The Best Weekly Split for Maximum Muscle Gains

Maximize your muscular gains by utilizing this workout split! This split incorporates a breakdown of workout days, HIIT cardio days, and rest days!

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
12 weeks
60-90 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, Machines
Male & Female
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Workout Description

You can’t make the most of your workouts and grow the muscle you are after without giving yourself ample recovery time.

And assuring you get the proper rest all boils down to your training split.

It’s pretty common to be an overachiever and think that hitting a muscle group as frequently as possible will produce the results that you’re looking for – larger, striated musculature.

It’s in the repair and recovery of the muscle that produces the growth. Allowing 72 hours between training the same muscle group gives the muscle ample time to recover.

The following split will create an environment for optimal recovery, but also keep you hungry and motivated so you don’t find yourself over trained or worse, burnt out.

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The Best Weekly Split to Get Jacked

These workouts are not meant to last longer than an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half – this is including cardio post-workout.

As the number of reps per each set drops, the weight should be graduated heavier. At heaviest, the weight should be about 75 to 80% of your one rep max.

Supersets are implemented to help increase training intensity, sustain the pump, and burn more calories while training. The HIIT cardio sets are meant to take no longer than 20-25 minutes and these workouts are quick; give the exercises your all when timing yourself through each set.

  • Day 1: Shoulders + Triceps + 30 – 45 minutes of steady state cardio
  • Day 2: HIIT
  • Day 3: Back + abs + 30 – 45 minutes of steady state cardio
  • Day 4: Chest + Bicep + 30 – 45 minutes steady state cardio
  • Day 5: HIIT
  • Day 6: Leg Day – quad/glutes/ham/calves + steady state cardio 20 minute warm up
  • Day 7: OFF

Day 1: Shoulders + Triceps + Steady State Cardio

Purpose: To exhaust the triceps and shoulders. This workout works the triceps in every direction possible – overhead, pushdown motion and with a bent elbow.

The medial deltoid muscle of the shoulder creates the rounded full look of the upper body. This muscle is worked multiple times with the lateral raises, overhead press and upright rows.  Front raises will specifically target the front deltoid aspect of the shoulder to create a musculature separation between the pectoral and shoulder.

Warmup: 5 mins 5% incline treadmill walk at 2.7mph

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Cable Lateral Raises 3 12, 10, 8
2a. Cable Tricep Pushdown 3 10
2b. Overhead Extension 3 10
3. Cable Front Raises 3 12, 10, 8
4. Machine Tricep Pushdown 3 12, 10, 8
5. Barbell Overhead Press 3 12, 10, 8
6a. Barbell Wide Grip Upright Row 3 8
6b. Narrow Grip Upright Row 3 8
Some Tips:
  • When doing supersets, the reps remain the same, because the set is difficult, and I tend not to increase the weight. But, if you want to challenge yourself, increase the weight per set of both supersets.
  • To make the workout more challenging, while on the cables for lateral raises, superset them with front raises. Do all four sets and increase the weight on sets two, three and four.
  • Challenge yourself with controlled repetitions. Shoulder training is about contracting the muscle and controlling the weight on both the concentric and eccentric portion of the lifts.
  • Remove the triceps from the overhead presses by taking a slightly wider than shoulder width grip on the bar. This will put more tension on the deltoids and less emphasis off of the triceps.
  • Changing your grip on the upright row will target multiple heads of the deltoid. Wide grip tends to hit more lateral head, while close grip will work more anterior head and trapezius.

Day 2:  HIIT Cardio

Purpose: To create fluctuations in heart rate and exert yourself to the fullest intensity possible. Although this is only twenty minutes long, this intensity of the workout will burn more calories than simple stead state cardio.

Warmup: Walk for a few minutes on treadmill & stretch.

Exercise Sets Reps
1a Fast Run (treadmill) 5 30 Secs
1b. Burpees 5 30 Secs
1c. Jump Squats 5 30 Secs
2a. Sprint (treadmill) 5 30 Secs
2b. Kettlebell Swing 5 30 Secs
2c. Plank 5 30 Secs
Some Tips:
  • HIIT cardio requires maximum effort. If you don’t put in the effort, the results won’t be as desired.
  • Rest 30 Seconds in between rounds and circuits.
  • Make sure you don’t skip the jump portion of the burpee.
  • To make this HIIT workout more difficult, instead of resting for the thirty seconds at the end of each round, add crunches to the first five round set and frog hops to the second five round set.

Day 3: Back + Abs + Steady State Cardio

Purpose: To exercise each part of the back musculature only once per week to allow for ample recovery and muscle hypertrophy. The lateral pull down as well as the straight arm pull down specifically work the lats. Rear deltoid fly will enhance the size of the rear deltoid aspects of the shoulder to give the back a well-balanced look.

And, the machine seated row and deadlift will target the middle of the back as well as the lower back to finish off the look of a tapered waist and strong musculature near the spine. Hanging leg raises allows you to get a full range of motion for the abdominal contraction – high to lower abdominals will be worked. Using a med ball on Russian twists will tighten the obliques to have a tight, small waist.

