Semi-Split Resistance Training Workout Routine Structure; Part 1 of 2.

You have been working out for a while with a full body workout and now you feel ready for new challenges.  Your goals are to gain more muscle tissue and/or strength and full body workouts just aren’t cutting it for getting the results you want… You want MOOORREE!  It’s time to break that full body workout up and present your muscles with the challenges of more exercises and sets per muscle group; it’s time for a split program.

I developed this semi-split structure for my clients as either a stepping stone to a full split program or as a step up from a full body program.  The structure entails putting three muscle groups that work together in the same workout.  The first part of a semi-split routine is Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps day.  Since Shoulders and triceps are secondary during Chest exercises, it makes sense to put these muscle groups together so they can recover together.  You should do two to three exercises per muscle group and three sets per exercise. You should do between 4-15 repetitions per set, lower reps and heavier weight if muscle size gains are your goal.  Here is the basic layout of a chest, shoulders, and triceps routine.


Chest Exercises

– Flat Bench Press – barbell or dumbbell.  Mid-chest focused.

– Incline Bench Press – barbell or dumbbell. Upper chest focused.

– Fly or Push up – dumbbell or cable fly, or any variety of push up (standard, Bosu or stability ball, declined, incline, TRX etc).  shoulder and mid-chest focused.  You can do decline bench press or fly here too for lower chest focus.


Shoulder Exercises 

-Overhead Presses – dumbbell, barbell, machine.  Anterior and medial deltoid focus.

-Lateral Raise – dumbbell (can use balancing tools such as Bosu Ball, Stability Ball etc) or machine.  Medial deltoid focus.

-Reverse Fly – dumbbell, machine or cable. Rear deltoid focus.



 –Cable Push Down – short and medial head focus.  Palms facing down.

-Reverse Grip Cable Push Down – long head of triceps focused.  Palms facing up.

-Lying Triceps Extension aka Skull Crushers – using dumbbells on a ball or bench.  All three heads of triceps focused.  Grip is like holding a hammer.



 –Center Abdominal (Rectus Abdominus)– Stability ball, Bosu Ball, TRX Pikes, Reverse Crunches.  Lots of options.  Pick one center ab exercise and change it up each time.

-Obliques – angled ab work – Stability ball, Bosu Ball, TRX Pikes, Reverse Crunches.  After working center abs, do an oblique exercise too.


The second part of this programming uses the remaining muscle groups; legs, back, and biceps.  I will post the structure for that workout in my next blog.