How to Split your Bodyweight Workouts for Maximum Benefit

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There’s a ton of reasons I love bodyweight workouts as a method for getting in shape.

Whether it’s burning fat, toning muscle or building strength, we can achieve almost any fitness goals using bodyweight movements alone.

One question I get asked frequently is ‘should I split up exercises between workouts, or just repeat the same workout?’

It’s a good question and will depend on a few things, such as how often you are planning on working out, as well as what your goals are.

For example, if we can’t workout any more than three times a week and we’re looking for increased muscular endurance, or fat loss, we might think about repeating the same movements in each workout.

This is because we aren’t risking overworking the muscles as much as we might be if we were working out more frequently, or if we were pushing our muscles to failure, as we might do in a strength training workout program.

The more frequently we plan to workout and the more strain we plan to put our muscles under, the more important it becomes to consider splitting up the movements to give certain muscles more rest.

This also keeps each workout at a manageable length, while making sure we really do target each muscle group fully.

There are hundreds of ways to split up your training, but here’s a couple of workout split options – specifically these would be for a muscular strength goal.

 

A Two Day Split Workout

One option which is a very common approach is to use a two day split.

There’s more than one way of structuring a two day split, with the most popular being an upper body/lower body separation.

Another variation is a push/pull setup, where we focus purely on pushing movements for one workout, and pulling movements in the second.

We might then repeat these two workouts 1-2 times per week, which would be a suitable frequency for those who are new to training. 

This would also suit anyone who is often short on time, or those people who may have other goals and training they want to fit in-between bodyweight workouts.

One thing to remember is that we make sure we pick a good selection of movements which target the areas we want them to.

Here’s an example of a two day split between upper and lower body.

 

WORKOUT 1 – UPPER BODY

All exercises to failure (or max of 20 reps). Rest 60 Secs between sets.

Exercise 1: Pushups x3 sets

Exercise 2: Pull-ups x3 sets

Exercise 3: Dips x3 sets

Exercise 4: Pike Pushups x2 sets

Exercise 5: Chinups x2 sets

Exercise 6: Crunches x3 sets

 

WORKOUT 2 – LOWER BODY

All exercises to failure (or max of 20 reps). Rest 60 Secs between sets.

Exercise 1: Assisted Pistol Squats x3 sets each leg

Exercise 2: Single Leg Glute Bridge x3 sets each leg

Exercise 3: Lunge Jumps x3 sets each leg

Exercise 4: Bodyweight Squats x2 sets

Exercise 5: Single Leg Calf Raise x2 sets each leg

Exercise 6: Leg Raises x3 sets

 

A Three Day Split Workout

Another option which has been found to work very well is a split over three days.

This setup could be repeated more than once in a week, giving you 6 days of workouts, or with a day’s rest after each workout.

The benefits of this three day split setup over a two day split, is it gives more opportunity to really target those muscle groups – by doing a higher number of exercises per body part.

This should help to see quicker results, particularly if we are looking for strength gains.

Here’s an example of a three day split between: UPPER BODY PUSH, UPPER BODY PULL and LOWER BODY.

 

WORKOUT 1 – UPPER BODY PUSH

All exercises to failure (or max of 20 reps). Rest 60 Secs between sets.

Exercise 1: Pushups x3 sets

Exercise 2: Pike Pushups x3 sets

Exercise 3: Dips x3 sets

Exercise 4: Close Arm Pushups x2 sets

Exercise 5: Crunches x3 sets

 

WORKOUT 2 – UPPER BODY PULL

All exercises to failure (or max of 20 reps). Rest 60 Secs between sets.

Exercise 1: Pull-ups x3 sets

Exercise 2: Chinups x2 sets

Exercise 3: Table Rows x3 sets

Exercise 4: Weighted Bag Single Arm Curls x2 sets each arm

Exercise 5: Bicycle Crunches/AirBike x3 sets

 

WORKOUT 3 – LOWER BODY

All exercises to failure (or max of 20 reps). Rest 60 Secs between sets.

Exercise 1: Assisted Pistol Squats x3 sets each leg

Exercise 2: Single Leg Glute Bridge x3 sets each leg

Exercise 3: Lunge Jumps x3 sets each leg

Exercise 4: Bodyweight Squats x2 sets

Exercise 5: Single Leg Calf Raise x2 sets each leg

Exercise 6: Leg Raises x3 sets

Bodyweight Workout Split Routine QuoteS

Endless Split Variations

The possibilities for customizing workouts are almost endless, with adjustments in type of movement, rep ranges, workout frequency and rest period all possible.

If you’re looking to build a workout and lifestyle program for reaching your fitness goals without a gym, the next step would be to learn more about workout design through identifying rep range targets and goal-based workout structures.

You can learn about these aspects in my new course which, considering the skills you’ll learn, is incredible value. See more info on the course here.

At the end of the day, as long as you’re working out with a good frequency, the type of split you do doesn’t matter too much.

Whilst it can help speed up results, avoid boredom/improve motivation and ensure proper rest for muscles, the main thing is to get yourself training and keep at it.

Related: 5 Hacks that Prove Anyone Can Get Fit at Home Without Equipment

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