T Nation

To Split or Not To Split?

New guy here with my first post.

I have been working out for about 4 months now and am happy with my progress. I do a full body workout, 3 days a week. It looks like this:

Variation 1:
Pull-ups
Overhead Press
Squats
Dumbell Row
Bench Press
Sit-ups to finish.

Variation 2:
Pull Ups
Dips
Deadlifts
Seated Row
Dumbell Fly
Bench Press

I go Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

My question is this: Should I consider a Split that allows me to hit the gym 4 days a week? I was thinking I would split into “Push” day and “Pull” day like this:

Push (Monday + Thursday):
Bench Press
Squats
Overhead Press
Sit Ups
Dips

Pull (Tuesday, Friday):
Pull-Ups
Deadlifts
Seated or Bent over Row
Back Extensions
Dumbell Fly

So is this type of split and schedule going to be more effective?

My goals are more geared toward bodybuilding. I want to have large muscles and be fairly well trimmed, fat wise.

46 years old
6ft. tall
185 lbs
Ectomorph frame carrying about 10lbs of fat extra around the gut.

To give you an idea of where I am at strengthwise: For pull-ups, I can do 8 honest wide grips. For bench press, I can do 8 rep sets with 150lbs…So, not too advanced but not bad for a 46 year old who works at a desk the whole week.

I appreciate your input.

The Search function is indeed my friend:

According to how I interpret this roundtable of experts, I should stay with the full body workout.

Still, if anyone has any comments about thier experiences, I welcome them.

As your goals are more physique-related, I prefer the push/pull split. A few comments about the one you laid out though:

  • Squatting twice/week and deadlifting twice/week is going to be hell on your lower back. Maybe try replacing squats with front squats on one of the days, and deadlifts with light stiff-leg deadlifts on one of the days. Alternatively, you could change it to an upper/lower split… something like:

Day 1: Upper: Bench press, Row, Overhead press, pullups, extensions, curls
Day 2: Lower: Squats, stiff-leg deadlifts, leg press, leg curl, calves/abs
Day 3: Upper: Incline DB press, different row, dips, pullups or whatever, and a tricep and bicep exercise. Or if you really like day 1 just do that stuff again, just showing possible differences. Should probably do lateral raises on one of the upper days, and rear delt raises on one as well.
Day 4: Lower: Deadlifts, front squat, whatever other leg stuff. I just mean one lower day focused around squat, one around deadlift.

Or, hell, take a gander at this thread: http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding/do_this_routine_instead_of_that_dumb_one

Lots of good examples of bodybuilding-type splits in there, which, if your goals are to have large muscles and be trimmed, is probably the route you should go.

What’s your diet like? I notice you made no mention of it, which makes me think you probably don’t focus on it enough. Assuming you’re busting your ass in the gym, the split you choose isn’t going to make near as much of a difference as your diet is.

Bad news ! You are not an ectomorph, at least not a real 1 so you have no excuses.
All the best !

[quote]Gmoore17 wrote:
As your goals are more physique-related, I prefer the push/pull split. A few comments about the one you laid out though:

  • Squatting twice/week and deadlifting twice/week is going to be hell on your lower back. Maybe try replacing squats with front squats on one of the days, and deadlifts with light stiff-leg deadlifts on one of the days. Alternatively, you could change it to an upper/lower split… something like:

Day 1: Upper: Bench press, Row, Overhead press, pullups, extensions, curls
Day 2: Lower: Squats, stiff-leg deadlifts, leg press, leg curl, calves/abs
Day 3: Upper: Incline DB press, different row, dips, pullups or whatever, and a tricep and bicep exercise. Or if you really like day 1 just do that stuff again, just showing possible differences. Should probably do lateral raises on one of the upper days, and rear delt raises on one as well.
Day 4: Lower: Deadlifts, front squat, whatever other leg stuff. I just mean one lower day focused around squat, one around deadlift.

Or, hell, take a gander at this thread: http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding/do_this_routine_instead_of_that_dumb_one

Lots of good examples of bodybuilding-type splits in there, which, if your goals are to have large muscles and be trimmed, is probably the route you should go.

What’s your diet like? I notice you made no mention of it, which makes me think you probably don’t focus on it enough. Assuming you’re busting your ass in the gym, the split you choose isn’t going to make near as much of a difference as your diet is.[/quote]

Thanks for that. I am really curious about splits although I am reluctant to change my routine because I see splits as being more complicated to keep track of. However, I want to grow some muscle and if splits make my body respond better, then that’s the way it is going to have to be.

As far as diet goes:

I guess I am “bulking”. As a 46 yr old, my body has become very efficient with food. A reasonable amount goes a long way. However, since I have been hitting the gym, I now simply eat freely. I have 3 really good meals a day plus nuts (almonds and brazil) to keep me going in between meals. In 4 months, my weight has gone from 175 to 185 but my waist has not expanded. All my shirts are getting tight in the shoulders and chest. All my pants are getting tight in the thighs and butt.

I recently introduce Amino Acids and Creatine as well.

