Variable Split Training Program
Above is an example of what a typical variable split training plan would look like. An "H" indicates a heavy weight low reps (6-8) workout for that body part, "M" would be a morerate weight for medium reps (10-12), and an "L" means use a lighter weight for high reps (15-20 or more).
Bodybuilders want to continue to build their muscle mass on a sustainable basis, the body learns to adapt fast so to keep growing you need to use a variable split routine to get the full benefit.
The system is built on variable recovery that is now recognized by sports scientists, where they clearly show that our smaller body parts, like shoulders and calves will recover faster and can therefore be trained more than our larger body parts, like back and chest.
But sports science has enabled us all to take advantage of the muscle building cycle that's now been extensively studied and conclusively proven.
We all know what split means when we're talking about routines. Most people start with a 3 day workout routine raining their whole body 3 times a week, but then move on to a 4 day or 6 day split meaning they're training a different body-part each workout day.
When doing a variable split training routine there are no patterns, you could spend Monday just doing back and biceps and not return to that combination for 10-12 weeks. The variable split training system is based on each muscle group's independent recovery. Variable split workouts are not day specific but rather muscle group specific.
Your recovery time after training a specific muscle group is then assessed completely independently of other factors in order to plan your next training session. The objective of any good variable split training program is to optimize muscle re-stimulation optimally.
It's important to note that most common split routines training legs, back, chest, shoulders and arms are missing out on activating muscle fibers in 4 other muscle groups. Legs and back are your slowest muscle groups to recover from a workout. Your shoulders recover fast because they have shorter neuron twigs and therefore fiber stimulation is not as deep as in your legs.
An advanced bodybuilder is then able to train his/her shoulders and arms 3 times a week, and calves and forearms every day, but would only train legs every 7 days.
To sum up how variable split training works out it's advisable to start by training 6 days a week for only 45 minutes. Doing legs once every 7 days, back and chest and shoulders once every 5 days, arms and calves once every 3 days. Working out your own variable split training requires a self-monitoring that is able to adjust to the body-parts you need to train as you see their recovery.
The late great Dr. Fred Hatfield spoke about using this variable split training, saying that it "can take you to the next intensity plateau." He was adamant on avoiding overtraining, stressing that a muscle needs to be trained when it's ready, not sooner and never later.
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