How to divide the training of hypertrophy by muscle group?
This is a very common question among bodybuilding practitioners.
The answer, like most answers in this area, is: it DEPENDS.
There is no magic formula or perfect training division that will make you gain muscle or lose weight, or tone faster…
The training division will always be influenced by the frequency with which you go to the gym (or with which you train), with your purpose, your sporting past, the volume of training, among other factors…
In this article, I will then discuss more in-depth the factors that influence the division of training and I’ll give you some suggestions as to how you can do the training division.
Training Division: Influencing factors and split suggestions
The frequency with which you train is one of the most preponderant factors in obtaining results.
It is common to work out five times a week and leave the weekend to recover.
There are also those who choose to work out every day, totaling 7 workouts a week.
Once again, it should be noted that there is no miraculous form, and none of these divisions are wrong.
It is also very common for those who train 5 times a week to adopt a training division of the genus ABCDE.
Training Division ABCDE and ABCx2
The ABCDE Training Division consists of training:
- Lowermembers (Monday)
- Chest and triceps (Tuesday)
- Shoulders (Wednesday)
- Back and Biceps (Thursday)
- ABS and a “weaker” muscle trained during the week (Friday)
Many of you must recognize this kind of training division.
In my opinion, it is not the best way to enhance results, although it is a practical way to divide the workout.
I do not like this methodology of division for the hypertrophy training, because it is known that the volume of training (the amount of work performed in a given period – relating to the amount of load moved in the training sessions) and the training frequency (defined as the amount of times per week that certain muscle group is worked on) are primordial factors in maximizing results.
Therefore, dividing the training this way, we would have little frequency of stimulation in the lower musculature and a lower training volume, for example.
In a very simple way, we would train legs only once a week.
While, if we were to divide the training differently, we could stimulate the muscles of the legs two or three times, something that would most likely result in a larger weekly workout volume for our legs.
- Leg Training Once a week: 4 sets x 10 repetitions x 100 Kg = 4000kg
- Leg training twice a week: 4 setsx 10 repetitions x 90 Kg = 3600kg x 2 = 7200kg
Analyzing the calculations performed:
By training once a week you will be stimulating your legs with a load equivalent to 4000kg.
If you train twice, and even lowering the load at the end of the week, you stimulated the musculature of the legs with 7200Kg.
That is, you moved almost twice the weight with a lower volume per training session and a higher frequency.
Probably a training division where the musculature is stimulated at least twice a week will bring more results of hypertrophy.
Of course, one should always consider the availability of each person to train.
Stimulation of the musculature at least twice a week: Advantages of ABCX2 Training
Numerous studies prove that a training division in which muscle groups are stimulated two or more times a week promotes:
- Improved post-workout recovery
- More strength gains
- Increased hypertrophy
- Improved neuromuscular adaptations
As mentioned previously, there is no recipe to tell you what the most effective training is.
In any way, it is known that an ABC (x2) workout is more appropriate than an ABDCE.
For example, it would be more beneficial if you did:
A- Chest + Biceps
B- Back + triceps
C- Legs + shoulders
And if you repeat this scheme again.
Chest + Triceps/Back + Biceps/Legs + Shoulders
One of the very common “rules” and which, in my opinion, is a myth, is the fact that when you train chest you have to/should train triceps.
It is very common for training to be grouped by:
- Chest + triceps (Monday)
- Back + biceps (Wednesday)
- Legs + shoulders (Friday)
Days of the week can be variable.
This isn’t wrong, but it’s not a rule either.
It always depends on the goal.
You may say that when you train your chest you are training triceps. It is true! But not always. Sometimes you also train biceps.
For example, when you do chest fly exercise depending on the angle at which you put the elbow you may be training biceps and not triceps.
Another one of the questions you should consider is how to divide your training so your muscles don’t get fatigued by excess stimulation.
When you do chest training, you’re very likely to feel some stimulus on your shoulders and that’s normal, since it’s impossible to isolate a muscle.
This way, training deltoids the next day may not be the best strategy.
Pull, Push, Legs
There are those who also divide the training by:
Basically, on the first day they do all the pulling moves, on the second day they make moves to push and on the third legs.
It’s a simpler way to divide the training for those who don’t have so much body knowledge.
So, on the day of pulling, the training would be Back + Biceps, to push would beChest + Triceps + Deltoids, then you would train legs and return to repeat the same scheme.
There are still those who prefer to divide the training by:
- Lower members
- Superior members
In this division, on the first day they do the training of lower limbs, and in the second they train the upper musculature, and so on.
“Big” Muscles and “Small” Muscles
Another issue that is also not a rule, but for me it should be followed when you choose to split the training, is to train a “big muscle” and another “small”.
This is because stimulating two large muscles like the pectoral and the latissimus dorsi, for example, will require a lot of your central nervous system, will increase the recovery time and the training time, because this training implies more volume than the small muscles.
Pay attention to these factors when you choose to divide your training.
Do not feel pressured to divide your training by muscle groups if you have a lower training frequency, or if you are a beginner, because if you are, you have a need of lower volume than a person with more experience.
The muscle group training division is a valid strategy for those who have been training for some time, because they already have a considerable volume of training and a higher frequency.
So, before you split your training, you should realize what level you are in and, with the help of this article, assemble your training so that you can evolve for a long time.
Do not start with a huge amount of training, as you will be able to reach the state of overtraining and become discouraged and unmotivated when you realize that your results have stagnated because you are no longer able to increase the volume of training.
There is no correct training division as was said earlier.
However, the best possible division is the one where you prioritize the volume and the frequency.
See more about these two concepts here.
But if you want to do it, I think you’ll have to find a way to train the largest number of muscles at least twice a week, always taking care of the “rest time”.
Tip: Do not start the week “destroying” your shoulders, this may cause you to compromise your week of training.