The Ultimate Muscle Building Split Reference Guide

A complete guide. Learn which splits are effective, and which workouts to avoid. Included are numerous workout and training splits examples.

Training splits can be a mystery. With so many available options and possibilities, it's easy to be confused about which splits are effective, and which are poorly structured. If you've ever wondered just why and how training splits are designed, and just what some of the best training split options are, you've come to the right place. So grab a protein shake, sit down and start reading.

Before we dig in, I want to explain a few simple rules. These rules will help you to understand the reasoning behind many popular workouts on Muscle & Strength. Keep in mind that rules are meant to be bent, and in some cases broken. Some individuals recover more quickly than others, or have learned from experience that they can break a few of the rules and make great progress. For this reason, some of the splits you see used by experienced natural bodybuilders might break the rules.

In general, it's best to stay within the boundaries of the routines presented in this reference guide. Many trainees mistakingly believe that adding volume or additional workouts is the secret key to rapid growth. This is far from true. Muscle building isn't simply add more sets, make greater gains. There are more factors involved with progress than the number of sets you perform.

Trust in the process. Believe in the conventional wisdom used by the muscle building community. The workout splits in this reference guide are effective choices. Use them, learn your body in the process, evolve your training, and smash your goals!


Quick jump to the sub-sections on this page:

  1. Training Split Rules
  2. A Look At Weekly Training Volume
  3. Sets Per Body Part
  4. 2 Day Muscle Building Splits
  5. 3 Day Muscle Building Splits
  6. 4 Day Muscle Building Splits
  7. 5 Day Muscle Building Splits
  8. Notes
Bodybuilder

Training Split Rules

  1. Chest and Triceps. Don't train chest the day after triceps, or vice versa. The triceps are heavily involved with pressing movements used to hit the chest. If you work triceps the day before chest, your triceps will be fatigued and could limit your chest workout productivity. If you work chest the day before triceps, your triceps will be fatigued and will receive a pounding two days in a row.
  2. Back and Biceps. Don't train back the day after biceps. The biceps are heavily involved with pulling/rowing movements used to blast the back. If you work biceps the day before back, your biceps will be fatigued and could limit your back workout productivity.
  3. Squats and Deadlifts. Don't train squats and deadlifts on back to back days. Both squats and deadlifts utilize many of the same muscle groups. These lifts are considered posterior chain movements, meaning they both target the lower back, spinae erectors, glutes, hamstrings, etc. It's best to have a few rest days in between these lifts.
  4. Don't train biceps before backTraps. Don't obsess about direct traps work. The traps are worked hard when deadlifting, and also during overhead pressing and other shoulder exercises such as laterals. Do not assume that you need an excessive amount of direct traps work to build big traps. In fact, if you are deadlifting and using a form of the military press, you may not need much direct trap work at all.
  5. Forearms. Don't obsess about direct forearm work. As with traps, the forearms are worked hard by numerous other lifts. The mere act of gripping barbells and dumbbells day in and day out is often enough to stimulate quality forearm growth. Do not assume you need an excessive amount of direct forearm stimulation.
  6. Rear Delts. Don't overwork the rear delts. The rear delts are hit hard on back day, and during some shoulder exercises for front and side delts. If you look at the rowing/pulling motion of most back exercises, you will notice that they are in the same family tree as rear laterals (bent over reverse flys). Some rear delt work is good, but you do not need an abundance of rear delt exercises to have great looking rear delts.
  7. Front Delts. Don't overwork the front delts. The front delts are aggressively hammered when using pressing motions for chest and shoulders. These pressing movements should be the core of your front delt work. While it is a good idea to add in an additional isolation exercise (such as front laterals) for your front delts, you do not need an abundance of front delt exercises to have great looking front delts.
  8. Abs. Incorporate some form of a heavy ab exercise. Far too often the abs are worked the same way day in and day out, with no added resistance. Make sure you incorporate some form of progressive resistance into your ab routine to help build a thick, amazing looking six pack. These exercise include, but are not limited to: weighted situps, crunches and leg lifts, and cable crunches.
  9. Arm Work. Stop obsessing about direct arm work. Working your arms hard each week is good. Believing that you need to work your arms with 30 sets, three times per week is obsessive compulsive. Big arms are built with heavy rowing and pressing movements. Direct bicep and tricep work helps to build big arms (obviously), but you do not need to overkill the amount of sets you perform.
  10. Legs. Work your legs! Don't be a chicken-legged gym rat who avoids hard leg exercises. Not only do muscular legs look impressive, but strong legs will also improve athletic performance, helping you to jump higher, run faster, and explode out of the gate on sprints.
  11. Isolation Movements. Don't overuse isolation exercises. Isolation movements have their place in weight training. But with that said, it makes no sense to perform 5 sets of dumbbell flyes or tricep kickbacks if you are not working your chest and triceps hard with a battery of heavy pressing movements.
  12. Dips and Pull Ups. Don't discount the power of dips and pull ups. Though these exercises are bodyweight exercises, the dip is known as the upper body squat for it's overall muscle building effectiveness, and pull ups are an amazing back blaster. If these exercises get easy, use a weight belt and add resistance.
  13. Lower Back. Don't overwork the lower back with too much direct work. The lower back is taxed hard enough as it is. A few additional sets for lower back is good, but overworking your lower back can often result in muscle fatigue, weakness and strains which can lead to further injuries. Do enough lower back work to stay strong, but not so much that you aren't able to function for several days.

