Category Archives: Fat Loss

Training Splits

Periodization for Personal Trainers

Without getting caught up in the semantics of periodization, there are 4 basic training splits that most personal trainers use:

  • Total Body
  • Upper/Lower Split
  • Push Pull Split
  • Body Part Split


Each has it’s own advantages and disadvantages, but what we use with the majority of clients in our business (yes, I’ve got a partner in crime) is a total body approach. The main reason behind this is that most of our clients come to us to lose weight, and we find that this works best.
But beyond what we’ve seen with our own clients, I wanted to share a couple of research studies that back up what we’re doing before I go into exactly how we break our programs down.

This study compared 2 groups training with the same volume per muscle per week (3 sets performed once per week vs 1 set performed 3 times per week). And what they found was the group that trained only 1 day per week only achieved only a 62% strength improvement and less addition of muscle mass compared to the 3 times per week group.


McLester et al, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2000, 14(3), 273-281
This next paper concluded that 2-3 days a week per muscle group was optimal for hypertrophy.

Wernbom et al, Sports Med. 2007;37(3):225-64


Our training approach for most clients combine strength training sessions with metabolic resistance training sessions, with almost all of our clients getting in at least 2 of each on a weekly basis. This is not the approach we take with athletes or with most of our older population clients (60+), although we do have a fair few 60 year olds who actually do.

We use a few different variations of how we structured our training programs (which I’ve include at the end of this article for you to download) but I’m going to go through 3 basic templates for you here. So if you like these and feel they would work with your clients, then by all means copy them or tweak them to fit your training clients. I think we can learn A LOT from looking at how other people we respect train their clients, and that’s exactly why I talk to as many people as I can about how they structure their programs and more importantly why. I’ll also purchase other people’s ebooks or products to have an in depth look at their thought process behind their programs.

The more you look at different programs, the more you realise that there are a lot of similarities between them all.   With just their little tweaks or changes, which are usually based on the demographic, they work with.

So here are 3 that we’ve used over the years:

Template #1:

A1. Knee Dominant
A2. Pull
A3. Core/Mobility Exercise

B1. Hip Dominant
B2. Push
B3. Core/Mobility Exercise

Template #2:

Program A                                          Program B

A1. Squat                                            A1. Vertical Hip Dominant
A2. Vertical Pull                                  A2. Vertical Push
A3. Core                                             A3. Core

B1. Lunge/Single Leg                         B1. Horizontal Hip Dominant
B2. Horizontal Pull                            B2. Horizontal Push
B3. Carry                                           B3. Carry

Template #3:

A1. Squat                                            A1. Hinge
A2. Pull                                               A2. Push

B1. Lunge                                           B1. Complex/Combo Exercise
B2. Complex/Combo Exercise            B2. Complex/Combo Exercise
B3. Core                                             B3. Core
B4. Emotional Exercise                       B4. Emotional Exercise


Hope you find these helpful and you can download my top 5 Training Templates below: