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WHAT MUSCLE GROUPS SHOULD YOU WORK OUT TOGETHER

WHAT MUSCLE GROUPS SHOULD YOU WORK OUT TOGETHER

When it comes to working out, same-old-same-old can wreck both motivation and progress. Mixing it up is more productive, as that means there is always a muscle group that is having a chance to recover.

How should that mix-up be approached?

The concept of ‘compound exercises’ is an excellent way to structure your workouts. Grouping muscles for different days (known as ‘splits’) means that you won’t be stopped from working one muscle group because the nearby ones are exhausted. 

Working more than one muscle also reduces injury risk. This is because choosing the right groups of muscles keeps your body in balance, reducing strain on both muscles and joints.

Here are three sets of ‘splits’ to start you off. The details of the actual exercises are not specified so there is plenty of scope to tailor the plan:

1. UPPER/LOWER BODY SPLIT

This simple idea means that at one session you train chest, back, shoulders and arms. On the next day you train legs and abdominals, giving your upper body a rest. Day three is a rest day and then the cycle repeats.

This plan allows you to be flexible as it doesn’t depend on the availability of particular gym equipment. For instance, this simple upper-body routine can be adapted to use various pieces of kit.

2. PUSH/PULL SPLIT

No jargon here! One day you work muscles used for pushing things, and the next day for pulling things. This takes a holistic whole-body approach, recognising that some moves will use many muscles no matter what you do.

Push exercises include squats, presses and planks. Pulls are pull-ups, curls and rowing moves.

3. OPPOSING MUSCLE SPLIT

This plan uses the concept of antagonist training. Happily that doesn’t mean ‘getting cross because equipment isn’t available’. The idea is to work opposing muscle sets, usually to the point of exhaustion. Obvious pairs include biceps and triceps, or hamstrings and quads.

It is well worth spending a few minutes planning some alternative routines. With a fresh list of exercises, your next trip to the gym will be both more productive and more interesting.

the author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves long distance running, yoga, strength training and healthy eating.

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