Most people know that lifting weights and running (or cycling, swimming, or any other activity) at the same time is a great way to build muscle and lose fat, but they assume that this is the only way to achieve these results. But, is there a technical technical way to actually improve your muscles and burn bodyfat? The answer is yes, and it comes down to the exact way you train. The best training split for muscle growth is also the best training split for fat loss.

If you want to build muscle, it’s important to be consistent with exercise. Consistently making the time to work out is the best way to get the most out of your efforts. But how exactly do you choose which exercises to do and how much to do?

The fastest way to get stronger is to do more reps in each set. But, many people have trouble with the math. This is especially true if your goals are to get stronger or increase muscle mass. You might be able to get stronger by increasing the weight you lift, but you’ll have to lift more total weight to get more reps.. Read more about best 5 day workout split and let us know what you think.

The Best Training Splits For Muscle Growth!

One of the most essential aspects of gaining muscle growth is choosing the appropriate training split. You may kiss your gains goodbye if you select the incorrect training split! 

Introduction

  • The Bodybuilding Bro Split (Part 1)
  • Part 2: Legs Split / Push / Pull
  • Part 3: Charles Poliquin’s Breakup
  • Part 4: The Split Between Upper and Lower
  • Part 5: Splits for Full-Body Training

I’ll show you how to gain muscle mass with the 5 greatest training splits in this thorough tutorial.

Your training split is a strategy for organizing your exercises throughout the week.

The bodybuilding bro-split, the push / pull / legs split, the Charles Poliquin split, the upper / lower split, and the whole body split are five of the most common kinds of training splits.

All five of these training splits may help you gain muscle mass. They do, however, each have their own set of benefits and drawbacks that you should be aware of.

The bodybuilding bro split is an advanced training split in which each muscle group gets its own workout day once a week. 

One of the most popular bodybuilding bro splits is as follows:

  • Monday is chest day.
  • Tuesday: We’re back!
  • Wednesday is shoulder day.
  • Legs on Thursday
  • Friday is Arms Day.
  • Saturday: no work
  • Sundays are free.

Advanced bodybuilders love the bodybuilding bro split because it allows them to target each muscle group with a variety of exercises and a large amount of training volume.

For many talented bodybuilders, the bro split works like magic, however many beginning – intermediate level bodybuilders and “ordinary Joes” struggle to make progress training this manner.

The bro split has been promoted by several bodybuilding instructors, notably John Meadows and Dorian Yates. Part 1 of this essay covers all of these various bro split variants.

One of the most common bodybuilding training splits is the push / pull / legs. 

You have three different training days with the push/pull/legs split:

  • Day of the Push: Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps
  • Back / Biceps Pull Day
  • Quads, Hamstrings, and Calves Day

Because it minimizes overlap between various muscle groups, the push/pull/legs split is very popular. Because you exercise these muscle groups simultaneously, you never have to worry about your shoulders being too sore when you train chest or your biceps being too painful when you train back.

One of the most flexible training splits ever devised is the push/pull/legs split. With this split, you may workout 3, 4, or 6 days each week.

The traditional push / pull / legs split has been used by many of the world’s greatest bodybuilders, including Ronnie Coleman. It’s a fantastic method to exercise.

Part 2 of this post will go through the three distinct kinds of push / pull / legs splits in great depth. 

The Charles Poliquin split is arguably the world’s most underappreciated training split. Charles Poliquin was a top strength instructor who worked with a number of professional bodybuilders, including IFBB pro Ben Pakulski.

Charles used the following 5-day split to train the majority of his athletes:

Split in Charles Poliquin’s Training

  • Day 1: Back / Chest
  • Legs on Day 2
  • Day 3: Rest day
  • Day 4: Shoulders and Arms
  • Day 5: Rest day
  • Day 6: Do it again!

Each body component is exercised once every five days, as you can see. For most bodybuilders, Charles felt that exercising body sections every five days was ideal:

“A frequency of once every five days works for most people, most of the time, as long as the training intensity and volume are demanding. This is how I teach 70% of my customers and get positive results.”

One of the coolest aspects of this split is that you may exercise opposing muscle groups at the same time. You may alternate between sets for chest and back, biceps and triceps, or quadriceps and hamstrings, for example.

Charles felt that supersets of opposing muscle groups were one of the most effective methods to gain muscle.

The main disadvantage of this training schedule is that you will be exercising on various days each week. To workout this method, you’ll need a highly flexible schedule. Part 3 of this essay will go into this divide in great depth.

Powerlifters and strongman competitions are the most common users of the upper/lower split. It is, nevertheless, still an excellent method for bodybuilders to exercise. Throughout their careers, several of the world’s best bodybuilders, including IFBB pro David Henry, have utilized a version of the upper / lower split.

Using the upper / lower split, you may exercise four, three, or two days each week. Here’s how the four-day-per-week version looks:

The Upper/Lower Split is a four-day split consisting of upper and lower body workouts

  • Monday focuses on the upper body.
  • Legs on Wednesday and Feet
  • Friday focuses on the upper body.
  • Saturday is dedicated to the lower body.

The greatest disadvantage of the upper/lower split for muscle development is that it’s more difficult to focus on the upper body.

The upper / lower split will not work for you if you prefer to “bomb and blitz” each body area with many distinct workouts. You can’t expect to make improvement if you do 10-20 exercises for your upper body workout!

There are, however, ways to make the upper / lower split work AWESOME for bodybuilders if you are creative enough. For experienced bodybuilders, the famed DC Training program utilizes a modified upper/lower split that works very well.

In part 4 of this essay, I’ll go through the upper/lower split in great depth.

Finally, there’s a full-body split. Each exercise, you train your whole body with the full body split. The complete body split for three days a week looks like this:

The three-day full-body split is a great way to get your body in shape

  • Monday: Full Body Workout
  • Wednesday: Total Body Workout
  • Friday: Full Body Workout

For most bodybuilders, full body splits are not the greatest option.

Most bodybuilders struggle to make progress when they exercise each muscle group three times or more each week. Bodybuilders will also find it challenging to completely develop their upper bodies in this manner.

Dr. Scott Stevenson and Jeff Nippard, for example, have discovered some inventive methods to make complete body splits work for experienced bodybuilders. IFBB pro David Henry uses a four-day full-body split to train, and he seems to be having good results!

Part 5 of this essay will go through complete body splits in excruciating detail.

I hope you found this overview useful. You will have a world-class knowledge of how to utilize these 5 kinds of training splits to develop as much muscle mass as humanly feasible by the conclusion of this article. 

Note: If you’re having difficulty understanding the training routines in this post, see how to read a training program. Let’s get down to business now…

The Bodybuilding Bro Split (Part 1)

The Best Training Splits For Muscle Growth!

One of the most popular training splits in the world is the bodybuilding bro split. The overwhelming majority of IFBB professional bodybuilders, including Jay Cutler and Phil Heath, use some kind of bro split in their training.

The main benefit of the bro split is that you may train each muscle group with a large variety of workouts and training volume. It’s also simple to focus on your upper body, which is crucial for experienced bodybuilders.

One of the biggest disadvantages of the bro split is that you only exercise each body part approximately once every seven days, making it difficult to achieve long-term strength improvements.

Bro splits, in my view, are an excellent option for more experienced bodybuilders with a strong strength base and at least average recovery capacity.

If you can’t bench press 200 pounds for reps or squat/deadlift 300 pounds for reps, you should switch to a different split and concentrate on increasing those numbers first!

One of the most common methods to set up a bro split is to exercise five days in a row and then relax on the weekends. Consider the following scenario:

The Bro Split in Traditional Bodybuilding:

  • Monday is chest day.
  • Tuesday: We’re back!
  • Wednesday is shoulder day.
  • Legs on Thursday
  • Friday is Arms Day.
  • Saturday: no work
  • Sundays are free.

This split is highly popular, but it has a significant disadvantage: recovering after five intense sessions in a row is very tough. Even though your muscles feel great, your central nervous system will not be completely healed.

For example, your quads and hamstrings may feel healed when you train legs on Thursday, but your central nervous system will be so tired from your chest, back, and shoulder exercises that you won’t be able to train at full intensity.

Training 2-3 days in a row and then taking a day off is a far better option. Jay Cutler, the four-time Mr. Olympia winner, was a major supporter of this strategy.

Jay likes to arrange his exercises like this:

Split in Jay Cutler’s Training

  • Monday is chest day.
  • Tuesday is Arms Day.
  • Wednesday: We’re back!
  • Thursday is a holiday.
  • Shoulders on Friday
  • Legs on Saturday
  • Sundays are free.

This is a huge improvement! You only workout 2-3 days in a row before taking a day off with Jay Cutler’s bro split. After your toughest workouts: back and legs, you get a day off.

A bro split may be used to organize a workout in a plethora of various ways. One of the most common and successful training methods is to begin with a single heavy compound exercise, followed by a series of lesser bodybuilding-style exercises.

Pro IFBB These powerbuilding-style exercises are a big hit with Steve Kuclo.

The first exercise increases strength and myofibrillar hypertrophy, while the others allow you to train for the pump and get a bodybuilding-style appearance.

Let’s take a look at a few of upper-body exercises from Steve Kuclo. Take a look:

Chest Workout by Steve Kuclo

  • A1: DB press at 30 degrees inclination, 3 sets of 5-10 reps
  • B1: 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions on the supine machine press (neutral grip).
  • C1: DB fly at 30 degrees inclination, 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions
  • C2: 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions on the pec dec machine
  • D1: 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions of cable crossover (decline angle).
  • D2: 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions of cable crossover (horizontal angle).

This workout’s training video is as follows:

 

Steve Kuclo’s chest exercise seems to be quite standard. He begins his exercise by doing incline presses with 200-pound dumbbells for repetitions — talk about a powerful workout!

After that, he does a bunch of higher-rep training to pump blood into his chest. He also adds in a couple of supersets for his “C” and “D” workouts to increase muscle damage even further.

Let’s take a peek at one of Steve’s shoulder exercises in the powerbuilding approach. Take a look:

Shoulder Workout by Steve Kuclo

  • A1: 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions of seated DB overhead press
  • B1: 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions of seated DB lateral raises**
  • C1: 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions of rear delt cable pulls
  • D1: 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions on the machine overhead press
  • D2: 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions of rear delt pec dec

**On the final rep, perform a double drop set.

This workout’s training video is as follows:

 

For this shoulder exercise, Steve employs a similar approach.

He starts with a strong sitting dumbbell overhead press for his first workout. Then he works his side and rear delts with a variety of bodybuilding-style workouts.

These powerlifting-style exercises are a simple yet efficient method to increase muscle mass.

Of course, a bodybuilder bro split may be designed in a variety of ways. Bodybuilding instructor John Meadows popularized one of the more successful versions. Take a look:

The Training Split of John Meadows

  • Legs on Monday
  • Tuesday is a holiday.
  • Wednesday: Shoulders / Chest
  • Thursday is a holiday.
  • Back to work on Friday
  • Saturday is Arms Day.
  • Sundays are free.

This training split was used by John Meadows to train a large number of professional bodybuilders. The major difference with John’s split is that you exercise both your chest and shoulders at the same time and only have four sessions per week.

For most trainees, this divide is considerably simpler to recover from. The additional day of relaxation is very beneficial.

For experienced bodybuilders with great recovery capacity, John sometimes utilizes a higher-frequency variation of this split. Take a look:

Splitting John Meadows’ High-Frequency Training

  • Legs on Monday
  • Tuesday: Shoulders / Chest 
  • Wednesday: We’re back!
  • Thursday is Arms Day.
  • Legs on Friday (Pump)
  • Saturday: Shoulders / Chest (Pump)
  • Sunday: We’re back (Pump)

Except for the arms, every body part is exercised twice a week. You have a regular hard exercise early in the week and a lighter “pump” workout later in the week.

You utilize a variety of joint-friendly movements in the pump workouts to generate a nice pump in your muscles without overworking yourself. These are shorter exercises that are intended to aid in muscle repair and development by increasing your training frequency.

This split is one that John loves to utilize with advanced bodybuilders who are getting ready for contests.

John may arrange his exercises in a variety of ways. In my post “Mountain Dog Training: The Ultimate Guide!” you may learn more about his training methods.

Here’s an example of one of his more inventive arm exercises. Take a look:

Biceps / Triceps Workout by John Meadows

1st Giant Set

  • A1: 4 x 8-12, 1/0/1/1, 10 seconds break, standing dual rope cable pushdown
  • 4 x 8-12, 1/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest, A2: Standing 2-arm DB curl (supinating grip), 4 x 8-12, 1/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A3: Triceps extension with high-pulley rope (torso bending forward), 4 x 8-12, 1/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A4: Supinating grip seated DB curls, 4 x 8-12, 1/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest

2nd Giant Set

  • 4 x 8-12, 1/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest, B1: Preacher ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 4 x 8-12, 1/0/1/0
  • B2: 4 x 8-12, 1/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest, kettlebell laying extension
  • B3: 4 × 8-12 reverse cable curls, 1/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • B4: DB extension at 30 degrees incline, 4 x 8-12, 1/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest

This workout’s training video is as follows:

 

Two separate big sets for your biceps and triceps are included in this exercise. If you want to develop larger arms, this is an incredibly efficient method to exercise.

One of the major drawbacks of the conventional bodybuilding bro split is that muscle groups are only trained once a week. Fortunately, there are solutions to this issue.

Dorian Yates, a six-time Mr. Olympia winner, utilized a bro split in which he trained each body component once every six days. Take a look:

Dorian Yates’ Dorian Yates’ Dorian Yates’ Dorian Yates’ Do

  • Day 1: Biceps / Chest
  • Day 2: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, and Calf Muscles
  • Day 3: Rest day
  • Day 4: Triceps/Shoulders
  • Back / Rear Delts (Day 5)
  • Day 6: Rest day
  • Day 7: Do it again!

This is, in my view, one of the most effective methods to set up a bodybuilder bro split.

Most bodybuilders will find it considerably simpler to gain muscle growth and strength as a result of the increased training frequency. You also never exercise on consecutive days and always take a day off following your leg and back routines.

The major disadvantage of this split is that you must exercise on various days each week. To workout this method, you’ll need a highly flexible schedule.

Dorian Yates shown that utilizing a bro split and a “one set to failure” training approach, you can achieve significant improvement. Dorian did a variety of exercises for each body component, but just one working set to failure each exercise.

Here’s Dorian’s back exercise for some motivation. Take a look:

The Back Routine of Dorian Yates

  • A1: 1 working set of 6-8 repetitions to failure on the pullover machine**
  • B1: Supinated grip hammer strength pulldown, 1 working set of 6-8 repetitions to failure**
  • C1: 1 working set of 6-8 repetitions to failure with a standing barbell row to knees
  • D1: 1 working set of 6-8 repetitions to failure on a seated 1-arm machine row**
  • E1: Deadlift, 1 working set of 6-8 repetitions to failure E2: Deadlift, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure E3: Deadlift, 1

**After achieving failure, do 1-3 forced repetitions with the assistance of a training partner.

This workout’s training video is as follows:

 

I omitted off Dorian’s rear delt and lower back workouts for the sake of simplicity.

In the end, the bodybuilding bro split is a fantastic method to workout. Advanced bodybuilders, people with above-average genetics/recovery abilities, and trainees who are already fairly strong benefit greatly from it.

If you fit this criteria, the bro split is definitely worth a try!

Steve Kuclo-style powerbuilding exercises, John Meadows-style high-volume workouts, and Dorian Yates-style high-intensity workouts are some of the finest methods to create a bro split program. 

Part 2: Legs Split / Push / Pull

The Best Training Splits For Muscle Growth!

The push/pull/legs training split is one of the most common and well-known in the globe. The goal is to work out your whole body in three different workouts:

Legs Split / Push / Pull

  • Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps = “Push” Workout
  • Back / Biceps Workout = “Pull”
  • Quads, Hamstrings, and Calves are all included in the “legs” workout.

Because you train all of the relevant muscle groups in the same exercise, the push / pull / legs split is very popular. When you do an exercise like the incline bench press, you’re training your chest, shoulders, and triceps all at the same time.

To get the most out of your recuperation, it makes sense to exercise all of these muscles at the same time.

The push/pull/legs split also allows you to focus on your upper body a little more, which is essential for experienced bodybuilders. 

You may do the push / pull / legs split in three distinct ways:

  • The push/pull/legs split is done six days a week.
  • The push/pull/legs split is done four times a week.
  • The push/pull/legs split is done three times a week.

Each of these splits has its own set of benefits and drawbacks for professional bodybuilders looking to bulk up.

Let’s start with the six-day-per-week version. Take a look:

Legs for 6 Days Push Pull

  • Monday: Make a push
  • Tuesday is Pull Day.
  • Legs on Wednesday
  • Thursday: Make a push
  • Friday is Pull Day.
  • Legs on Saturday
  • Sundays are free.

The push/pull/legs split, which is done six days a week, is a popular method to train. It allows you to exercise each muscle group twice a week, which has been proven in scientific studies to be the most effective for muscular development.

The typical bodybuilder will struggle to recover from this split. Ronnie Coleman and Chris Bumstead, two of the greatest bodybuilders in the world, have achieved their best results utilizing this split.

Ronnie Coleman does something unique with this split: he trains each body component with two totally distinct exercises throughout the week.

Ronnie Coleman, for example, offers a “back thickness” and “back width” exercise. Ronnie utilizes deadlifts and other rowing workouts to build up his traps, rhomboids, and spinal erectors for his back thickness routine. Take a look:

Back Thickness Day with Ronnie Coleman

  • A1: Deadlift (conventional), 3-5 sets of 4-8 reps
  • B1: Bent-over barbell row, 3-5 sets of 8-20 reps
  • C1: 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions on the T-bar row
  • D1: Unilateral DB row from a standing position, 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions

Ronnie’s training video for this exercise is below:

 

What a grueling back exercise! Most bodybuilders would struggle to recover from a single session that included 1-2 strong back thickness exercises. Four of them are performed by Ronnie!

Ronnie like to do one all-out working set each exercise for his back thickening routine. This is quite reasonable. After all, what good are an additional 1-3 sets of barbell rows if you’ve already done an all-out set with 500 pounds for reps?

Ronnie focuses on back breadth exercises including pull downs and dumbbell pullovers in his second weekly back program. Take a look:

Back Width Day for Ronnie Coleman

  • A1: 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions of lat pulldowns (wide / overhand grip).
  • B1: Lat pulldowns behind the neck (wide / overhand grip), 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions
  • C1: 3-5 sets of x 8-20 repetitions seated cable row (v-handle)
  • D1: 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions of lying DB pullovers

Ronnie’s training video for this exercise is below:

 

This is a very different exercise from his first weekly back workout. Ronnie exercises to develop a big pump in his lats by doing several sets of each exercise. This seems to be a high-volume back exercise similar to what most professional bodybuilders would do.

The advantage of the 6-day push/pull/legs split is that you may train each muscle group twice a week, giving you a lot of versatility in how you organize your workouts.

Chris Bumstead changed his routines for each of his two weekly body-part sessions.

Unfortunately, most athletes are unable to recuperate from six intense sessions each week. It’s just too taxing on the neurological system. Even if your muscles are fully healed between workouts, most trainees will struggle to make long-term strength improvements in this manner.

The 4 day push/pull/legs split is a better choice for most bodybuilders. Take a look:

Legs for 4 Days Push Pull

Week #1

  • Monday is a pull day.
  • Wednesday: Make a push
  • Legs on Friday
  • Pull on Saturday

Week #2

  • Monday: Make a push
  • Wednesday: Legs
  • Friday is Pull Day.
  • Saturday: Make a push

Week #3

  • Legs on Monday
  • Wednesday is a pull day.
  • Friday: Make a push
  • Legs on Saturday

For most bodybuilders, the 4 days per week push/pull/legs split is a FANTASTIC method to train.

Every five days, each muscle group is exercised. For many bodybuilders, this is the “sweet spot” since you can exercise each muscle group with a lot of volume while still utilizing a greater training frequency.

Seriously, for a lot of individuals, this is an AMAZING method to train. While studying Dante Trudel’s DC Training program, I first learned about the four-day push/pull/legs split.

DC Training is a high-intensity bodybuilding program that incorporates rest-pause sets and severe stretches to help you gain the most muscle growth possible.

A DC Training back / biceps exercise is shown by an experienced bodybuilder. Take a look:

Workout for the Back and Biceps at DC Training

  • A1: 1 x 7-10** pull ups (wide / overhand grip), 2/0/X/0, rest as required
  • B1: 2 × 6-10 deadlifts, 2/0/X/0, rest as required
  • C1: DB curl (supinated grip) in a seated position, 2/0/X/0, rest as required
  • 1 x 7-10**, 2/0/X/0, rest as required. D1: Supine rope cable curl, 1 x 7-10**, 2/0/X/0, rest as needed.

**A DC-style rest-pause set was used. Train to failure in the listed rep range, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, repeat with the same weight,

This workout’s training video is as follows:

 

For this workout, you’ll do two movements for your upper back and two workouts for your biceps and forearms.

If his advanced bodybuilders’ backs or biceps are weaker muscle areas, Dante may have them do additional workouts. Dusty Hanshaw used this method when preparing for his IFBB pro card, and it worked like a charm.

Of course, the 4 day push / pull / legs split may also be used to do greater volume exercises. This is something John Meadows does with his bodybuilding clients on occasion.

You may attempt this Mountain Dog back and biceps exercise with a greater volume. Take a look:

Mountain Dog Training Back/Biceps Workout with a High Volume

  • A1: 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions of lat pulldowns (wide / overhand grip).
  • B1: 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions of lat pulldowns (narrow / neutral grip).
  • C1: 4 sets of 10-12 repetitions of prone hammer strength low row
  • D1: 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions of rear delt cable pulls
  • E1: 4 sets of 10-12 repetitions of rope cable hammer curls
  • F1: preacher ez-bar curl at 90 degrees (broad, supinated grip), 3 sets of 6-8 reps**

**Train to failure on your final set, then add two additional forced repetitions with the assistance of a trained spotter.

This is the workout’s training video.

 

With the 4 day push / pull / legs split, you may construct your exercises in a variety of ways. It’s also great for powerlifters and individuals who want to become as strong as they can, but that’s beyond the focus of this essay.

Of course, you may exercise three times a week with the push/pull/legs split. Consider the following scenario:

The Legs of the Three-Day Push-Pull Split

  • Monday: Make a push
  • Wednesday is a pull day.
  • Legs on Friday

Many fitness gurus think that the three-day push/pull/legs split is ineffective for bodybuilders. I don’t agree! For some people, this divide may be very beneficial.

On the three-day push/pull/legs split, here’s a wonderful remark from Stan Efferding:

“How often should you exercise? Three days a week is plenty. It’s still a good idea to push, pull, and stretch your legs. One day, chest, shoulders, and triceps, the next, back and biceps, and finally legs.”

“Bench and dips engage all of the muscle groups in the push chain, so you don’t need a lot of isolated workouts if you don’t want to. T-bar rows and chins for the pull chain, and squats for the legs are the same.”

I couldn’t have put it any better!

The three-day push/pull/legs split, in my opinion, works effectively for two kinds of trainees:

  • People who have a lower-than-average capacity to recover
  • Bodybuilders who have progressed to the point of lifting insanely high weights

In order to recuperate, both of these people need extra rest in between exercises.

Because they can’t take a lot of training load, hard gainers react well to this split. To achieve improvement, they must keep their exercises brief and provide plenty of time for recovery.

Some experienced bodybuilders have the opposite issue: they are so powerful that they need extra rest in between sessions in order to recuperate and develop.

I was an enthusiastic reader of Wesley Sylveira’s “Iron Addicts” bodybuilding forum when I first began lifting weights in 2007. Wesley worked with a very powerful bodybuilding customer known on the internet as “2Scoot.”

He was a nationally rated powerlifter and strongman athlete who could bench press 600 pounds and squat/deadlift 800 pounds.

This is the precise workout regimen that yielded the greatest results for him. Take a look:

2Scoot’s Workout for the Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps

  • A1: Bench press (shoulder-width grip), 3 x (1, 8, 8) reps, 2/0/X/0 reps, 120 seconds rest
  • 1 x 7-9**, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest B1: V-bar dips (forward leaning torso), 1 x 7-9**, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • C1: 1 x 12, 3/0/1/0, 120 seconds rest, 30 degree inclination DB fly
  • D1: 2 x 10, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest, seated DB overhead press
  • E1: 1 x 15** DB lateral raises, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

**A DC-style rest-pause set was used. Train to failure in the listed rep range, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight,

Workout for Quads, Hamstrings, and Calves by 2Scoot

  • A1: Back Squat (2 x 10, 2/0/X/1, 120 seconds rest)
  • 1 × 10, 2/1/X/0, 120 seconds rest, B1: Conventional deadlift
  • C1: 2 × 10 hanging leg raises, 2/0/1/0, 120 seconds rest
  • D1: Calf raises on a standing machine, 2 × 15**, 2/1/X/1, 120 seconds rest

**A DC-style rest-pause set was used. Train to failure in the listed rep range, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight,

2Scoot’s Biceps/Back Workout       

  • A1: Supinated grip hammer strength pulldowns, 2 × 15**, 2/0/X/0, 240 seconds rest
  • 2 x 10, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest B1: Bilateral hammer strength row, 2 x 10, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • C1: 2 × 10** seated DB hammer curls, 2/0/X/0, 240 seconds rest

**A DC-style rest-pause set was used. Train to failure in the listed rep range, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight,

The three-day push/pull/legs split is a fantastic option if you feel like you need extra time to recuperate between exercises.

The main conclusion is that the push/pull/legs split is one of the most effective and flexible training divisions for mass gain. Absolute novices and Mr. Olympia contestants like Ronnie Coleman and Chris Bumstead benefit greatly from it.

If you’re not sure where to begin, a 3 day, 4 day, or 6 day push / pull / legs split is a great place to start (depending on your recovery ability).

Part 3: Charles Poliquin’s Breakup

The Best Training Splits For Muscle Growth!

Charles Poliquin was regarded as one of the world’s finest strength instructors. He mostly worked with Olympic competitors, but he also worked with a number of professional bodybuilders, notably IFBB pro Ben Pakulski.

The majority of Charles Poliquin’s athletes were trained utilizing a unique training split in which each muscle group was exercised once every five days.

I call this split the Charles Poliquin training split since it doesn’t have a name. Take a look:

Split in Charles Poliquin’s Training

  • Day 1: Back / Chest
  • Legs on Day 2
  • Day 3: Rest day
  • Day 4: Shoulders and Arms
  • Day 5: Rest day
  • Day 6: Do it again!

This training split offers many benefits over other muscle-building training divides.

To begin, you will exercise each muscle group once every five days. For many bodybuilders, this is an excellent training frequency.

You may simply exercise with greater volume sessions while still reaping the advantages of more frequent training. It’s like you’re getting the best of both worlds!

The Charles Poliquin split also allows you to exercise opposing muscle groups like as chest and back, quadriceps and hamstrings, and biceps and triceps at the same time.

Charles felt that doing antagonistic supersets was one of the quickest methods to increase muscular growth and strength. An antagonistic superset is a training technique in which sets for opposing muscle groups are alternated back and forth. Consider the following scenario:

Antiagonistic Superset of Biceps and Triceps

  • Set #1 for biceps is performed, then rest for 1-2 minutes.
  • Set 1 for the triceps, then rest for 1-2 minutes.
  • Set #2 for biceps is performed, then rest for 1-2 minutes.
  • Set #2 is for the triceps; rest 1-2 minutes.

And so on.

Antagonistic supersets offer three major benefits over traditional “straight sets” when it comes to muscle growth: they help you recruit more muscle fibers, increase muscular endurance, and allow you to do more overall work in less time.

Charles was such a fan of antagonistic supersets that he used them in nearly all of his bodybuilding sessions.

Whether he was designing an extremely high-volume bodybuilding program or a functional hypertrophy workout with moderate rep ranges, Charles nearly always included antagonistic supersets in his routines.

Let’s take a look at a couple alternative arm workouts you may do using the Charles Poliquin training split.

The German Volume Training exercise is one of Charles’ most popular workouts. The fundamental concept is to do ten sets of ten repetitions on two separate exercises.

To make the set / rep strategy even more effective, Charles employs hostile supersets. Take a look:

Arm Workout by Charles Poliquin, German Volume Training

  • A1: 10 × 10, 3/1/1/0, 90 seconds rest, decline ez-bar extension (to chin).
  • A2: DB curl (supinated grip) at 60 degrees inclination, 10 x 10, 3/0/1/0, 90 seconds rest
  • 3 x 12-15, 2/0/1/1, 60 seconds rest B1: Cable pushdowns (V-handle / pronated grip), 3 x 12-15, 2/0/1/1, 60 seconds rest
  • 3 x 12-15, 2/0/1/0, 60 seconds rest, B2: Preacher ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 3 x 12-15, 2/0/1/0, 60 seconds rest

The exercise videos are as follows: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise B1, exercise B2, exercise C1, exercise C2.

If you want to bulk up your upper arms quickly, this arm exercise is ideal.

One of the advantages of utilizing the Charles Poliquin split instead of something like John Meadows’ preferred bro split is that you only have to exercise your arms once every 5 days. This increased exercise frequency is very beneficial in hastening the muscle-building process.

Another higher-rep arm workout to try is this one. Take a look:

6/12/25 Arm Workout by Charles Poliquin

  • A1: 3-4 x 6, 4/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest, decline ez-bar extensions with chains (to forehead).
  • 3-4 x 12, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest, A2: Bench press (shoulder-width grip), 3-4 x 12, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A3: 3-4 x 25, 2/0/X/0, 2 minutes break, overhead rope cable extension (high pulley)
  • 3-4 x 6, 4/0/X/0, 10 seconds re: A4: 90 degree preacher ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 3-4 x 6, 4/0/X/0, 10 seconds re: A4: 90 degree preacher ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 3-4 x 6,
  • st
  • 3-4 x 12, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest, A5: 30 degree incline DB curl (hammer grip), 3-4 x 12, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • 3-4 x 25, 2/0/X/0, 2 minutes rest, A6: 60 degree incline cable curl, 3-4 x 25, 2/0/X/0, 2 minutes rest

The 6/12/25 technique is used in this exercise. Another training technique advocated by Charles Poliquin is this one.

The fundamental concept is to do three separate exercises per body component in a tri-set. The first exercise requires 6 repetitions, the second requires 12 reps, and the third requires 25 reps.

Charles thinks that doing one triceps tri-set, resting for two minutes, then performing one biceps tri-set, resting for two minutes, and then performing your next triceps tri-set would provide the greatest results.

This kind of exercise is only feasible when you use the Charles Poliquin split or something similar to train antagonistic body groups simultaneously.

Unlike many other bodybuilding instructors, Charles Poliquin believed that doing lower-rep strength training was the best way to gain muscular growth.

Bodybuilders should do at least a few sets in the 3-6 rep range, according to Charles, to promote strength increases and enhance the growth of their fast-twitch muscle fibers.

Here’s an arm program Charles devised for David Boston in order to improve his upper-arm functional hypertrophy. Take a look:

Arm Drop Set Routine by David Boston

  • A1: 5 × 3**, 2/2/1/0, 2 minutes break, seated 80 degree half press
  • 5 x 3**, 4/0/1/0, 2 minutes rest, A2: Preacher ez-bar curl (wide / pronated grip), 4/0/1/0, 2 minutes rest
  • B1: 4 × 4****, 3/1/1/0, 90 seconds rest, one-arm low pulley rope french press
  • B2: 4 × 4****, 4/0/1/0, 90 seconds rest, standing thick bar curls (medium / supinated grip).

**A 3/2/1/1 drop set was used. 3 reps, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1 rep, 1

**** A 4/2/2 drop set was used. 4 repetitions, 2 reps, 2 reps, 2 reps, 2 reps, 2 reps, 2 reps, 2 reps, 2 reps, 2 reps, 2 reps, 2 reps, 2 reps, 2 reps, 2

For your biceps and triceps, this program includes two distinct drop set regimens. This program requires a significant amount of training volume and should only be done by experienced athletes with extensive training experience.

Charles has you do one drop set for your triceps, rest for two minutes, then perform one drop set for your biceps, rest for two minutes, and then perform another drop set for your triceps. Charles, I told you he was a superfan of hostile supersets! 

If you’re a serious bodybuilder, I strongly advise you to try the Charles Poliquin training split. It’s one of the most effective methods to increase both muscular growth and strength at the same time.

It also makes bringing up minor body parts like your shoulders and arms extremely simple.

Before I go any further, I’d want to discuss Arnold Schwarzenegger’s training split. Take a look:

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Workout Routine

  • Monday: Back / Chest
  • Legs on Tuesday 
  • Shoulders / Arms (Wednesday)
  • Thursday: Back / Chest
  • Legs on Friday
  • Shoulders / Arms on Saturday
  • Legs on Sunday

Arnold Schwarzenegger used a modified version of Charles Poliquin’s training split in his workouts. To increase muscular bulk, Arnold, like Charles Poliquin, utilized antagonistic supersets.

Here’s Arnold Schwarzenegger’s preferred pre-contest chest and back regimen. Take a look:

Pre-Contest Chest/Back Workout by Arnold Schwarzenegger

1st Superset:

  • A1: Bench press, 3-6 sets of 5-20 repetitions with 30 seconds rest in between.
  • A2: Pull-ups (wide/overhand grip), 3-6 sets of 5-20 reps, 30 sec rest

2nd Superset:

  • B1: Bench press on an incline, 3-6 sets of 5-20 reps, 30 seconds rest
  • B2: Wide/overhand cable pulldowns, 3-6 sets of 5-20 reps, 30 seconds rest

#3 Superset:

  • C1: V-bar dips, 5-20 repetitions, 3-6 sets, 30 seconds rest
  • C2: 3-6 sets of 5-20 repetitions on the T-bar, 30 seconds rest

4th Superset:

  • D1: DB flat flyes, 3-6 sets of 5-20 repetitions, 30 sec rest
  • D2: Bend over row with a barbell, 3-6 sets of 5-20 repetitions, 30 seconds rest

#5 Superset:

  • E1: Cable crossover, 3-6 sets of 5-20 repetitions with 30 seconds rest in between.
  • E2: Seated cable row, 5-20 repetitions, 3-6 sets, 30 seconds rest

For his chest and back, Arnold did five separate supersets. He did one set for his chest, paused for 30 seconds, then did one set for his back, paused for 30 seconds, and then did another set for his chest.

Most individuals, in my view, will find it almost difficult to recuperate by following Arnold Schwarzenegger’s identical workout schedule. However, I thought that if I didn’t include it, the piece would be incomplete.

In the end, the Charles Poliquin training split is a fantastic method to exercise. It allows you to exercise each muscle group once every five days, and it also allows you to utilize antagonistic supersets to increase muscle growth even more quickly.

The most significant disadvantage of this split is that you must exercise on various days each week. To workout this method, you’ll need a highly flexible schedule.

Part 4: The Split Between Upper and Lower

The Best Training Splits For Muscle Growth!

One of the most common training divides in the world is the upper / lower split. In terms of popularity, it’s right up there with the bro split and the push / pull / legs split.

With an upper/lower split, you may work out your whole upper body in one session and your entire bottom body in another. For upper body workouts, most individuals use 4-6 exercises while for lower body workouts, they use 3-5 exercises.

The upper / lower split is, in my opinion, an excellent option for beginning to intermediate bodybuilders. This split allows you to achieve insanely rapid strength gains, which is crucial while you’re still establishing your strength foundation.

Advanced bodybuilders can utilize the upper/lower split if they know what they’re doing.

Many elite bodybuilders, like David Henry, have used the DC Training method to train using a modified form of an upper/lower split. There’s more on it later.

There are three major variations of the upper/lower split to be aware of:

  • The upper/lower split is done four times each week.
  • The upper/lower split is done three times each week.
  • The upper/lower split is done twice a week.

If you know what you’re doing, all three of these splits may help you gain muscle growth. 

The most common version of this training split is a four-day upper/lower split. It allows you to exercise each muscle group twice a week while reducing the number of gym visits.

This is how it appears:

The Upper/Lower Split is a four-day split consisting of upper and lower body workouts

  • Monday focuses on the upper body.
  • Wednesday: Legs and Feet
  • Friday focuses on the upper body.
  • Saturday is dedicated to the lower body.

This split is fantastic for increasing strength. Squats, deadlifts, presses, and pull-ups may be done twice a week, which is ideal for many beginning and intermediate bodybuilders.

This is an excellent option if you can’t bench press 200 pounds for reps or squat/deadlift 300 pounds for reps.

This is how many powerlifters at the Westside Barbell powerlifting club gain a ton of muscle mass. To be successful, some of the tallest powerlifters must compete at 300 pounds or more, therefore they are constantly searching for methods to gain muscle mass.

Including a lot of bodybuilding-type accessory training in a Westside style program is the key to gaining muscular mass.

Here’s how a powerlifter attempting to move up a weight class would do a max effort bench press workout:

Bench Press Workout on the Westside

  • A1: 3 x 1, 1/0/X/0, 2 minutes rest, reverse band bench press (medium grip).
  • B1: DB press at 30 degrees incline, 2 x 15-25**, 2/0/1/0, 2 minutes rest
  • C1: 5 × 6-8, 2/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest, rolling DB extension
  • C2: 5 × 10-15 band tricep pushdowns, 2/0/1/1, 2 minutes rest
  • 3 x 10-12, 3/0/1/1, 1 minute rest D1: Lat pulldown (wide / overhand grip), 3 x 10-12, 3/0/1/1, 1 minute break
  • E1: 3 x 10-12, 2/0/1/1, 1 minute break, seated cable row (v-handle)
  • 3 x 15-20, 2/0/1/1, 30 seconds rest, F1: Reverse pec dec, 3 x 15-20, 2/0/1/1, 30 seconds rest

As you can see, accessory work for important powerlifting muscles like the triceps and upper back is done in abundance.

Louie Simmons, a powerlifting coach, likes to combine various kinds of triceps extensions with band pushdowns to increase triceps growth and strength. This is something you should certainly include into your future routines. 

Many strongman athletes, such as Eddie Hall and Hafthor Bjornsson, have used a four-day upper/lower split to gain massive amounts of muscle growth.

Eddie and Hafthor take a unique approach to the split by doing deadlifts on one of their lower body days and doing all of their upper back training on the other. Consider the following scenario:

Eddie Hall’s Training Has Been Disrupted

  • Squat on Monday
  • Bench Press on Tuesday
  • Deadlift on Thursday
  • Overhead Press on Friday

Eddie Hall utilized this same workout split while he was preparing to be the World’s Strongest Man. On Thursdays, he deadlifted and did a variety of upper back auxiliary exercises.

If you want to increase the size of your upper body while simultaneously improving your strength, this is a fantastic method to exercise.

Because you’ll be doing all of your upper back work on your deadlift day, you’ll have plenty of space on your other upper body training days to do additional accessory exercises for your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

For example, here’s a sample of one of Eddie Hall’s regular bench press sessions. Take a look:

Bench Press Workout by Eddie Hall

  • A1: 3 x 1-6, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest, bench press with bands (competitive grip).
  • B1: incline bench, 30 degrees, 3 x 1-6, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • 3 × 6-8, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest, C1: Hammer strength incline press
  • D1: 3 x 10-12, 2/0/1/0, 60 seconds rest
  • E1: 3 x 10-12, 2/0/1/0, 60 seconds rest, 30 degree incline DB fly

This workout’s training video is as follows:

 

Eddie Hall, despite being a strongman contender, works out with a lot of volume. He did this exercise while preparing for a 700-pound bench press, so it’s not like he was slacking off at the gym!

In his previous exercises, Eddie Hall utilizes a comparable level of training volume. In fact, this exercise is similar to Steve Kuclo’s powerbuilding routines, which were discussed in part 1 of this article.

Turning one of your lower body days into a deadlift / upper back day is a fantastic method to squeeze more volume into your upper body while quickly developing strength if you’re using a four-day upper / lower split to grow muscular mass. 

Finally, Charles Poliquin, a strength coach, was a major supporter of the four-day upper/lower split. This split was often used by his world-class athletes to quickly gain muscle bulk.

Here’s how Charles Poliquin would create an upper-body exercise for a client who wants to gain muscle growth quicker than you can say “mutated myostatin gene.” Take a look:

Upper Body Hypertrophy Workout Inspired by Poliquin

  • A1: DB press at 30 degrees incline, 4 x 6-8, 3/1/1/0, 60 seconds rest
  • 4 x 6-8, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest, A2: Pull ups (wide / overhand grip), 4 x 6-8, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • 4 x AMRAP**, 2/0/X/0, 60 seconds rest, A3: Chin ups (narrow / supinated grip), 4 x AMRAP**, 2/0/X/0, 60 seconds rest
  • B1: Forward leaning torso V-bar dips, 3 x 10-12, 2/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • B2: DB fly at a 15-degree angle, 3 x 12-15, 2/0/1/0, 45 seconds rest
  • 3 x 10-12, 2/0/1/2, 45 seconds rest B3: Machine chest supported row, 3 x 10-12, 2/0/1/2, 45 seconds rest
  • C1: 3 x 10-12 seated DB overhead press, 3/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • C2: 3 × 12-15, 2/0/1/2, 90 seconds rest, rope cable upright row

**Do as many repetitions as you can with the same weight that you used in exercise A2.

This is a Poliquin-style upper body exercise that will help you gain size in your chest, back, and shoulders.

Because you can only do so many exercises in a single workout, if you want to focus on your upper arms, you’ll need to utilize a different kind of upper body program. 

For bodybuilders and powerlifters of all levels, the four-day upper/lower split is a common choice. It is not, however, the only method to create an upper / lower divide.

The three-day upper/lower split is, in my view, the most underappreciated training split in the world. This is how it appears:

The Three-Day Split (Upper/Lower)

Week 1

  • Monday focuses on the upper body.
  • Wednesday: Legs and Feet
  • Friday focuses on the upper body.

Week 2

  • Monday focuses on the lower body.
  • Upper Body on Wednesday
  • Friday focuses on the lower body.

Every muscle group is worked out three times in two weeks, or once every five days. Charles Poliquin favors this training frequency, and it works amazingly well for most trainees.

DC Training has your name written all over it if you want to develop muscle mass with the 3 day upper / lower split.

DC Training is a bodybuilding program that uses a lower volume, higher frequency approach to assist you gain muscle growth as quickly as possible. A modified form of the three-day upper/lower split is used in DC training. Take a look:

Day of Upper Body Training in DC

  • Chest Exercise No. 1
  • 2nd Exercise: Shoulders
  • Triceps exercise #3
  • Back Width (Exercise #4)
  • Back Thickness (Exercise #5)

Lower Body Training Day in DC

  • Biceps (Exercise 1)
  • Forearms (Exercise #2)
  • Calves are the third exercise.
  • Hamstrings (Exercise #4)
  • Quadriceps (Exercise #5)

As you can see, biceps and forearms are included in the lower body workout. This was done to save time since you’re already doing five challenging workouts on your upper body day!

I won’t be able to cover the full DC Training system in this post due to space constraints. Instead, I’ll demonstrate how a normal upper- and lower-body exercise could appear.

A typical upper-body DC Training exercise looks like this:

Upper Body Workout from DC Training

  • A1: 1 x 20-30 RP** flat DB press
  • B1: 1 x 11-15 RP** barbell sitting military press
  • C1: 1 x 11-15 RP** bench press (shoulder-width grip).
  • D1: 1 × 11-15 RP** lat pulldown (medium / overhand grip).
  • E1: 2 × 8-12 reps of barbell bent over row

**A DC-style rest-pause set was used. Train to failure in the listed rep range, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, repeat with the same weight,

This workout’s training video is as follows:

 

Here’s an example of a DC Training lower-body workout:

Lower Body Workout from DC Training

  • A1: 1 x 15-20 RP** standing alternating DB curls
  • B1: 1 x 8-12 standing DB pinwheel curls
  • C1: 1 × 7-10 seated machine calf raise
  • D1: 2 x 4-8, 20** machine hack squat
  • E1: Romanian deadlift, 2 x 7-10; E2: Romanian deadlift, 2 x 7-10; E3: Romanian

**A DC-style rest-pause set was used. Train to failure in the listed rep range, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, repeat with the same weight, repeat with the same weight,

This workout’s training video is as follows:

 

Other training regimens make use of the three-day upper/lower split. The 5/3/1 workout regimen by Jim Wendler comes to mind.

If your objective is to gain as much muscle mass as possible, though, DC Training is the way to go. 

Check out the following articles if you want to learn more about DC Training:

In the first article, you’ll learn how to build up your own DC Training program in the shortest amount of time possible. If you’re as obsessed with strength training as I am and want to know every detail about this muscle-building regimen, the second post is a better option.

Then there’s the two-day upper/lower divide. You’ll do two workouts each week with this split: one for your upper body and one for your lower body. Consider the following scenario:

The Upper/Lower Split is a two-day event.

  • Monday focuses on the upper body.
  • Friday focuses on the lower body.

The majority of individuals would never consider training in this manner. I must confess, it seems a bit strange. How are you expected to gain muscle growth just exercising twice a week? That’s how no one trains! Right!?

The two-day upper/lower split, in my opinion, works effectively for two kinds of athletes:

  • Powerlifters with a lot of experience
  • Extremely arduous gainers

Many advanced powerlifters, such as Eric Lilliebridge and Stan Efferding, found that training with a two-day upper/lower split yielded the greatest results. I won’t go into further depth on that topic since this is a post on increasing muscle mass.

This leads us to the second group of people that benefit from this split: hardgainers.

There are certain individuals who do not react well to weightlifting. These individuals may still make development, but they must train in a completely different manner than the rest of the population.

The 2 days per week upper / lower split is one of the finest training splits for these severe hardgainers. This split allows you to take 2-3 days off between exercises, ensuring that your central nervous system is always refreshed and ready to go.

If you’re an extreme hardgainer, here’s an example of how you could arrange your upper and lower body exercises. Take a look:

Upper Body Workout for Hardgainers

  • 2 x 5-6, 4/0/X/0, 2 minutes rest A1: Incline bench press, 2 x 5-6, 4/0/X/0, 2 minutes rest
  • B1: 2 x 6-8 V-bar dips, 3/0/X/0, 20 minutes rest
  • C1: 2 x 10-12 seated DB overhead press, 2/0/X/0, 2 minutes rest
  • D1: 2 × 10-12 dead stop skull crushers, 2/1/1/0, 2 minutes rest

Lower Body Workout for Hardgainers

  • 2 x 6, 4/0/X/0, 2 minutes rest, A1: Front squat (medium stance/heels flat), 2 x 6, 4/0/X/0, 2 minutes rest
  • B1: 2 × 10-12 Romanian deadlifts, 2/2/1/0, 2 minutes rest
  • 2 x 10-12, 3/1/X/0, 2 minutes rest, C1: 1-arm hammer strength pulldown (pronated grip), 2 x 10-12, 3/1/X/0
  • 2 x 8-10, 2/0/1/2, 2 minutes rest, D1: 90 degree back extension (barbell on back), 2 x 8-10, 2/0/1/2, 2 minutes rest

If you don’t think this is “enough loudness,” give it a go and prove me wrong! If most regular training splits soon burn you out, this easy two-day-per-week program may be exactly what you need to get back on track.

To accelerate your development, you may move to one of the other training splits discussed in this article when your work capacity increases.

In the end, the upper/lower split is one of the most effective training splits ever devised. It works EXTREMELY well for individuals who want to become as strong as possible, but if you know what you’re doing, it can also be used to develop muscular bulk. 

Part 5: Splits for Full-Body Training

The Best Training Splits For Muscle Growth!

During the “golden era” of bodybuilding in the 1940s and 1950s, full-body exercises were extremely popular. Many world-famous bodybuilders, like as Steve Reeves, built their amazing physiques with a three-day-per-week full-body split.

It’s becoming more uncommon to see a bodybuilder exercise with a complete body split nowadays. Other alternatives, such as the bodybuilding bro split, are much more popular. 

Bodybuilders stopped utilizing complete body splits for two primary reasons:

  • It’s impossible to recuperate from three or more lower-body exercises each week.
  • It’s very tough to focus only on upper body training in this manner.

This isn’t to say that full-body splits aren’t useful. They’re great for beginners and intermediates who wish to reduce weight as quickly as feasible.

Splits throughout the whole body, for example, are used in the “German Body Composition” program, which is highly successful for fat reduction. More information on this program can be found in my article “How To Train For Fat Loss!”

What if, on the other hand, your objective is to gain muscle? Can full-body exercises truly help you gain muscle? The answer is a loud “yes!” according to bodybuilding instructors like Dr. Scott Stevenson and Jeff Nippard.

Let’s look at each of their training programs in more detail.

Dr. Scott Stevenson is a world-class bodybuilding instructor and IFBB star David Henry’s former training partner and nutritionist.

Scott spent several years training with Dante Trudel’s DC Training method. He did, however, develop his own training regimen called “Fortitude Training” in 2014, which he thinks is much more beneficial for bulk gain.

Each week, Fortitude Training offers four full-body exercises. The weekly exercises are structured as follows:

The Split of Fortitude Training

  • Monday: Lower Body Pump / Upper Body Heavy
  • Tuesday: Upper Body Pump / Lower Body Heavy
  • Thursday: Lower Body Pump / Upper Body Heavy
  • Saturday: Upper Body Pump / Lower Body Heavy

This is a very cool training split! It’s almost like a four-day upper- and lower-body split, with some light pump training for your other body parts thrown in at the conclusion of each exercise.

Dr. Scott Stevenson recommends that you do two hard exercises each week, one for your upper body and one for your lower body. He also wants you to do two upper and lower body “pump” exercises each week.

Pump exercises are designed to boost your training frequency without interfering with your other hard sessions. They utilize weights in the 20-30 rep range.

If you want to develop muscle with full-body exercises, Dr. Scott Stevenson’s unique training split is worth a try.

Pro IFBB Around 2014, David Henry began training with this four-day full-body split, and his results speak for themselves! You may wish to attempt a few of David Henry’s “Fortitude Training” exercises. Take a look:

Lower Body Heavy Loading Day with David Henry

Heavy Loading Sets for the Lower Body

  • A1: Leg press at 45 degrees, 3 x 8 / 6 / 5, 90 second rest
  • B1: 2 × 8 lying leg curls, 60 seconds rest
  • B2: 2 × 8 back squats, 60 seconds rest
  • C1: 5 × 10 / 8 / 6 / 5 / 4 calf raises, 90 seconds rest

Pump Sets for the Upper Body

  • D1: Cable fly, 2 sets of 15-25 seconds each, 30 seconds rest
  • D2: 2 × 15-25 seconds seated cable row, 30 seconds rest
  • E1: Rear cable fly, 2 sets of 15-25 seconds each, 30 seconds rest
  • E2: 2 × 15-25 crunches, 30 seconds rest
  • F1: 2 × 15-25 seated DB curls, 30 seconds rest
  • F2: Skull crushers, 2 sets of 15-25 seconds each, 30 seconds rest

David Henry did a strong lower-body exercise like this. He does four workouts for his whole lower body and then a lot of upper-body “pump” training.

David does his upper and lower body exercises later in the week using a unique kind of cluster set called “muscular rounds.” The fundamental concept is to choose a weight that you can lift 10-15 times and do 6 sets of 4 repetitions with a 10-second break in between sets. Take a look:

Upper Body Muscle Round Day by David Henry

Round Sets for Muscles in the Upper Body

  • A1: 6 × 4 deadlifts, 10 seconds rest
  • B1: 6 × 4 lat pulldowns, 10 seconds rest
  • C1: 6 x 4, 10 second rest, hammer strength incline push
  • D1: 6 x 4, 10 second rest, seated DB press
  • E1: 6 x 4, 10 second rest, hammer strength drop

Pump Sets for the Lower Body

  • F1: Leg extension, 2 sets of 15-25 seconds each, 30 seconds rest
  • F2: 2 × 15-25 DB stiff-legged deadlifts, 30 seconds rest
  • G1: Leg press calf raise, 2 x 15-25 seconds, rest 60 seconds

David Henry does muscle rounds on a number of upper body exercises, followed by some pump work for his lower body, in this workout.

Dr. Scott Stevenson’s 4 day whole body split is a must-try if you’re searching for an extremely high frequency training split that will help you gain muscle growth.

Check out the following article for additional information on Scott’s training program:

The Ultimate Guide to Fortitude Training!

Dr. Scott Stevenson isn’t the only bodybuilding instructor that use full-body exercises to increase muscle growth. Jeff Nippard, a professional drug-free bodybuilder and powerlifter, is a huge admirer of complete body splits.

Jeff thinks that doing full-body exercises five days a week is one of the quickest methods to gain muscular growth and strength.

Here’s how Jeff Nippard arranges his total-body workout:

Split of Jeff Nippard’s Full Body Workout

  • Monday: Full Body Workout (Squat Focus)
  • Tuesday: Full Body Workout (Deadlift Focus)
  • Wednesday is a holiday.
  • Thursday: Total Body Workout (Squat Focus)
  • Friday: Full Body Workout (Deadlift Focus)
  • Saturday: Total Body Workout (Free Day)
  • Sundays are free.

During your first four weekly sessions, Jeff has you concentrate on various exercises including the squat, deadlift, bench press, and military press. He treats the fifth weekly exercise as a “free day” when you may focus on strengthening weaker body regions like your shoulders or arms.

For the overwhelming majority of bodybuilders, I don’t believe a 5-day full-body split is the ideal option. However, individuals such as Jeff Nippard have shown that it is a realistic alternative.

Here’s an example of one of Jeff’s full-body exercises. Take a look:

Full Body Workout by Jeff Nippard

  • A1: 4 sets of 2 repetitions of sumo deadlift**
  • B1: Bench press, three sets of six to eight repetitions
  • C1: Hip abduction, 2 sets of 15-20 repetitions C2: Hip abduction, 2 sets of 15-20 reps C3: Hip abduction,
  • D1: 3 sets of 5-8 repetitions of weighted pull-ups
  • E1: 2 sets of 10-12 repetitions of standing calf raises

**At 85 percent of your one-rep maximum.

Here’s the link to the training video:

 

As you can see, Jeff maintains the total training volume for this exercise quite modest. This makes sense since he trains each muscle group five times a week and can’t afford to pound his body into submission in a single session.

One of the major drawbacks of full-body exercises is that it’s impossible to complete more than one exercise per muscle group each session.

You should use a bro split, push/pull / legs split, upper / lower split, or Poliquin split if you want to “bomb and blitz” each muscle group with many different exercises each session.

Conclusion

The Best Training Splits For Muscle Growth!

If you’re serious about bulking up, you’ll need to choose the proper workout split.

There are five different kinds of training splits to select from:

  • Bro splits in bodybuilding
  • Leg splits / push / pull
  • Charles Poliquin has a quarrel.
  • Splits in the upper and lower limbs
  • Full body splits

Each of these various training divides has its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

For advanced bodybuilders who already have a strong foundation, the bro split is ideal. Most professional bodybuilders train with a bro split, however many beginning and intermediate bodybuilders find it difficult to develop in this manner.

The push/pull/legs split is an excellent all-around option for beginners, intermediates, and experienced bodybuilders alike. The important thing is to choose the appropriate training frequency.

For genetically talented bodybuilders like Ronnie Coleman and Chris Bumstead, the 6-day push/pull/legs split is ideal. Unfortunately, most bodybuilders use this version to overtrain. For the overwhelming majority of trainees, the 3 and 4 day push/pull/legs splits are much superior.

Then there’s the Charles Poliquin dispute. This split allows you to exercise each muscle group once every five days and makes antagonistic supersets simple.

Intermediate and advanced bodybuilders may consider it if they have a flexible training plan.

Although bodybuilders are less likely to use upper/lower splits, they are still a fantastic all-around option. The DC Training program follows a three-day upper/lower split, and the results are impressive.

Finally, the complete body split is an option. It only works for a tiny number of trainees, but it has been shown to work by people like Dr. Scott Stevenson and Jeff Nippard.

It’s essential to choose the proper training split, but you don’t want to overthink it.

You may have the greatest training split in the world, but if you train like a “candy-ass Nancy-boy,” you’ll never achieve your objectives. You must train like a beast if you want to become a beast!

Here’s Stan Efferding putting it more succinctly than I ever could:

“You know your sets, reps, exercises, workout sequence, slow-twitch, fast-twitch, whatever you pick, I don’t believe it makes a difference. 

Do you train to fail or do you train to succeed? Do you go all out at the gym? Or do you just do your four sets of 12 and call it a day?”

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I wish you the best of success in your strength-training endeavors!

Mike Jansen, M.D.

Thank you for visiting my website! I’m the creator of Revolutionary Program Design, and my name is Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT. You’ve come to the correct spot if you want to achieve your size and strength objectives quicker. My ambition is to create RPD the best strength training resource on the planet. So take a seat, sit back, and unwind. There has never been a better moment to lift weights or learn about the science and art of strength training program creation.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best 6 day workout split for building muscle?

There is no best 6 day workout split for building muscle.

Is 5 day split the best?

5 day split is the best for most people.

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