Firefighter Fitness series

Ever wanted to be in the fire service? Want to know how to train to improve your chances of passing the entry test? Or if you want to mix up your training then training like a fire-fighter could be what you’re looking for.

Over the coming weeks I’ll be talking about how fire-fighters should train, how they get fit for the job, what the job requires physically and how both serving fire-fighters and members of the public can train to be fit and strong for duty.

What do I know?

I joined the fire service in 2008, and have been full time in Manchester ever since. In Greater Manchester we are the 2nd busiest service in the UK and have a metropolitan population of over 2.5 million people.

On top of that I have 15 plus years of training experience under my belt, I own The Fit Controller Private Gym and am a fully qualified PT.

img_53251.png

Fire fit? What’s required?

So what’s required to be fit for service? Well that’s an interesting question at the moment. For the recruitment test, well not that much. A decent level of fitness will get you through the bleep test to a level of 9.4. That’s the absolute basic level, if you can’t reach that then go away and just get fitter.

After that the tests are currently changing. So prepare for the new one. And this is what you’ll need to think about and how to train for it.

The fire ground fitness test involves wearing fire kit and performing a number of drill yard tests in a circuit, the test is timed and training will be required. The most important components of the test are:

Pulling / dragging force. – You will be expected to drag dummy casualties and pull fire hose.

Equipment carry. – Obvious one really, carry length of hose over a designated distance, also carrying other pieces of equipment.

Hose running. – Running out fire hose over a course of 25m various times, the hose has to be run out as per operational technique, at shoulder height.

Moving in fire kit. – As it says on the tin, get used to running and walking in boots and heavy, hot clothing.

The most effective way to train for the fire service is a dynamic and varied approach to fitness, strength is a vital component of the job, and is actually much more important than being overly quick. We don’t run when carrying equipment or wearing breathing apparatus (except for hose) But you may be asked to climb up a tower block carrying gear in full kit, so sustained weight bearing fitness is vital. Our equipment is heavy, and you often have to hold it for a long time, so strength is also vital.

This advice is just a starting point, the series will progress and I’ll post workouts and more detailed training techniques in the coming weeks, in the mean time, if you have any questions please contact Tom.

img_53261.png

 

 

Advertisements

Personal Training at The Fit Controller 

At the Fit Controller private gym we offer bespoke and innovative personal training packages. Here we take a look at what’s on offer, and give an overview of how personal training with us can work for you, help you achieve your goals! 

Our personal training is completely flexible, with no contacts. I want your training to be specific to your goals, it should be enjoyable and help you get results.

The Fit Controller private gym is set up for people to get stronger, leaner and become more athletic. I want my clients to become more confident, both with their appearance and physical abilities. Ultimately I want my clients to be able to move on, and use everything they’ve learnt on their own in any gym they choose.

Training Options

Ongoing training: This option is for continuous training. You choose your goals and I help you achieve them, training works in blocks of sessions with reviews at the end of each month. Bespoke nutrition and programmes are followed.

Barbell Basics: This is a course of 6 sessions and teaches beginners and intermediate lifters how to squat, bench & deadlift.

Stronger in 8 weeks: Does as it says, get stronger and leaner in 8 weeks. Break through strength plateaus and begin to gain some extra muscle. Clients must be available to train 3 days per week. 

Contact Tom: +447920132786

Barbell Basics Course

The barbell basics course is now available at The Fit Controller. The course is spread over 6 one on one or one on two private training sessions and is structured to cover the deadlift, squat and barbell bench press.
The idea of the course is to offer beginners to intermediate level lifters an introduction to the big three barbell movements. If you’ve never done these movements before but are interested to learn how, then this is the course for you! We focus our attention on learning safe and good technique, as well as learning how to perform the exercises to give lifters a strong starting point that they can use in their on-going training.
The course is also ideal for the intermediate lifter that is looking to check their technique or break through a plateau in any of the lifts, information on programming and what assistance exercises to use is also included in the sessions.

Course Content

Sessions 1 & 2: Deadlift Training.

Session one is aimed at deadlifting safely, proper technique and the functionality of the movement. How you warm up for deadlifting and how we incorporate it into our training schedule.

Session two is another look at the deadlift and a technique based session. After we have gone through this we will look at assistance exercises for the deadlift and how to programme them.

