Tip: Body Part Splits vs. Push-Pull

These are both popular and effective ways of organizing your workouts, but which is right for you? Find out here.

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Which is the best choice for you? Let's break it down.

1 – The Traditional Body Part Split

Body part splits are considered typical "bodybuilder" splits. Generally, you train each muscle group throughout the week in 5 or 6 training sessions.

Pros: Body part splits use greater exercise variation to target individual muscles. They're great for "shocking" muscles into growth due to high-localized volume, especially for lifters that typically train using total-body routines. Increased volume and metabolic stress lead to greater hypertrophy than other splits. Just make sure you have a significant training base before jumping in.

Cons: It's difficult to train with heavy multi-joint lifts without some degree of hindered recovery from previous workouts. Make sure your workout nutrition, sleep needs, and other recovery essentials are taken care of. Body-part splits are also time consuming and impractical for busy people. Many body part splits "major in the minors" and are cosmetic based rather than performance based – not the best option for athletes or beginners.

Sample Plan

  • Monday:  Chest
  • Tuesday:  Back
  • Wednesday:  Shoulders
  • Thursday:  Legs
  • Friday:  Arms/Abs
  • Saturday and Sunday:  Off

2 – Push/Pull Training Split

Push/pull splits break training up by movement pattern. The movements on the back of the body are predominantly responsible for pulling actions while the front of the body is responsible for pushing actions. Legs are often paired on "pull" days.

Pros: Push/pull routines are suitable for intermediate to advanced lifters. They're an economical way to train and allow for flexible planning. Moderate frequency of movement is better for skill acquisition than body part splits performed once per week.

Cons: Push/pull splits are of limited use with athletic populations because they segregate the body by muscles that work together. Push-pull routines are also a bit advanced for beginners who want to maximize their gains.

Sample Plan

  • Day 1:  Pull (legs/hamstrings, back, biceps, lower back)
  • Day 2:  Push (chest, shoulders, triceps, legs/quads, abs)
Eric Bach is a highly sought-after strength and conditioning coach, located in Colorado. Eric specializes in helping athletes and online clients achieve optimal performance in the gym and on the playing field. Follow Eric Bach on Facebook