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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.
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:
A1. Knee Dominant
A3. Core/Mobility Exercise
B1. Hip Dominant
B3. Core/Mobility Exercise
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
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: