I can find you people that dont believe in evolution, people that believe that fat can turn into muscle. You don’t have to take everything you hear to heart.

You are on a bodybuilding forum so be prepared for very biased results. Everyone here trains the way their favorite pro bodybuilder trains because they think they’ll get similar results. Its like the people that follow the workout plans from Flex, and men’s fitness. And NO, you cant just say “oh all the big bodybuilders use splits, so thats the way to get big”. Thats like saying “barry bonds trains using x,y,z and he hits a lot of home runs, so thats the way to train”.

Usually when it comes to anything regarding training or nutrition, your best bet is to do the opposite of what the majority is doing. (Sure this might be a trendy answer but it works)

As for splits vs full body training, i think the advantages and disadvantages of each are pretty simple. The big disadvantage with splits that I see, is that the body is meant to function as a whole, and with splits it does not.

Using splits, you limit yourself from using many of the most effective exercises. For example, a heavy conventional deadlift works your entire backside, your abs, forearms, and even a lot of your quads. So what day do you put this exercise? The same goes for power cleans, squats, lunges, bench, rows, pullups, etc. Ive even noticed this problem with a well designed upper/lower split.

The advantage of a split, is that it allows you to focus more on lagging areas, or areas that do not recieve a large amount of stimulus during compound movements. For example, if bench is only really working your triceps and shoulders, then you might need to do flys to get chest stimulation.

So the simple answer is, if you need more overall mass, TBT is supreme. If you have lagging areas but good overall mass, then split training is supreme. And like most people, your probably somewhere in between, so both types of training have something to offer.

[quote]dankid wrote:
You are on a bodybuilding forum so be prepared for very biased results. Everyone here trains the way their favorite pro bodybuilder trains because they think they’ll get similar results. Its like the people that follow the workout plans from Flex, and men’s fitness. And NO, you cant just say “oh all the big bodybuilders use splits, so thats the way to get big”. Thats like saying “barry bonds trains using x,y,z and he hits a lot of home runs, so thats the way to train”.

Usually when it comes to anything regarding training or nutrition, your best bet is to do the opposite of what the majority is doing. (Sure this might be a trendy answer but it works)

As for splits vs full body training, i think the advantages and disadvantages of each are pretty simple. The big disadvantage with splits that I see, is that the body is meant to function as a whole, and with splits it does not.

Using splits, you limit yourself from using many of the most effective exercises. For example, a heavy conventional deadlift works your entire backside, your abs, forearms, and even a lot of your quads. So what day do you put this exercise? The same goes for power cleans, squats, lunges, bench, rows, pullups, etc. Ive even noticed this problem with a well designed upper/lower split.

The advantage of a split, is that it allows you to focus more on lagging areas, or areas that do not recieve a large amount of stimulus during compound movements. For example, if bench is only really working your triceps and shoulders, then you might need to do flys to get chest stimulation.

So the simple answer is, if you need more overall mass, TBT is supreme. If you have lagging areas but good overall mass, then split training is supreme. And like most people, your probably somewhere in between, so both types of training have something to offer.[/quote]

This is idiotic, and a blatant generalization. Only the idiots actually go and just stumble into the gym doing the EXACT SAME program that someone else uses to train, without rhyme or reason. The experienced people and those who have made the most progress TAKE WHAT IS COMMON FROM THE GREATEST BODYBUILDERS WORKOUTS and discard what it unnecessary. Doing this gives you a TEMPLATE or an IDEA to follow, then you have to find out what works for you. That statement about the body is meant to function as a whole and not doing so will not result in the same gains is stupid.

That would mean that EVERY EXERCISE YOU DO SHOULD BE SOME KIND OF TOTAL BODY MOVEMENT. Whoa there goes curls, extensions, most shoulder movements, hitting the calves optimally, you just take out soooo many exercises with that line of thinking and that is stupid. anytime you limit yourself from exercises you are missing out on potentially great tools for building your body. Also your statement that splits keep you from doing compound exercises like deadlifts is FUCKING RETARDED. People have NO TROUBLE adding these in, i personally have them on back day, you know why? because that’s what i feel is most sore after I do them, so i set them on back day.

I agree with your final statement that you something in between is usually the answer but still, your arguments against splits are terrible. It’s funny how you didn’t mention anything against TBT.