Training a body part more frequently is a viable option for many.

A Look At Weekly Training Volume

Training a body part twice, or even three times a week is a viable option for many. Small muscle groups can often be trained more frequently. In fact, large muscle groups can be training twice or even three times a week if the daily volume of sets is kept in check.

One of the mistakes that many trainees make when working a muscle group multiple times per week is that they try to keep the volume high on each day. This is a misguided approach. Regardless of how often you train a muscle group, a good guideline is to use the same weekly amount of sets. Let's look at a few examples:

  • Twice a Week Training. If you are currently working your chest once a week for 12 sets and want to work your chest twice a week for extra stimulation, do NOT perform 2 weekly workouts of 12 sets each (a total of 24 sets). Instead, work your chest with only 6 sets per workout, for the SAME weekly total of 12 sets.
  • Training Three Times Per Week. If you are currently working your biceps once a week for 9 sets and want to instead work them three times a week for extra stimulation, do NOT perform 3 weekly workouts of 9 sets each (a total of 27 sets). Instead, work your biceps with only 3 sets per workout, for the SAME weekly total of 9 sets.

A Note About Hardgainers

For many hardgainers, training a muscle group more frequently, but a lower daily set volume will be more effective. If you are having a difficult time building muscle on a training split, and believe yourself to be a hardgainer or ectomorph, it is well worth your time to experiment with more frequent training. Training each muscle group twice, or even three times per week with a limited volume might be the key to building more muscle.

Factors That Impact Training Frequency

Muscle soreness, and a muscle's ability to recover, are not the only factors involved when trying to decide how often you should train a muscle group. You also have to consider the strain that frequent training places on your joints, connective tissue (ligaments and tendons), CNS (central nervous system), etc.

If you've never trained a muscle group more than once a week, and want to try a more frequent approach, don't rush into this approach with heavy weight. Take a few weeks to allow your body to adapt to the demands of this new training style.

Also, keep in mind that the heavier weight you lift, the less likely you are to benefit from high frequency training. Heavy weight taxes the CNS, joints and connective tissue to a much greater degree. It's not that a higher training frequency won't work, but more so that it may take a much longer period for your body to condition itself to this style of training.

In addition, many advanced lifters that do utilize a more frequent training approach often cycle their workout intensity. Some workouts may focus on heavy weight for low reps, and some on moderate or a relatively lighter weight for 10-15 (or more) reps.

Sets Per Bodypart

Don't rush into advanced splitsWeekly Sets Per Bodypart

As a general rule, stick with the following weekly sets per muscle group. When uncertain, always start with the lowest amount of sets, and only add sets if this approach is ineffective.

  • 9 to 15 weekly sets - Large Muscle Groups. These groups include chest, back, shoulders and quads.
  • 6 to 9 weekly sets - Small Muscle Groups. These groups include biceps, triceps, calves, abs and hamstrings.
  • 0 to 3 weekly sets - Minor Muscle Groups. These groups include lower back, forearms, rear delts and traps.

Sets When Training a Bodypart Twice A Week

When training a bodypart twice a week, use the following number of sets per workout:

  • 4 to 8 working sets - Large Muscle Groups. These groups include chest, back, shoulders and quads.
  • 3 to 5 working sets - Small Muscle Groups. These groups include biceps, triceps, calves, abs and hamstrings.
  • 0 to 3 working sets - Minor Muscle Groups. These groups include lower back, forearms, rear delts and traps.

Sets When Training a Bodypart Three Times A Week

When training a bodypart three times a week, use the following number of sets per workout:

  • 3 to 5 working sets - Large Muscle Groups. These groups include chest, back, shoulders and quads.
  • 0 to 3 working sets - Small Muscle Groups. These groups include biceps, triceps, calves, abs and hamstrings.
  • 0 to 3 working sets - Minor Muscle Groups. These groups include lower back, forearms, rear delts and traps.

Note: When using a three times per week training system, you may choose to avoid working smaller and minor muscle groups each day. Because of the weekly set volume restrictions, it might be more convenient to train biceps and calves 1-2 times per week. You certainly can train these muscle groups three times a week. Minor muscle groups should be worked only once a week unless they are a weak bodypart in need of extra work.

Important note: Certain splits will have unique limitations, such as a 2 day split, and therefore will deviate slightly from set per day recommendations.

The following muscle building fullbody workouts and splits are provided for example purposes. Feel free to alter them to fit your individual needs. Exercise selection is based upon the most effective lifts for each muscle group.

