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What Are The Best Training Splits for Building Muscle?

What Are The Best Training Splits for Building Muscle?

What Are The Best Training Splits for Building Muscle?

The best training splits for building muscle as a man are not strictly determined by gender; they depend more on individual factors such as your goals, preferences, schedule, and training experience. Here are some training splits that are commonly effective for muscle building and can be adapted based on individual needs.

In This Training Guide

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Key Takeaways

Individualization is Key: The best training split depends on individual factors like goals, preferences, and experience, rather than being determined by gender.

Consider Goals and Lifestyle: Whether you’re a beginner, regular gym-goer, or serious enthusiast, align your training split with your goals, schedule, and personal preferences.

Progressive Overload and Adaptability: Regardless of your level, prioritize progressive overload, and be open to experimenting with different splits, adjusting based on your progress and changing preferences.

Best Training Splits for Building Muscle

Video – Courtesy of Mike Thurston

The best training split for building muscle can vary depending on individual preferences, goals, and experience levels. Different training splits distribute the workload across muscle groups and training days in various ways. Here are some popular training splits to consider:

Full Body Workouts:

  • Frequency: 2-3 times per week.
  • Example: Squats, deadlifts, bench press, and compound exercises in each session.

Upper/Lower Split:

  • Frequency: 4 times per week (alternating between upper and lower body).
  • Example: Day 1 – Upper, Day 2 – Lower, Day 3 – Rest, Day 4 – Upper, Day 5 – Lower.

Push/Pull/Legs Split:

  • Frequency: 3-6 times per week.
  • Example: Day 1 – Push (chest, shoulders, triceps), Day 2 – Pull (back, biceps), Day 3 – Legs, Day 4 – Rest, repeat.

Bro-Split (Body Part Split):

  • Frequency: 4-6 times per week.
  • Example: Day 1 – Chest, Day 2 – Back, Day 3 – Shoulders, Day 4 – Legs, Day 5 – Arms, Day 6 – Rest, repeat.

Upper/Lower/Push/Pull/Legs (5-Day Split):

  • Frequency: 5 times per week.
  • Example: Day 1 – Upper, Day 2 – Lower, Day 3 – Push, Day 4 – Pull, Day 5 – Legs, 2 days of rest.

Push/Pull Split:

  • Frequency: 4-5 times per week.
  • Example: Day 1 – Push (chest, shoulders, triceps), Day 2 – Pull (back, biceps), Day 3 – Rest, Day 4 – Push, Day 5 – Pull.

When choosing a training split, consider the following:

  • Frequency: Train each muscle group at least twice per week for optimal muscle protein synthesis.
  • Volume and Intensity: Adjust the volume (number of sets and reps) and intensity (weight lifted) based on your goals and recovery capacity.
  • Rest and Recovery: Ensure adequate rest days and prioritize sleep and nutrition for optimal recovery.
  • Individual Preferences: Choose a split that fits your schedule, preferences, and lifestyle.

Remember that individual responses to training vary, so it’s essential to monitor your progress and adjust your training split as needed. Additionally, progressive overload (gradually increasing the weight lifted over time) is crucial for muscle growth, regardless of the chosen training split. Consulting with a fitness professional or a healthcare provider can also provide personalized guidance based on your specific needs and goals.

Best Training Splits For Beginners

As a beginner, it’s important to start with a training split that is manageable, effective, and allows for proper recovery. Here are some considerations to help you choose the best training split for building muscle as a beginner:

Frequency:

  • Aim for a frequency of 3-4 days per week initially. This allows you to work each major muscle group multiple times per week, promoting muscle growth and skill development.

Full Body Workouts or Total Body Split:

  • Consider starting with full-body workouts or a total body split. This ensures that you are hitting all major muscle groups in each session, promoting overall muscle development.
  • Example: Squats, deadlifts, bench press, rows, and overhead press can be included in each session.

Simple Splits:

  • Choose a simple split that is easy to follow and understand. For instance, a full-body workout every other day or an upper/lower split can be straightforward for beginners.

Focus on Compound Exercises:

  • Prioritize compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously. These exercises are more efficient for overall strength and muscle development.
  • Examples include squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, and rows.

Gradual Progression:

  • Begin with lighter weights and focus on mastering proper form. As you become more comfortable with the exercises, gradually increase the weight to ensure progressive overload.

Rest and Recovery:

  • Allow for sufficient rest between workouts to promote recovery. A rest day or active recovery day between sessions can be beneficial, especially for beginners.

