How, Why & When to Switch Up Your Workouts (Deep Dive!)

Should you switch up your training split? If yes, how often?

I LOVE THIS QUESTION (so buckle up – long post here).


A training split is a popular reference for the way you split up your workout plan.  Bodybuilders usually do it by muscle groups (chest on mondays, back on Tuesdays, etc).  Athletes separate upper and lower body, powerlifters separate by movement practice (squat, bench or deadlift days) etc.

Second, WHO THIS QUESTION (and answer) APPLIES TO?

The aforementioned groups, training for a sport of some sort, is not who this answer applies to (although it could).

The answer here is for a very specific group of people:

If you’re working out 3-5 hours per week with a combination of strength and cardio, then I am answering this question for you.


But how do I qualify?  If you have been doing a workout plan a minimum of 2x per week and have done it 4 weeks consecutively.  This ensures you’re progressing and constantly inducing adaptation at the cellular level.

FINALLY: you qualify, and you get your most excellent question answered.  

YES.  You should switch up your training split.  Here’s more than a few ways you can do it. 

Increased Frequency method:

If you’ve been training 2-3x per week, and doing total body workouts each time, try this (might be helpful if your workout windows are brief, IE in a holiday or busy travel month):

Monday: 30 minutes strength

Tues: 30 minutes cardio zone 2

Weds: 30 minutes strength

Thurs: 30 minutes intervals (30 on / 30 off)

Friday: 30 minutes strength

Saturday: 30 minutes tempo training (3 rounds of 6 minutes of work at 80% effort, 3 minutes rest)

Sunday: rest

Total / Upper / Lower

Best for: getting stronger and building muscle.

Monday: total body 1

Tues: rest

Weds: lower body 1

Thurs: upper body 1

Friday: rest

Saturday: total body 2

Sunday: rest


Best for someone looking to add shape and size to their upper body while still progressing with lower. This is a 5 day split (takes 5 days to complete).

Monday: Upper Push

Tues: Lower Body

Weds: rest

Thurs: Upper pull

Friday: rest

Saturday: Upper Push

Sunday: lower body


Best for: someone on vacation, holiday or summer break, (someone who has extra time to spend in the gym.)

Monday: chest and abs

Tues: back

Weds: leg day (quad dominant like squats, lunges and step ups)

Thurs: shoulders and abs

Friday: Biceps, triceps

Saturday: Leg day (glutes and hamstrings like deadlifts, curls, back extensions)

Sunday: rest


Best for: someone who is enjoying their workouts but wants to extract a bit more out of them.

Simply put, some of our clients, due to injury, enjoy this: add sets of exercises instead of reps.

For instance:

Week 1: dumbbell bench press 3 sets

Week 2: dumbbell bench press 4 sets

Week 3: dumbbell bench press 5 sets

Week 4: dumbbell bench press 6 sets

Week 5: dumbbell bench press, 3 sets but now add weight!

German Volume Training: 

10 sets of 10 reps (straight sets! No alternating!). Extreme / super high volume method of building muscle.  Not recommended often. 60-120s rest between sets. Tempo controlled.

Gironda Method: 

8 sets of 8 reps, 30s rest (more enjoyable as the weights are lighter but the burn is still gorgeous).  Love this for single joint movements.  Still control the tempo!

Coach Kev Volume Method: 

Adapted from my own experiences over 20 years of working out.

Method 1: GVT but alternate. 10 sets each (20 total). 

Upper Example: Chinups minute 1, Overhead press minute 2

Lower / core example: RDL’s minute 1, ab wheel minute 2

Upper / Lower: chest supported row / Front squat

Method 2: Hybrids– cardio and strength

Upper example:

10 rounds

Minute 1: 30s ski

Minute 2: 10 reps floor press

Lower example:

10 rounds

Minute 1: 30s bike

Minute 2: 5 reps squat (back or front)

Method 3: 30 minutes, EMOM

Perform 3 exercises in EMOM fashion (every minute on the minute).

Ideally Upper / lower / core but also, 

Upper push, upper pull, lower.

Upper push, upper pull, core

Total body (U/L/C) workout:

Band resisted pushups x 10 reps

Goblet squat 5-8 reps

Hollow rock x 10-15 reps

Upper body workout (great for playground): 



Kneeling ab wheel

Total Body workout (U/U/L)

Trap Bar deadlift x 5 reps

Overhead Press x 5 reps

Chest supported row x 8 reps


My friend Clifton Harski is great at this.  One day he practices kettlebells, another the landmine, another dancing and jumping, etc.  His split is:

Day 1: Kettlebells

Day 2: landmine

Day 3: Salsa and jumping

Day 4: zone 2 cardio while doing social media posts (really)

Can also be used for hotel gym with machines or cables.

Sample Monthly Progression: okay, so now that you have a lot of options, NOW WHAT?

First a DO NOT: program hop.  Jumping from one workout plan to another, weekly, is a recipe for stagnation or worse – injury.  Qualify for the next program by completing 4-6 weeks of your current one.

Month 1: Total body 3x per week

Month 2: Total body / Upper / Lower

Month 3: Modality method

Month 4: Hybrid method from Coach Kev

Month 5: Peak week

As you can see, there are a LOT of options.  Navigating the options can be overwhelming but that’s where we, as coaches, come in.

Want help on your own program? Let us know!