It’s bulking season, and you know what that means. Time to start lifting heaving to get buff, jacked, ripped … swole.
The Science Behind Swole
Swole is a slang term derived from swollen. Building up muscle mass is not a delicate process by any means. Each time you lift weights or resistance train, you tear your muscle fibers just a little bit. Your appearance the day after lifting is most likely a bit swollen. However, an inside look is a bit different. Now in recovery mode, your body quickly tries to repair the torn muscles. Your body’s self-repair mechanisms are the responsible for creating this illusion.
Further, this is why eating protein after a lift is so important. After a good lift session, you have just opened new pockets inside your muscles that want to fill said gaps. Eating clean protein provides the perfect fill-in and builds up your muscle mass.
Your Swole Routine: How to find the split best suited for you
Planning your workout may be the most painful part of working out. Knowing what to do when can make all the difference in reaching your goals.
1. Whole Body Split
The whole body split is ideal for beginners and for those who have trouble sticking to a schedule. With the whole body split, you hit all major muscle groups each day. Ideally, this split is done 3-4 times a week and consists of heavyweight low reps. Due to the decreased volume of whole body splits, progress is made when you continuously build upon your last workout. For this reason, bodybuilding experts say a seven-day break between lifts ceases further gains onto said progress.
- Day 1: Full body – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Day 2: Rest
- Day 3: Full body – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Day 4: Rest
- Day 5: Full body – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Day 6-7: Rest
2. Upper vs Lower Body Split
Dividing your body into upper and lower muscle groups makes for an easy step up in your routine. Splitting up your workout alternates the days, allowing for longer rest periods. Hence, this split is a great way to increase the intensity and become a more serious weight lifter.
Upper body muscle groups include the chest, shoulders, back, and arms.
Lower body muscle groups include quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and abs.
- Day 1: Upper body – 2 exercises per muscle group; 3 sets of 6-8 reps
- Day 2: Lower body – 2 exercises per muscle group; 3 sets of 6-8 reps
- Day 3: Rest
- Day 4: Upper body – 2 exercises per muscle group; 3 sets of 6-8 reps
- Day 5: Lower body – 2 exercises per muscle group; 3 sets of 6-8 reps
- Day 6-7: Rest
3. Four and Five Day Split
If you are looking to get serious about bulky up, this will be your sweet spot. The four-five day split requires a higher level of commitment since there is less room for flexibility or skip days, but the results are worth it. Again, spending even more volume and frequency on each muscle group furthers the intensity of your workout. In turn, advancing any and all progress made. These types of splits are usually spread out for the duration of an entire week. Meaning longer rest periods which reduces the chances of overworking muscles and potential injuries.
In addition, weight training experts advise pairing large muscle groups with smaller ones that engage in similar exercises. A good example of this is triceps and chest or back and biceps. In doing so, you fatigue fewer major muscle groups at the same time preventing chronic soreness. Pro tip: train the larger muscle before the smaller to be more efficient.
Four Day Split:
- Day 1: Biceps and Back
- Day 2: Triceps and Chest
- Day 3: Rest
- Day 4: Legs
- Day 5: Shoulders, Traps and Lats
- Day 6-7: Rest
Five Day Split:
Foods That Will Make You Swole
Protein and calories. It’s that simple. Dr. Kalman, a nutritionist specialist, discusses the misconception around calories and the negative impacts a caloric deficit can have on a training body. He recommends consuming an additional 500 calories to that of which was burned throughout the entire day. 35% of these calories should come from protein. Incorporating protein into each meal and snack should get you close to this recommended amount. For prime muscle growth and recovery, 20-40 grams of protein should be consumed immediately post-workout. Equally important, missing prime fuel opportunities and insufficient consumption of macronutrients can severely delay muscle growth and impairs the progress of your workout.
Miscellaneous Tips and Tricks and Myths
Should you still do cardio?
- Short answer, yes. Long answer made short basically states that it is impossible to do too much cardio. Despite the high calorie burn provided by cardio, it is easy to consume those calories later in the day. So, if you like cardio, go for it. If you hate cardio, skip it.
Fat vs Muscle loss and gain
- It is possible to eat too much protein!!! Dr. Asaid Muhammed, discusses the fine line between eating too much and not enough. If you don’t eat enough protein and calories, you can lose muscle mass. On the other hand, no matter how much you lift, protein can still turn into fat. Sticking to the recommended intake values can help keep you within a healthy range of consumption or you can calculate your DRI for more individualized results.