The 4-Day Split For Arm Specialization
Once again, I’ve become delinquent in my bodybuilding blog entries (sorry gang), but, I’ve got a couple more months of mass training before it’s back to dieting for competition in the fall, so I promise to post often enough over the next eight weeks or so to at least give you a good sampling of what my off season programs look like. Today, I’ll show you how I modified my split routine to specialize on a particular body part or muscle group – in this case – arm specialization. Read on to find out some tricks and tactics for saying goodbye to “pipe cleaners” and hello to the “big guns!”
I experiment with various training programs and split routines quite often, but majority of the time, I am very partial to a 4 day split routine with a 2 days on 1 day off schedule. I believe that taking a rest day after every two days gives me the ideal amount of recovery time for maximum gains. This translates to hitting each body part directly once every six days.
The 4 day split routine I use most of the time looks like this:
- Day 1: chest, biceps, abs
- Day 2: quads, hams, calves
- Day 3: Shoulders, triceps, abs
- Day 4: Back, traps, calves
This is my all time favorite split. However, when I want to specialize on a particular body part, I sometimes re-arrange things to give priority to that body part.
This routine is optimized because you’re not working pushing muscles like chest and triceps or back and biceps two days in a row, but no split routine is perfect because there is overlap between body parts so you don’t get true 100% recovery time of six days. For example, I hit back on day four, take one day off and then just 48 hours after the back workout, I’m hitting biceps which got worked fairly strongly once again (as a secondary muscle involved in chins, rows, etc).
As you move around body parts to try to compensate for this, it’s out of the frying pan, into the fire as other muscle groups which were getting more recovery, now get less. The goal is not to try to make the routine perfect, but to simply optimize recovery for the whole body as well as individual body parts as much as possible, while focusing on improving weaknesses and balancing your physique.
When you want to bring up a body part, whether it is lagging behind others, or you simply want to make it stronger, one way to do that is changing your split routine so you can allocate the most energy to that body part, while also paying attention to recovery times
The goal for the next two months is continued mass training and eating (I’m 201 lbs now, gunning for 206-208), with specialization on arms. This called for a new training split with an arm day all by itself. Here’s the new schedule
- Day 1: chest, shoulders, abs
- Day 2: back, traps, calves
- Day 3: Biceps, triceps, forearms, abs
- Day 4: quads, hams, calves
Having an arm day all on it’s own allows you to put 100% focus and energy into the biceps and triceps and you’re not fatigued from having done a larger muscle group beforehand. Another big perk of doing biceps and triceps on the same day is you can superset between biceps and triceps, which is an outstanding technique for boosting arm size (example: superset barbell curls with lying tricep extension, no rest between exercises).
In my next blog entry, I’ll show you the new “shock training” routine we’re using this month in conjunction with this arm specialization split….
Until then, train hard and expect success!