It’s no secret that some people struggle with what to do when they visit the gym and even more struggle with consistency and enjoying regular workouts.
Some people are controlled by their work schedule but others might struggle with childcare or simply finding time for themselves and if that’s you, what do you do?
I mean, it’s not that you don’t want to work out, but you find it difficult to follow a plan as your workouts are so unpredictable that you might miss sessions at a time without getting into a real routine.
Well, don’t worry, because in this article I am going to tell you exactly what type of split to follow if you aren’t able to follow a regular workout routine.
1 Day a Week
Session: Full Body
The plan: If you can only get to the gym once a week then you should opt for a full-body resistance session working all major muscle groups and hitting every body part.
Unless you specifically want to improve your cardio and you’re working towards a race of some sort then there’s really no need to head for the cardio machines.
Why? Well, resistance training offers up far greater overall benefits for muscle strength, bone health, injury prevention and actually making changes to your physique that cardio training alone simply cannot match and whilst cardio training may bring about greater calorie burns for the session, one session a week isn’t going to make that much of a difference in the grand scheme of things.
It’s also worth remembering that you can achieve an elevated heart rate and successfully train your CV system when using weights by changing the format of your session and altering how you actually train. By following a circuit style session or using a barbell complex in your routine, you will be able to kill two birds with one stone and save time whilst you do it.
Workout Example: Barbell Complex
Complete 6 reps on each exercise before moving on to the next exercise. Don’t stop or put the barbell down until you have completed the last exercise.
Rest for 3-4 minutes before starting again, complete 4 rounds total.
2 Days a Week
Session: Full Body
The plan: So you’ve upped the training intensity and you can make it to the gym twice in a week, well done, now you’re going to use a full-body split as that will give you the best chance to actually make a change to your body and have an overall impact on your health.
Whilst you might be thinking about having one session with weights and another with cardio, or one focusing on the upper body and another on the lower body, the problem here is if anything goes wrong, so will your training.
Let’s say you plan to work your upper body on Monday and your lower body on Wednesday and after a strong first session where you really worked your chest and felt the benefit, you have to work late on Wednesday and end up missing your session.
It means you’ve only worked your upper body, you’ve neglected your legs and over time it will also lead to imbalances in strength, performance, and physique.
A full-body resistance session focusing on your major muscles is again your best bet here, although unlike with once a week training sessions, you can now start to add more structure into your sessions and start to have a bigger impact on your goals.
Workout Examples: Full Body X 2
Complete 3 sets of 10 for all moves, resting for 90 seconds in between each set.
3 Days a Week
Session: Push, Push, Legs
The plan: Over the years push, pull, legs have become more and more popular as a way of training the body for people that can make it to the gym 3 times or more a week and it’s easy to see why as it allows you to train full muscle groups whilst allowing their antagonistic pairs to rest.
On a push day, for example, you will train your chest, shoulders, and triceps with a series of pushing exercises before pulling on the next session, working your back, rear delts and biceps, your final session is focused on the lower body and often ab work is also included.
This way you get to train your entire body, with adequate volume, in a slightly different way.
However, it does have its drawbacks, especially if you have a particular weak spot to focus on or you often end up missing a session. In that case, I would look at changing some of the exercises or switching to a full body split.
Personally, I like to add some leg work into my push and pull days to make sure my legs don’t fall behind and you may want to do the same if your legs need the extra attention.
Workout Example: PPL
4 Days a Week
Session: Upper/Lower split
The plan: Once you can commit to 4 days a week you’re really in a place to start getting great results. Of course, while you can achieve great results with 2 or 3-day workouts, but it goes without saying that the more you can work on your health and fitness the better it will be.
The Best Option For Your 4 days of Workout? An Upper/Lower Split
It gives you the perfect opportunity to really go to work on your body, focusing on your strengths and addressing your weak points and you also get ample time in between to allow a body part to recover, perfect if your schedule gets you to the gym on 4 consecutive days.
Just remember, although 4 times a week provides you with a great opportunity to make some fantastic changes to your body it won’t counteract how badly you eat, so with this type of dedication to the gym, it’s also important you pay attention to your nutrition.
Workout Example: Upper/Lower Split
It’s a good idea to have a pre-designed workout plan ready to go whenever you enter the gym.
If you are unable to keep a solid routine then any of the example workouts above would be a great place to start but if you start to find a regular routine or you’re able to commit to more days over a longer period of time then it will be time to start making changes and building a workout plan more personal to you. For now though, at least you have a workout available for the next time you workout and you won’t have to worry about whether or not you’re doing the right thing.
If you’re eating right then you’ll even start to see some impressive results and noticeable improvements to your health and fitness, which is pretty impressive and certainly not bad for someone that doesn’t even have a set gym routine.