Listen to Your Body:

  • Pay attention to how your body responds to the training. If you feel excessively fatigued or notice signs of overtraining, consider adjusting the frequency or intensity.

Educate Yourself:

  • Take the time to learn about proper exercise form, basic anatomy, and fundamental principles of strength training. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions about your training program.

Consistency is Key:

  • Consistency is crucial for progress. Stick to your training program for several weeks before making significant changes, allowing your body time to adapt.

Seek Guidance:

  • If possible, consider seeking guidance from a fitness professional, such as a certified personal trainer, especially when starting out. They can help you with proper form, program design, and provide valuable advice tailored to your needs.

Remember that as a beginner, the primary focus should be on building a solid foundation, establishing good habits, and gradually increasing the intensity of your workouts. As you gain experience and confidence, you can explore different training splits and techniques to find what works best for you.

Best Training Splits For Active People

As a regular gym visitor with some experience, you have more flexibility in choosing training splits. Your choice can depend on your specific goals, schedule, and personal preferences. Here are some considerations to help you choose the best training split for building muscle:

Define Your Goals:

  • Clarify your fitness goals, whether they are focused on building muscle mass, strength, endurance, or a combination. Your goals will influence the type of training split that is most appropriate for you.

Consider Your Schedule:

  • Choose a training split that fits well with your weekly schedule. If you have specific days available for the gym, plan your training accordingly. Consistency is key.

Frequency and Volume:

  • Aim for a training frequency that allows you to work each major muscle group at least twice per week. Consider incorporating enough volume (sets and reps) to stimulate muscle growth without compromising recovery.

Balanced Muscle Development:

  • Ensure that your training split addresses all major muscle groups to promote balanced muscle development. This can include exercises for the chest, back, shoulders, legs, and arms.

Progressive Overload:

  • Prioritize progressive overload to continually challenge your muscles. This can involve increasing weights, adjusting reps and sets, or varying intensity techniques.

Mix Compound and Isolation Exercises:

  • Include compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups along with isolation exercises to focus on specific muscles. This combination can provide comprehensive muscle stimulation.

Recovery and Rest Days:

  • Plan for adequate recovery. Depending on your split, incorporate rest days or active recovery days to allow your body to recover and adapt to the training stimulus.

Periodization:

  • Consider incorporating periodization into your training plan. This involves varying intensity and volume over time, typically with cycles of higher and lower intensity to prevent plateaus and overtraining.

Experiment and Assess:

  • Be open to experimenting with different training splits to find what works best for you. Pay attention to how your body responds and assess your progress regularly.

Nutrition and Sleep:

  • Ensure that your nutrition and sleep are aligned with your training goals. Proper nutrition and sufficient sleep are critical components of muscle recovery and growth.

Adapt to Your Lifestyle:

  • Choose a training split that aligns with your lifestyle and preferences. If you enjoy a particular type of training or have time constraints, tailor your split accordingly to make it sustainable.

Professional Guidance:

  • If you’re unsure or looking for a more personalized approach, consider consulting with a fitness professional or personal trainer who can help design a program based on your specific needs and goals.

Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and the best training split is the one that you enjoy and can consistently follow while making progress toward your goals. Adapt your training program as needed and stay committed to your fitness journey.

Best Training Splits For Serious Gym Freaks

As a regular and serious gym enthusiast, your approach to training can become more specialized and focused on optimizing muscle growth and performance. Here are considerations to help you choose the best training split for building muscle as someone dedicated to their fitness journey:

Advanced Split Options:

  • Consider more advanced training splits, such as a push/pull/legs routine, upper/lower split with specialization days, or a combination of strength and hypertrophy-focused days.

Higher Training Frequency:

  • Increase training frequency to ensure each muscle group is stimulated multiple times per week. This can be achieved through a 4 to 6-day training split.

Specialization Days:

  • Implement specialization days to target lagging muscle groups or areas that need extra attention. This allows you to prioritize specific muscle groups to bring up weaknesses.

Volume and Intensity Periodization:

  • Incorporate periodization techniques to manipulate training volume and intensity. This can involve cycling between high-volume and high-intensity phases to prevent plateaus and stimulate continued growth.

Advanced Techniques:

  • Explore advanced training techniques like drop sets, supersets, rest-pause sets, and eccentric training to add variety and intensity to your workouts.

Prioritize Compound Movements:

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  • Continue to prioritize compound movements, but with a focus on lifting heavy weights with proper form. This can help maximize muscle recruitment and stimulate strength gains.

