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More or Less: The Perfect Training Split Workout Routine

How often should you be trained? How much rest do you need? We've found your perfect training split.

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bodybuilder in gym
bodybuilder in gym

You know the old maxim: There’s more than one way to skin a cat. That saying rings true when it comes to working out; almost no two bodybuilders have the same training philosophy. When it comes to rep ranges, some guys like training superheavy with low reps, while others prefer light weight and high reps. Some rest only a short period between sets, while others seem to wait an eternity before starting again. And no matter which side a lifter is on in regard to these training protocols, he tends to use the opposite tactic from time to time just for fun or to prevent stagnation.

Another issue that causes much debate is training frequency, or the recovery time between body-part routines. Some bodybuilders work each muscle group just once a week, while others do twice a week or more. But unlike varying reps, rest periods, and other variables, bodybuilders tend to stick to one—and only one—training frequency. For example, an individual who prefers training each body part once a week usually sticks to that pattern regardless of how heavy he’s training, the length of his rest periods, or his exercise selection. The key is to find what works best for you, which is easier said than done. And that’s where research comes in. It just so happens a group of scientists conducted a study to help you determine the best training frequency for you and only you.

Recovery Basics

The rules of training frequency used to be quite simple. Rule No. 1: Never train a muscle while it’s still sore. Makes sense, right? If a muscle is sore, it must still be recovering. But while that may work for the newbie who’s still hurting four or five days after his last workout, what about the experienced lifter whose soreness lasts only a day or two after a brutal workout? Does the rule extend to him, too? Not exactly. For the seasoned veteran, muscle soreness is no longer a tool to determine optimal training frequency. It takes a much deeper understanding of muscle recovery to really nail it down.

Here’s another rule to consider: Allow a minimum of 48 hours between workouts for the same muscle group. Not a bad barometer, yet it’s unrealistic for most guys, as it means you’d be going to the gym practically every day. Does that fit into your schedule? Didn’t think so. Also, 48 hours is the minimum recommendation and doesn’t ensure that you’ll be fully recovered.

On the other end of the spectrum, and a common practice these days, many bodybuilders allow a full seven days of rest for each muscle group. This is fairly prudent because it ensures adequate recovery and works well with a weekly schedule. But it doesn’t work for everyone; a full week could actually be too long of a recovery for you, and you could be missing out on some significant gains in strength and size. So how do you determine where you fall within the two- to seven-day time frame of muscle recovery? How do you know what your optimal training frequency is? Simple—you take a test.

Routine

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Monday

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
3
Reps
8-10
Rest
2 min
Exercise 2 of 44

Dumbbell Press

Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
8-10
Rest
2 min
Exercise 3 of 44

Cable Crossover

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, D-Handle Attachment
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
1 min
Exercise 4 of 44

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
8-10
Rest
2 min
Exercise 5 of 44

Barbell Upright Row

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
8-10
Rest
2 min
Exercise 6 of 44

Bent-Over Lateral Raise

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
1 min
Exercise 7 of 44

Dumbbell Shrug

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
8-10
Rest
2 min
Equipment
Bench, EZ-Bar
Sets
3
Reps
8-10
Rest
2 min
Exercise 9 of 44

Triceps Pressdown

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, V-Handle Attachment
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
2 min

Tuesday

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 10 of 44

Back Squat

Equipment
Barbell, Squat Rack
Sets
3
Reps
8-10
Rest
2 min
Exercise 11 of 44

Leg Press

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
8-10
Rest
2 min
Exercise 13 of 44

Lying Leg Curl

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
1 min
Exercise 14 of 44

Standing Calf Raise

Equipment
Box
Sets
4
Reps
10-12
Rest
1 min
Exercise 15 of 44

Hanging Leg Raise

Equipment
Pullup Bar
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
1 min
Exercise 16 of 44

Cable Crunch

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, Rope Attachment
Sets
3
Reps
12-15
Rest
1 min

Wednesday

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 17 of 44

General Pullup

Equipment
Pullup Bar
Sets
3
Reps
6-10
Rest
2 min
Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
8-10
Rest
2-min
Exercise 19 of 44

Reverse-Grip Pulldown

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, Straight Bar Attachment
Sets
3
Reps
8-10
Rest
2 min
Exercise 20 of 44

Barbell Biceps Curl

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
8-10
Rest
2 min
Exercise 21 of 44

EZ-Bar Preacher Curl

Equipment
EZ-Bar, Preacher Bench
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
2 min
Exercise 22 of 44

Barbell Wrist Curl

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
1 min

Friday

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
3
Reps
6-8
Rest
2 min
Exercise 24 of 44

Dumbbell Bench Press

Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
6-8
Rest
2 min
Exercise 25 of 44

Incline Dumbbell Flye

Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
8-10
Rest
2 min
Exercise 26 of 44

Overhead Barbell Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
6-8
Rest
2 min
Exercise 27 of 44

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
8-10
Rest
2 min
Exercise 28 of 44

Barbell Lateral Raise

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
2 min
Exercise 29 of 44

Barbell Shrug

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
4
Reps
6-8
Rest
2 min
Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
4
Reps
6-8
Rest
2 min
Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, Bench, Rope Attachment
Sets
3
Reps
8-10
Rest
2 min

Saturday

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 33 of 44

Leg Press

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
6-8
Rest
2 min
Exercise 35 of 44

Romanian Deadlift

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
8-10
Rest
2 min
Exercise 36 of 44

Seated Calf Raise

Equipment
Bench
Sets
4
Reps
15-20
Rest
1 min
Exercise 37 of 44

Reverse Crunch

Equipment
No Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
12-15
Rest
1 min
Exercise 38 of 44

Crunch

Equipment
No Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
15-25
Rest
1 min

Sunday

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 39 of 44

Barbell Bent-Over Row

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
6-8
Rest
2 min
Exercise 40 of 44

Wide-Grip Pullup

Equipment
Pullup Bar
Sets
3
Reps
6-8
Rest
2 min
Exercise 41 of 44

Straight-Arm Pulldown

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, Lat Pulldown Bar, Straight Bar Attachment
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
1 min
Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
8-10
Rest
2 min
Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
1 min
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