2 Day Muscle Building Splits

While 2 day splits are rarely used, they are a very viable option for adding muscle and strength. In fact, natural strength trainer and author John Christy used them successfully on thousands of clients. Consider using a 2 day split if you live a busy life, or need more recovery days per week. Make sure to stick with compound lifts for each major muscle group. Here are some recommended compound exercise choices:

  • Quads - Squats, Leg Press, Front Squats, Hack Squats.
  • Chest - Bench Press, Dips, Dumbbell Bench Press, Incline Bench Press, Close Grip Bench Press.
  • Back - Deadlift, Barbell Rows, Pull Ups, Dumbbell Rows, T-bar Rows, Seated Cable Rows.
  • Shoulders - Push Press, Military Presses, Seated Behind The neck Press, Seated Dumbbell Press, Seated Arnold Press.

Note on deadlifts and squats: If you plan on using both deadlifts and squats on a 2 day split, it may be beneficial to use squats on day 1, and deadlifts on day 2, instead of performing both exercises on the same workout day.

Choose the most effective exercises for each muscle group

2 Day Fullbody Workout

You may choose to add in traps, forearms, direct hamstring, lower back and rear delt work if needed.

2 Day Fullbody Workout Example
Day 1 - Monday
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 3-5 5-12
Bench Press 3-5 5-12
Barbell Row 3-5 5-12
Military Press 3-5 5-12
Barbell Curl 3 8-12
Abs Exercise of Choice 3 10-25
Day 2 - Thursday
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift 3-5 5-8
Dips or Dumbbell Bench Press 3-5 5-12
Leg Press 3-5 5-20
Upright Row 3-5 5-12
Close Grip Bench Press 3 5-12
Seated Calf Raise 3 10-25

2 Day Upper Lower Split

You may choose to add in traps, forearms, and rear delt work if needed. Triceps are worked hard on the upper body day, and do not require much direct (isolation) work. Try to limit working sets to 24 or fewer. You may need to drop an exercise or two, or lower sets per exercise, to accommodate additional work.

2 Day Upper Lower Split Example
Day 1 - Monday - Upper
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 3 5-12
Dips or Dumbbell Bench Press 3 5-12
Barbell Row 3 5-12
Pull Ups 3 5-12
Military Press 3 5-12
Side Laterals 3 8-15
Skullcrushers or Seated Dumbbell Extension 3 5-12
Barbell Curl 3 8-12
Day 2 - Thursday - Lower
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 3 3-6
Leg Press or Leg Extension 3 5-20
Hack Squat or Barbell Lunge 3 5-12
Romanian Deadlift 3 5-12
Leg Curl 3 5-20
Seated Calf Raise 3 10-25
Abs Exercise of Choice 3 3-6
Hyperextension 3 8-12

3 Day Muscle Building Splits

Pull ups are great mass builders3 day splits are an excellent choice for natural muscle building. They offer a quality mix of time in the gym, and off days for recovery. 3 day per week fullbody workouts have a long and illustrious track record. Prior to the modern era, fullbody workouts were the norm. Many bodybuilders of the early 70's utilized fullbody workouts early in their careers, including Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The 3 day push, pull, legs split is also a very effective option. It allows you to concentrate on a similar group of muscles each training day, and provides a week of rest before working them again.

3 Day Fullbody Workout

For major body parts, it can be beneficial to use a different exercise on each training day. This can keep the program fresh, and provide maximum muscle stimulation. You could also use the same major exercises on Monday and Friday, such as squats, bench press, etc. If you are performing both squats and deadlifts, it is recommended that you perform squats on Monday and Friday, and deadlifts on Wednesday.

As with 2 day workouts, it is best to focus on compound exercises for each major muscle group. You may choose to make Wednesday a slightly lighter training day, in which case it's completely acceptable to focus more on isolation exercises.

You may choose to add in traps, forearms, lower back, direct hamstring work and rear delts if needed.

3 Day Fullbody Workout Example
Day 1 - Monday
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 3-5 5-12
Bench Press 3-5 5-12
Barbell Row 3-5 5-12
Seated Dumbbell Press 3-5 5-12
Barbell or Dumbbell Curl 3 8-12
Skullcrushers or Seated Dumbbell Extension 3 5-12
Day 2 - Wednesday
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift 3-5 5-8
Dips 3-5 5-12
Pull Ups 3-5 5-12
Military Press 3-5 5-12
Seated Calf Raise 3 10-25
Abs Exercise of Choice 3 10-25
Day 3 - Friday
Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Press 3-5 5-20
Dumbbell Bench Press or Incline Bench Press 3-5 5-12
Dumbbell Row or Seated Cable Row 3-5 5-12
Upright Row 3-5 5-12
Barbell or Dumbbell Curl 3 8-12
Skullcrushers or Seated Dumbbell Extension 3 5-12

3 Day Push Pull Legs Split

This 3 day split allows you to incorporate a wider selection of exercises per bodypart. Muscle soreness (DOMs) will generally be greater than when on a fullbody workout, but you will have plenty of recovery time. You may choose to add in forearms, lower back, or more ab work if needed.

