Personal Trainer Explains Advantages of 4 day split versus 3-day split

The standard 3 day split is fine, and that’s what most of my personal training clients have done to get the results you see on the site. After a while, however, your body outgrows the 3-day split format and requires more stimulation for results.

3-Day Split Advantages

3 days of weights only, (less that half the week) sufficient for building a base strength level and weight loss as long as 6 days of cardio are done. No time in session for calves, forearms, abs are sometimes skipped and have to be done on your own.

One of the primary advantages of the 3-day split is its simplicity and ease of integration into a busy schedule. By focusing on specific muscle groups each day, it ensures a comprehensive workout without overwhelming the body.

Given the limited days, it’s crucial to remember smaller muscle groups like calves, forearms, and abs.  The client will likely have to stay extra time to finish that work.

The Standard 3-Day Split

The 3-day split routine is a popular workout regimen that divides the body’s major muscle groups into three separate workouts, typically performed on non-consecutive days. Historically, It has given most of my personal training clients success and results with this method.

Think of this approach as one for targeted training, ensuring each muscle group receives adequate rest before being worked again.

Effective 3-Day Split Routine

Day 1: Chest and Triceps

Bench Press: 4 sets of 8-10 reps

Keep your feet flat on the ground and squeeze the chest at the top for maximum muscle engagement.

Dumbbell Flyes: 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Maintain a slight bend in the elbows and feel the stretch in the chest at the bottom of the movement.

Tricep Dips: 3 sets of 10 reps

Keep your elbows close to your body and lower down until your arms are at a 90-degree angle.

Skull Crushers: 3 sets of 10 reps

Ensure your elbows remain stationary and focus on using the triceps to lift the weight.

Day 2: Back and Biceps

Pull-Ups: 4 sets of 6-8 reps

Engage your lats by pulling your elbows down and back, keeping your core tight throughout.

Barbell Rows: 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Maintain a neutral spine and pull the bar towards your lower rib cage, squeezing your shoulder blades together.

Bicep Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps

Keep your elbows close to your torso and avoid using momentum; focus on the bicep contraction.

Hammer Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps. Maintain a firm grip on the dumbbell and curl it while keeping the thumb facing upwards.

Day 3: Legs and Shoulders

Squats: 4 sets of 8-10 reps

Keep your knees in line with your toes and push through your heels as you rise.

Leg Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps

Squeeze your hamstrings at the top and control the movement on the way down.

Shoulder Press: 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Push the weights overhead without arching your back, engaging your core for stability.

Lateral Raises: 3 sets of 12 reps

Lift the dumbbells to shoulder height with a slight bend in the elbows, focusing on the side deltoids.

4 day split advantages

4 days in the gym is more than half the week. Provides better behavior modification and mindset for training. More time can be spent on each bodypart for better shaping, sculpting, or strength. On the weight loss plan, the body can be trained twice per week (two upper body and two lower body workouts) for better tone and reduction.

On maintenance, additional training session allows for less cardio on a daily basis for same results. On bodybuilding routines, each bodypart gets more time, working for greater results. Especially good for lagging bodyparts to catch up (for most male clients, arms seem to fall behind on the 3 day split).

4-Day Split Routine:

Day 1: Upper Body (Push)

Bench Press (4 sets of 8-10 reps): Pull your shoulder blades back and focus on a controlled descent with an explosive press.

Overhead Shoulder Press (3 sets of 8 reps): Keep your core tight and press the weight vertically, avoiding any backward lean.

Incline Dumbbell Press (3 sets of 10 reps): Maintain a steady incline angle and focus on squeezing the chest at the top of the movement.

Tricep Dips (3 sets of 12 reps): Keep your elbows close to your body and descend until your arms are at a 90-degree angle.

Skull Crushers (3 sets of 10 reps): Use a controlled motion, ensuring the weight goes just past the head, emphasizing the tricep extension.

Day 2: Lower Body (Quads, Hamstrings, Calves)

Squats (4 sets of 8 reps): Keep your chest up and push through your heels, ensuring your knees don’t cave inwards.

Leg Press (3 sets of 10 reps): Position your feet shoulder-width apart and focus on a full range of motion without lifting your lower back off the pad.

Romanian Deadlifts (3 sets of 8 reps): Maintain a slight bend in the knees and hinge at the hips, keeping the back straight throughout.

Calf Raises (4 sets of 12 reps): Emphasize the peak contraction at the top and get a full stretch at the bottom of the movement.

Day 3: Upper Body (Pull)

Pull-Ups (4 sets of 6-8 reps): Engage your lats and pull with your elbows to get your chin above the bar.

Barbell Rows (3 sets of 8 reps): Keep a neutral spine and pull the bar towards your lower rib cage, squeezing your shoulder blades together.

Face Pulls (3 sets of 12 reps): Pull the rope towards your face, focusing on retracting the shoulder blades and emphasizing the rear deltoids.

Bicep Curls (3 sets of 10 reps): Keep your elbows stationary and focus on the contraction of the bicep without using momentum.

Hammer Curls (3 sets of 10 reps): Maintain a neutral grip and curl the weights, emphasizing the brachialis muscle on the side of the arm.

Day 4: Core & Additional Leg Work

Deadlifts (4 sets of 6 reps): Keep your back flat and drive through your heels, engaging your core and glutes throughout the lift.

YouTube video

Planks (3 sets of 60 seconds): Maintain a straight line from head to heels, engaging the core and squeezing the glutes.

Russian Twists (3 sets of 20 reps each side): Keep your spine straight and rotate your torso, focusing on oblique engagement.

Hanging Leg Raises (3 sets of 10 reps): Engage your core and lift your legs using abdominal strength, avoiding momentum.

Seated Calf Raises (3 sets of 12 reps): Focus on a full stretch at the bottom and a peak contraction at the top, working the soleus muscle.

Conclusion

Choosing a 3-day and 4-day split hinges on individual goals and adaptability. While the 3-day split offers a balanced approach for those building foundational strength and juggling busy schedules, the 4-day split delves deeper, focusing more on each muscle group and catering to those seeking advanced results. Both have their merits, and the journey of fitness is personal.

Stay connected with Santa Monica Personal Training to navigate these choices and optimize your fitness journey. Dive deeper, train with grit, and achieve greatness!

bodybuilding personal trainer coach

Mr. America Jason Kozma

 

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The Bad News about Alcohol and Fat Burning

 

Jennifer before and after
go to the before and after section for more!
Aaron before and after
go to the before and after section for more!
Mandy before and after
go to the before and after section for more!
Mark before and after
go to the before and after section for more!
Kristina before and after
go to the before and after section for more!

Alcohol builds fat and burns muscle at the same time.  It takes up to 4 days to burn stored calories from alcohol from your system before you can start burning bodyfat.  While you can probably get away with occasional alcohol consumption while on maintenance (staying the same), you can’t afford any while trying to burn off fat.

That’s just how it is.  Check out my Santa Monica Weight Loss page and sign up to change your life forever!

Client Spotlight: Amber

Amber

Santa Monica Personal Training client

PS: This is Amber at 40!

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