My previous post on what training I doing right now has inspired me to perhaps write a regular column specifically on my own training. Perhaps I can call it Chorlton Personal Trainer Diaries!
In my previous post I talked about how I was incorporating chains into my strength training routine. I went into a little detail about the purpose and benefits of strength training with chains as well. So if I have captured your interest here, then do check out the Strength Training with Chains article.
For today, I am going to talk about how my overall strength training routine is looking right now.
Previously I have written about different ways of 'splitting' your weight training programme. This may involve body part splits, or push/pull/legs splits, full body workouts, or some kind of combination of these options.
If you want to learn more about this, then make sure you check out my article on Body Part Splits.
Right now though, I am not performing any of the suggested options in my Body Part Splits article. I am currently pushing on with a combination of high frequency training and high volume workouts. I am aiming to train each body part at least three times a week - so traditional training splits are out, since they wont allow for this. But I am also aiming to train each body part with more volume per session than is possible with a full body workout - so some kind of training split is still needed!
So in essence... I am training hard right now!
But the point of todays article is to explain how I am organising my training week in order to achieve this.
It's actually quite simple really. I am splitting my routine into two separate workouts, each performed three days per week. I simply alternate between the two workouts so that each training session is performed on alternate days.
Currently I would describe my training split as an anterior / posterior training split. So I target the muscle on the front side of my body in one workout, and I target the muscles on the back side of my body in the other workout. It doesn't work out exactly like that - but it's a close enough description of how I am arranging my training.
In practical terms, this means on Monday, Wednesday and Friday I am training the Chest, Triceps, Anterior Deltoids, Quadriceps and Glutes. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I am training the Back, Biceps, Hamstrings, Calves and Posterior Deltoids.
For me right now, this way of organising my training offers me the best mix for total training volume, training volume per muscle group per workout, and training frequency (how often I can train each muscle group). I wouldn't recommend this training split for a lot of people. It is a fairly demanding way to train and is something to build up to after a long period of strength training.
If you need advice on what training split is best for you, send me a message using the Chorlton Personal Training Contact Form.
Last week on Chorlton Personal Training, we looked at how to structure your training week, by discussing body part splits in relation to whole body workouts.
To find out how you should structure your week when training to build muscle mass, check out the previous Chorlton Personal Training article on Body Part Splits.
Having established how best to structure a training week; This brings along a brand new questions on how to achieve variety in your training programme.
Periodisation is fancy term to describe the planning of variety in your training programme. Periodisation is important, because, if you perform the same training routine day in, day out and week in, week out.... your body will soon become accustomed to your routine and your progress will grind to a halt.
But if we have established an ideal way to structure a training week... How do you adhere to that training structure whilst also getting that all important training variety?
Well, let us say that you had a read of the Chorlton Personal Training article on Body Part Splits. Let us also say that, given you currently train in the gym six days per week, you decide that the Push / Pull / Legs training split is the best way for you to structure your week.
This means you can train....
Two Upper Body Pushing Workouts per week
Two Upper Body Pulling Workouts per week
Two leg workouts per week
This already provides a reasonable amount of variety for a single training week. But to add more variety still, we could perform one push workout, one pull workout and one legs workout with heavy weights and a low number of repetitions per set (low volume). Then we could perform the second push / pull / legs workouts with light weights and high volume.
If you have read my article on muscle building principles. You will know that optimal zone for building muscle is not too heavy, and not too light.
With that in mind, you might be reluctant to split your workouts between sessions using heavy weights and ones using light weights, whilst ignoring that all important middle area!
The reason why the middle area is so effective for building muscle is because it provides a compromise between all the different mechanisms that contribute to building muscle.
Whilst that is great. If you go heavier, but with less volume, you can attack certain muscle building mechanisms harder. Likewise, if you go lighter, but with more volume, you can attack alternative muscle building mechanisms harder.
So, you might do well to have a six to eight week training block where your workouts are alternating between heavy, low volume sessions and light, high volume sessions. You would then switch things up, by sticking with those middle range weights for the following six to eight weeks.
That sounds like a win win scenario!
Of course there are lots of other ways you can get variety in your training programmes. You could vary exercise selection, exercise order and even exercise technique...
But we will leave a discussion on those factors until another time.
Until then, if you want to learn more about periodisation and exercise variety, please hit me up on the Chorlton Personal Training Contact Page.
Today on Chorlton Personal Training I want to talk about body part splits!
This question of whether to perform full body workouts or to focus on different muscle groups during different workouts (aka body part splits) is an eternal one in the world of lifting weights and building muscle. Here at Chorlton Personal Training we believe there is a place for both styles of training... and which one is best for you comes down to training experience and also how frequently you train.
Training frequency is a key factor.
I strongly believe that, for most people, training a body part or muscle group just once per week is insufficient when you are training for muscle size and mass. So if you are only getting to the gym two or three times per week, you need to make sure you are performing full body workouts each time you hit the gym.
What about the slightly more committed lifter who hits the gym four times per week?
For this individual, I would be likely to recommend a combination of split training and whole body training. But traditional body part splits are still unlikely to work for the four times per week gym goer.
Instead, for this type of lifter, here at Chorlton Personal Training, we would recommend a push / pull / legs split.
So on a Monday, you would be training pushing exercises such as Bench Press, Shoulder Press and Dips.
On a Tuesday, you would be training pulling exercises such as Pull Ups and Bent Over Rows.
On a Thursday, you would be working your legs with things like Squats, Lunges and Hip Thrusts.
Then on Saturday you would perform a whole body workout.
Splitting the first three workouts of the week into push / pull / legs means you can hit each of those areas harder, compared to a full body workout. Yet the addition of a full body workout on Saturday means you are still getting the frequency of training each body part twice per week.
For the lifter training five times per week. I would recommend the same approach of combining split training with whole body training. However, you can now afford to use a more traditional body part split.
Here's what your week might look like if training five days per week:
For the serious lifter that is training up to six times per week. I would recommend ditching the whole body workout completely, but going back to the push / pull / legs routine. This is because, at six training sessions per week, you will be able to move through this split twice each week.
So there's some food for though on how to structure your training week when training for muscle gains. Of course, there are more options than those outlined above, but I think this article is long enough for now.
Until next time!