T Nation

Need Help With Splits (Prof X or Someone)


Ive been doing full body workouts for awhile now and want to switch it up. I want to do something like Mon- chest/tris...Wed-back/bi's...Fri-legs/shoulders, as I think this would be a good split because of the use of the same muscles (except for legs and shoulders).

I havent done splits in awhile, but when I did I got pretty good results. With that said, after everything Ive learned about overtraining, I need some help. Im assuming if I only workout the muscle once a week, I need to hit it more. So I was thinking something like this:


Bench 4 sets (6-10 reps)
inclined dumbbells 4 sets (6-10 reps)
Dips 4 sets (6-10 reps)
pushdowns 4 sets (8-12 reps)


Pullups/chins 5 sets (6-10 reps)
Rows 6 sets (6-10 reps)
Bicep curl 2 sets (6-10 reps)
Preacher curl 2 sets (6-10 reps)


Squats 4 sets (6-10 reps)
rom deads 4 sets (6-10 reps)
upright rows 5 sets (6-10 reps)
lateral raises 2 sets (8-12 reps)
back shoulder on fly dec 2 sets (8-12 reps)

Abs and Hiit- tues, thur, and Sat.

Would this work or it is too much, or not enough...feel free to add or subtract, I appreciate it.


This looks similar to the split routines I use to make. I've found that keeping the intensity in check (i.e. not working to failure all the time) goes a long way in avoiding overtraining.


Why are you only using two exercises for most body parts? I usually have at least three exercises for most smaller body parts. I would also decrease the number of sets for most of these to 3 instead of 4.

Again, you are not doing enough movements, especially for back training, yet you are doing too many sets. 6 sets of rows? What kind of rows? What type of biceps curl? Why only two sets for biceps after so many sets for back training?

My general rule has been, if you can do any other body part on leg day, you didn't train legs hard enough. Also, again you are only doing two exercises for the largest muscle group on your body, and then it is only one exercise for quads and one for hamstrings. While one direct movement for hamstrings may be enough, this is only because it gets indirect stimulus from exercises like squats, hack squats and leg presses.

Upright rows are something I would toss out. I see no use for them. If your goal is to stimulate trap development, I don't see why anyone would recommend those over shrugs. Barbell shrugs or shrugs on the HS machine done with enough weight are seriously all that is needed in my opinion. They also get indirect work on some back movements

I think you need to be lifting weight at least 4 days a week instead of three. I also think that you really haven't made your goals apparent. With three days of HIIT, the goal is weight loss? What are your stats? Some of what you outlined might actually be just fine for someone more advanced who was only looking to maintain muscle mass while dieting. For someone expecting better muscle growth, there is no way I would stick to some of the exercises you listed as all you will do for some body parts.


Thanks for the replies...well everytime I ask this question, I get told bodypart training is no good (unless on gear) and full body is the way to go. My problem is my legs/glutes are already big (thanks to genetics) and I dont want them to grow much more. I have some muscle now, and am looking to gain a little more, while dropping fat. I know diet of course is the key, but was just looking for different opinions on my workout.


Who told you this and how many people actually now believe that training specific body parts needs "gear"?

I can only say I am glad I didn't grow up listening to things like this, or at least not while believing that this was the only way to train and see results.


Prof X why fewer sets with more exercises? I don't see why he couldnt do more sets/fewer exercises and just switch exercises more often and not get the same if not better results compared to more exercises/fewer sets.

My reasoning is if I only have to do 2 exercises even for more sets I can focus more on what I'm doing. Also with fewer exercises its easier to change the routine around. but then again I only have a small handleful of exercises for each muscle group that I feel work best for me.


Why would you feel the need to switch exercises often? Switching your routine around randomly for no reason, especially if what you are doing in one routine is working, makes little sense. Increasing the weight used is enough of a stimulus for growth. Your body needs to be forced to adapt to a greater training stimulus. Switching too often can make it nearly impossible to track actual progress.

The goal in doing more than one or two movements is to hit that particular body part from several angles or with with several movements. I know that I feel the stress in my biceps differently when doing preacher curls than when I do alternate dumbbell curls. Therefore, the two are not interchangeable and they don't replace each other even though they both target the biceps.

The poster above listed only one movement for quads. I don't know many bodybuilders who would consider squats alone as the completion of a good leg workout. It is one of the best exercises for legs, however, leg extensions and leg presses have a place as well.

This doesn't mean that every body part needs 3 and 4 different movements. Some may be able to get enough chest stimulation from flat bench and inclines. Currently, that is all I do for chest using HS machines along with one final movement to simply get more blood into the area. The goal, however, should be some strategy for why you are doing what you are in the gym instead of running around changing routines and exercises every other workout just for the hell of it.


i think this is the important thing about all this... you should always have a reason for what your doing expecially when changing workouts/exercises.

The reason I made my comment was it seemed like you were suggesting 3-4 exercises for each muscl group... which for me is pointless and there is just wasted time/sets when changing exercises.

I guess it all goes back to personal experiance and finding what works for you. I personally usually use 2 and occasionally 3 exercise for most muscle groups (3rd is usually an isolation exercise) Also I change my exercises usually every 3-4 weeks, basicly when I stagnate on that lift. Then I switch to a movement that is complementry. It all comes down to trial and error.