And this is what I mean when I say there is a lot of “conflicting info” around on the Internet. The 2 posts above me are clearly in opposition to each other, and it’s not like I have a magic arrow always pointing at the correct post. I have to guess which is the correct post or base it off what I “think” is correct, which in turn leads me to possibly neglecting the OTHER post which was infact the correct one.

Obviously I appreciate all the help I get, but I’m sure you can understand it’s just hard when there’s so much conflicting information without a magic arrow saying “LISTEN TO THIS GUY, HE’S CORRECT, THE OTHER GUY IS BULLSHITTING”.

Ya, well i didn’t give a disadvantage to TBT because I gave an advantage to splits instead.

Like I said, for the most part TBT is better, but if you have lagging areas, then a split might be beneficial at bringing up that weakness. For example, a person might work squats and deadlifts a lot, but end up with big hip and back muscles, but small leg muscles. They can then incorporate leg extensions and leg curls using a split to target their legs more.

I dont see why everyone always argues about this. We all know that practically every program or training method out there works. You just have to know how and when to apply it. I offered my opinions as to who and when you should use TBT vs. Splits and why you might choose one over the other. People get too pissy over this stuff. Its like they worship the bb’ing gods and must protect the sanctity of body-part splits, or their favorite program. Its all just different stimulus for your body to adapt to.

[quote]dankid wrote:
I offered my opinions as to who and when you should use TBT vs. Splits and why you might choose one over the other. People get too pissy over this stuff. Its like they worship the bb’ing gods and must protect the sanctity of body-part splits, or their favorite program. Its all just different stimulus for your body to adapt to.[/quote]

It has nothing to do with that it is just that you speak of people who do splits as if they are bumbling idiots who are doing monkey see monkey do, as if you are better than them, and honestly you come off that way again with this paragraph.

here’s the thing, the main difference between tbt and splits, (in its simplest form), is training frequency. It’s a tradeoff, a seesaw effect if you will, TBT is the one extreme, with low volume per bodypart, but you hit the muscle more often in a standard week period. One-bodypart-a-day splits, are the other extreme, trading there is more volume per bodypart but you trade frequency down to, usually, once a week.

For MOST PEOPLE somewhere in the middle is optimal. As you get stronger, you need to err more on the side of less frequency, hence bodypart splits, because quite frankly, now you’re pushin 400x5 on bench press when x amount of time ago you were pushin 300x5. That extra hundred pounds is a lot more stressful to your body than the 300 pounds were, so it takes longer for your body to recover (e.g. soreness to go away) When you’re putting up lighter weights, it doesn’t tax your body as much, so you can afford higher frequency, hence erring more toward the side of TBT. Honestly for most people the grey area will work best.

I think with TBT you have to train quite frequently in order to match splits for hypertrophy gains. Again note i said it CAN be just as effective, i’m compromising here. But frequency should be higher than 3 times a week, I would think more like 5-6 times a week.

Just basing off the fact that i tried that whole TBT thing for a while and stalled out for a long time, yet i was totally into what the gurus were saying and tried it for a while. now that i switched to more in the grey area, I know i’m heading in the right direction, i can see it and feel it. Then again i will be fair and say that i never tried to up the frequency to 5-6 times a week.

I also believe that you have to stay around that frequency. I know Waterbury had some program once that worked you up to 8 times a week (way too much imo) and then it like takes a deload week pretty soon after i believe. i think you should get your work capacity up to where tbt 5-6 times a week is normal, and you can stay at that frequency for a few months or so in order to see gains that would equal a split in hypertrophy.

that’s my opinion, but frankly, no one gives a shit about other’s opinions.

p.s. Again this is in the context of training for hypertrophy

I think it would be best to stop giving a shit what small people think about what is ‘optimal’ for size and strength.

Most of the time, the people who say that bodypart splits are ‘crap’ are themselves pretty terrible when it comes to the strength and size department.

Go and train with someone who is actually big and has achieved something in this sport.

You know what fad I hope dies soon? The “train like I do or you are wrong”. The shameless insecurity that grips people that beg other people to adapt to their training style as gospel is depressing. You know how I train? How I like to. Period. I get results, I continue. I stop getting results, I change. Sometimes it is the rep pace. Sometimes the exercise selection. Load, rep range, order, split, however. Relax and train.