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Sure, it’s nice to have predictability, but your body gets used to a set routine quickly and figures out a way to do it more efficiently which means diminished results — until the dreaded plateau! Here are some creative ways to change up your bodypart split and get yourself back on the road to progress. Implement some of these — stat! — and you might get off on parole.
With this technique, you superset a push move with a pull move. For example, perform a biceps curl with a triceps pressdown. This type of training helps promote balance in strength and size between your opposing muscle groups and helps prevent injuries. Separating your muscles by function (push and pull) also means you’re able to train the same muscles more often, which means faster results.
Prescription: Do one push and one pull session then take a day of rest; repeat. On the seventh day, choose a bodypart that needs attention and work it with straight set isolation moves.
This system splits your body in half at the waist, giving you the opportunity to do more compound moves that involve more muscles and joints. What does this mean? More synergistic training, greater muscular exertion, and more calories burned. On lower-body days, perform multi-joint moves such as squats, plyometrics, and lunges, and on upper-body days try things like pull-ups, push-ups and windmill planks. You can also do single-joint isolation moves, but save them for the end of the workout when you’ve already done a number of compound moves.
Prescription: Do two upper- and two lower-body session per week with two days off of rest. On your fifth workout day, do a total-body circuit workout or a long HIIT session.
Single Bodypart Split
Many people double up bodyparts during their week, training things like back/bi’s and chest/tri’s together, but only training one part per day means you focus exclusively on that part; if it’s weak or lagging behind, it gets the complete attention it needs in order to catch up. You can also correct any imbalances between your left and right sides, creating symmetry and preventing injury.
Prescription: Do one bodypart per day for six days and take the seventh day off.
If you’re used to splitting up your bodyparts, you might want to try total-body training for a while. With this system you choose one exercise for every bodypart and do it for two to three sets. Each time you train, choose different exercises to hit your muscles from all angles and keep things interesting. And as a bonus: total-body training burns a ton of calories since you’re taxing your body in a more complete manner, and it’s great when you’re short on time.
Prescription: Do up to five days of total-body training per week. Take two days off for rest, or one full rest day and one day of active recovery (i.e. yoga, walking etc).
Reverse Order Split
Most people train the large muscles in their bodypart pairing first since they use the most energy, but throw a monkey wrench in this plan: if you usually train chest and triceps together, for example, work the triceps first. This will pre-exhaust the smaller assisting muscles, which means your larger muscles have to do more work when they get their turn, since they can’t rely so heavily on their littler helpers.
Prescription: Do two days of strength training and take a day of rest; repeat. On the seventh day, do a total body workout to change things up.