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!

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Comments on The 4-Day Split For Arm Specialization Leave a Comment

May 31, 2006

Steven @ 12:57 am #

Hi Tom,
Great to hear from you again. Off-season is great isn’t it? You train hard and still get to reap the benefits of larger ammounts of clean food. Hope the gains keep on coming and I look foward to your future entries.

June 2, 2006

Sarah-C @ 7:26 am #

Keep inspiring us 🙂

February 18, 2008

Nick @ 9:24 pm #

thank you for sharing your knowledge. you are my inspiration.

December 20, 2008

ali shah @ 10:55 am #

Hi tom your site is awesome. Its helped me with some real pointers. . I was stuck for a home workout split. . Im a little concerned about recovery with your 4 day split but im motivated enough to try it. Will write a post on it soon.
Kind regards

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