A while back I talked about how to create your training program based on what you need or your goals. I touched on how to schedule your program, but not in great detail. It’s not about how much you can exercise, it’s about how well you can recover from your workout and get to the next one.
First and foremost, your lifting schedule depends on what you can fit in. I wouldn’t recommend more than five days, as recovery is important part of making progress and gains. For the most part, I recommend to get at least three days per week lifting some sort of weight. For some, that schedule works great, for others they can only do two days, and others they want to do four or more.
Depending on how your schedule shapes out, there are a few strategies in terms of programming that you can take to make the most of your time:RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
– Body Part Split
– Full Body
Each one has its strengths and its drawbacks. Some will be better suited for whichever amount of time you’re committing to.
Body Part Split
Back in my younger days when I first started lifting, this was the routine I went for. The same is true for many others that walk in to the gym for the first time. Split the body into parts and solely focus on that body part for that day. There was a day for chest, a day for back, a day for legs, a day for shoulders and a day for just arms. Cause you gotta get swole!
Looking back, this was a great way to get bigger as the amount of volume to one area was high. However it was incredibly inefficient and time consuming as you wouldn’t get back to that muscle group until a week later. Plus it required at least 4-5 days of training hard and that limits recovery ability as well. So if that doesn’t fit your scheduling availability, then you’re probably going to have to move on to a different style of programming.
AND ABS EVERYDAY!
This is actually what my training program looks like right now. With this style of programming, two days per week are devoted to lower body lifts and two days for upper body lifts. Typically this follows the big 4 as you would deadlift, bench, squat and overhead press on alternating days. As the case is for my programming, one lower body day is a squat day with requisite accessory work and the other is a deadlift day with similar accessory exercises.
But with your own weight lifting schedule, you can vary your lifts or what your lift is depending on your personal preferences. This style of training is typically great if you can allow 4 days a week.
This takes attention away from body parts and focuses more on the body’s movement patterns. One day will be pulling movements, the next pushing movements. In general, the pull days will have a focus on the posterior chain; exercises like deadlifts, rows, pull-ups, and RDL’s. Your push day will focus more on the bench, squat, and overhead press.
Similar to the Upper/Lower split, 4 days is ideal for this type of training.
Short on time or days in which you can train? This may be the perfect way to schedule your weight lifting. It is important that you employ solid recovery strategies after each workout. You’re going to be taxing every muscle in your body, so you’re equally going to need every muscle on your body firing on all cylinders for each session. This style trains the body as a whole, which can be more efficient if you don’t have many days in which to lift.
This style of training can be altered to fit 2 days a week, 3 days or even 4 days. It’s equally great for beginners–those looking to shed fat or even just be healthier and move better.
One last option that doesn’t really fit anywhere is going with a schedule where you will do an upper/lower split with a third day being a full body workout. This actually is successful with many of my clients that train three times a week. Devoting two days towards strength workouts and then a third day is more of a full body conditioning/strength session helps utilise the strength building from the first two days.
Your weight lifting schedule largely going depends on two things–your goal and how much time you can commit to your training. You have to have a clear definition of your goal in order to see what schedule may work best for you, but ultimately time is going to be your biggest factor. To sum this all up, your best options are:
|Day 1||Full Body or Lower Body or Pull|
|Day 2||Full Body or Upper Body or Push|
|Day 3||Full Body|
|Day 1||Lower Body or Push|
|Day 2||Upper Body or Pull|
|Day 3||Lower Body or Push|
|Day 4||Upper Body or Pull|
|Day 1||Chest (cause international bench day in Monday)|
Remember, the best weight training schedule is the one you can stick to with and consistently see results.