View Full Version : Splits, duration, and frequency
12-31-2002, 05:41 PM
Hi all. I mostly lurk here (because I feel like such a novice compared to you guys!), but I try to glean as much info as I can from this board and the on-line journals. I've been lifting for about a year and a half, and am not making the gains that I'd like. I'll be the first to admit that my diet needs work, and I am constantly trying to get that sorted out.
Meanwhile, I have a question about your workout splits. First, I change my routine every 4 wks. Right now I'm doing 4-5 days per wk in the gym, and trying to hit each muscle group 2x/wk (which might be my problem). This month it was chest/shoulders/back/abs and legs/bi/tri. I workout on Mon/Tues, off Wed, on Thurs/Fri, with abs/core on Saturday and Sunday off.. I also do cardio each day that I lift. I do 2 exercises per muscle group, 3 sets each. So on any given day I'm doing between 9 and 11 exercises. Naturally this is taking me awhile.
I'm in the gym 2 hr each day (I get there just before 4a) and am feeling a little burned out. Am I just a wuss, or is there a better way to do this? I see alot of folks who do only one muscle group per workout, ie, biceps. And they only do that one day per week. Is that enough? How many sets/exercises should I do? I'm still very confused about how many times/wk each muscle group should be worked, how many exercises per group, etc. For all the time I'm spending in the gym it seems I should have better results, so I know I'm doing something wrong.
Please help! And thanks in advance!
12-31-2002, 06:12 PM
You've certainly come to the right place! There are some VERY experienced ladies here who have got it all together.
I'm like you, struggling to get the diet thing going in the right direction.
Here's my two cents. Two hours a day is too much. Working a body part 2x week is too much.
Drop the cardio to 2-3 times/week 30 min. AFTER lifting and not on leg day
I lift 5 days/week about 1 hr a session. My workout looks like this although I do like to mix things up I never do anything else with legs.
Monday Chest and cardio
Friday Shoulders n Cardio
Sat- Sometimes I'll go in and do just cardio
I do abs any day I have an extra 10 min which is usually 3 days/week.
I'll mix n match chest/tri back/bi bi/tri tri/shoulders chest/shoulders
Cardio will fit in on any day other than leg day (or the day after!!!)
I usually do about 4 exercises with 3-4 sets per exercise.
Hope this helps a bit!
Luvmypt is right - I think that you are doing too much. 2 hours a day! Wow. You are determined, girl! I find that I have a good split going now too - this is what it is:
Day 1 Chest/Arms - then 20 mins cardio
Day 2 40- 60 mins cardio
Day 3 Legs
Day 4 Back/Shoulders - then 20 mins cardio
Day 5 40 - 60 mins cardio
Day 6 40 - 60 mins cardio
I need lots of cardio - if not, I feel as if I blow up.
01-01-2003, 12:01 PM
hello! i have a few comments...
firstly, i would recommend that you work each bodypart out once a week. working them out 2 times a week is probably not yielding the results you want. your muscles need adequate time to rest and recover in order to grow. this usually means 5-7 days of rest in between workouts. right now it seems you are giving yourself about 2-3 days of rest in between your workouts for one body part. your not giving your muscles adequate time to rest. your muscles grow when they are resting, not in the gym.
secondly, i would reduce the amount of time you are in the gym. 2 hours is too long. i suggest keeping your workouts to around an hour. i am usually in the gym for about an hour and 15 minutes. any longer and i just feel too exhausted.
third, you are probably doing too much cardio. 3 times a week is probably sufficient. cardio can be catabolic to your muscles at times. doing too much will burn muscle and that's not something we want!
i do a four day slpit at the gym:
legs (no calves)
i usually fit in 1-2 extra cardio sessions when i can and i do abs 2-3 times a week.
the larger muslce groups (chest/back/legs) usually need more sets than the smaller ones (biceps/triceps/shoulders). i do 12 sets for the larger muslce groups and 9 sets for the smaller muslce groups. but that's what seems to work for me. you could need less. i suggest looking at some of the ladies workout journals on this site. i have one and i know sicily1962 has one (there's a few more i think but i can't remember right now). i like to refer to other journals to help me. i get alot from reading some of the guys journals too!
one last thing... keep your diet in check. you can do almost everything right in the gym, but if your diet is not up to par and clean, all your hard work is for naught. i learned that the hard way /forum/images/graemlins/smile.gif
i hope this helps!
01-01-2003, 01:04 PM
Thanks so much for all the input. I'm home today so wanted to use this time to rework my routine. This will help, as well more journal reading.
Another quick question please? How much time do you rest between sets, and how important is it? I never really pay attention to that. In fact, I don't rest much at all. If, for example, I'm working shoulders and chest. I'll do the first set of shoulder exercise, go immediately to chest, then back to shoulder, etc. I do it that way because I can't afford the time to just sit and rest in between. But since I'm changing my routine now to do just one muschle group per workout, how much time should I rest in between sets?
It depends on your goals. If you are training for strength then more rest is required, like 3-5 minutes between sets. If you're training to gain size (muscle mass), then 1-3 minutes is the general rule. If you are training for endurance, then 30 sec to 1 minute I believe is the general rule. But of course the best is to vary your rest periods. Maybe train with 1 min rest between sets for a month, then change to longer rest periods. Keep in mind if you are not resting long enough between sets, you may not be getting optimal results.
Secondly, you shouldn't be training shoulders before chest anyway. Since shoulders are relied upon heavily when working your chest and they are a smaller muscle group, they are going to fatigue way before your chest does. So then what happens is that your chest does not get an adequate workout. And yeah, if you're not resting between, then you're mainly training your muscles for endurance. You won't be able to put up suffient weight to really stress the muscles to grow and gain strength without rest periods, unless you're a total beginner then you will get some results but certainly not optimal results.
If you do want to train shoulders & chest together, I would suggest you do all your sets for chest first, THEN do your sets for shoulders. This ensures that your chest will get an adequate workout, stressing the pec muscles enough to cause growth/strength.
01-02-2003, 08:25 AM
I'm glad I read this, I learned a lot of stuff.
01-02-2003, 07:50 PM
Since we're on the topic, I have a hard time knowing how many sets/reps I should per exercise. Maybe this is a stupid thing to inquir about, I don't know.
There's no set amount you should do. Go by how you feel and the results/progress you're getting. Generally though, most people do 3-4 exercises per bodypart and 3-4 sets per exercise. I used to do around 12 sets altogether for chest (3-4 exercises), 16 sets (4-5 exercises) altogether for back, but I recently cut those amounts in half and am now getting better results. So it all depends on the person, genetics, your current training level, and other activities you may do. I now only do 4 exercises for chest, 2 sets per exercise and I'm still getting just as sore. Take a look at others' journals too, for ideas of what everyone else is doing. Hope that helps. /forum/images/graemlins/smile.gif
01-03-2003, 08:51 AM
Thanks, that's what I thought. But there are so many people around telling you different things that it's easy to become confused. Or I am simply easily confused in the first place. /forum/images/graemlins/smile.gif
I think that there is so much info floating around that it is easy to get confused. I think that it is what works best for each of us. I find that not resting too long between sets, and going to almost failure is the best for me. Sometimes I find that I can't lift too heavy ( probably it's all in my head) but then I compensate by doing more reps. I also gauge it by how much I am sore afterwards - not feeling it means I didn't lift enough/too light, and too much means I overdid it. Sometimes I only do one exercise for triceps but the next day I realize that I really hit them good!!!!
I think that getting adequate rest is also really important. Sometimes we work really hard but forget that we need to recuperate in order to keep going!
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