Types of Routine: Torso-Leg Workout Routine

I often wonder why the vast majority of regular gym users use the so-called split routines (known as Weider) as a training routine. I think it is due, among other things, to the false belief that the torso-leg routines are for beginners and the split routines are for more advanced users, or it may also be due to the lack of knowledge of many instructors who do not have adequate training to be in charge of a gym.

I think it is important for people to know new types of routines that may be better or worse, but they are different, and one of the premises to continue progressing is change, diversity, in order to avoid the stagnation that leads us to no to obtain improvements and to abandon in our endeavor.

What are the most important characteristics of the torso-leg routines?

The torso/leg routines are characterized by working, as a general rule, twice a week the upper body (torso) and twice a week the lower part (legs), alternating, one torso day with one leg. You can vary the sessions a lot during the same week, vary the selected exercises, the order, number of repetitions, number of series, etc.

They are based on multi-joint exercises such as bench press, squats, deadlifts, military press, chin-ups, rows, dips, etc. Generally, between 5 and 7 exercises are selected per session.

In this type of routine, it is very important to take into account the distribution of the sessions throughout the week, to avoid overtraining. In this way, it is not recommended to train three days in a row, the most common being to leave two days of rest between workouts of the same muscle group. For example, Monday / Thursday torso and Tuesday / Friday legs.

What are its advantages?

Use multiarticular exercises: since at least 3 major muscle groups are worked in each session (chest/back/shoulder on torso days, hip/quadriceps/hamstrings on leg days), each session can be armed only with multiarticular exercises, something that is divided routines it is practically impossible.

  • More muscle mass is stimulated: due to the use of multi-joint exercises and by working them twice a week, a greater amount of muscle mass and fibers is stimulated.
  • Greater muscle recovery: because the volume of work per session for the muscles (chest, back, and shoulder) is moderate (1-3 exercises), they recover more quickly than in a split routine, where the muscles are pushed to the limit in each session and may need 3-4 days for a full recovery.
  • Greater work of the lower body: when training the legs twice a week, they receive a much greater stimulus than in the divided routines.
  • Different sessions: with this type of routine the variety of sessions is much greater than in the usually divided routines in which it can become boring and monotonous to do 4-5 exercises for a large muscle group and 2-3 for a small muscle in the same session, day after day

What are its disadvantages?

Less congestion in the torso muscles: due to the difference in volume compared to the divided routines, many think that the muscles do not receive enough stimulation and as a consequence, the congestion is less. But they do not know that to achieve a greater amount of mass it is more important to stimulate as much mass as possible while respecting recovery times at all times.

The legs are worked twice a week: for those people who are not used to training the lower body, dedicating two days a week to it can be quite hard at first. But there is the possibility of designing torso/leg routines in which the lower body is only trained once a week.

The most common is to divide the training into three days a week in which you work on alternate days (Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday). The workouts are alternated so that if one day the torso training was carried out, the next day the leg training is carried out, and vice versa. Examples:

  • Example 1: Monday: Torso, Wednesday: Leg, Friday: Torso
  • Example 2: Monday: Leg, Wednesday: Torso, Friday: Leg

Another option, if we have more time to train and rest, is to do 4 workouts a week, distributing the breaks so that we do not train for more than two days in a row:

Example 1: Monday: Torso, Tuesday: Leg, Thursday: Torso, Friday: Leg.

Example 2: Monday: Torso, Wednesday: Leg, Friday: Torso, Saturday: Leg.

In this case, it may be more than advisable to do one of the lighter weekly sessions (less weight or fewer series/repetitions) to facilitate recovery.



Shawna Anderson

Bsc in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from the Complutense University of Madrid. I love writing about nutrition and health and related topics. I have written for some famous newspapers and magazines for the last 6 years.

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