Another thing to mention when doing a body part split is remember you don't have to use the same set/rep range for a muscle group for each exercise! I think many people can benifit from hitting a muscle group with different rep ranges even if just hitting it once a week.


Yeah have to agree with jneves

I can't see the point of doing 3-4 diff exercises per bodypart,hitting muscle from all angles.It just seems like something i would read in Arnold's book.Now i can uderstand using 4 + exercises for back and legs because they are such a large muscle group but for biceps?? Cmon they are a tiny bodypart really.Usually i only hit the biceps with 1 exercise but that could go to 2 exercises TOPS.
Now i know that might not work for everyone but thats just how i roll anyway.

But hey X if that works for u who am i to argue.




Did you miss this statement, "This doesn't mean that every body part needs 3 and 4 different movements."? Not only that, but only one exercise for biceps? How big are your biceps?

For biceps, my routine has always used about 3 exercises. For a few years, it was alternate seated dumbbell curls, EZ bar curls using a preacher bench and dumbbell curls on the preacher bench. Once I had access to the HS curl machine I added that in place of alternate dumbbell curls meaning much of my work is now done using a preach bench (two very heavy exercises with the last exercises being a couple of light sets of whatever exercise feels right).


How big are my biceps? 18.5 Inches :frowning: now nothing to write home about there but with my long arms and bodyweight 245pounds 18.5 inch for me is a good achievment since i started 7 odd years ago at 6'4 81kgs im pleased with that.But most of my arm growth has been due to heavy rows and Bench presses.If i wanted 20 inch arms then id have to get to atleast 260-270 pounds,but that another story for another day.

Thanks for your reply X ,why i may not agree with your training methods its good to discuss them with ya.




Prof X: I actually grew up doing body part training...but from everything Ive read, they say full body is better. Here is one link from this site:


Now, I have a pretty good size already and was thinking of doing splits for a change. I dont want to put too much emphasis on my legs, as they are already a good enough size, so I want to keep the volume down. I am trying to figure out how to do the splits, with enough volume, but not too much to cause overtraining. I read here, that about 100 reps per week (unless im reading it wrong), is good.


I want to do a Mon, Wed, and Fri split, as between work and school, my time is limited. I was thinking something like this:

4 sets (pyramid doing 12,10,8,6)

Mon- chest and tri's

Inclined bench
decline bench

pushdowns (maybe here 8-12 reps)

Wed- back and bi's


bicep curl
preacher or dumbbell curl

Fri- legs and shoulders

leg ext
leg press

upright rows (only because Im hitting my anterior delt hard with bench and dips, and my lateral could use some work)

lateral raises (maybe reps 8-12)
back shoulder on fly deck (8-12 reps)

this comes out to a little over 100 reps for the week on each bodypart...triceps and biceps a little less but they get hit from chest and back exercises.

Do hiit on tues and thur...rest on the weekends

what do you think, I appreciate your feedback.


You know, I can't do the splits either. I would like to, but I don't want X's help. Banana splits are yummy.



OK, so obviously something you are doing is working, so keep it up. I personally wouldn't only do one exercise for biceps unless this was added in on back day.


I think that line of thinking is great for beginners or possibly for those who don't recover well (which in my opinion would be largely due to overall diet and being extremely restrictive with food intake or not getting enough rest).

I think that's fine but I also think upright rows are a waste of energy.

SHRUGS. They're what's for dinner.


I've just switched to full body excercises about 6 months ago. As a skinny guy it was the best thing I ever did. I have never been as big as I am now, and still growing. And I decreased the amount of time in the gym, but increased the intensity of each workout. With full body 3 times a week you work each part 3 times a week rather than once a week. Also since every workout is different excercises and set/reps my body never adapts. If a program is working, don't change it.


Prof X- so besides the upright rows, Im looking pretty good on the rest?

Flea: Im 5'11 about 190...bodyfat 11% or so, so far from skinny. Ive been doing full body for a minute, and honestly dont want to get too much bigger, so I was thinking of trying something different.


The other option I was thinking of is to do what I used to do back in the days. Mon/Thur-chest, shoulders, and tri's...Tues/Fri-legs, back and bi's.

So then it would work each muscle group 2 times instead of 1 per week.

So if I did that, maybe something like this:

Mon and Thurs (chest, shoulders, tris)

Bench Press 3 sets, reps 10,8,6
Inclined Bench or decline 3 sets 10,8,6

upright rows (or shrugs) 3 sets 10,8,6
lateral raises 3 sets 10-12 reps

dips or pushdowns 4 sets 12,10,8,6

Tues and Fri (legs, back, bi's)

squats 3 sets 10,8,6
leg press or leg curl 3 sets 10,8,6

pullups/chins 3 sets 10,8,6
rows 3 sets 10,8,6

biceps curls or preacher 4 sets 12,10,8,6

I dropped the volume on these workouts as I would hit each muscle twice a week compared to once. Then I guess I could do hiit on off days Wed and Sat.

What do you guys think would be better, this way, or stick to just working out once a week on Mon, Wed, and Fri? Thanks in advance.


You still haven't explained what your goals are other than you aren't trying to get much bigger. Honestly, if your goals are to NOT make much progress, it doesn't matter what the hell you do. You are only 190lbs. That isn't exactly "big", not at 5'11", especially with a body fat percentage of 11%.


I don't think I've ever seen anyone with legs too big. I would add more leg work too.