Women's Training Split


I read in your weight training splits page that women who want to lose 30 pounds, a day dedicated to arms for a training split wouldn't help much?  Why is that?

The reason I ask is because I have taken a break from the total body split that I was on. It included 3 days of weights with cardio and 5 days of cardio. To be quite honest with you, it was totally weighing on me and I was not making any significant gains.

I feel like I was overtraining (I was working with a personal trainer at the time).

I am looking to get back into working out but need something where I can not feel so overloaded and where things won't feel so tedious. Doing a total body workout every other day with cardio every day for five days a week was a bit much.

Why would a split not work in my case?

Answered By:

Mike Behnken, MS, CSCS ANswers the Fitness Question

Qualifications of Mike Behnken


For someone who is looking to lose 30 pounds, a whole day devoted to weight training arms is similar to twiddling the thumbs for cardio. In order for your body to make big changes, it is necessary to focus on large muscle groups.

The page was written in a general manner to get the previous point across. If your weight training program includes exercises for large muscle groups and is consistent, it would be okay to throw in a day dedicated to arms as a change of pace.

Wow, it certainly does sound like you're overtraining, doing cardio 8 days a week and all. All kidding aside, your cardio does sound a little excessive considering your body must be allowed time to recover from your training.

If your body does not recover from training sessions, each following training session will be less effective until you hit a plateau, which it sounds like you have, or a brick wall, which is over-training syndrome.

It doesn't sound like you've gotten into overtraining syndrome, maybe overreaching, but it is good to take a break nonetheless.

Training Splits Exist for the Purpose of Not Overworking Muscles

Even though full body training sessions are superior for weight loss, it is not set in stone for every individual. It is a personal trainer's job to use feedback provided by the client to adjust the training sessions accordingly.

If you let the personal trainer know that you felt overworked, he/she would have probably modified your program. Sometimes personal trainers cannot read a client very well and it is very important that a client provides important information to their personal trainer.

As far as getting back into training goes, you can employ different training splits. Remember, splitting your training session does not limit you to body parts or exercise selection.

You can perform heavy days, light days, no rest days and mix it in with a full body day here and there. If your goal is weight loss, you should try to get in exercises with multiple large muscle groups such as combination exercises.

Mix up your cardio as well. Perform a high intensity interval one day, then long duration (low intensity) the next. Training splits are there to help you recover better from training, not overwork you.

More Women's Fitness Info

Back to Personal Trainer Q & A

blog comments powered by Disqus