Weekly Workout: Split Routines

An Army sergeant attempts a hang clean.
U.S. Army Sgt. Veronica Green, 46th Aviation Support Battalion, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, attempts a hang clean barbell movement during the workout of the day portion of the Bayonet Ultimate Strength Competition, May 20, 2013, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. (Staff Sgt. Lindsey Kibler/U.S. Army photo)

People often ask me whether I like to do full-body workouts in one workout day (every other day) or split the upper- and lower-body workouts into two days. 

Well, I like both. However, if you are fairly advanced and like higher-volume workouts, you may be better off with a split routine. Full-body workout days are great every other day with cardio-only days in between, but doing a split routine will allow you to push your resistance training on several days back to back.

You always can follow a split routine with a cardio option like the advanced options below:

Upper Body/Cardio Mix

Lower Body/Cardio Mix

Warmup 5-minute jog or bike

Reverse PT Pyramid:

20-16: Push-ups, reverse push-ups, arm haulers, abs of choice - run 100m after each set

15-11: Burpees, birds, abs of choice -- run 100m after each set

Weight PT Pyramid:

10-6: Pull-ups or pulldowns, barbell rows, shoulder press

5, 4, 3, 2, 1: Bench press, pull-ups (wt.) or pulldowns heavy, plank pose 1 minute

Do all exercises in circuit format for the level of the pyramid you are on.

We did the PT section on a basketball court and ran 3 lengths to get 100m roughly.

Run 2-3 miles or

Swim: 500m, 400m, 300m, 200m, 100m -, rest with 2-minute tread between each set.  

Swim any stroke or mix it up as desired.

Weight Vest Leg Day

With Weight Vest

Run squat pyramid 1-10

Run 25m, 1 squat, run 25m, 2 squats, ... to 10

Repeat 10 times

Stairs = up/down 1 flight -- 10 squats

*take off weight vest

Repeat 2 times

200-yard shuttle runs -- break up into 5 x 40-yard laps.

Repeat 5 times

Hang clean 5

Front squats 5

Deadlifts 5 

Run 2-3 miles - with 50-100m intervals spread throughout for last 1 mile


Swim or ruck:

Swim 500m warmup

Swim 1,000m with fins

Tread with weight for as many 1-minute sets as you can, or ruck 3 miles.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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