New Split, New Goals

Creating a gym routine perfect for you: the push pull legs split.

Happy Friday, y’all! I’m really excited about today’s post because I’m about to get super real with you. I keep things pretty open here on the blog and on my social medias as well, but most of the time what you see are the happy moments, the “yearbook” moments, and the moments where I’m at my best. It’s just sadly the way social media works.

It’s easy to take a look at my Instagram and think I have my life together, every single one of my workouts is high-quality, and my diet is always on point.

Fun fact: sometimes it’s not.

But what you may not see is that I get stuck, too. Just like everyone else. I lose motivation when I stop seeing progress, I can let my personal life affect the quality of my training, and somedays I straight up just want to stuff my face with cheesecake and give up on training. But, instead of letting my lack of motivation and slowing of progress stop me, I let it push me. I let it drive me to be a better person.

ABIGAIL, WHERE ARE YOU GOING WITH THIS?

Well I’m using that lack of motivation for the gym for the better and changing up my workout split!

Ooooh girl and let me tell you how excited I am about it. But first, let’s take a look at some of my prior workout splits so you can see where I’m coming from.

January – May 2017

  • Monday: Shoulders
  • Tuesday: Legs
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Chest/Triceps
  • Friday: Back/Biceps
  • Saturday: Legs
  • Sunday: Rest

RELATED: Beginner’s Guide to Fitness: Staying Motivated

May – July 2017

  • Monday: Back
  • Tuesday: Shoulders
  • Wednesday: Legs
  • Thursday: Arms
  • Friday: Back
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: Rest

But, if we’re being honest here, that split wasn’t working for me. I’d usually take my arm day as a rest day and tell myself I’d do arms on Saturdays. I think that happened a solid one time out of the 8 or 9 weeks that I followed that split.

During that last split, I totally saw progress in my back which is good because that’s where I was spending a lot of my focus! You can see just by the picture above that progress was made, but what killed me about that split was that I couldn’t stick to it. It wasn’t sustainable.

I mean good lord, I skipped my arm workout almost every week because I was so tired.

The most important part about any fitness routine is that it must be sustainable.

Figuring out goals.

I sat down and legitimately thought about and listed out my goals. How am I going to make progress if I don’t even know what I’m striving to achieve?

  • Deadlift 200 lbs
  • Shoulder press 2o lbs
  • Do 1 unassisted pull-up

This summer my goals have transitioned from mostly aesthetic (having abs, growing shoulder boulders) to strength-based. I know my physique will come, but I need to change things up. I need to stop training like a bodybuilder and more for performance and strength. Bring on the compound movements!

So what now?

I finally decided to say goodbye to the “my split must be 7 days” mentality and adopted the idea of a rotating split.

A rotating split? What on earth is that?

In essence it’s a split that changes from week to week. Instead of running on specific days, it runs on cycles. There are a ton of different variations of this from upper/lower, push/pull, push/pull/legs, etc. The beauty of a split like this is that frequency is increased.

RELATED: How to Actually Get to the Gym this Semester

Push Pull Legs

After a few hours of research, I decided on a push/pull/legs split. This is going to help me gain lean muscle and increase strength all at the same time!

Creating a gym routine perfect for you: the push pull legs split.

The pattern repeats every four weeks and each muscle group is hit almost twice a week. Just what I need! Frequency is being increased while overall weekly volume is being kept relatively the same.

For me, the hardest thing about transitioning to this routine was restricting myself to only a few exercises per muscle group per day. I had to take a step back, realize that I’m hitting each muscle group twice a week and just trust the process.

Push/pull/leg splits can be modified for any fitness level and be designed to target specific movements and body parts. Read more about the push/pull/legs split here.

Sample Workouts

Push

  • Shoulder Press 4×12
  • Lateral Raise 4×12
  • Single Arm Shoulder Press 3×10
  • Flat Bench Dumbbell Chest Press 4×10
  • Chest Flyes 3×12
  • Tricep Pushdown 3×12
  • Overhead Cable Tricep Extension 3×10

Pull

  • Deadlifts
  • Lat Pulldowns 4×12
  • Narrow Neutral-Grip Pulldowns 4×10
  • Single-Arm Cable Row 3×10
  • Single-Arm Dumbbell Curl 3×10
  • Barbell Curl 3×10
  • Rear Delt Flyes 4×12

Legs

  • Hip Thrust 6×10
  • Good Mornings 4×12
  • Leg Press 4×10
  • Split Squat 3×10
  • Single Leg Deadlift 3×20
  • Glute Kickbacks 4×12
  • Leg Extension 3×8

With this new split, I’m finding that I’m recovering so much better than I used to. I’m not killing a single muscle group every single day, and my workouts are more efficient. I’m not spending an hour and a half in the gym on leg day and only 45 minutes on arm day. All my workouts are around the same length, and that’s perfect.

RELATED: Tried & True Leg Workout

I could go into so much detail about how I choose my exercises, how many sets per week I’m trying to hit per muscle group, and all of that fun stuff, but I won’t bore you today with that!

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT MY SPLIT, THE EXERCISES I USE, OR IF YOU WANT ME TO HELP YOU MAKE YOUR OWN SPLIT, LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW! I LOVE HELPING Y’ALL REACH YOUR FITNESS GOALS.

~abigail gray

  • I have never heard of this before but omg I wanna do it. I think I’m going to try and split up my workouts but push and pull, too!

    • This is honestly the best thing I could’ve done for my training. I’ve seen so much change in my body in just two weeks! I’m planning on doing a “workout tracking” style post where I talk about how I plan my workouts and how I keep track of them!