Opposing Muscle Groups Workout Info

by Travis Hlavka

One reason opposing muscle groups training helps is because it increases the amount of blood going through the working body parts. This increased circulation results in a fresher blood supply (from flushing out waste products like lactic acid), helping the muscles to work more efficiently with more oxygen

When I first started learning/teaching myself about fitness and lifting weights, the opposing muscle groups theory was one of the first things I learned. I’m so glad too because it really worked well for me for a long time.

The opposing muscle groups routines are based on working muscles opposite the other muscles (obviously). But, the other thing about working apposing muscle groups is that you fill that region of your body with blood.

For example: A chest/back workout will fill your thoracic region with blood. Or a bis/tris workout fills your arms with blood.

A typical workout for me was:

  • Monday: Chest & Back. Two exercises for chest & two-three for back (4 sets of 10, 8, 6, 4) Increasing the weight with each set
  • Wednesday: Legs. 2-3 exercises for quads, hams, calves (4 sets of 10, 8, 6, 4) Increasing the weight with each set
  • Friday: Arms/Shoulders. Two exercises for bis/tris each. 3-4 for shoulders to hit the anterior, medial, and posterior heads. (4 sets of 10, 8, 6, 4) Increasing the weight with each set

The benefit of filling one region with blood is that the pump (blood flow) is centralized in one area. Unlike other routines where you may be working shoulders and legs. The blood flow (pump) is spread out too far to really get that skin tearing effect.

One thing about this type of training is your arms and shoulders actually get a secondary workout during your chest/back workout. That’s why if I ever had to miss a day or change the order, I always would skip arms/shoulders day because they got hit pretty good during chest/back. (One reason some people prefer the Push/Pull method over the opposing muscle groups… there is no chance of overworking the smaller muscles like bis/tris/shoulders.)

You can get some of the most amazing pumps ever from an opposing muscle groups routine. When I started powerlifting, I really missed the pump. But that’s fine because the strength and size I gained by getting stronger far outweighed the pump I used to get on the opposing muscle groups training.

Click here to get my Opposing Muscle Groups workout spreadsheet

Travis Hlavka (9 Posts)

I may act like a 12yr old a lot of the time, but that's because I have a genetic defect that will not allow me grow up. HOWEVER, I do take strength training and fitness very seriously and I love using what I know to help others reach their fitness goals and avoid the bazillion mistakes I've made in my 25+ yrs of training. Since I don't know everything, I never stop learning. Note: I am no longer a "certified" trainer, but I truly understand more about fitness and health now than I ever did with that official piece of paper.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe February 23, 2014 at 19:32

Your website says: “Click here to get my Opposing Muscle Groups workout spreadsheet”

But where is it on the page ?


Travis Hlavka September 11, 2015 at 12:13

Unfortunately I haven’t put that one out yet cuz it’s a mess. It doesn’t auto calculate everything like my 531 and 5×5 routines, but after I clean it up, I’ll put it up and send an email about the update.


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