3 Day Push Pull Legs Split Example
Day 1 - Monday - Push
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 3 5-12
Military Press 3 5-12
Dips or Dumbbell Bench Press 3 5-12
Upright Row, Arnold Press or Side Laterals 3 5-12
Dumbbell Flye or Pec Dec 3 8-15
Skullcrusher or Seated Dumbbell Extension 3 5-12
Cable Tricep Extension or French Press 3 5-12
Day 3 - Wednesday - Legs
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 3 5-12
Leg Press 3 5-20
Leg Extension or Hack Squat 3 5-20
Romanian Deadlift 3 5-12
Leg Curl 3 5-20
Seated Calf Raise 3 10-25
Abs Exercise of Choice 3 10-25
Day 3 - Friday - Pull
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift 3 5-8
Barbell Row 3 5-12
Pull Up 3 5-12
Barbell Curl or Dumbbell Curl 3 8-12
Concentration Curl or Preacher Curl 3 8-12
Barbell or Dumbbell Shrug 3 8-15
Bent Over Reverse Dumbbell Flye 3 8-15

4 Day Muscle Building Splits

Four and five day muscle building workouts are much more complicated than two and three day workouts. There are far more possibilities, and combined with the complexities of exercise selection, you are left with a substantial number of training variations. Because of the numerous amount of variations, these sections will not list sample workouts. Instead, you will be provided with popular split variations.

A commonly asked question is: which split or workout is the most effective? Many natural lifters will respond best to working out only 3-4 days per week. Never try a 5 (or 6) day split before you have put in some time with a 3 or 4 day split, and have gained an understanding as to how your body responds to that amount of training volume. But to answer the original question, there is no magic split.

Pick a workout that motivates you to train, and stick with it. Never jump around from workout to workout. It takes time to learn your body and its limits. Jumping around each week will limit your progress.

Many lifters will respond best to working out 3-4 days per week.

4 Day Split Examples

The following are examples of 4 day splits from the Muscle & Strength workouts database. When designing your own 4 day split, please keep your total workout set volume inline with the guidelines presented above.

4 Day Split #1 - Chest and Triceps, Back and Biceps

  • Monday - Chest, Triceps and Abs
  • Tuesday - Back and Biceps (Forearms may also be added)
  • Wednesday - OFF
  • Thursday - Shoulders, Traps and Abs
  • Friday - Quads, Hamstrings and Calves
  • Saturday - OFF
  • Sunday - OFF

4 Day Split #2 - Chest and Biceps, Back and Triceps

  • Monday - Chest, Biceps and Abs
  • Tuesday - Quads, Hamstrings and Calves
  • Wednesday - OFF
  • Thursday - Shoulders, Traps and Abs
  • Friday - Back and Triceps (Forearms may also be added)
  • Saturday - OFF
  • Sunday - OFF

There are no "magic" splits4 Day Split #3 - Shoulders and Biceps

  • Monday - Chest, Triceps and Abs
  • Tuesday - Quads, Hamstrings and Calves
  • Wednesday - OFF
  • Thursday - Back, Traps and Abs
  • Friday - Shoulders, Biceps and Forearms
  • Saturday - OFF
  • Sunday - OFF

4 Day Split #4 - Chest and Back

  • Monday - Chest, Back and Abs
  • Tuesday - Quads, Hamstrings and Calves
  • Wednesday - OFF
  • Thursday - Shoulders, Traps and Abs
  • Friday - Triceps and Biceps (Forearms may also be added)
  • Saturday - OFF
  • Sunday - OFF

4 Day Split #5 - Leg Focus

  • Monday - Quads, Calves and Abs
  • Tuesday - Chest and Triceps
  • Wednesday - OFF
  • Thursday - Back, Biceps and Traps
  • Friday - Hamstrings, Shoulders and Abs
  • Saturday - OFF
  • Sunday - OFF

4 Day Split #6 - Arm Focus

  • Monday - Chest, Triceps and Biceps
  • Tuesday - Quads, Hamstrings and Calves
  • Wednesday - OFF
  • Thursday - Shoulders, Traps and Abs
  • Friday - Back, Triceps and Biceps
  • Saturday - OFF
  • Sunday - OFF

4 Day Split #7 - Chest Focus

  • Monday - Chest, Triceps and Abs
  • Tuesday - Quads, Hamstrings and Calves
  • Wednesday - OFF
  • Thursday - Chest, Shoulders and Abs
  • Friday - Back and Biceps (Forearms may also be added)
  • Saturday - OFF
  • Sunday - OFF

4 Day Split #8 - Upper Lower

  • Monday - Chest, Back, Shoulders and Arms
  • Tuesday - Quads, Hamstrings, Calves and Abs
  • Wednesday - OFF
  • Thursday - Chest, Back, Shoulders and Arms
  • Friday - Quads, Hamstrings, Calves and Abs
  • Saturday - OFF
  • Sunday - OFF

5 Day Muscle Building Splits

5 day splits are very popular, especially in the realm of mainstream bodybuilding magazines. It is quite common to see a novice trainee jump right into a 5 day split used by their bodybuilding hero, only to find out that they are not gaining muscle as fast as expected. 5 day muscle building splits are generally best used by intermediate and advanced lifters who know their body's limits. Beginners need to not only learn how to build muscle on a basic program, but also need to dial in their muscle building diets before they add in additional training volume.

