Let’s go over how to write your own programs and change them over time. Two sample programs included in the video.
If you’re a new lifter, all the lifting programs out there can seem confusing.
Let’s break it down to what you need to know to be able to set up your own program.
A novice lifter is somebody who has never lifted before or somebody who’s been away from it for a while. So the body is deconditioned.
At this phase, you need to build your base strength and you need to learn proper form.
And you will make a lot of progress without using a complicated program.
So the novice lifter should be doing full body workouts using all the big muscle groups, compound movements, and do that workout 2 to 3 times a week.
When I say big muscle groups, I’m talking about chest, back, quadriceps, hamstrings.
If all you do are the big muscle groups, you’ll be fine because the smaller muscle groups assist with those exercises when you’re doing the bigger compound movements.
If you’re consistent with your training, at some point, you’ll notice that when it’s time to go workout again, you’re not fully recovered.
You’re going to feel tired, you’re going to feel weaker. If you push through that workout, you’ll notice that you won’t be able to do as much.
It’s actually good.
This usually happens sometime between six months and a year from when you first started.
When you notice this has started to happen, it means your body has progressed in training and it needs more time to recover.
Now that you’re an intermediate lifter, it’s time to use a workout split that divides the work across the week.
That will allow for each body part to recover but still continue to progress.
Science based best practices with how you set up these different workout splits are that you want to work each body part twice a week and do about 10 sets per body part per week.
The two most popular splits that people use to be able to get that done – the first one is an upper/lower split and the second one is a push/pull/legs split.
For both of these, you’ll continue to use the same exercises that you like.
But now because you’re dividing the work up, you’re also going to need some extra exercises.
Anything you wanted to try, this is a good time to bring those new exercises in.
Let’s look at the upper/lower body split.
The upper day would be chest, back, shoulders and arms.
The lower day you would work your quads, your hamstrings, your calves, and your abs.
Day three is a rest.
Day four you repeat the upper.
Day five, you repeat the lower.
Day six and seven are also rest.
There’s a lot of variations on this.
People will have an upper day 1 and an upper day 2. Lower day 1, lower day 2.
They may move the rest days around a bit. It’s completely up to you how you want to set that up. But you get the idea.
By doing your exercises in this split, you’re giving each body part a little bit more time to recover before you work it again.
So let’s talk about push/pull/legs.
Push day, work chest, the front and side of your shoulders, and your triceps.
The next workout would be a pull workout. And that would be when you work your back, your rear delts, and your biceps.
And then legs. Well that’s the same as lower body from the other upper/lower split.
As long as you are getting enough time to recover between workouts, you really can organize this any way that works for you.
There are people who do a body part split. That’s where each day is a different body part – chest day, back day, shoulder day. etc.
A lot of people prefer this split. Even though they aren’t hitting those big muscle groups twice a week, they’re getting in enough sets.
But keep in mind that when you do a body part split, the smaller muscle groups are being worked when you’re doing the bigger muscle groups.
When you are working your chest, you’re also working your triceps. When you’re working your back, you’re also working your biceps.
So when you do a body part split, and then you add a second day that’s just dedicated to arms, you could be getting too much work on the smaller muscle groups.
Know you need to change, but aren't sure where to start? I created this free training to answer the most common questions women have asked me over the years.
- What to eat?
- Why lift?
- How to stick with it?
- How to get started?
Hi! I'm Tammy! I was a busy, stressed, and unhealthy teacher until I decided to take control of my health. I did not become an athlete until I was in my 50's!
I earned personal training and fitness nutrition certifications, then retired from teaching to dedicate my work life to fitness education for other busy women over 40.
My results are obviously not typical because most people don't train to compete as a bodybuilder.
But I believe everyone can make positive changes with healthy habits! Each of us has a unique combination of strengths and challenges that need to be considered to customize a program that will work for us. Science-based principles, flexibility, and consistency make all the difference.