Sessions 3 & 4: Bench Press Training.

Session 3: Here we focus on the bench press, technique and safe form. How we warm up and get ready to bench press. We also go through how often and when to bench.
Session 4: A recap on session 1 and another look at tweaking and improving the bench press. We will then look at assistance exercises to boost the bench and how to programme for the bench press.

Sessions 5 & 6: Squat Training

Session 5: Introduction to the barbell squat and working up to getting under the bar, focus is on technique and making depth, safely and effectively and how we warm up for the squat.
Session 6: Further squat technique and analysis, ensuring good and safe form. We will follow this by looking at assistance exercises and how to programme for the barbell squat.

Costs & Further Info

The course is £200 for one person or £270 for two-person sessions. All sessions are held in our private gym in Manchester and are done either one on one or one on two with a fully qualified PT.
A 12 week programme for the squat, bench and deadlift is available to purchase at the end of the course if required.

Bench Day Programming

Following on from my deadlift day programming post, I’m going to put out the programming I tend to prescribe and follow for bench press / chest day. Similar to the deadlift day programming here’s an example bench / chest day that concentrates on building overall strength to increase maximal bench press output.

This day follows the same basic format as the deadlift day; we are going to focus around the main movement of barbell bench press and then build assistance work to support the main movement and develop the muscles used.

The good thing about training in this fashion is it allows you to combine programming techniques, meaning that you can run a programme that is specific to the main lift, like Smolov, Wendler, 5×5 etc and that will then be followed by a programme of assistance work designed to promote hypertrophy to assist the main lifts.

To fit this style of programming in, you could plan your cycle around the main lifts, so a bench, squat and a deadlift day. It is possible to combine main lift days, so for example pairing squats with deadlifts. The only problem with this is time, and fitting in all the assistance work.

You can of course fit two sessions of each in a week, over 6 training days, or do as I do and run a 5 day cycle. I always have two bench days and then generally cycle squats and deadlifts for the second two lift week. Which lift I choose depends on soreness and progress.

vugo08841

So, here’s an example of bench day with a warm up and assistance work.

Warm up:

This can be of your choice, but make it relevant to the main movement. We want you to be warm, have your heart rate increased and the main muscles and joints mobilised. For example:

Tabata skip or row x8

Press Ups 3×12

Resistance Band Rows 3×15

Light Lat Pull Downs / Pull Ups 3×15 (if pull ups do what you can, try not to go to failure, use assisted if possible)

Start bench pressing, begin with the bar and work up to your working weight.

Bench Press

Now’s the time to start your main set. This will vary depending on your chosen programme.
If you haven’t got a specific bench programme then you need to asses your goals. Is it a 1RM? General strength? Or hypertrophy? What ever the answer is will change your weight and rep scheme.
Strength is the most common goal when it comes to bench pressing so something like a 5×5 programme would be good for a beginner.
Work up to your working rate as per the warm up protocol, and then perform your working sets.

Assistance work

Once the main sets are complete it’s time for us to move onto the assistance work, here we are looking specially at hypertrophy work (muscle gain) so more of a bodybuilding type approach. I’m recommending this as we and to increase the strength potential of the muscle we use to bench. The best way to do this is to increase their size.
The assistance work focuses on the upper body and the prime and secondary movers for the bench, mainly chest, triceps and anterior and medial deltoids.

There are obviously a lot of other muscles associated with the bench, a strong back is vital, as well as core strength. However we are not focusing on those muscles here, as we cover them on deadlift day. You can of course sub them in if you feel that you have a particular area that is lacking.

When we are looking at what weight to use we want to go heavy enough that you can do the number of reps prescribed, plus one or two that you hold back. So, if we’re doing 12 reps we want to finish the 12 and think I could do one, maybe two more. If you think you could have done 15+ then put the weight up. If you can’t get to 12 then drop it down!

  1. Incline barbell press 4×8-12
  2. Decline dumbbell press 3×8-12
  3. Military press 3×8-12
  4. Triceps extensions 3×15
  5. Rolling DB triceps extensions 3×15
  6. Arnold presses superset with lateral raise 3×15

So that’s the programme, the assistance exercises can be mixed up and changed at your preference.

Any kind of barbell or dumbbell chest pressing movement can be interchanged into the programme.