Fish Oil and ZMA have been taken throughout.

[quote]BHappy wrote:
Bad news ! You are not an ectomorph, at least not a real 1 so you have no excuses.
All the best ![/quote]

My shoulders are not very broad and my wrists are tiny…not an ectomorph?

an ectomorph with a desk job would be 140 or less for your height add 10 pounds for a fat ectomorph it adds to 150.
I am a true 1, at 16 years olds i stopped growing 5 feet 11.75 inches 125 wich is my natural weight. i am very flexible and i ran 2 marathons with a ridiculously little training. Pull-up = 0 now with training 1 maybe 2. If it makes any difference i am 55.
Enjoy your weekend !

[quote]BHappy wrote:
an ectomorph with a desk job would be 140 or less for your height add 10 pounds for a fat ectomorph it adds to 150.
I am a true 1, at 16 years olds i stopped growing 5 feet 11.75 inches 125 wich is my natural weight. i am very flexible and i ran 2 marathons with a ridiculously little training. Pull-up = 0 now with training 1 maybe 2. If it makes any difference i am 55.
Enjoy your weekend ![/quote]

Wow. You make me feel like I may be geneticly gifted. Ha Ha. When I graduated High School, I was 6 ft and 155 lbs. Filled out a bit in my twenties to 165.

Don’t worry about ectomorph/mesomorph etc. IMO that’s just a waste of time to worry about.

As a rule of thumb, a split will always be superior to full body workouts in terms of physique goals. The biggest (And maybe only) exception being for people who are VERY limited in how much time they have to train.

[quote]roland2000 wrote:

[quote]BHappy wrote:
an ectomorph with a desk job would be 140 or less for your height add 10 pounds for a fat ectomorph it adds to 150.
I am a true 1, at 16 years olds i stopped growing 5 feet 11.75 inches 125 wich is my natural weight. i am very flexible and i ran 2 marathons with a ridiculously little training. Pull-up = 0 now with training 1 maybe 2. If it makes any difference i am 55.
Enjoy your weekend ![/quote]

Wow. You make me feel like I may be geneticly gifted. Ha Ha. When I graduated High School, I was 6 ft and 155 lbs. Filled out a bit in my twenties to 165.
[/quote]

holy crap finally there’s someone who was skinnier than me! I thought at 5’ 11" and 135lbs I was impossible to beat

[quote]BHappy wrote:
an ectomorph with a desk job would be 140 or less for your height add 10 pounds for a fat ectomorph it adds to 150.
I am a true 1, at 16 years olds i stopped growing 5 feet 11.75 inches 125 wich is my natural weight. i am very flexible and i ran 2 marathons with a ridiculously little training. Pull-up = 0 now with training 1 maybe 2. If it makes any difference i am 55.
Enjoy your weekend ![/quote]

when will people stop with all this ectomorph bullshit, also your body doesnt have a natural weight. i started as an ecto bulked to much and turned into a endo, now im a meso. somatotypes dont mean shit.

[quote]ryan.b_96 wrote:

[quote]BHappy wrote:
an ectomorph with a desk job would be 140 or less for your height add 10 pounds for a fat ectomorph it adds to 150.
I am a true 1, at 16 years olds i stopped growing 5 feet 11.75 inches 125 wich is my natural weight. i am very flexible and i ran 2 marathons with a ridiculously little training. Pull-up = 0 now with training 1 maybe 2. If it makes any difference i am 55.
Enjoy your weekend ![/quote]

when will people stop with all this ectomorph bullshit, also your body doesnt have a natural weight. i started as an ecto bulked to much and turned into a endo, now im a meso. somatotypes dont mean shit. [/quote]

easy there slugger, he was just being descriptive

Push/ Pull works great if you have 4 days a week to train.
Rather then design your own program I think it would be wise to just follow a ready made proven program that the coaches have used on many clients and have found good results.

Trying to figure this stuff out on your own can take years and lead to countless mistakes and wasted time. . If I had my time again I would follow the advice of a respected coach and stick to it. Just remember that you don’t need to follow an advanced program to get good results. Ideally you can keep it very basic and just milk it for all it’s worth. When the time comes that you need a change you can work from there but until then just keep making gains.

[quote]rds63799 wrote:

[quote]ryan.b_96 wrote:

[quote]BHappy wrote:
an ectomorph with a desk job would be 140 or less for your height add 10 pounds for a fat ectomorph it adds to 150.
I am a true 1, at 16 years olds i stopped growing 5 feet 11.75 inches 125 wich is my natural weight. i am very flexible and i ran 2 marathons with a ridiculously little training. Pull-up = 0 now with training 1 maybe 2. If it makes any difference i am 55.
Enjoy your weekend ![/quote]

when will people stop with all this ectomorph bullshit, also your body doesnt have a natural weight. i started as an ecto bulked to much and turned into a endo, now im a meso. somatotypes dont mean shit. [/quote]

easy there slugger, he was just being descriptive[/quote]

mabey i was a bit harsh but meh :wink: