Double Split Training: 3 Month Muscle Building Specialization Program

Ian Coleman
Written By: Ian Coleman
May 23rd, 2013
Updated: December 7th, 2017
227.8K Reads
It's time to go retro. This 3 month specialization program has you in the gym for 10 workouts each week. Back it with plenty of sleep and food for all kinds of gains!
Workout Summary

Workout Description

I don't know about you, but when people tell me I can't do something, I want to find a way.

The other day I was in the gym discussing old school training. The topic of double splits came up. My buddy remarked:

Sure don't see double splits used any more. I wonder if the kids could handle them?

This got me thinking....could I handle a double split? If I were to devise a double split approach, what would it look like?

Double Split Specialization Training

This double split training routine is intense. You will be lifting twice a day, 5 times per week for 3 months. This is a specialization program, and should not be run any longer than this.

It is essential that when running a program such as this you get excessive amounts of sleep and quality food. I recommend at least 8 hours of sleep per night, and when possible an hour nap during the day.

When it comes to food, anything less than 3500 calories per day on a program like this might be a wash. If you are a skinny guy, or find it hard to gain weight, then I recommend at least 4,000 calories per day.

Some of you might panic looking at those numbers, but remember the task at hand. You will be lifting twice a day, burning through energy and in need of recovery. It is essential you eat, sleep and hydrate.

A sample meal plan is detailed at the end of this workout plan. Here is your training split:

Monday Workout
  • 10am - Chest Compound and Power
  • 3pm - Chest isolation and Burn
Tuesday Workout
  • 10am - Back Compound and Power
  • 3pm - Back isolation and Burn
Wednesday Workout
  • 10am - Shoulders Compound and Power
  • 3pm - Shoulders isolation and Burn
Thursday Workout
  • 10am - Legs Compound and Power
  • 3pm - Legs isolation and Burn
Friday Workout
  • 10am - Arms Compound and Power
  • 3pm - Arms isolation and Burn

A note about progression and set performance

You will be using the same weight for each set of a given exercise. When you are able to reach the stated reps for a given exercise, add a small amount of weight. You want to progress when possible. For example, on bench press you see:

  • Bench Press - 3 sets x 5 reps

If you can perform 200 pounds for 3 sets of 5 reps, then add weight the next time you perform the bench press.

Who should run this program?

This is a specialization program for experienced lifters. If you have no history of muscle building, then this is NOT the best place to start.

Only commit to running a program like this if you are sure life won't get in the way. It's perfect for summer breaks from college, or those periods in life where you have little else going on.

Monday - Chest
AM - Compound and Power
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 4 5
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 8
Hammer Strength Chest Press 4 10
PM - Isolation and Burn
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Flye 3 10
Pec Dec 3 12
Cable Crossover 3 15
Bench Press 2 20
Tuesday - Back
AM - Compound and Power
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Row 4 5
Pull Up 4 10
One Arm Machine Row 4 10
PM - Isolation and Burn
Exercise Sets Reps
Lat Pull Down 3 10
One Arm Seated Cable Row 3 12
Straight Arm Pull Down 3 15
One Arm Dumbbell Row 2 20
Wednesday - Shoulders
AM - Compound and Power
Exercise Sets Reps
Military Press 4 5
Seated Arnold Press 4 8
Behind The Neck Smith Press 4 10
PM - Isolation and Burn
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 10
Bent Over Reverse Flye 3 12
Barbell Shrug 3 15
Front Plate Raise 2 20
Thursday - Legs
AM - Compound and Power
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 3 5
Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 8
Leg Press 3 15
Seated Calf Raise 3 15
PM - Isolation and Burn
Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Extension 3 10
Leg Curl 3 12
Standing Calf Raise 3 15
Squat 2 20
Friday - Arms
AM - Compound and Power
Exercise Sets Reps
Close Grip Bench Press 3 5
Chin Ups 3 8
Skullcrusher 3 10
Barbell Curl 3 10
PM - Isolation and Burn
Exercise Sets Reps
Tricep Extension 3 10
Concentration Curl 3 10
French Press 2 20
Seated Dumbbell Curl 2 20

Sample Daily Eating Plan

I have provided a sample frequent feeding eating plan. It is set up to provide about 4,000 calories per day. If you prefer to utilize intermittent fasting then I would consult with someone knowledgeable about that eating protocol so they can best advise you on how to eat in between meals.

  • Breakfast - (6:30 am). 1 cup cooked oats, 1 large banana, 2 cups whole milk with one scoop of protein powder.
  • Snack - (9 am). 3 over easy eggs, 1 ounce shredded cheddar cheese, 6 large strawberries.
  • Post-Workout - (11:15 am). Poptart, shake with 2 ounces of heavy cream and one scoop of protein powder in 12 ounces of water.
  • Lunch - (1:30 pm). 1 cup brown rice, 1 cup steamed veggies, double cheeseburger.
  • Post-Workout - (3:15 pm). Poptart, shake with 2 ounces of heavy cream and one scoop of protein powder in 12 ounces of water.
  • Dinner - (5:30 pm). 9 ounces of salmon, 1 large baked potato with sour cream and salsa, 1 cup of steamed veggies.
  • Snack - (8pm). Protein - 4 pieces of string cheese, chicken breast or can of tuna, along with a snack of choice: pudding, small bowl of ice cream, serving of potato chips, etc.
Posted on: Wed, 11/19/2014 - 19:39

I am extremely glad i stumbled across this post, it helps me design my own workouts, and also helped me realize that i should reverse my day four arms and day five legs. My workouts are much more effective now. I don't ever plan to follow this plan 100% but, it is a great resourceful.

