How Split Training Can Help You Build Muscle

Essentially, spilt training is just a fancy fitness term used to refer to working out a specific muscle group per workout session. So, for example, arms on Monday, legs on Tuesday, etc. However, the reasoning behind split training isn’t just to say that you did “leg day” last month and now you can’t make it back to the gym for the next year. The method of split training is actually based on some pretty solid science. 

So if you have ever wondered what split training is and why it might be the key to amping up your muscle growth, read on! 

Split Training & Muscle Growth 

Muscle Growth and Split Training Header

The main idea behind split training is that instead of focusing on multiple muscle groups in one workout session, you allocate an entire workout session to only one or two muscle groups. So, instead of heading to the gym and working out your abs, legs, back and arms you would focus on just your abs and legs.

Spilt Training & Even Energy Use 

You might be asking, what difference does split training make? Doesn’t working out multiple muscle groups mean you are doing a well rounded workout? The answer to that is this: a well rounded workout isn’t always a recipe for building muscle. In a workout where you exercise multiple muscle groups you are unevenly working out different parts of your body. You also might be asking, how is that possible? If I workout my legs and arms during the same session, how is that an unevenly distributed workout? The answer to that question has to do with your body’s glycogen stores. 

Glycogen is your body’s storage of carbs that will be used to fuel you with energy during your training session. For example, if you eat a bagel then that bagel gets stored as glycogen and your body uses that glycogen to help you walk up a flight of stairs. How this relates to a split workout is that at the start of your workout your glycogen stores are at their peak and throughout your workout, as you use more energy, those glycogen stores start to deplete. So, how glycogen effects a regular multi-muscle group workout routines is that you are using way more energy working out your arms at the top of your workout than you do with your legs at the end of your workout. This is a pretty uneven distribution of energy throughout your exercise routine.

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However, in the case of a split workout where you are only exercising your arms one day and then your legs the next, both muscle groups are reaping the benefits of being equally trained on two different days. 

Beating Plateaued Progress With Split Training 

Pushing past and achieving your fitness goals is a big component to making fitness fun and exciting. Which is why it’s a huge drag when suddenly you notice your training plateau when you had just experienced a lot of progress. Hitting a training plateau can look like a couple of different things. Such as not being able to add extra weight or reps to your sets, not being able to beat your previous personal bests, and not gaining the amount of muscle you are hoping to. Hitting a training plateau is just flat out frustrating. 

One of the biggest reasons why you might be experiencing a plateau is the format of your workouts, and that’s where split training can really help. Again, with whole body workouts your energy is spread out over a bunch of different areas of the body. However, with split training, you are focusing the lion’s share of your energy working on a specific muscle group or exercise. Because of the concentrated effort on strengthening a certain area of your body per workout, you are much more likely to see quicker results than if you took the whole body approach. Long story short, you are more likely to see results from a concentrated effort than if you are spread all over the map.

Why Split Training Encourages Muscle Growth 

Spilt training is especially effective for muscle growth because this type of workout sequencing allows for ample recovery time. With a split workout routine you might train your legs on Monday and not exercise them for the next several days, this allows your body to properly recover your over worked muscles. This is a great advantage on two fronts. The first being, that fully recovered muscles have a better opportunity to restore themselves. Meaning that your body will probably feel fresh for the next workout, allowing you to that full advantage of your exercises. So, you can actually get the most you can out of your workout and not go your reps half heartedly with tired muscles. 

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The second reason why split workouts are great for muscle growth is that allowing your body to fully recover post workout gives your body a chance to effectively rebuild muscle tissue. Again, split workouts let you avoid working out already tired body parts. The idea behind a solid workout is that you overwork your muscles so that your muscles repair and become stronger. However, when you are consistently overworking your muscles, your body’s ability to repair that tissue decreases. This situation of overworking your muscles is not a great way to see much progress, both in your PB’s and in your muscle mass. 

Spilt Training Schedule For Muscle Growth 

With all of that said, spilt training can definitely be a fantastic recipe for muscle growth. With the ability to gain ample amounts of rest and zone in on workouts where you can perform at you best, split training can be a great road to seeing serious progress. Below is a schedule for those who are looking for a straight forward split training routine.

Full Week Split Training Schedule

Do you have a favorite spilt training regime? Or what has your experience been like with split workouts? Let us know in the comments! 

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Lesley George

Lesley is a content writer and community manager at Shape.
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