Questions and or comments are welcome as always.

 

Deadlift Day Programming.

I get asked regularly what a good deadlift day looks like exercise wise, what sets / rep ranges can be effective etc. So here’s an example deadlift day that concentrates on building overall strength to increase maximal deadlift output.

To begin with, what your deadlift day looks like will depend very much on how you break your training down. Most serious trainers do some form of split training and this is no different. However the programme that I am suggesting is based on a split that focuses on the three main barbell compound movements: Bench, squat & the deadlift.

This programme template focuses each training session around one of these main lifts, this is used as the focus point of the workout,  I then like to add a number of assistance exercises that are meant to complement and improve the larger compound movement.

The good thing about training in this fashion is it allows you to combine programming techniques, meaning that you can run a programme that is specific to the main lift, like Smolov, Wendler, 5×5 etc and that will then be followed by a programme of assistance work designed to promote hypertrophy to assist the main lifts.

You would struggle to fit this in with a general split of upper / lower or push / pull as it would mean training some body parts on repeated days.

Deadlift Day Programme 


Warm up:

This can be of your choice, but make it relevant to the main movement. We want you to be warm, have your heart rate increased and the main muscles and joints mobilised. For example:

Tabata skip or row x8

Light straight leg deadlifts (20 reps)

Light kettle bell swings (20 reps)

Light deadlifts, starting with the bar and working up to your working weight.

Deadlifts

Now’s the time to start your main set. This will vary depending on your chosen programme.

If you haven’t got a specific deadlift programme then you need to asses your goals. Is it a 1RM? General strength? Or hypertrophy? What ever the answer is will change your weight and rep scheme.

Strength is the most common goal when it comes to deadlifting so something like a 5×5 programme would be good for a beginner.

Work up to your working rate as per the warm up protocol, and then perform your working sets.

Assistance work

Once the main sets are complete it’s time for us to move onto the assistance work, here we are looking specially at hypertrophy work (muscle gain) so more of a bodybuilding type approach. I’m recommending this as we and to increase the strength potential of the muscle we use to deadlift. The best way to do this is to increase their size.

The assistance work focuses on the bodies posterior chain, and all the associated muscles that take part in the deadlift.

When we are looking at what weight to use we want to go heavy enough that you can do the number of reps prescribed, plus one or two that you hold back. So, if we’re doing 12 reps we want to finish the 12 and think I could do one, maybe two more. If you think you could have done 15+ then put the weight up. If you can’t get to 12 then drop it down!

Lat Pull Downs 4×12 reps

Seated Row (or row variation) 4×12 reps

Dumbbell shrugs 4×8 (with pause at top)

Straight Leg Deadlift 4×8

Hammer Curls 4×8

Hamstring curls 4×12

Finisher (time allowing)

Pull ups and hypertension superset. 3×20


So that’s the programme, the assistance exercises can be mixed up and changed at your preference. The important thing is to try and hit as much of the posterior chain as possible.

There is not a massive focus on hamstrings as they get another round of focus on squat day.

Hopefully this programme can help you progress your deadlift and strength goals.

Questions and comments are welcome.

TFC

Barbell Basics

Barbell basics, the big three main lifts in strength training. The bench press, squat and deadlift. For me, these are the absolute fundamental aspects of any good training programme based around getting stronger.

Not only are these lifts fundamental, but they are also classic barbell movements that go back as long as the barbell does. They are the tree “powerlifting” lifts but they are each stand alone great muscle and strength builders, they are all compound movements that have a direct correlation to everyday life and every day strength functionality.

Before continuing with further explanation of the lifts, I want to introduce a new class at The Fit Controller aptly titled “Barbell Basics” these classes will be on Saturday mornings and will be bookable through The Fit Controller and through Magna Pass. These sessions will be specifically aimed at beginners and will teach the big three from the absolute basic level. If you’re interested please get in touch.

So why are they so important? Deadlifts.

I’ll take about why I believe the lifts to be important one by one. So we’ll start with what is in my opinion, the greatest of all the lifts: The barbell deadlift.

I believe the deadlift to be the truest test of strength. It is essentially, picking stuff off the floor, and so, the lift with the most carry over to every day life.

Getting the deadlift right will help many facets of everyday life, not only performing tasks like carrying shopping or picking your kids up off the floor, but also ensuring that when you do so, you do it safely, protecting you back with good form.

