• Tom

What is the BEST workout routine to build muscle?

Updated: Aug 16, 2019


I’m sure as you’re reading this you’ve probably asked/thought ‘what is the best split’, now this isn’t as easy to answer as you may think

THERE IS NO ‘BEST’ SPLIT, THE BEST SPLIT IS THE SPLIT THAT FITS INTO YOUR ROUTINE

& YOU CAN COMMIT TO BEST

The best split for YOU will be determined entirely by your (in order) schedule, experience & goals

THE most important factor is finding a split you can fit into your routine with minimal problems

(things getting in the way)

If you can realistically only get into the gym 3 days per week, it’s completely irrelevant if a 5 day split is best. You won’t be able to stick to it, therefore it’s not best for YOU

In terms of experience, I honestly believe that most of these splits are appropriate for anybody who is intermediate-advance. However, if you’re fairly new to the gym I fully recommend starting with a full body approach and assessing from there

Below are 4 different splits, these are split into 3, 4, 5 & 6 day splits.

Choosing the optimal one for you & your life will make a huge difference to your overall progress.


3 DAY SPLIT - FULL BODY

Intro

I honestly believe everybody should try the full body split at some point (especially to start with) to see how your body reacts. 3 x full body splits allow for a high training frequency per muscle AND plenty of recovery in between sessions

Perfect for beginners, also ideal for the more advanced lifter with a busy schedule

My advice would be to concentrate on your compound lifts & mixing up the exercises each session

Example:

Session 1 - bench press, military press, barbell squat, bent over row, bicep curls

Session 2 - pull ups, stiff leg deadlift, incline dumbbell press, machine shoulder press, tricep extension

Session 3 - deadlift, chest press machine, dumbbell shoulder press, 1 arm row, calf raises

However, I do also recommend adding in 1 accessory exercise per muscle group after each compound

e.g. cable flies after your bench press

Pros: Great for recovery & training frequency.

Cons: lots of focus on the compound lifts, with little room for isolation exercises & more ‘specific’ training

Week set up example:

Monday: full body 1

Tuesday: rest

Wednesday: full body 2

Thursday: rest

Friday: full body 3

Saturday: rest

Sunday: rest

4 DAY SPLIT - UPPER/LOWER REPEAT

Intro

For me, I believe this is one of the best splits you can do.

4 days of heavy lifting is plenty to cause enough response from the body to require adaptation (muscle growth)

You will also be able to get 3 days of rest, which can be required by some (lots) people, especially those with hectic lifestyles

This split is perfect for anybody from intermediate-advanced

My advice for an upper/lower style split would be to have 2 varieties of each upper & lower, focusing more specifically on different particular lifts each session

Example:

Session 1 (upper, push focus) - bench press, dumbbell chest press, barbell overhead press, side raises, pull-ups, up right row, tricep extension

Session 2 (lower, quad focus) - squats, leg press (close stance), leg extension, seated hamstring curl, calf raises

Session 3 (upper, pull focus) - lat pull down, bent over row, seated row, shrugs, chest press machine, cable flies, cable front raises, cable curls

Session 4 (lower, hamstring focus) - stiff leg deadlifts, lying hamstring curl, wide stance leg press, lunges, split squats, calf raises

Pros: hit each muscle group multiple times per week with a good intensity

Cons: workouts 3 & 4 can be tough if not enough time to recover after 1 & 2

Week set up example:

Monday: upper 1

Tuesday: lower 1

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: upper 2

Friday: lower 2

Saturday: rest

Sunday: rest

5 DAY - SPLIT PUSH, PULL, LEGS, UPPER, LOWER

Intro:

This is MY personal favourite, this doesn’t mean it’s the best, it’s just the best split I’ve found that works best for me (I’m fortunate not to worry about my schedule, so this is purely based on performance)

I enjoy this split the most, because I’ve found it’s the best for causing some serious muscle damage, multiple times per week & gives me 2 days rest per week which is what I require.

This split is more aimed towards the advanced lifter (or the intermediate lifter who has their nutrition/rest on point)

Example:

Session 1 (push) - bench press, incline DB press, chest press machine, overhead press, side raises, tricep extension

Session 2 (pull) - lat pull down, bent over row, seated cable row, pull ups, shrugs, upright row, bicep curls

Session 3 (legs) - squats, leg press, stiff leg deadlifts, lunges, lying leg curl, leg extension, calf raises

Session 4 (upper) - lat pull down, 1 arm row, chest press machine, dumbbell chest press, smith machine shoulder press, front raises, bicep OR tricep exercise

Session 5 (lower) - deadlifts, split squats, leg press, seated leg curl, goblet squats, calf raises

Pros: allows a lot of variation & room for isolation exercises

Cons: can be quite hard to recover from

Week set up example:

Monday: Push

Tuesday: Pull

Wednesday: Legs

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Upper

Saturday: Lower

Sunday: Rest

6 DAY SPLIT - PUSH, PULL, LEGS (HEAVY), PUSH PULL LEGS (HYPERTROPHY)

Intro:

Honestly, I don’t recommend this split for most people, maybe if you’re a genetically gifted recovery god, or on certain ’supplements’, but even then I don’t believe it’s ever optimal

I’ve tried this split, it felt good.. for about 4 weeks then I wanted to pass out with my 80 year old joint problems

This split is for the advanced lifter

If you’re determined to train 6 days per week, then this ones for you. My advice would be to drop the volume a little per session however & eat like a mad man

Example:

Session 1 (push, heavy 6-8reps): bench press, dumbbell bench press, chest press machine, overhead press, side raises, triceps

Session 2 (pull, heavy 6-8reps): pull ups, bent over row, seated row, lat pull down, shrugs, bicep curls

Session 3: (legs, heavy 6-8reps): squats, leg press, stiff leg deadlift, leg extension

Session 4: (push, volume 12-15 reps): chest press machine, dumbbell chest press, cable flys, dumbbell shoulder press, cable front raise, triceps

Session 5: (pull, volume 12-15 reps): t-bar rows, lat pull down, 1 arm rows, shrugs, upright row, bicep curls

Session 6: (legs, volume 12-15 reps): leg extension, leg press, split squats, lunges, lying leg extension

Pros: LOTS of volume, plenty of variation

Cons: Minimal recovery time

Week set up example:

Monday: Push

Tuesday: Pull

Wednesday: Legs

Thursday: Push

Friday: Pull

Saturday: Legs

Sunday: REST

If you're interested in taking your training to that next level, drop me an email today to discuss your personal training options with me

tbfit.pt@gmail.com

#weightgain #gainmuscle #nutrition #musclebuilding #Muscle #strength #tbfit #fitness #bodybuilding #personaltrainer

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