For many in the over 40 population, fitness activity is undertaken for the sole purposes of making significant improvements in functional ability to offset the physiological challenges that occur with aging. Adopting a regular fitness program has shown to decrease the risk of conditions such as: obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, depression, anxiety and diabetes. However, a small percentage in this demographic also aspire to make significant improvements in muscle mass and body composition. Although the advent of sarcopenia (loss of skeletal muscle mass) is much more prevalent after age twenty-five, nearly everyone can improve their physique if they embrace scientific training principles. Their desire to push past plateaus and optimize their genetic potential leads them to seek out effective training programs.
The purpose of this article is not to present a be-all end-all method to induce muscle growth, nor is it to engage in a lengthy debate on the most effective muscle building workout. My intention is to provide readers with an effective alternative to the commonly employed 5-Day Split routine and to simplify the training process. The typical 5-Day Split routine incorporated by many bodybuilders looks like the following:
Day 1: Chest
Day 2: Back
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Shoulders
Day 5: Legs
Day 6: Arms
In contrast, Push/Pull Split training although not a new phenomenon is an effective alternative to the traditional body-part split. This method breaks training up by movement pattern. Your chest, shoulders, thighs and triceps get hit on the push day, and your back, hamstrings, biceps and rear deltoids get worked on the pull days. By repeating both workouts on alternate days of the week, you increase the frequency with which each muscle gets trained. The frequency of movement is better for skill acquisition than body-part splits performed once per week and is an important factor in muscle development.
The science of hypertrophy training is ever-evolving as new evidence replaces outmoded training practices. However life does not allow for the acquisition of all conclusive data before one embarks on the path of muscle development. When employing the services of a personal trainer it is the trainer's responsibility to make use of all the scientific research available in combination with providing the professional, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills associated with good coaching, to ensure the best results for those whom he/she serves.
The most apparent benefit to Push/Pull Split training is its application. One need no longer burden oneself with trying to remember the specific muscles trained in the previous workout. All one needs to recall is whether the last workout was a push or pull day. Try Push/Pull Split training for thirty days and assess your results. The ease of application and results may surprise you.