Muscle building takes years. Are you willing to pay this price?

5 Day Split Examples

The following are examples of 5 day splits from the Muscle & Strength workouts database. When designing your own 5 day split, please keep your total workout set volume inline with the guidelines presented above.

5 Day Split #1 - Arm Day

  • Monday - Chest and Abs
  • Tuesday - Back and Traps
  • Wednesday - Quads and Hamstrings
  • Thursday - OFF
  • Friday - Shoulders and Calves
  • Saturday - Triceps and Biceps
  • Sunday - OFF

5 Day Split #2 - Chest and Back

  • Monday - Chest and Back
  • Tuesday - Quads, Calves and Abs
  • Wednesday - OFF
  • Thursday - Triceps and Biceps
  • Friday - Hamstrings, Calves and Abs
  • Saturday - Shoulders and Traps
  • Sunday - OFF

5 Day Split #3 - Abs Focus

  • Monday - Quads, Hamstrings and Abs
  • Tuesday - Chest and Forearms
  • Wednesday - Back, Traps and Abs
  • Thursday - OFF
  • Friday - Shoulders and Abs
  • Saturday - Triceps and Biceps
  • Sunday - OFF

5 Day Split #4 - Arm Focus

  • Monday - Chest and Triceps
  • Tuesday - Back, Biceps and Abs
  • Wednesday - Quads, Hamstrings and Calves
  • Thursday - OFF
  • Friday - Shoulders and Triceps
  • Saturday - Biceps, Forearms, Traps and Abs
  • Sunday - OFF

5 Day Split #5 - Chest Focus

  • Monday - Chest and Shoulders
  • Tuesday - Back, Traps and Abs
  • Wednesday - Quads and Hamstrings
  • Thursday - OFF
  • Friday - Chest and Triceps
  • Saturday - Biceps, Forearms, Calves and Abs
  • Sunday - OFF

5 Day Split #6 -Squat and Deadlift Focus

  • Monday - Quads (with squats) and Calves
  • Tuesday - Chest, Triceps and Abs
  • Wednesday -OFF
  • Thursday - Deadlifts and Hamstrings
  • Friday - Shoulders, Traps and Abs
  • Saturday - Back and Biceps
  • Sunday - OFF

Notes

As stated earlier in this reference guide, the rules for designing muscle building workouts can be broken. Nothing on this page is presented as a hard and fast rule. But, that does not mean ignoring all the rules and designing a counterintuitive program is a smart way to go.

There are many camps when it comes to training - HIT, volume, fullbody, those that fear overtraining, and those that think overtraining is a joke. One consistent theme that runs through ALL of these camps is the following reality:

Everything works.

While this sounds impossible, it's true. The most important aspects when it comes to muscle building are:

  1. Training consistency. Don't miss too many workouts. Muscle building takes years. Are you willing to pay this price?
  2. Evolution. Start slow and evolve your training. Begin with a simple approach, and add pieces as needed.
  3. Know your body. A training split is no good if it pushes your body in ways that put you at risk for strains, overtraining and injury. Just because someone is making gains by training to failure, or performing rest-pause training, doesn't mean you should do it too - regardless of the cost.

I want to wrap up this guide with some important wisdom: while it's ok to bend the rules, don't smash the rules! Bodybuilding splits, including training volume and exercise selection therein, is the cumulation of decades of anecdotal and scientific evidence. Simply put, workout splits are structured the way they are for a reason! They are not a result of some random toss of the dice.

You do not see pro natural bodybuilders working biceps 4 times per week with heavy volume. You do not see pro natural bodybuilders avoiding difficult exercises. You do not see pro natural bodybuilders lifting weights seven days a week. More is not better. Make sure you focus on quality workouts, and a quality eating plan. Stay humble, keep your mind open and trust in the process.

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130 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Fri, 08/14/2015 - 13:12
Jacquelyn

Hi,
I am just getting back into bodybuilding again. (experienced but haven't been doing it consistently).
My coach has me on 4-6 weeks of the following.
6 days on, 1 day off per week. Day 1: Glutes-Chest-Arms Day 2: Legs-Back-Shoulders (GCA, LBS, GCA, LBS, GCA, LBS). So same muscle groups every other day.
I'm only doing 2-3 sets per exercise, with about 6-8 reps per set.
Is this okay or overtraining? I thought hitting each group twice a week was enough but I'm hitting them three times per week. They goal is volume, and muscle building right now, and getting consistent.
Thoughts?

