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A “workout program split” refers to how you divide your workout routine to train different muscles on different days of the week.
In general, there are three types of workout splits to consider. They include:
Full body workouts
Upper/lower body workouts
Split body workouts
Each of these splits can work well, but it’s important to understand the pros and cons.

Full Body Routine

With a full body workout, you train each muscle group each day that you’re at the gym. It ensures that you hit each muscle group frequently, while maintaining a number of rest days. It’s effective and efficient, and great for people with busy schedules or that are just starting out.
A full body workout schedule might look something like this:

Monday: Full body
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Full body
Thursday: Off
Friday: Full body
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Off

Because each muscle group is trained each time you hit the gym, you get a powerful metabolic response from your workout. If your goal is to stay or become lean, a full body workout can definitely help you achieve it.
If you do opt for full body workouts, you’ll probably include many compound exercises like squats, bench presses and dead lifts. These exercises work many different muscle group at once, and are thus well-suited for a full body workout routine. After all, you don’t want to spend your entire day at the gym.

Upper / Lower Body

This is a great way to divide up the muscles into 2 groups that are approximately equal in size. The lower body includes the quadriceps, hamstrings, buttocks, lower back, and calves.

The upper body includes the chest, shoulders, back, biceps, triceps, forearms, and abs. You could start by grouping upper and lower body muscles and modify the routine as needed.

Pressing, Pulling, and Squatting Movements

The logic behind this method is that certain muscle groups tend to work together in compound movements. For example, many back exercises are pulling movements that work the back, biceps, and forearms together. That means that it makes a lot of sense to do your back and biceps on the same day.

Pressing movements for the chest and shoulders tend to involve the triceps. This goes for exercises like bench presses and shoulder presses. Also, many chest exercises such as the incline bench press will heavily involve the shoulders. So it might make sense to train your chest, shoulders, and triceps together.

Same for the legs. Your squats will hit your quads, hamstrings, buttocks, and lower back at the same time. Again, it makes great sense to train these together as well.

Of course the fact that these muscles all work together so much might be the exact reason you decide not to train them together. I’ve found myself doing my shoulders on a different day than my chest because my triceps were too tired after my chest workout to do overhead presses well. Pay attention to what your body is telling you.

Advanced Routines

As you advance, giving your muscles the shock they need requires greater and greater intensity. Also, your muscles will adapt to your workouts and learn to recover more quickly. This is the stage where you can begin to divide your body into smaller groups and work them more often and with greater intensity. However, you won’t just arrive at this advanced stage in a short month or even a year.

Here are a few tips:

Use basic routines to get to an advanced level. You’ll never become advanced by doing an advanced routine… it’s something you work up to over a long period of time.
Try to work the big exercises and small ones together. Don’t do squats, deadlifts, bench press, and overhead press all in the same day. Spread the big exercises out as evenly as possible.
Increase the intensity slowly over time. Maintaining a slow and steady momentum will take you further than trying to progress too rapidly. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare, but move as soon as you are ready to handle an increase.
Listen to what your body is telling you. Your routine should be adjusted to fit your own personal needs.
Coming up: A beginning training program that can be adjusted and modified as a beginner moves into the intermediate stages.