Accessory Exercises:

  • Include targeted accessory exercises to address specific muscle weaknesses or imbalances. These can be added after your primary compound lifts.

Autoregulation:

  • Utilize autoregulation techniques, such as adjusting training volume and intensity based on daily energy levels and recovery status. This allows for more individualized training.

Mind-Muscle Connection:

  • Cultivate a strong mind-muscle connection during your workouts. Focus on the quality of each repetition, emphasizing the contraction and stretch of the targeted muscles.

Tracking and Monitoring:

  • Track your workouts meticulously, including weights lifted, sets, reps, and rest intervals. Regularly assess your progress and adjust your training plan accordingly.

Nutrition and Supplementation:

  • Optimize your nutrition and consider targeted supplementation to support muscle recovery and growth. This includes adequate protein intake, proper carbohydrate and fat balance, and strategic use of supplements.

Rest and Recovery Strategies:

  • Prioritize recovery with strategies such as massage, foam rolling, stretching, and sufficient sleep. Listen to your body, and adjust your training as needed to avoid overtraining.

Professional Guidance:

  • If possible, consult with a fitness professional, strength coach, or sports nutritionist to fine-tune your training program based on your individual goals and needs.

Competition Preparation (if applicable):

  • If you are preparing for a competition or specific event, tailor your training split to prioritize areas that will be judged or emphasized in your chosen discipline.

Remember that the best training split for building muscle as a serious gym enthusiast is highly individualized. Stay committed to your goals, continuously educate yourself, and be willing to adapt your training based on your progress and feedback from your body.

How To Choose The Best Training Split For You

Choosing the best training split depends on various factors, including your fitness goals, schedule, training experience, and personal preferences. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you choose an appropriate training split:

Define Your Goals:

  • Clearly identify your fitness goals. Whether you aim for muscle hypertrophy, strength gains, endurance, or a combination of these, your goals will influence your choice of training split.

Assess Your Training Experience:

  • Consider your training experience level. Beginners may benefit from full-body workouts or simpler splits, while more advanced individuals might need higher training frequencies and specialized splits.

Determine Training Frequency:

  • Decide how many days per week you can commit to training. This will influence the type of split you choose. Common frequencies include 3, 4, 5, or 6 days per week.

Understand Different Training Splits:

  • Familiarize yourself with various training splits, such as full-body workouts, upper/lower splits, push/pull/legs splits, bro-splits (body part splits), or other variations. Each has its advantages, and the best one for you depends on your goals and preferences.

Consider Lifestyle and Schedule:

  • Choose a split that aligns with your lifestyle and schedule. If you have specific days available for the gym, plan your training accordingly. Consistency is crucial for results.

Balance Muscle Groups:

  • Ensure that your training split addresses all major muscle groups to promote balanced muscle development. This is important for both aesthetics and overall strength.

Assess Recovery Needs:

  • Consider your recovery capacity. If you’re a beginner or have a demanding schedule, you might need more rest days. Conversely, if you’re more advanced, you might benefit from higher training frequencies with adequate recovery strategies.

Progressive Overload:

  • Choose a split that allows for progressive overload. This involves gradually increasing the weight, reps, or intensity of your exercises over time to stimulate muscle growth and strength gains.

Include Compound Movements:

  • Regardless of your split, incorporate compound movements that target multiple muscle groups. These exercises are effective for overall strength and muscle development.

Individual Preferences:

  • Consider what you enjoy. If you find a particular split more enjoyable, you’re more likely to stick with it in the long term. Enjoyment and adherence are key factors for success.

Experiment and Adjust:

  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with different training splits. Your preferences and lifestyle may change over time, and so should your training split if needed. Be open to adjusting based on your experience and progress.

Consult with Professionals:

  • If you’re unsure or have specific goals, consider consulting with a fitness professional, such as a certified personal trainer or strength coach. They can provide personalized advice based on your individual needs and goals.

Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and the best training split is the one that aligns with your goals, lifestyle, and preferences. Be patient, stay consistent, and be willing to adapt your training split as needed to keep making progress.

Which Workout Split is Best?

Courtesy of ATHLEAN-X & Huberman Lab

Conclusion

Choosing the best training split is a personalized process that involves considering your fitness goals, experience, lifestyle, and preferences. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and the key is to stay consistent, enjoy your workouts, and be adaptable in your approach to achieve long-term success. Consulting with professionals can provide valuable insights tailored to your individual needs.

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