12. SPLIT system

The term “split” literally means “to divide into parts” when applied to training. The “split” system came about when bodybuilders stopped training all muscle groups on one training day and started working out individual muscle groups on different training days.

In the early days, the “split” system involved doing two workouts per muscle group in one week, with a 4-day, 5-day, or 6-day training cycle during the week. In other words, each muscle group was worked twice a week, and the number of workouts per week was 4, 5, or 6. At the same time, the division of muscle groups to be worked on different training days could be done with many variants and principles.

In the most basic split variant, muscle groups should be divided into 2 parts and trained 4 times a week. The recommended split days were Monday-Thursday and Tuesday-Friday. Large muscle groups were trained 2 times a week, while small muscle groups (abdominals, calves, forearms) could be worked even at every workout (4 times a week).

The division of muscle groups in a split system is usually done according to the“pull-push”principle, for example:
“Pull” – groups that perform pulling movements (back, biceps);
“Push” – muscle groups in which the main movements are presses (chest, delts and triceps).

The approximate division of muscle groups in a 4-day cycle for an average fitness level was as follows:

Monday-Thursday .
Abdomen (heavy), chest, delts, triceps, forearms (heavy) and calves;

Abdomen (medium), legs, back, biceps, forearms (easy) and calves (medium).

The division could also be done on a torso-calf basis:
Abdomen, chest, delts, back and calves;

Abdomen, legs, arms, and calves

The division into muscle groups in a split system can also be very loose, for example:

Abdomen (heavy), legs, lower back, chest, biceps, forearms (heavy), calves (heavy).

Stomach (easy), broad back, delts and trapezius muscles, triceps, forearms (easy), calves (easy).

The next step, which applied only to well-trained bodybuilders, was to apply the split program in a 5-day cycle, Monday through Friday (Saturday and Sunday were off). As in the 4-day split, all muscles were divided into two halves. Each half trained on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of one week, and Tuesday, Thursday the following week. Thus, over the course of two weeks, each major muscle group was trained 5 times.

The sequence of muscle group training in a 5-day cycle over a month was as follows:

(letter “A” for one body part, letter “B” for the other body part).

1 week 2 week 3 week 4 week
Monday A B A A
Tuesday B A B B
Wednesday A B A A
Thursday B A B B
Friday A B A A

The 5-day split was used mainly in the pre-competition period by well-trained bodybuilders with at least two years of training experience.

For the most prepared bodybuilders, but only in the pre-competition period, the 6-day split could also be used. There were two variations of the 6-day split. The first was when each major muscle group trained 2 times a week, and the second was when each group trained 3 times a week. The second variant was only used for a few weeks prior to competition. In the less intense 6-day cycle, the body was divided into three parts. For example:

Stomach, chest, upper back and calves;

Abdomen, legs, lower back and forearms;

Calves, delts, arms (biceps-triceps) and forearms;

Here’s another way to divide the body into three parts:

Abdomen (heavy), chest, delts, triceps, calves (few reps)

Abdomen (medium), lower back, biceps, forearms and calves;

Abdomen (medium), legs, broadest muscles, forearms and calves

Gradually, as a middle option between the 5-day and 6-day cycles, a new, very popular 4-day cycle emerged, in which the body was divided into three parts, each of which was trained consecutively for 3 days, with a break on day 4, then the whole cycle repeated. Many top bodybuilders used this cycle in the preparatory period because it allowed for better recovery between each muscle group’s workouts compared to the 5-day and 6-day split.
The split of muscle groups when training in the new 4-day cycle could look like this:

Day 1 – Abdomen, legs, biceps and calves;
Day 2 – Calves, chest, delts, abdomen;
3 day – Abdomen, back, triceps, forearms;
4 day – Rest.

As you can see, the next step in the development of the split system is the 4-day cycle, or as it is also called – “3+1”.

An example of the “3+1” system is the training program of Albert Beckles:

1 Day.
1. Barbell bench press, head down 2-3×10-12
2. Bench press 4-5×6-8
З. Barbell press on horizontal bench 4×6-8
4. push-ups on bars 2-3×8-10
5. Pull-up block to chest, sitting 4-5×6-8
6. Pull-up block behind the head, sitting 4-5×6-8
7. Pulling block to abdomen, narrow grip 3×6-8
8. Shoulder bar pull-up, standing 3-4×8-10
9. Fingerstands, sitting 4-5×8-10

2 Day
1. Leg raises, lying on an incline bench 2-3×10-15
2. Torso raises, lying on an incline bench 3-4×10-15
3. Squats with barbell on shoulders 5-6×6-10
4. Squats in Gakk-machine 4-5×6-10
5. Leg curls in the machine, lying down 4-5×6-8
б. Leg extension in knee joints, sitting in the machine 3-4×6-8
7. Hand flexion with grip from above 4-5×6-8
8.Bending of hands with grip from below 4-5×10-12

3 Day
1. Arm curls with dumbbells in a forward bend 2-3×15-20
2. Bench press from behind head, sitting 4-5×6-8
3. Pull-up barbell along the body to the chin 4-5×6-8
4. Dumbbell arm curls with dumbbells across the sides, standing 3-4×6-8
5. Bending arms with barbell, standing 4-5×6-8
6. Bending arms with dumbbells, sitting 3-4×6-8
7. French press from forehead, lying down 4-5×6-8
8. Downward arm curls, on the block 4-5×6-8


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By | 2023-11-13T00:31:26+03:00 November 13th, 2023|Articles|0 Comments

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