• Body parts for Bodybuilders, Part I

    by Puma

    We all know the drill. Pick exercises, do your best, wait a week, fight new weight, regenerate and grow. Learn how to pick your target!

    Whatever job you do, whatever education you got – one rule is simple. In every discipline we got craftsmen and talents. Craftsmen consequently build their progress, step by step form the foundations up to the roof. Slowly but steadily. On the other side we’ve got talents. No matter what their do, even the wildest and most random stuff – they will grow [I know, I know, most of you hate them : ) ]. Of course, there is a third group – losers which will achieve nothing because they show absolute disrespects to their body abilities.

    So, what to do if mother nature didn’t gave you superior genetics and absolutely no talent? Be a craftsman! Build your way to glory using simple target to target approach.
    This article is dedicated to natural bodybuilders because this is the group that must often make wise choices in order to grow.

    As we all know, we divide entire body into the body parts, than we pick exercises for that body part, rep ranges and methods. Last we wrote much about methods, so this time we will write about different part of the riddle – body divisions.

    Basic divisions

    Not surprisingly basic divisions ale daily bread and butter for beginners. Their body mass and strength is so low that any kind of “sniper shot” partitioning of the body is absolute waste of their time. They need to grow overall – add size, then see what is lagging. Of course if they are intelligent and want to accomplish their goal in fastest, safest and most optimal way. If not – go ahead – be that guy with great chest and biceps with absolute no back and legs muscles – just don’t cry if you will get prestige award “injury of the year”.

    The most simple division is whole body division. There is no greater secret in this. You train entire body at every training day. Usually 2-4 times a week. Two is often to low number [used mostly if you are using gym to supply your primary sport], and four might be too much for beginners.
    Training is always total – legs, arms, corpse – trained mostly with compound movements, with nearly no isolation exercises.
    The scope is entire body like in “My body is mall, I must make it bigger”.

    One step forward is Upper Body / Lower Body split.

    In this division we divide the body for two parts. The lower body – legs, erectors, gluts. The upper body – corpse, arms and abs. Sometimes there are differences like abs and gluts together in lower body. In fact keep it simple – divide body equally or as NEEDED. If your upper body is growing slower – shift abs to lower body training.

    Typical splits are:

    A x x B x x x – for athletes using gym as supplement.
    A x B x A x x B x A x B x x – for superior regeneration
    A B x A B x x – typical approach
    A x B x x A x B x x – five-day-cycle approach

    The scope is to divide body into two parts like in “ I’m big but my legs are bigger then upper body”

    The approach to double division got more solutions. Push / Pull is another common split. You divide your body parts targets to those that are trained using pulling movement and those trained using push movements. That is worth to repeat – MOVEMENTS not muscles. Same muscle can be used in push move and pull move. For example pectoralis major is used in a bench press [push] and in pull-up [pull]. In fact – some muscles got a very long variety of functionalities. In 2 day splits divide be overall exercises.
    The scope is to divide body into two parts like in “I’m big but my bench is much stronger than a row”

    Corpse / Limbs is another, but not so common division. Id parts the body for the corpse [chest, back, abs…] and the limbs [arms, shoulders, legs].
    The scope is to divide body into two part like in “I’m big but my corpse is great and arms/legs are tiny”
    There is one more interesting 2 day split but it’s not for beginners. One day you train whole body, the other day you train only most lagging body parts which must be endurance ones – forearms, calves, grip muscles, very rarely traps.

    The rule to remember – no matter if you are intermediate or advanced – whole body and 2-day splits are great tools – don’t forget them! They give you powerful overall mass and strength stimulus. Find a place for them from time to time in your mesocycles.

    Three days

    The next approach is dividing the body into three parts. Keep in mind that a change in template creation must come from the need, not from the “wish” or a newspaper. If training whole body is used for a very long time, the disproportions are rising – switch to 2-day split. If that progress [after exercise/rep/method changes] after some time lead to another disproportions or lags – switch to three-times division.

    The general guideline is simple:

    A x B x C x x – classical and most basic one. Often used to much.
    ABxCx – five day cycle approach
    ABxCAxBCxx – good mix
    ABCxxABCxx – more intense five day cycle
    ABCABCx – very intensive seven day cycle, use in short phases.
    ABCxABx – two-day with addition one for isolation

    The scope is to divide the body to three equal groups, or to divide the body into three even problematic areas depending on the need like in “I’m big, my legs are great but upper body not cause my corpse is great but arms are tiny”.

    Legs / Corpse / Shoulders + arms is the most common and proper split. Legs got their “king’s” place on a special leg day, whole back and chest receive pounding on second day, and arms are crushed on the last.

