The considerations you have for determining your training approach are significant and endless. Training styles, methodologies and every single intensifier known, are all at your fingertips ready for use. How you go about recognizing what your body needs and what it responds to best, will take time and patience on your part along with a critical eye for detail and progress. That being said, you do need a place to begin as direction and purpose are of paramount importance when establishing the path moving forward. The best place to start with this your training split.
A training split simply means that you have a specific plan, for a specific muscle group(s) on specific days that has all been fully mapped out and devised to best compliment your current strength and physique needs. Training splits are about as unique to each individual as the individuals’ physique itself so there is no one right way to set these up. You do have to take into account recovery and performance, but aside from those two components (which are in fact the most important factors to consider), your training split can be whatever you want it to be.
In saying that, if you are at a loss for what training split you should start with or what training split you should utilize moving forward or even if you’re simply looking for an entirely new training stimulus, you may find what you’re looking for with what could potentially be considered the ultimate training split for all your needs in what is known as the Push/Pull/Lower Body training split. This constructed program will have you training your body by grouping together the muscles responsible for pushing resistance away from your body in one session, muscles that pull resistance towards the body in another session and your entire lower body in a third training session. The number of exercises utilized per workout will be greater than what you may be used to, but the number of focused exercises per muscle group may be on the lesser side. This split will see you training in a variety of ways throughout the week, but a typical frequency is three days on, one day off, three days on, two days off. Alternatively, the day on day off approach is also very popular.
The goal of this program is synergy by allowing muscles that are responsible for the same planes of movement to work together so that exhaustion of that feature of your biomechanics occurs at the same time so as to avoid any collateral fatigue in those same muscle groups on other training days. If this training split sounds like something you would endeavor to try, here is a phenomenal and personal plan I created that you can follow.
Day 1: PUSH (CHEST, SHOULDERS, TRICEPS)
Flat bench press: 5 sets following the pyramid training principle (as the weight increases, the repetitions decrease)
**Your final two sets should be a grind to reach the 6-8 rep range
Incline Dumbbell Press: 5 sets using the pause reps training principle.
*The angle of the bench should be set at no more than a 30 degree angle and your repetitions should be slow on the negative portion of the repetition, with a 2 second pause at the bottom then an explosive positive contraction without locking out at the top
Push Ups: 4 sets regular push ups to positive failure followed by 4 sets modified push ups to positive failure
Seated or standing barbell Military Presses: 2 warm up sets of 15-20 repetitions
*These sets should be challenging yet relatively easy to finish in terms of the required number of reps that need to be completed.
2 working sets of 8-12 repetitions. Each heavy set is to be followed up with one set of straight bar front raises to failure (use an underhand grip)
Wide Grip Barbell Upright Rows: 5 triple sets of 10’s (each set is 3 mini sets of 10-rest 10 seconds between mini sets)
*Your grip should be wider than shoulder width, you should be driving the barbell up and under your chin leading with your elbows and thinking of your hands as only hooks holding onto the weight (this will eliminate the probability of utilizing your biceps during the movement)
Triceps Pushdowns (using a rope attachment): 5 sets of 30 repetitions using continuous tension (no pause at the top and no lockout at the bottom of the rep)
*increase the weight being used with each successive set. The goal is to force as much blood into the triceps area as possible.
Close grip bench presses: 1 warm up set of 15 to 20 repetitions
Sets 2,3 and 4 – positive failure at 8 reps with 2 drop sets to finish the set
*These final 3 sets should be completed using a weight where positive failure occurs at the eighth repetition and then immediately followed by two drop sets of slightly decreasing the weight to hit 8 reps each time.
Day 2: PULL (BACK, TRAPS, BICEPS)
Chin Ups: 4 sets to failure using a wide overhand grip
*Each set should be no less than 8-10 repetitions. If you are having difficulty reaching this rep range on any of the sets, start utilizing resistance bands to help you achieve that set rep scheme.
Dead lifts (off the floor): 10 sets in total using progressive overload and descending reps
Example: Set 1 – 135lbs for 10 reps, Set 2 – 155 for 9 reps, Set 3 – 185 for 8 reps etc. until you have reached your final set using your heaviest weight for 1 repetition.
*Incremental weight increases with each set should be enough to challenge you to get to that rep range but not so much that you fail before hitting that number.
Seated cable rows: 4 sets of 25 repetitions using a wide handled neutral grip bar
*use a 1 second hold at both the stretched and contracted position to really drive a lot of blood into the lats.