Knowing how to lift or move a heavy object safely is really important for back stability and health, plus the deadlift will see you increase your posterior chain strength dramatically as well as improving posture.

For my article on how to build the deadlift click here: Building the deadlift.

How much ya bench?

Some times the functionality of the bench press gets questioned, some say that it has no real carry over into everyday life. I personally am not one of those people, I believe there is a definite carry over.

My views on why cross-fitters should bench press can be found here, when I told thatsquatbot my thoughts on the subject and its functional everyday applications. (Check out her blog by the way if you haven’t already, it’s immense!)

Lets get one thing straight on bench pressing, if deadlift is the king of lifts, then the bench press is the flashy prince that everybody loves and wants to be around!

The classic meathead question is “How much ya bench?” we cant escape it, and to be honest we all ask it… Despite the fact that all coaches and PT’s will sneer when they hear it! (Myself included) That doesn’t make the bench a bad exercise or even make the question bad. But maybe we should ask ourselves “How’s my bench press?” to make sure the lift is at its absolute optimum, so we can answer the first question with a smile.

The bench press isn’t just for show however, it is fundamental for building a strong chest and triceps. It is of course a compound pushing movement, and so has carryover into life where ever pushing is involved. For example, pushing a car when its broken down or even just opening a heavy door.

The bench press is an enjoyable movement, and a good test of upper body strength. As with all the big three technique is important, and can really help drive your numbers up. So if you’d like some help maybe the barbell basics classes are for you!

Sqwaaats (Squats)

Last, but definitely not least is the barbell squat. The squat is probably the hardest of the three movements to master, and definitely the most uncomfortable. It can also produce the happiest faces when you nail it!

There are possibly more variables in the squat than any other lift, it is also probably the most abused of the three major lifts. The culture of “ass to grass” has arisen and often leads to poor form or injury. So many of the aspects of incorrect form can be seen in every gym, but when you nail the form and get to the right depth the squat is an awesome lower body exercise, that guarantees strong legs and has some definite carry over into everyday life.

Outside of the gym this carry over will mean different things to different people, a strong lower body will help with all round lifting strength. For me personally this is vital for my day job, I’m a firefighter, and so having the power to carry loads is of the upmost importance.

Perhaps the hardest (and most interesting thing) about the squat is that it will look slightly different for everybody. However once you’ve found your own personal movement pattern, it’s possibly the lift that puts the biggest smile on your face when the weights start to shoot upwards!

Variations are abundant in the squat. There are many, and each one can help improve the main lift in different ways. There are also variations that allow you to squat if you are recovering from injury and work the same muscle groups without being in a uncomfortable position. I had former England ruby international Andrew Sheridan down to train and he is a big fan of the Zercher squat. See the post here.

So, if you’re a beginner, if you have an interest in the big three barbell movements please feel free to get in touch. If you’re in Manchester and would like to train at The Fit Controller private gym then email the thecontroller@gmail.com

Dream big, stand tall, lift heavy.

TFC.x

 

Smolov Jr for Bench. Pt:1

I am currently running a Smolov Jr for bench cycle and thought I’d share my thoughts and progress with the program.

The template that I have been following is the standard Smolov Jr cycle, of benching four days a week using a percentage based weight, for a pre-determined number of sets and reps over four weeks. Below is the basic template, assistance work fits around the main bench press cycle.

img_2166

After the four week cycle is completed, and the one rep max is assessed, the cycle will begin again with the new max. I am doing three, four week cycles with Smolov and measuring both 1RM improvement and muscular development. I have changed the weight increase shown above away from 5kg (11lbs) and 10kg down to 2.5kg (5.5lbs) increments as adding 10kg to 85% in just three weeks proved too much of an overload for my measly 115kg (253lbs) 1RM. (When tested I could grind out a 120kg(265lbs) 1RM, but this was a real grind,so I decided to work from 115kg (253lbs), as I didn’t want to miss any reps, and I train without a spotter)

Fitting Smolov around the other lifts.

Keeping on top of the other main powerlifting movements and doing enough assistance work is always going to be a challenge when running Smolov. The way that I have tried to do this is as follows:

Monday (Deadlift day):

Smolov bench 6×6

Deadlifts – 6-10 sets of 3,5 or 8 reps.

