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Fit 4 Life | Split your training right

Published:Tuesday | March 6, 2018 | 12:00 AMMarvin Gordon
For someone who is super-busy, a two-day training split might be the right fit.

Training splits seem so easy. Every website seems to have the perfect one for you. From 'International Chest Day' to the 'Bro split', the Internet tends to make training splits into one-size-fits-all socks that you can just slip on. In reality, however, training splits should be personalised to match individual needs. 

People recover at different rates and have different goals. Choosing training splits also requires deep consideration of one's physical condition.

Weaknesses and imbalances, as well as postural deviations and disorders, are also important factors. So are fitness level and experience, age, and schedule. There is much to consider when structuring a training programme.

Here are some areas to look at when planning your routine:


Building effective training splits rely on careful consideration of time available. Start with rest and recovery. Decide on the appropriate rest and recovery schedule based on your lifestyle and responsibilities before you even think about training.

Remember, what works for others might not work for you. If you work long hours and have a family to take care of, do not expect to be able to do what someone who works a few days a week and lives alone does. Don't even think about trying to do what full-time athletes do. Once you have a rest schedule, you can structure training sessions around that. 


Don't make plans you can't follow. If your schedule only allows for two training sessions per week, be honest with yourself and your trainer. Clients often say "I want to work out XX days per week". When asked how they are going to find the time with busy schedules, the response usually is: "I have to make it work 'cause it has to be done'". It is more prudent to try and work with the time you have available than to plan for something that can't be done.


Set realistic, timed goals and work towards them. Also, look at weaknesses and imbalances that might hinder you. Don't expect them to improve simply because you are training. In fact, training can easily exacerbate these conditions.

Look out for postural deviations; they usually indicate weakness and imbalance.  Target your weaknesses and imbalances – preferably under the guidance of a trainer, physiotherapist or doctor. Fixing them will allow you to train harder and reduce the risk of injuries.


For someone who is super-busy, a two-day training split might be the right fit. It allows training muscle groups at least once per week, as well as two cardio workouts over two training days. It won't turn you into Arnold Schwarzenegger, but will help maintain and can even improve fitness. 


Day one – push/cardio

Muscles: Quads, chest, shoulders

Day two – pull/HIIT

Muscles: Hamstring, back, arms

Go for compound movements, especially the big lifts – squat, deadlift and benchpress. Small muscles like abs can be worked both days if the time is available.

- Marvin Gordon is a fitness coach; email: marvin.gordon@physiqueandfunction.com; yourhealth@gleanerjm.com