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Posted Tue, 03/31/2015 - 10:04
Nabeel Javaid

Currently i am using 4 day plan as follow please suggest me if something wrong in my split routine
Monday: Chest
Tuesday: Biceps/Forearms
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Shoulders/Traps
Saturday: Lats/Triceps
Sunday: Rest

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Posted Thu, 03/05/2015 - 10:06
Ryan McGinness

Day 1: arms, shoulders, chest
Day 2: legs
Day 3: back and abs
Day 4: rest
Thanks for taking the time to look at this and is it a good split? I've been doing it for a few months now but I would like some advice from an experienced lifter.
Again thanks

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Posted Sun, 02/15/2015 - 15:32
Mitch

Hi Steven, I get to work out 4 times a week, but I can't workout on Fridays ,Saturday and Sunday. Could u recommend a 4 day split I could use based on these days? please

Thanks

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Posted Mon, 11/03/2014 - 00:34
Ari

I'm a beginner. I think I'm going to start with the three day full body routine and add a day of cardio.
The thing I'm confused about is that most of the exercises say 3-5 set of 5-12 reps. Those a pretty big ranges. How many sets and reps are ideal? Thanks!

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Posted Sun, 09/07/2014 - 07:28
Kashif

Sir please review
Mon
Chest and bicep

Tue
Shoulder and trap

Wed
Forearms and abs

Thru
Back and triceps

Fri
Legs incl calves

Abs on rest days or every other day along with dips,pushups and pullups

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Posted Wed, 08/06/2014 - 10:26
Manzi

Hi Steve, how about this arm focussed split?

Back biceps
Chest triceps
Rest
Shoulders Legs
Triceps Biceps

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Posted Mon, 08/04/2014 - 02:05
Ray

Steve,

Nicely written.
Do,you have any programs for guys over 50 who want to build muscle? Turning 58 this year.

Thank you!

r.

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Posted Fri, 08/01/2014 - 20:21
kevinlam419

missing the Arnold's double split

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Posted Wed, 07/02/2014 - 13:18
jb

Steve this is a great split...but may I ask what is the benefits of working out each bodypart 2x a week .
Thank you steve..i will be waiting for your reply

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Posted Thu, 06/19/2014 - 11:38
Nate

Hey Steve,
I've been working out for quite a while now. Wondering if my routine looks good.
No specific days of the week, schedule is busy, i get to the gym when i can.
Day1: Chest and Triceps
Day2: Biceps and Shoulders
Day3: Back and Lats
Day4: Legs and Abs
Thanks alot!

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Posted Sun, 04/13/2014 - 19:00
Austin

Monday - Chest
Tuesday - Bi's/Tri's
Wednesday - Shoulders/Traps
Thursday - Back
Friday - Legs/Abs

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Posted Mon, 02/17/2014 - 21:59
James

What do you think?

Day 1 - Ch,Tri,Sh
Bench Press - Bar
Incline Bench
DB Flys
Military Press
Lat Raises - Both
Dips
Abs - middle 2 exercises

Day 2 - Lg,Bk,Bi
Deadlifts
Calf Raises
Lunges
Lat pulldown
Seated row
Upright row
Curls

Ab - Side 2 different exercises

What do you think? I want a 2 day split but want to do it at least 4 maybe 6 times a week. Thoughts. Im thinking a 3or 4 sets of maybe 8 reps and heavy weights.

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Posted Mon, 01/27/2014 - 06:07
Zac

Hi Steve

I just joined the gym and I have a split and I have no idea if is good or not

Monday - busy

Tuesday - Chest/Legs/shoulders

Wednesday - Footy

Thursday - Triceps/Abs

Friday - Biceps/Back

Saturday - Rest

Sunday - Rest

do u think u could help me out?

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Posted Fri, 01/24/2014 - 18:09
Magdalena

If i was to add a coumpound exercise such as a bridge to really enhance my glutes where and how would i place it in the squat and deadlift focus 5 day split É or should i simply do a glute concentrated extra day and turn it into a 6 day split with 1 isolation day ?

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Posted Wed, 01/22/2014 - 20:21
pierce

Hey steve,
Im trying a new split does this sound good:
Monday: legs
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: push
Tuesday: pull
Friday: legs
Saturday: push
Sunday: pull

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Posted Wed, 01/08/2014 - 18:51
Thomas

It's ok this split: Pull/push/LegsPull/Push Two days off then repeat?
It's more bodyweight workout.

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Posted Sat, 01/04/2014 - 05:35
Vivek Singh

PUMPING IRON

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Posted Mon, 12/23/2013 - 05:36
toby

monday-chest(high volume)
triceps(high volume)
shoulders(low volume)

Tuesday-back(high volume)
biceps(high volume)

Wednesday-rest

Thursday-shoulders(high volume)
Triceps(low volume)
Chest(low volume)

Friday-back(low volume)
Biceps(low volume)
Abs(whatever really)

Saturday-rest

Sunday-legs motherfuckers

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Posted Thu, 12/12/2013 - 10:03
matin kp

hey Steve
I am interested in Ur 3day full body workout in this article and gave it a try, well it worked and the result was amazing.
well these days I have lots of free time and I wanna hit the gym 2 extra day for fat burn by cardio
Does it work and build muscle as same as past???

