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The Upper/Lower Split: Pros and Cons

by Charles Staley @charlesstaley

Most commonly, this training split involves 4 workouts a week with each session dedicated to upper and lower-body training in alternating succession, like this:
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• Monday: Upper Body
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• Tuesday: Lower Body
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• Thursday: Upper Body
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• Friday: Lower Body
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Pros: For most lifters, training each muscle group twice a week is much more effective than only once. Many lifters also enjoy the ability to give focused attention to a specific body region for an entire workout.
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Cons: Twice a week may be less than optimal – especially for average to smaller guys who aren't yet in the 1200 club (300 bench, 400 squat, 500 deadlift). Overall, this is a descent split, but there may be an even better way of organizing your training for the week. Check out "The Hybrid Split” at T-Nation.com.
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@markdugdale in photo

Here’s Christian Thibaudeau (@thibarmy) coaching a couple of variations of the seated face pull in the T-Nation.com Training Lab.
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Kill the Inner Chest Myth
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by Thoren Bradley @bradley.thor
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Magazines, Instagram posts and those charts at the gym are all guilty of showing you how to target your "inner" chest – that highly desired pec separation on your sternum that shows a distinct canyon separating the two pectoralis major muscles. Well, the people telling us this missed a few anatomy lectures. To get to the bottom of this myth we have to look at the "all or nothing" principle. This human physiology principle states that once a motor neuron sends its impulse for the muscle fiber to contract, the entire fiber that's innervated by that same neuron must contract in its entirety. A fiber must contract 100% or not at all! Think of it like a gun. Either the trigger goes off... or it doesn't. There's no in-between.
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In the photo, notice how the fibers have an obvious line of pull all the way from the center (sternoclavicular origin) to the insertion just beneath the deltoid (intertubucular groove insertion) with no interruption. If you fire the inner chest, you fire the whole fiber. Every sarcomere of fibril will contract on the entirety of that fiber. Remember, we can't selectively contract parts of one fiber.
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What does this mean for you? Work angles of incline/flat/decline with different rep ranges and tempos to target different fibers. You can still improve the appearance of your upper/lower chest using different exercises and angles to get a good solid squeeze and induce hypertrophy in certain regions of the pecs. Just don't expect to work the middle without working the whole fiber from a lateral to medial perspective. Want that canyon on your chest to pop and have separation? You'll just have to get leaner.

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The One-Arm Barbell Shrug
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• Using a power rack and a barbell, shrug one side at a time.
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• Lean forward slightly to increase the range of motion.

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