Posted on: Wed, 07/30/2014 - 16:17

I changed a few of the individual exercises listed but I ran this program from October-December 2013 as part of my 12 month plan. I am the Rob that posted a comment on 10/14. I was impressed with the results and I relied on this workout when I was writing up my summer program. I was eating just over 4000 calories, gained a good balance of muscle/fat. Gave me my excuse to workout twice a day!!

Andrew Lewis
Posted on: Mon, 10/28/2013 - 21:24

Hi, I'd like to know if keeping the compound and power and the isolation and burn on the same day is optimal or you may see more benefit switching the days around so you have more frequency on a body part within the week. Would seven days of recovery be more appropriate in your opinion as shown I. The plan. Thanks.

Posted on: Fri, 10/18/2013 - 03:22

Hi... I am wondering if this Program can perform in 1 session only? For example Instead of doing the whole chest execise for morning and afternoon.... can i do it all in the afternoon? what would be the consequence Thanks... ^_^

Posted on: Mon, 10/14/2013 - 11:39

What rest period would you suggest between sets on the compound and power? How about isolation and burn?

Posted on: Mon, 09/23/2013 - 16:16

Does this workout have to be done 5 hrs

Posted on: Fri, 11/13/2015 - 07:49

I believe so in order to maximize the workout

Mary Anne
Posted on: Thu, 08/22/2013 - 19:04

Has anyone run this program? I am contemplating doing this when I start my bulk as of Sept 1 and would like to know if anyone has had success?

Posted on: Wed, 08/21/2013 - 06:12

Only steroid users will benefit from this

roger smith
Posted on: Mon, 08/05/2013 - 10:37

only run this workout if you are using gear.

Posted on: Wed, 08/07/2013 - 23:22

shut up!!!

Posted on: Wed, 07/31/2013 - 14:36

I love this plan!! I have gained so much muscle in the couple weeks I have been doing it. However as hard as I push myself and go on back day I can never feel it in my back. Its almost like my shoulders take a double beating. Any advice?

Thank You,

Posted on: Sat, 07/20/2013 - 11:19


Awesome workout, just one question thought, how much should I rest between sets?


Posted on: Fri, 11/13/2015 - 07:55

by my experience which is about a year, on low reps, longer rest since you will be doing till failure and higher reps, between 2-3mins, but listen to your body. your body will tell ya !

Posted on: Sat, 01/28/2023 - 11:59

for fat loss, recovery times are 1 minute in the morning and 30-45 seconds in the afternoon

Posted on: Thu, 07/04/2013 - 08:58


Posted on: Wed, 07/03/2013 - 11:14

This workout looks amazing. And the daily eating plan too. But how can I manage to have a strong eating plan like this with a full time job? I barely get the time to cook and I can't bring that much food to work. (mostly travel or facing the public). Any tips?

Thanks a lot!

Posted on: Sun, 06/09/2013 - 07:17

Hello guys,

At first I want to point out that I am a beginner. I need a workout routine for building strength and also building muscle. I am looking forward to look lean as hell.

My length is 178 cm (5''10), I weigh 68 kg (150 lbs) and I have a bodyfat of 7%. If one of you guys found a perfect workout routine on this site please let me know.

Thanks in advance!!

Posted on: Fri, 11/13/2015 - 07:54

if you are a beginner, I would recommend bodyweight workout first to learn the moves, so that you don't get hurt when using more weights. start by pull ups, push ups, squats

Vince O'Reilly
Posted on: Mon, 06/03/2013 - 14:24

I give it 4/10. Nothing we haven't seen before in numerous mags. Your pages are full of ads...take ages to load...very disappointing to read contents after all the hype. I give your whole site 4/10 because it's more surface than content.

Posted on: Fri, 11/13/2015 - 07:50

then what would you suggest instead? I am very interested in to know

Posted on: Sun, 06/02/2013 - 21:43

Is this a good workout for football, and what would be a good warm up and an routine to go with this workout

Posted on: Sun, 06/02/2013 - 15:32

Is there an age limit for this workout; and also can you hold a full time job and still manage this workout.
Other than that I could try it and hope I will survive. THanks

Posted on: Mon, 05/27/2013 - 21:34

Do you recommend 6 hours in between sessions? Or can it be longer?

Posted on: Sat, 05/25/2013 - 16:00


What would be a good warm-up to do before these workouts? Thanks!

Posted on: Fri, 05/24/2013 - 19:27

nice. i like this plan, very solid and straight forward, i will likely be trying this after my current plan. One thing though, please start adding forearm and ab workouts in the routine. I always have to add them on top of the workout but it would be great if you guys can start incorporating them just like all the other muscles. the only other thing I would have liked is for deadlfts to be incorporated for back day. ill add it in myself though.