Assistance work, pick 3-5 exercises depending on time and energy levels. I choose from: Pull-ups, bent over rows, lat pull downs, hyperextensions, shrugs, barbell bicep curls, straight leg deadlift.

Wednesday (Bench day):

Smolov bench 7×5

Assistance work, pick 3-5 exercises depending on time and energy levels. I choose from: Incline barbell bench, flat dumbbell bench, close grip bench press, tricep pushdown variation, dips, floor presses, rolling tricep extension.

Friday (Squat day):

Smolov bench 8×4

Squats – 6-10 sets of 3,5 or 8 reps.

Assistance work, pick 3-5 exercises depending on time and energy levels. I choose from: Single leg split squat, lying hamstring curl, leg extension, kettle bell swings, front squat variation, zercher squat, calf raises, hack squat.

Saturday (Shoulders + Catch up)

Smolov Bench 10×3

Barbell military press – 6-10 sets of 3,5 or 8 reps.

Assistance work, pick 3-5 exercises depending on time and energy levels. I choose from: lateral raises, shoulder press machine, band pull apart, rear deltoid raise – plus any weak point work or missed muscle groups.

I have run this programme for seven weeks now, so just over half way through. It’s hard, that’s for sure, the impact on your joints is heavy and tendonitis has reared its head on occasion. I have however seen a definite improvement in power output, my first 1RM test was good, I increased it by 4kg approximately (119kg / 262lbs) and it wasn’t such a grind as the 120kg was before. If I can really push it and get another 5kg or so out of the next 5 weeks then I’ll be really happy, I certainly don’t think you can complain too much by putting 10kg (22lbs) your bench in 12 weeks. Especially if like me, bench is a weak area for you. Thats an increase of 11.5% if all goes to plan.

I’ll follow this article up when the cycle is complete. So until then, if you were considering it feel free to use this template, all feedback or any questions are welcome.

Peace, love & happy barbells

TFC.x

 

1 Hour PT Sessions 002

Session 002 is here to view and try, I’ll try and put one of these out every couple of weeks or so.

 

The Fit Controller 1 hour PT session: Intermediate level.

 

Warm up:

 

Tabata skip: 20/10 work/rest. 8 Sets.

 

Circuit One:

 

10 reps > 25m Shuttle Run (x3)

 

TRX Squats > Run

TRX Rows >Run

TRX Press-up > Run

TRX Side lunge >Run

 

Circuit Two:

 

21-15-9 reps – No Rest – Timed.

 

1/ Burpee

2/ Wall Ball (5kg)

 

Circuit Three:

 

Tabata: 20:10 (5x)

 

Kettlebell Thrusters

Band pull apart

Med Ball Slams

Quick jabs (pad work)

 

Finisher

 

1x 50m lengths

 

Out: Jump, Jump, Throw + Burpee

Back: Reverse throw

 

TFC PT Sessions.

I’ve decided to start publishing some examples of the sessions i do with clients, They are generally all one hour workouts, and use a whole body approach. I take these session outdoors and are for GPP (general physical preparedness) Please feel free to give them a go or pass them on. All comments are welcome.

The Fit Controller 1 hour PT session: Intermediate /Advanced level.

 

Warm up:

 

Tabata skip: 20/10 work/rest. 8 Sets.

 

Circuit One:

 

30 second work, 10 sec jumping jacks > 20 sec rest. (x3 sets)

1/ Bodyweight Squats + Spin

2/ Mountain Climbers

3/ Press-ups

4/ KB reverse fly

5/ Burpee

 

Circuit Two:

 

Battle rope: 30 secs per exercise, no rest. 2 min rest end of set (x4 sets)

 

1/ Waves + Squat

2/ Waves + Side lunge

3/ Circles

4/ Waves + kneel 2 stand

 

Finisher:

 

50 meter lengths: (x3 sets)

 

Distance jump (Out)

Reverse throw (Back)

Jump, jump, Throw + Burpee (Out)

Sprint (Back)

 

Abdominals:

 

Plank 2x 45 secs, 1x max effort.

 

The Fit Controller personal training sessions are available in Manchester, UK. Please see contact page for details.

TFC.x

 

Split training; what, why, where, when, how?

One of the most interesting and varied subjects when considering programming for exercise is how exactly to construct a training schedule. Specifically if you’re into resistance training of any kind, the question is what split pattern to use. There’s a variety of methods out there, and every person that you speak to will swear by a different one; push/pull, 3/4/5/6 day split, upper/lower body split, whole body training, triple and or double splits!

There are so many methods, it can easily be confusing, especially if you are new to training with weights.

The problem with all these options invariably is; people will ask the question “which one is best?” A question that I believe there is possibly an answer to, but the answer is different for every individual. You need to find the right split for you, not what’s popular, or what your favourite pro does, we all need to consider several factors:

Things to consider….

Schedule.

How much time do you have to train? This will be the single biggest factor effecting you choice of split. If you can train twice a day, 6 days a week, then your programme has the potential to look very different to someone who only has a few hours a week to spend on the weights.

When all else is said and done, if you’re trying to force too many workouts in, and you start missing them, a 5 day split can easily become and unbalanced 3 day split, and so loses a lot of its effectiveness.

Goals.

What are you training for? Do you want to get fit, jacked, more mobile or do you want to train for a competition? As with our time schedule, everybody’s training goals are as varied as their personal lives.

Set some goals and certain split schedules will automatically rule themselves out, combined with whether or not it can fit into your daily routine will help decide further.

Age / Injuries.

Another important factor to think about, as you age it takes you longer to recover from workouts. Don’t be the guy or girl that trains sore muscles, all that it means is you’re not fully recovered and so you won’t get the full benefit. So don’t forget to think about your schedule!

Also as we age we all pick up different injuries, these also need to be considered: Do you need to work a specific muscle group more? or less? Maybe you need to avoid a muscle group or joint completely. It all needs consideration.

I personally have noticed that as I’ve aged, injuries have dictated my schedule and training splits. I’ve dislocated both my shoulders various times and suffer from elbow tendinitis if I ramp up the heavy upper body or arm work. It’s not the end of the world by any means, but it’s just another thing to include in the process. I now train an upper / lower split and try to train more athletically than to be big and strong. Me and my joints just can’t take the weight!

Personal Life / Work

Obviously this ties in closely with your day to day schedule, not only in time spent at work but also what kind of work you do and how you get there. If you have a physically demanding job you may not be able to train on work days for example. If you’re sat at a desk all day you may want to add extra upper back days to you plan. Do you cycle 20 miles to work? Maybe doing a heavy leg day the day before won’t work for you!?

Doing The Splits!

  • Full body workouts: This training split is very generalised, and good for the beginner. You’ll hit every muscle group in one session, but there won’t be time to really get into putting on serious size. On the up side you’ll never have to worry about missing leg or chest day, and you’ll get a high intensity session in. Ideal for general fitness levels.

Simple Example:

Chest press, Seated row, Lat pull down, Shoulder press, Bicep curl, Tricep extension, Leg extension, Leg curl, Calf raise, Abs

  • Upper / Lower body split: This split can be performed over a 3 or 4 day split, two upper, two lower days or 2 upper, 1 lower etc depending on conditions (work, injury etc). There are several variations with-in this type of split. For example you can rotate heavy and light days or mix isolation days and compound movement days etc. Recovery time is also a bonus here, with generally two/three days rest before going back to a muscle group (although this can be less if recovered fully)

Simple Example:

Upper body day: Chest press, DB Fly’s, Seated Row, Lat pull down, Shoulder complex, Bicep curls, Tricep Extensions, Abs

Lower Body Day: Barbell Squat, Split squat, Leg press, Hamstring curl, hyperextensions, Calf raises, Abs.

This is how I now train, if find it easier to manage with work and a little easier on my joints. Although if you are looking to really spend time on specific muscle groups this isn’t for you! More of a bodybuilding route would be better.

  • Push / Pull (3 day) A very popular and common split, working opposing muscle groups on different days, then possibly legs on a third day. This agin allows a good rest rotation between specific days. As an added bonus you’re working assistance muscles the same day you’re working the major groups. For example, you’re training triceps and chest on the same day so uneven fatigue won’t occur.

Simple Example:

Push (day 1): Chest press, Incline chest press, Triceps dips, Tricep pushdown, Shoulder Press, Lat raises, Abs.

Pull (day 2): Bent over DB row, Pull ups, EZ bar curl, Preacher curl, Forearm curl, Abs.

