How to Create the Perfect Workout Split

For the longest time, I never knew whether my workout routine was really right for me. I wasn’t even sure exactly how to structure a workout routine in general. Instead of following a specific plan, I would just do whatever workout I felt like doing. With this tactic, I saw minimal results and just felt lost in the gym. Only when I started following a specific and concrete routine is when I finally started seeing the results I was looking for. Creating this split was not easy and accompanied a lot of trial and error, which is normal and actually expected. A workout “split” is basically what muscle group you plan to work on each day. Finding a routine that works for your body is essential in creating an effective workout split. Now, how do you build one? Where do you start?

  1. 1. Figure Out Your Goals

    Are you wanting to gain muscle? Lose weight? Lose weight while gaining muscle? Your specific fitness goals are important to analyze before creating a split. This will ensure you are creating a schedule that is as effective as possible. For example, I am personally looking to gain muscle at the moment. My personal workout split is the following:

    Monday: Legs with focus on glutes

    Tuesday: Full upper body

    Wednesday: Full lower body

    Thursday: Free day or optional rest day (This is my day where I can do other exercises that I like, such as swimming, HIIT, etc.)

    Friday: Legs with focus on glutes

    Saturday: Full upper body + cardio of some kind 

    Sunday: Rest!

    With this split, I am targeting the largest muscle groups multiple days a week. I also throw ab workouts in throughout the week as needed. Although my split has been working for me personally, this exact schedule will not work for everyone. My sister, for example, does not do the same workouts as me, but still has a solid split that works for her schedule. Everyone is different, so it is imperative that you figure out what your goals are before creating a split.

  2. 2. Start off SLOW!

    The most important part about starting any new workout routine is to take it slow. Your body is not used to this new routine yet, so it is important to give it some time to adjust. If you walk in the gym and immediately start bench pressing 200 lbs on Tuesdays, your body will most likely resent you for that. For complete beginners to fitness, starting off with maybe 4/7 days a week is a great place to start. When you are beginning, your muscles need more time to recover, so make sure you give them that!

  3. 3. What You Eat Matters

    I’m sure everyone knows that nutrition matters when it comes to exercise, but not the way you think. Many people believe that eating completely clean and cutting out carbs is the way to reach your goals, but this is not the case at all. If you are trying to gain weight as muscle, you want to eat in a calorie surplus, whereas if you want to lose fat, you must eat in a calorie deficit. The great thing is you do not have to cut out any of your favorite foods!! As long as you stay within your caloric “window” that you create for yourself, you can eat virtually whatever you want. Sure, the cleaner the better, but an occasional donut won’t ruin your progress. In fact, it will probably help you. If you cut out a specific group of food and do not allow yourself to have it, chances are you will end up binging on it later. Nutrition goes hand in hand with your workout routine because you should be eating in a way that will help you get to your goals. For example, if you want to gain muscle, you cannot be eating 1,400 calories a day. However, if you were aiming to lose fat, then 1,400 calories may be more suited for you (everybody has different caloric needs, I’m just using this as an example!) 

In conclusion, creating an effective workout split may seem hard at first and result in trial and error. The beauty of it is that you can always switch it whenever you feel like it is needed! Listen to your body and see what works best for you.