Ultimate Split FAQ

How much weight should I try to increase workout to workout?

One important thing is ensuring that you do not try to add weight to the bar faster than your body is actually building strength. Adding weight to the bar by loosening your form and speeding up your rep speed does nothing but stoke your ego and set you up for injury. Use proper form and remember that small increases are sustainable. That might mean you increase one-half to two pounds on the smaller movements like triceps or curls and one to five pounds for the big movements like squats and deadlifts. Assuming one bench presses one day a week and is able to add but one pound to the bar each workout that still amasses a 50 pound increase in bench press in a year. Having said that, progress will not always be linear and there will probably be times when you have to cut back the poundage to let the body recuperate.

How do I know when it's time to cut back on the intensity and how do I do that?

You will eventually get to a point when repetition or weight increases are no longer possible. When you've gone 2 consecutive workouts without any improvements it's generally a good time to cut back. What I recommend here is you take a few days off then spend a week or 2 using reduced volume, intensity, or frequency. You can still train on the same schedule but lighten up on the weights so they're no heavier than 80% of your maximum effort. You also might experiment with new exercises. These deload weeks (or 2 weeks) should be inserted every 3-8 weeks for most people.

My upper body workouts seem like they are taking too long.

Move your back and bicep exercises to lower body day and consider moving the abs and forearms to upper body day.

So instead of:

Monday (workout 1)

Bench Press or Board press variation 4 x 3-5

Wide Grip chin 4 x 6

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 x 8

Barbell or Dumbbell Curl 3 x 8

Skull Crushers 3 x 10

Wednesday (workout 2)

Squat or box squat 4 x 5

Glute/Ham Raises or pullthroughs 3 x 10

Ab work 3 x 10

forearms 2 x 20-30

You would have this:

Wide Grip chin 4 x 6

Barbell or Dumbbell Curl 3 x 8

Squat or box squat 4 x 5

Glute/Ham Raises or pullthroughs 3 x 10

I need to focus a little more on size. How can I do that?

Two options:

A: After your heaviest set for a given exerise do a "back-off" set where you do one more higher rep set of 15-20 reps per bodypart.

B: Insert a rest-pause pump style set. Immediately after your heaviest set for a given exercise set the weight down, rest 20 seconds, and knock out as many reps as possible. Set the weight down again, rest 20 seconds, and again knock out as many reps as possible. Do this for a total of 2 to 4 times. If you can't get at least 5 reps reduce the weight. This works particularly well on stubborn bodyparts if you superset a compound movement with an isolation movement. For example, for chest you might do a compound pressing movement like dumbell presses as your heavy movement. Immediately after your last set perform a flye variation in rest pause style.

Since I have more than a week between lifts I feel stale and the lift feels unfamiliar to me when I do them. What can I do about this?

Some people are motor morons. They need more exposure to a movement or they forget how to do it. If this is the case I would add in a couple of sets of that lift on days where the focus is on other lifts. For example, if you had a squat day and a deadlift day for your 2 lower body workouts and you were struggling on the squat you could then add in a couple of sets of squats on your deadlift day too. If you had a Dumbell bench press on one upper body day and a military press on your 2nd upper body day and you wanted to focus more on your dumbell bench you could add in a couple of sets of that after your military presses on day 2.

Do these extra lifts at about 80-90%% of max effort. So, if you did sets of 200 pounds for 5 reps on your main squat workout, you'd come back and knock out a couple of sets of 5 with 180 pounds in the 2nd workout.

What about conditioning or cardio work - When would I do that?

Do it on days that you're not training or lifting.

Is there a way I can implement concentrated type loading into this template?

Yes, there are several ways:

1. For strength work: If there is a particular lift that you'd like to drive up quickly, you can train it as often as 3 days per week at the beginning of the weights portion of each workout.

For example, if you wanted to focus on bench press here's how a concentrated phase might look:

Mon: Bench press - 4 sets of 3 at 85%

Wed: Bench press - 5 sets of 2 at 90-95%

Fri: Bench press - 5 sts of 2 at 80% (light)

You'd do this at the beginning of each weight training workout and basically keep the rest of the workouts the same with the exception of a slightly reduced volume of pressing movements. After 4-6 weeks on this phase, you'd eliminate the extra pressing and that would provide an automatic intensification phase.

2. For speed and plyo work: On the "performance" movement done at the beginning of each workout, simply stick to the same movement each workout. For example, if you really wanted to focus on sprinting speed you'd do some type of timed sprint at the beginning of each workout. You might do 20's on Monday, 60's on Wednesday, and 40's on Friday. Or if you really wanted to focus on your jumps you might do depth jumps on all 3 days. Follow that for 2-4 weeks than cut back the volume or switch to something else.

3. For general work capacity: Follow the regular template and insert conditioning work on Tues, Thurs, and Saturday. Keep it in for 4-6 weeks then cut it back to one day per week. When you cut it back you should see an increase in performance as your work capacity will be greater and you'll be better recovered without the extra conditioning.