Warmup: 5 mins 5% incline treadmill walk at 2.7mph

Exercise Sets Reps
1a. Wide Grip Lat Pull Down 3 10
1b. Narrow Grip Lat Pull Down 3 10
2. Machine Rear Delt Fly 3 12, 10, 8
3. Cable Straight Arm Pull Down 3 12, 10, 8
4. Machine Row 3 12, 10, 8
5. Deadlift 3 10, 6, 4
6. Hanging Leg Raises 3 20
7. Russian Twist 3 20
Some Tips:
  • When doing your pulldowns, focus on pulling down with the elbows and not with the biceps.
  • Focus on the point of contraction on the rear-delt flies. Squeeze with both the posterior deltoids and rhomboids. This is not an exercise to see how much weight you can put on the pin stack.
  • Take your time while doing deadlifts, if you want to lift as heavy as possible, then make sure to do them when you first start your workout.
  • If getting your legs all the way up for hanging leg raises is too difficult, do knee raises. You may also want to utilize straps if your grip is toasted from doing deadlifts.
  • Russian twists can be done on a decline bench with a med ball to really dig into the lower abs.

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Day 4: Chest + Bicep + Steady State Cardio

Purpose: Each chest exercise is superset with a kind of pushup that will work a different aspect of the pectoral muscle. The different inclines for chest exercises will ensure that the entire pectoral muscle is being sufficiently worked and exhausted with enough time to recover in the split before exercised again.

Biceps are worked on all the pushups and hit on a different angles and directions with the preacher curls and barbell bicep curls.

Warmup: 5 mins 5% incline treadmill walk at 2.7mph

Exercise Sets Reps
1a. Barbell Bench Press 3 10
1b. Incline Push Ups 3 10
2. Barbell Bicep Curl 3 12, 10, 8
3a. Incline Dumbbell Fly 3 10
3b. Decline Push Ups 3 10
4. Machine Preacher Curl 3 12, 10, 8
5a. Dumbbell Pull Over 3 10
5b. Push Ups 3 10
Some Tips:
  • Sometimes it can be pretty hard to superset the push ups immediately after lifting, in that case, keep the pushups for the end of the workout and do three to four sets of ten reps. As traditional pushups get even more difficult, drop to your knees to complete the reps.

Day 5: HIIT Cardio

Purpose: To give the body some time to recover and repair muscle tissue, but still burn fat with high intensity cardio.

Warmup: Walk a few minutes on treadmill & stretch.

Exercise Sets Reps
1a. Box Jumps 5 30 Secs
1b. Butt Kicks 5 30 Secs
1c. Med Ball Wood Chop (Both Directions) 5 30 Secs
2a. Sprint 5 30 Secs
2b. Ankle Banded Lateral Squat Walk 5 30 Secs
2c. Med Ball Crunches 5 30 Secs

Day 6: Leg Day

Purpose: To work each aspect of the leg musculature – quadricep, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Exercises such as the leg press will work all aspects of the leg with the compound movements. Supersetting leg workouts creates burnout exercises after a heavy lifting exercise to exhaust the large muscle groupings.

Working the legs once per week will allow the body to repair and recover the muscle tissue after tearing it down with this killer leg day.

Warmup: 20 minutes of any steady state cardio of your choosing + 20 air squats.

Exercise Sets Reps
1a. Barbell Back Squat 3 10
1b. Barbell Front Squat 3 10
2. Seated Calf Press 3 15
3a. Seated Leg Extension 3 10
3b. Reverse Lunge 3 10 Each
4a. Smith Machine Glute Bridge 3 10
4b. Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift 3 10
5a. Hip Abduction Machine 3 10
5b. Hip Adduction 3 10
6. Lying Leg Press 3 12, 10, 8
Some Tips:
  • Super-setting squats can be extremely taxing. Don’t take these to failure.
  • Work on a complete stretch and peak contraction on your calf training. Don’t bounce the weight or see how much you can train. Calves don’t need the massive load a lot of people think they need.
  • If you still have some gas left in the tank after these exercises, do some extra hamstring work.  Superset laying hamstring curls with light weight good mornings, ten reps of each exercise for three sets.

Wrap Up

Recovery is an essential component for muscle growth.

Be sure to work hard during each day of lifting and allow for about three days before working that muscle group again.

This split is challenging in each day of lifting and gives you plenty of time for muscle repair.

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11 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Fri, 04/30/2021 - 09:26

Concerning hiit, we do 1 and 2 together or we finish 1 than we do the 2

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Posted Fri, 04/30/2021 - 09:31

Hey Khodor - you can do either. I would finish one and them move on to 2

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Posted Fri, 12/11/2020 - 22:34

Always do the big, compound lifts first, not after several accessory exercises; everyone knows that.
Leg day is way over done. This is a steroid induced muscle building routine.

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Posted Sun, 11/17/2019 - 16:25

Hey Josh, I really need your advice.
The exercises where we have decreasing reps, 12,10,8. Am I supposed to increase the weight after every set because the reps are decreasing? Or what's the reasing for this rep scheme?

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Posted Mon, 11/18/2019 - 16:15

Hi Martin,

As written, you should increase the weight used as reps go down.

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Posted Mon, 06/24/2019 - 15:21
Ryan Slaymaker

When it is 3 sets and then varying #s/12,10,8 is that 3 sets of each number or 3 sets total with differing reps?

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Posted Mon, 07/02/2018 - 22:18

On shoulder and tricep day why would you do triceps before the overhead pressing? That doesn't make any sense since fatigued triceps can affect the pressing. Otherwise, a solid schedule and workout.

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Posted Fri, 06/22/2018 - 13:46

I need your advice
This workout fit me or not
I am 173 cm
66 k.g
I want to increase my weight and my muscle too
So please advise

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Posted Mon, 06/25/2018 - 09:00

Hi Ahmed,

Sure you can use this program for those particular goals.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 08/05/2018 - 04:45

Of course yes

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Posted Sun, 04/29/2018 - 23:48
Tim A.

I’m going to give this split a go. It looks like a nice change from what I’ve been doing. Great write up, Samantha! I’ll post follow ups as I go.