The Advantages of Upper and Lower Splits
Bodybuilding is an activity that many people enjoy doing for many years. This may be partly due to the fact that there is a broad range of exercises and workout routines that can be performed, ensuring enough variety to keep things interesting. Part of the variety comes from the different splits, or workout schedules, that bodybuilders can use to reach their goals. One such split is an upper and lower split, which may be preferable due to its unique benefits compared to other splits.
Upper and Lower Split Basics
An upper and lower split is a schedule in which two workout days are alternated throughout the week, one day focusing on upper body muscles and the other focusing on lower body muscles. This allows for workouts on consecutive days, as there is no overlap between muscles trained in each workout. A typical setup for the upper and lower split is: lower body on Monday; upper body on Tuesday; rest on Wednesday; lower body on Thursday; upper body on Friday; rest on Saturday and Sunday.
Ample Free Time
One benefit of an upper and lower split which is particularly relevant for busy people is that it does not require as much of a time commitment as other types of splits. An upper and lower split will have you in the gym just four days each week, and you can have the entire weekend off. This allows you to pursue sports or engage in cross-training, which may help you become a more well-rounded athlete and may help reduce your chances of injury.
Upper and lower splits are beneficial because they provide an opportunity for variety. Because you are not limited to a specific body part, such as your chest, for each workout as you would be with other splits, you can choose from a wide range of exercises. Thus, you can perform completely different exercises in each of your workouts. This variety can help you stay engaged and will stave off boredom.
Ability to Perform Compound Exercises
Proponents of body-part splits note that such a setup allows you to isolate certain muscles, as you have an entire day dedicated to your chest, one to your back, and other days for other parts. However, dividing up your body in that manner precludes you from performing compound exercises, such as squats and deadlifts, which utilize muscles across your entire body. Compound exercises can give you more efficient workouts because they use so many muscles. Additionally, these exercises recruit a high level of muscle fibers, which causes your body to encourage higher production of testosterone, a major muscle-building hormone.
An upper and lower split is convenient, because it doesn't rely on your ability to get to a fitness facility with many machines for isolating specific muscles. Thus, you can perform an upper and lower split even if the closest gym doesn't have much equipment. Additionally, an upper and lower split is easy to keep track of, as it has a very basic design. Rather than having to remember six different workouts, you just have to remember whether you are training your upper or lower body on any given day.
Brian Willett began writing in 2005. He has been published in the "Buffalo News," the "Daytona Times" and "Natural Muscle Magazine." Willett also writes for Bloginity.com and Bodybuilding.com. He is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of North Carolina.