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Variable Split Training

Most People Fail To Work 50% of Their Muscle Tissue!

Did you know that even bodybuilders neglect half the muscle tissue in the body?

It doesn't take rocket science to build bigger muscles. However, it does take a certain knowledge and application of that knowledge in the gym and in your diet.

And the Truth is, the Sooner You Act, the Sooner Your Muscles Start Growing!

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Bodybuilding and Fitness Newsletter 12/2/2020

The Variable Split Training System

This article will cover exactly what is Variable Split Training and how you can use it to break out of your old boring routine to make better gains in less time.

The age old, standard training advice is that beginners train their whole bodies in one workout three times a week using just one basic exercise for each muscle. Then as they reach the intermediate stage they split their workouts up training half their muscle groups in each session such as 1) Upper body, 2) Lower Body or 1) Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Calves 2) Legs, Back and Biceps, but doing 2 or more exercises for each body part. And when they reach the advanced stage they would split their muscle groups into three workouts such as 1) Chest and Back, 2) Legs, 3) Shoulders and Arms and do 3 or more exercises for each body part.

The above advice has been used for decades and has built a lot of great physiques. But what if it is missing a very important factor that if taken into consideration and applied can make our workouts much more productive?

Lets review how weight training works: The workout acts as an unusual stress on the muscles, the muscles recover from this stress and overcompensate in terms of strength and size in order to better handle such stress in the future. The process of recovery and overcompensation takes time and if you work the same muscle again too soon you will actually lose strength and size because the stress more frequent than the body can handle. But on the other hand if you take too long between workouts the muscle will have atrophied and you will either stay the same or lose progress.

Muscle Recovery Graph

The traditional split training system assumes that all muscle groups recover at the same rate so all are trained regularly once or twice a week. But, the truth is that all muscle groups do not recover at the same rate. If you think about it - do you think your legs can recover in the same amount of time after squatting with 350 pounds as your biceps can from curling 90 pounds? No, of course not. So, if you are training all your body parts the same number of times a week you could be overtraining some muscles while undertraining others, the results will be the same - slow to no results!

Almost every training program you can find anywhere ignores the above factor, but there were some very intelligent trainers who recommended training different body parts with different frequencies.

Vince Gironda known as the Iron Guru was way ahead of this time and he recommended three upper body workouts a week and only two leg workouts a week. He knew by trial and error that this worked better then trying to train legs as often as arms would lead to overtraining.

Later, Dr. Squat Fred Hatfield took this even further and created the Variable Split Training System, where a lifter would train legs once every 6 to 7 days, chest and back once every 4 to 5 days, arms and calves every 2 to 3 days. This would make a split training program that is anything but routine, in fact it is constantly changing thus variable. Each workout combines different body parts and changes each workouts based on predicted recovery times as well as by also self-monitoring you own personal recovery, for example chest still sore from last workout take another couple of days till working it again.

Variable Split Training

Shawn Phillips, Bill Phillips brother who wrote for Muscle Media Magazine, really liked the Variable Split program but felt it was too complicated, so he made a simpler version of the program that fit into a more traditional weekly program.

Here is an example:

Week 1
Monday - Chest and Arms
Wednesday - Back and Arms
Friday - Chest and Arms
Saturday - Legs

Week 2
Monday - Back and Arms
Wednesday - Chest and Arms
Friday - Back and Arms
Saturday - Legs

If you are unhappy with your current progress in the gym why not break out of your usual routine and try to incorporate a more variable approach to hitting each body part.

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