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Posted Thu, 11/28/2013 - 10:54
Trevor

What do you think of a 2 day split - Monday, chest back shoulders and Tuesday, legs and abs then rest 5 or more days?
I'm 48, ectomorph, male, enjoy working out, so don't just want to work out once a week, but I don't seem to grow much from workouts spaced 3 or 4 days apart.
Any advice appreciated
T

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Posted Mon, 10/14/2013 - 12:41
Stephen

Mon- Chest, Triceps, Shoulders
Tue- Back, Biceps, Traps
Wed- Off
Thurs-Chest, Triceps, Shoulders
Fri- Back, Biceps, Traps
Saturday- Swimming/Cardio
Sunday-Off

Training muscles twice a week works best for me, i take glutamine and other supps for quick recovery

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Posted Wed, 09/18/2013 - 22:23
Chris

Monday - Chest and Triceps
Tuesday- Back and Biceps
Wedsday - Legs
Thursday - rest
Friday - Shoulders and arms
Saturday - Legs(hamstring focused)

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Posted Mon, 09/02/2013 - 12:19
eddie

hi steve does this sound like a good split wed chest, shoulders, arms-light workout thurs back and legs-light workout sat chest, shoulders, arms-heavy workout sun back and legs-heavy workout can this be beneficial? thanks steve

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Posted Tue, 07/23/2013 - 15:34
Alex

I found this split works best for me.

Monday - Chest/ Biceps
Tuesday - Avoid Leg Day
Wednesday - Chest/Biceps
Friday - Biceps/Chest (I switched them up to create muscle confusion, math also helps)

You can add more frequency if you like, but I found that my spotter got too sore if I trained too often.

Add as about 15lb to your curls and bench every week, once you made enough progress change spotter and move on to bigger weights, this should also allow to train more often once you get a big enough spotter.

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Posted Wed, 05/22/2013 - 02:14
anuranjan

hi steve ,

I'm a beginner . my target is to build an average body to impress girls .

routine / splits which i follow is

sun - cardio + abs
mon - chest + legs
tues - shoulder + back + traos
wednesday - biceps +triceps
thursday - shoulder + back + traps
fri - chest + abs
saturday - biceps +triceps

Pls comment if my splits are good or not ..thank you

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Posted Sat, 05/11/2013 - 10:09
Jonathan ross

very good read. thanks for putting this up its a big help!

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Posted Sat, 05/11/2013 - 10:07
Jonathan ross

A very good read, i enjoyed it thanks.

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Posted Sun, 04/28/2013 - 15:09
Dr. Nick

HI EVERYBODY!

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Posted Mon, 04/08/2013 - 02:24
Noli

Hi Steve,

Id been doing the 3 day beginner routine for more than a month already but I have a back problem thats why I try avoiding deadlifts and squats. Whats the best alternate for this kind of exercise?

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Posted Sat, 03/23/2013 - 12:30
Ali

Hi, Steve what do you think of this routine. Let me know if something should be changed thanks
•Monday - Chest and Abs
•Tuesday - Back and Calves
•Wednesday - Cardio(Boxing) and Abs
•Thursday - Shoulders and Traps
•Friday - Arms(Biceps,Triceps and Forearms)
•Saturday -Legs and Calves
•Sunday - OFF

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Posted Tue, 03/12/2013 - 00:34
Christian Sizemore

Hi Steve, I'm looking to put on some muscle mass before football season starts back up and in not sure what to do far as rep/set wise based on my 6 day routine.

Monday:Legs/Calves
Tuesday:Back/Abs
Wednesday:Chest
Thursday:Shoulders/Traps/Abs
Friday:Triceps/Biceps/Forearms
Saturday:Cardio/Abs

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Posted Tue, 03/12/2013 - 00:34
Christian Sizemore

Hi Steve, I'm looking to put on some muscle mass before football season starts back up and in not sure what to do far as rep/set wise based on my 6 day routine.

Monday:Legs/Calves
Tuesday:Back/Abs
Wednesday:Chest
Thursday:Shoulders/Traps/Abs
Friday:Triceps/Biceps/Forearms
Saturday:Cardio/Abs

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Posted Tue, 03/12/2013 - 00:26
Christian Sizemore

I'm looking to gain muscle mass for football season and I'm not for sure on the reps and sets I should do based on my 6 day split

Monday:Legs/Calves
Tuesday:Back/Abs
Wednesday:Chest
Thursday:Shoulders/Traps/Abs
Friday:Triceps/Biceps/Forearms
Saturday:Cardio/Abs

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Posted Thu, 02/28/2013 - 05:41
Shashank

Hi Steve,

I've been lifting (overtraining) for the past one year without a days break (doing HIIT on every rest day) and have read the article on overtraining by Maik Wiedenbach and realised that I have severely overtrained and destroyed and annihilated my CNS (leading to very less growth). I planned to take this week off as suggested and continue to eat surplus calories during the period, thus giving my body a chance to recover and grow. I am 5 feet 9 3/4 inches and weigh 141 pounds. I am an ecto-mesomorph (lower being meso) and after reading this article, I have decided that it would be best for me to do the 3 day push, pull, leg split and I am planning to add one day for cardio (at moderate intensity) at the end of the week (for about 30 mins). Should I go ahead and do this ? would I count the cardio day as an exercise day for the calculation of my TDEE using the harris benedict equation ? How long before steady state cardio becomes catabolic, as I've been doing HIIT for 20 mins with a 1:1 ratio on my rest days before this to avoid muscle breakdown ( not knowing the damage I was doing to my CNS by training like this often)

Thanks

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Posted Sat, 02/23/2013 - 00:45
Sk

Hi,plz tel d crt workout schedule for beginner.....

