If you ask your local big box gym I-just-became-a-personal-trainer-yesterday this question, you’ll probably receive an incredibly fancy, sciency explanation.
Question still not answered: How do I know which body part to train on which day?
If you ask a Coach or a Master Trainer this question, the response will probably be, how many days do you have to consistently train? That is the real question.
In short, you’ve got three options.
Let’s use industry terminology - because that’s what you will most likely hear when someone starts talking at you.
And I want you to be in the know.
3-Day Total Body: What does this mean?
It means, you have (1) plan - the same plan - to execute 3 days a week.
Ideally, Monday, Wednesday, Friday OR Tues, Thursday, Saturday.
As a beginner what’s the use of me assigning you a super-fancy 2-hour exercise program with 30 minutes of post-workout cardio --
-- but you have stop look up the name for every-single-exercise simply because you just don’t know yet.
I’m getting old, I’m impatient and I need my glasses for everything.
That’s not going to work.
A 3-day total body allows you the time to learn. Learn the names of the exercises, learn the different machines required, learn the different tools used in a gym. For example, the difference between seeing DB versus BB on your workout plan – that would be Dumbbell and Barbell.
A 3-day total body allows you the time to learn gym etiquette, range of motion, and what body part you are actually supposed to be working.
Ladies, news flash, everybody part isn’t “arms.” When you are asking, “What arm exercises do you do?”
Those are shoulders you are looking at!
Bicep, tricep work and shoulder work are not the same. Stop it.
A 3-day total body allows you to stick firmly in your lane, and that lane is beginner.
Learn the differences between a row, a press, a curl, a hinge. Learn.
As a true beginner, there is no real con here. You can really develop your confidence with this approach.
3-Day Split: Push/Pull/Legs: What does this mean?
It means on each day - Monday, Wednesday and Friday - you will complete a different set of exercises.
Why is this split called Push, Pull, Legs? Because, on these specific days you will work only the specific muscle group pairs.
Push muscles: Chest & Tricep*
Pull muscles: Back & Bicep
Legs: Quads, Hams, Glutes*
You will quickly learn which muscle group pairs work together, as you may experience a greater bit of fatigue, especially if there are supersets on your plan.
On a 3-day split you are starting to focus on changing the shape of your body.
Cons: There isn’t one.
*Some programs will add shoulders with Push. Some programs will add shoulders with Legs. Don’t get caught off guard – just go with it.
4-Day Split: What does this mean?
Like a 3-day split – you complete a different set of exercises on each day, plus one day.
Here is one example of what a 4-day split could look like:
Monday: Upper: Chest, Tricep
Tuesday: Lower: Legs
Thursday: Upper: Back, Biceps
Friday: Lower: Glutes, Shoulders
Momentum! You are creating more friction and more demand all around.
You are attacking your body goals.
Because of the increased demand, your body will respond, and you will likely see results quicker simply by adding one day.
There isn’t one.
If you are looking for 5-6 days or are trying to work up to 5-6 days, you don’t belong in any FB Group asking for “tips” and “tricks” - it’s time to hire a Coach and get a solid plan!
Don’t cheat you.
You’ve read about it.
Decide on it.
Now, answer the question: How many days do I have available in my schedule to train consistently?
Now go do it.
As always, weight it, eat it, lift it.