Over the past two years, COVID-19 has pushed many of us to take our health more seriously. 

It’s no longer just about attaining that perfect beach bod or summer physique. People are starting to view health and fitness more holistically. 

Though evidence remains anecdotal, improving one’s physical well-being can also benefit their emotional, mental, and spiritual health.

Because of this, I feel it’s important to design a proper training split or program that enables you to achieve harmony between your physical and mental states.

What is a training split?

A training split is when your workouts are split between different muscle groups or body parts. 

Training splits are extremely popular in the gym and bodybuilding culture. By systematically breaking up your training into body parts, you can choose to focus your training on a specific area.

Doing so helps you to avoid overtraining a particular muscle group and allows for sufficient recovery – which benefits building muscle.

Common training splits divide workouts according to upper body – chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps or lower body – legs, back. 

Unlike full-body training which incorporates overall strength, mobility and agility, a split training program works best for those looking to customize their workouts.

Who can benefit from training splits?

Technically, anyone can benefit from training splits. After all, it’s personalized according to your fitness goals, schedule, and circumstances.

I typically recommend that beginners starting their fitness journey do full-body training routines instead. It provides good foundations for exercise and helps them to develop better balance, body awareness, and fitness.

However, those who aim to make strength or mass gains can benefit from designing their own training split. It’s an effective way to shape and build muscle to achieve your desired physique. 

Surprisingly, I find training splits to be a good remedy for those rehabilitating from injury. Injuries often lead to a momentary pause in training and cause certain muscle groups or body parts to “lag behind” the others due to a lack of training and stimulation.

Using split training allows you to train around your injury and focus on training a weak body part. 

4 factors to design a proper training split

There are several important considerations before you design a training split. Think and plan your split around these 4 key factors:


What are your fitness goals? For it to be successful, a split needs to cater to your objectives.

Here are some common fitness goals, regardless of age or ability:

  • Getting healthier
  • Losing weight
  • Gaining strength
  • Building muscle

These are very broad goals, and I prefer to ask specific questions so that fitness programs or training splits are individualized. For instance, the goal of gaining strength could mean improving your one repetition maximum of a particular lift. 

On the other hand, if you want to gain size, then it may be ideal to prioritize your muscle-building routines over, say aerobic conditioning.

Whatever training split you eventually design should account for your goals, so remember to be clear and specific.


As someone who travels for work often, my schedule affects how I organize my training splits.

No matter the training method or frequency, it’s important that you be consistent and adhere to a schedule that you set. 

When planning your schedule, think about your travel time and the workout duration. If you choose to train during peak hours, you might have to deal with congestion or wait your turn on certain machines or equipment.

Also, consider your exercise volume. If you primarily train at low volume with heavy weights to build muscle, then you can allocate more days per week to significantly increase muscle stimulation.


Some splits utilize multiple muscle groups per session. If you train one body part on a particular day, are you giving yourself sufficient time to recover till your next workout session?

For instance, training your arms and shoulders on Monday and then hitting chest on Tuesday may not be ideal. You could still feel sore in the triceps and shoulders, negatively impacting your performance when training your chest.

Avoid putting yourself in stressful situations just to clock a workout, which might be counterproductive to your goals.

Set aside rest days to maximize muscle recovery and prevent burnout.


Although there’s been a rise in virtual or online workout programs, I still prefer brick-and-mortar gyms to get my training in.

Finding the right environment is crucial if you want to be consistent and maximize your productivity in the gym.

I’ve learned over time that nothing else matters more than finding something you enjoy doing, especially when it comes to exercise. That way, you will be more likely to stick to your split.

One of the things I miss about competition is the camaraderie in the gym and during those intense training sessions.

Whether I was sparring with Rob or training with Jorge, the atmosphere and environment made the hardest exercises just a little more bearable.