Legs (day 3): Squat, Leg press, Hamstring curl, Romanian deadlift, Donkey raises, Abs.

There is a lot to be said for this split method, it allows more time on each muscle group than a upper/lower split. However fatigue can build up quickly here and some may find it too hard on the joints. Also there are a few muscle groups that you can’t avoid working twice. DOMS may also effect opposing/assistance muscle strength, for example fatigue in the lats and forearm may effect bench press output.

  • 4/5/6 day splits: Here we progress a little further, and the goal of these splits is to break down muscle groups and training days even more. We are looking to really work muscle groups hard, possibly in isolation.

This is where the split training ethos really starts to become time consuming, It’s awesome if you have the time and genetics to train up to the 6 day a week range, but obviously for the common gym goer this is not easy to achieve with family commitments and working life.

Simple example:

An example of a 5 day split may be:

Day 1: (Chest & Abs). Chest press, DB Incline chest press, DB decline chest press, Pec fly, Push up variations, Abs.

Day 2: (Back). Deadlift, Bent over row, Lat pull down, Cable low row, Reverse fly, Pull up variations.

Day 3: (Arms & Abs). Bicep curl, Barbell bicep curl, Hammer curl, Tricep extension, tricep dips, rope pushdown, Abs

Day 4: (Shoulders). Military press, Neutral shoulder press, Shrugs, Lateral raise – front – side – rear, Band pull apart.

Day 5: (Legs & Abs). Barbell squat, Leg press, Leg extension, Hamstring curl, Swiss ball hamstring curl, Calf raise, Donkey raise, Abs.

The benefits of this training system are an increased and specific focus on individual muscle groups, this allows for more of a bodybuilding type approach and is well practiced around the world, you can expect some serious gains!

Some of the drawbacks are: Risk of injury; joints could be worked continuously for 4 or 5 days straight in theory. This would hinder the recovery time for the wrists, elbows and shoulders. Also the split is time consuming and this should be considered when programming as a few missed days could result in a muscle group not being trained for long periods of time.

  • Double / Triple Splits: This is where thing get really interesting! By double or triple splits we’re not talking about twice or thrice a week, we’re talking 2 or 3 workouts a day! Generally this technique is set aside and use by the pros, although that’s not to say that it can’t be done by anyone looking to make some serious gains, or with a view to competing at an amateur level. It’s advanced, but may be for you! The best way to show this is to use the man that made it all popular as an example! Here’s what the legend Arnold Schwarzenegger did for his double 6DAY! split.

Simple(ish) example:

Day 1/3/5 (a.m) Chest & back. (p.m) Legs, calves, abs

Day 2/4/6 (a.m) Shoulders, triceps, biceps. (p.m) Calves, abs.

Day 7: Rest

This is of course very intense! But it’s also only a double session, some crazy fools like to add a 3rd session in! This is generally a cardio session though (thank god)

Arnold’s example is very intense, there is no reason however why  similar can’t be adapted to fit in with an average gym goers day. It’s reasonable to suggest a double split 3 or 4 days a week if you’re looking for major results, this really does need to be fitted around proper recovery periods and a good nutrition schedule though, and as always we’re keeping at least one eye on injury prevention or symptoms of overtraining.

So, Which ones for me!?

We’ve been through all the conventional options for split training programming, and have progressed from beginner to advanced. So much of programming needs to be personalised, and all of life’s other aspects need to be considered.

If you’re new to the gym, then I’d recommend a whole body approach to get used to the movements and using your muscles in an new way.

As you progress, or if you are already there, then the split system world is your oyster, you just need it to fit your needs.

It goes without saying that if you are more minded to a bodybuilding physique, the more attention you need give to each muscle group and the better your results will be. So look toward training 4+ days a week, really trying to decide on split that allows you time to focus on those muscle groups.

If like me you work, have various injuries and commitments, you may like a upper / lower or a push / pull split. I’m not looking to be super-sized, just fit, lean and strong. I think all of these things can be achieved using these methods over a 4 day training week.

And if you fancy taking on double or even trebles, well then good luck! It’s hardcore, but can guarantee epic results.

Most importantly, enjoy training, and make your own split work for you, not the other way around.

Thanks for reading, questions and comments are always welcome.

TFC.x