*make sure to lean in slightly to do these and avoid the temptation to lean back to help pull your hands into your abs for that hard one second contraction
Dumbbell shrugs: 4 sets of 10/10/10/10 with an increase in weight (heavier dumbbells) each set
*to perform these what you do is hold onto a dumbbell in both hands and simultaneously shrug both shoulders for the first 10 reps, then while still holding both dumbbells shrug only one shoulder for another 10 reps, then switch and shrug the other shoulder for 10 reps and then finish off the set by shrugging both shoulders again for 10 reps.
Straight barbell curls: 6 sets of 10 repetitions pyramiding up in weight-on the 10th rep, hold mid rep for 30 seconds
*use a shoulder width underhand grip for the first 3 sets and then switch to a slightly wider than shoulder width grip for the final 3 sets
Cambered bar preacher curls: 4 sets of 21’s
*use a close underhand grip and be sure to go to full extension at the bottom of the movement for an extreme stretch and then up to your forehead for a hard contraction
Unilateral hammer curls: 4 sets of 8 reps (go really heavy here)
*the motion should be a cross-body hammer curl with your thumb raising up towards your chin on each rep for a hard contraction
*also stop just short of a full extension at the bottom
Day 3: LOWER BODY (QUADS, HAMSTRINGS, CALVES)
Seated leg extensions: 5 sets of 25 reps using progressive resistance (each successive set should be a little heavier)
*continuous motion is needed here as the objective is to warm up the knee joint and push as much blood into the quadriceps as you can.
Barbell back squats: 8 sets using the pyramid principle
*your final 3 sets should be considered your “working” sets and should be at the heaviest weight you’ll be using. Complete 4-6 repetitions for each of your three working sets (these sets should be tough) and finish off each heavy set with a failure set of body weight squats
*remember to drive through your heels to produce your power and stop just short of lockout at the knee at the top of the movement and always go to parallel or below at the bottom of each repetition.
Walking lunges: 4 sets of 15 steps per leg using the 1 and 1/2 principle (step one full rep, step 2 half rep)
*first set should be bodyweight only, and then every set from there should have more resistance added by either holding onto dumbbells or placing a bar across your back and adding weight to that.
Lying hamstring curls: 5 sets of 12 repetitions using progressive overload (each set a heavier weight is used)
*most important thing to remember when performing this exercise is to keep your hips pressed firmly into the bench and do not allow your glutes to raise up into the air.
*first 3 sets point your toes towards your head and the final 2 sets point your toes down.
Stiff legged dead lifts: 4 sets using the pyramid principle (using dumbbells)
*make sure your back stays flat, your head stays up and you push back with your glutes during the stretched (downward) phase of the movement and then squeeze your glutes hard together for a nice contraction at the top of the movement.
Standing calf raises: 5 century sets (100 reps) using the same challenging weight
*each rep should have a focus on the eccentric (stretched portion of the rep) to really force lots of blood into the calves.
Day 4: REST
Day 5: Rest if needed or repeat
Drawing Final Conclusions
If you decide that the program above is exactly what you’ve been needing, then awesome! You will be challenged, you will be forced to complete tasks previously unknown to you and as a by-product of it all you will grow. Feel free to interchange any of the exercises presented here or swap out exercises for others that you prefer more. The end goal of a program such as this is total work capacity. By following a Push/Pull/Lower Body model of training, you will be asked to complete more work than what you’re used to with each session your complete. This will be exhausting and you will need time to acclimate. You will also need additional energy, and this can come from utilizing the General’s Peri-Workout Stack which consists of Battle Juice, your choice or either Warfare, Kamikaze or Flash Bang and then finally GP3 EVO – all of which will help power you through these intense workouts. Recovery will also be of paramount importance, so you’ll also want to include regular servings of Ammo-8, Warzone Whey and of course our Go Dark Sleep System. Once you put all of this together, the results will be tremendous and you’ll find yourself in a position where there is nothing left to consider.
Author: Dana Bushell
Dana Bushell, a graduate of St. Francis Xavier University (BAHK, B.Ed) is an Educator, Writer, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Nutrition Advisor, Contest Prep/Lifestyle Coach and former competitive bodybuilder, who has been involved in the Fitness Industry for over 25 years. He has worked and written for major fitness publications and many popular bodybuilding sites, is a Gym Star Team member and works hard at teaching and promoting a fitness-based lifestyle in his career as a Physical Education Specialist.