    Legs / Push / Pull is another common and very efficient template. Legs again got their prime day, push movements are trained the other day, and pull movement are trained on the last day. It is the second type that uses the principle that legs training is the fundament and grand builder to great mass.

    Legs / Push compound + Pull isolation / Pull compound + Push isolation is a very good split which I rarely see in modern newspapers.

    Legs / Chest+Arm push / Back + Arm pull, Legs / Chest + Arm pull / Back + Arm pull are another great splits. They are not the same as L/C/S+A. Look closely, difference is significant.

    That were the most common 3-days split. But in fact it is only the top of the iceberg. But there is one other type of triple division that is worth mention. Two normal days [push/pull or upper/lower] plus support day. This day can be many things:

    Remedial day – for posture problem and rehabilitation

    Strength/Power day – only big lifts for faster gains for ex. Bench/squat/deadlift
    Explosiveness day – clean and press, snatch or sub-lifts.
    Muscle endurance day – high rep work for whole body
    Volume day – special isolation day for entire body
    Discipline support- special sport dedicated to enhance special motor skills
    Learning day – if you need to relearn some big motion like squat

    As you see 1-3 day splits uses large groupings. From “body part” called “whole body” to the lowest level – limb. Of course you need to pick exercises for that specific body part [1-4 for example] but the main focus is simple – overall size of big grouping. No place for detail exercises or marksmanship.

    Four day split

    At this stage comes to play something that is often wrongly interpreted as “high tech” for advanced but yet used and described for everyone. That’s modern bodybuilding magazines paradox. We will leave that riddle for them. Let’s get back to the business.

    Four a day split bring bodybuilder closer to the muscles, but still the number of days is limiting us so we must use higher grouping than single muscle grouping.

    Routine templates:

    A B C D x x x for seven day cycle, top much regeneration for most of people
    A B x C D x x for seven day cycle, optimal
    A B C D x x for six day cycle, optimal
    A B x C D x for six day cycle, after time the lack or regeneration might occurs
    A B C D x for five day cycle – very intensive, use for limited time
    + additional mixes like two six-day cycles ABxCDx separated by x like ABxCDxxABxCDx

    The first basic division, using balanced approach is such grouping:

    Upper-body Push
    Upper-body Pull
    Lower-body Push
    Lower-body Pull

    That is quite efficient method. Legs are trained twice enhancing overall mass growth [training legs two times ALWAYS leads to accelerated mass gaining, I repeated this cause 90% of amateur bodybuilders don’t event train them, or train them with 1-2 isolation exercises per weak].

    Chest and back is working properly, but after some time arms can lag. So here comes more advanced version:

    Upper-body Compound Push + Isolation Pull
    Lower-body Compound Pull
    Upper-body Compound Pull + Isolation Push
    Lower-body Push

    Of course from time to time there is a person who is naturally gifted with big and strong legs growing from only looking on the barbell. Such person can use less balanced groupings:

    Whole legs and gluts
    Chest+Arms push or Chest +Arms pull
    Back + Arms Pull or Back + Arms push


    Whole legs and gluts
    Chest + Shoulder Push
    Back + Shoulders Pull
    Whole arms


    Whole legs and gluts
    Chest / Back
    Whole arms

    Of course, there can be quite opposite situation, that someone is for example naturally gifted with upper body, but need to focus on the rest:

    Whole upper body
    Legs Push
    Legs Pull
    Gluts + Abs + Calves

    That one is especially god for everyone who neglected legs training in the past. Few kg’s [or pounds] of mass gain in no time guaranteed.

    To resume 4-day split and it’s grouping. You mainly choose from:

    Whole legs, legs push, legs pull
    Upper body, Upper body push, Chest + shoulders push, Chest + arms push
    Upper body, Upper body pull, Back + shoulders pull, back + arms pull
    Shoulders, arms, gluts

    Most often these are the only logical groupings to choose from if you want the balanced bodybuilder shape.
    Still you pick 1-4 exercises per grouping, we go deeper but as you see it is still quite overall. More “in to the detail” than in 3 day split – but still more “bigger picture”.

    Here the basic stuff ends. Sadly, nearly every popular book, magazine article or website guide ends here saying that anything more is for ultra-advanced BB’s with superior genetic to steroid juicing. Which in fact is… a total crap and a lie. Intelligent natural bodybuilder can do much more, still grow in mass and strength and properly regenerate, plus have time for normal life. Stay tuned for part II in which we will talk about body part’s groupings for intermediate and advanced bodybuilder.

    End of part I