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Posted Thu, 02/21/2013 - 15:36
Joseph

Hi! Can you check if this is a good 2 day split work out?

Off
Tuesday - quads/hamstrings/calves Shoulder/traps/triceps abs
off
off
Friday - Chest/triceps Back/lower back/biceps abs
off
off

Thanks!

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Posted Wed, 02/20/2013 - 00:33
Gabriel Salazar

On what days should I do my 15 min. intense cardio if I follow the "4 Day Split #7 - Chest Focus"?

Monday - Chest, Triceps and Abs
Tuesday - Quads, Hamstrings and Calves
Wednesday - OFF
Thursday - Chest, Shoulders and Abs
Friday - Back and Biceps (Forearms may also be added)
Saturday - OFF
Sunday - OFF

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Posted Sat, 02/16/2013 - 05:06
itamar 26

I have a question what is more preferable to split the training three times a week or abc or ab workout for your entire body?

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Posted Sat, 02/16/2013 - 04:50
itamar 26

I have a question what is more preferable to split the training three times a week or abc or ab workout for your entire body?

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Posted Fri, 02/01/2013 - 21:22
Max

Hey Steve Ive been always training triceps on the day after chest, and my trainer said it was ok. what do u think ?

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Posted Sat, 01/12/2013 - 02:10
John

Steve, haven't lifted in about a year, have a pretty solid workout plan made up, 3 days a week and want to get started again. Only thing is, I have an ectomorph body type and diet is why I haven't been able to gain weight in the past. I'm just curious as to what type of weight gainer shake you would recommend if any and when to start taking the shake after I start working out. Also, should I only drink the shake once a day and focus more on natural foods? Hope you get the jist of my question. Basically looking for a little help on calorie intake, dont have a whole lot of time to eat during the day.

Thanks

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Posted Wed, 01/09/2013 - 10:00
Daniel

Hi Steve, My Name Is Daniel. I am 15 And i wrestle. I am in already great shape im 5'5 weighing 150, most muscle. My brother and siters fiance and I are having a contest to see who improves the most on his 4 month deployment. I already have nutrition diets and i started taking creatine to improve me and have pre workouts following protein shakes. but i need a intense workout to help me in the following categories: Bench, Deadlifts, shoulder press, and i think squats. can you give me a 9 week program to improve thoes 4 categories at the most? Preferably 5/7 day workouts, 2 day rest.

Daniel.

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Posted Wed, 01/09/2013 - 11:31
Joey

5/3/1 is a great strength-building routine focusing on those major lifts.
https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/hardcore-look-at-jim-wendlers...

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Posted Thu, 01/03/2013 - 10:50
Max Zaw

Hi Steve. So you sugget to do 9-15 sets for large bodypart weekly. But this volume is for training to failure or not? I think this is important because for trainig to failure this volume must be lower. Thanks

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Posted Wed, 12/12/2012 - 21:16
Dar

Thanks a ton Joey! I had been doing that anyways, so I'm glad to know I was doing the right thing haha.

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Posted Thu, 12/06/2012 - 02:09
Dar

Steve,

I have started doing the 3 Day Push Pull Legs Split that is outlined here and I am loving it so far. I am however noticing that there is no chest workout involving an incline. Should I add an incline bench press into this routine, or is it fine as it?

Thanks a lot.

Joey's picture
Posted Wed, 12/12/2012 - 16:52
Joey

Sure! You could do DB incline press in place of DB press. Feel free to swap appropriate exercises.

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Posted Fri, 11/23/2012 - 09:37
dave

HI Steve

I am a beginner here want to get bigger and stronger,i was thinking using this plan, please give me some advise thanks

Mon : Chest, Back
Tues: rest
Wed : biceps, triceps, abs
Thur: Leg,Shoulder
Fri : rest
Sat : Chest, back
Sun : rest

thanks

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Posted Sat, 11/17/2012 - 08:52
anoop

Hi ,
Im an ectomorph 6' 123 LBS started lifting 3 months back my trianing look like this
monday:-Chest and triceps
chest flat -3set
inclined-3
dumbell press -2
Dumbell flys-2
Triceps -Skull crusher-3
Dips -2
Cable push down -2
Tuesday-back and biceps
back-3 sets
biceps-6 sets

wednesday --off
Thursday--Shoulders
friday-Squat
Sat sun--OFF
do u think this is a good split i`ve gained 3.3 Lbs in 3 months
Do i have to change my workout Pleaseeeeee reply