T Nation

Better Workout Split for Size?


#1

Hey guys,

I’ve been working with a few different routines for a while now and I’m wondering which one results in larger increases of muscle gain. Now I know that each routine is obviously subjective to the individual, but my main question here is this. Do you think it would be more beneficial to do a split that involves hitting muscles twice a week, or a split that targets more of 1 muscle group a week.

I feel hitting them twice a week gives you more volume, but only once a week allows more rest (lets assume for the sake of this I’m getting adequate sleep and proper nutrition). The thing that is giving me trouble is I will need to take 2 off days a week for my clinical rotation. So here are two sample routines I had in mind. Any ideas which one would be better?

Thanks!

Routine A:
Day 1 - Rest
Day 2 - Chest/Biceps
Day 3 - Legs (more quad dominated)
Day 4 - Shoulders/Back
Day 5 - Rest
Day 6 - Chest/Triceps
Day 7 - Back/Legs (more hamstring dominated)

(routine A is good, but fails to incorporate shoulders twice a week)

Routine B:
Day 1 - Rest
Day 2 - Chest
Day 3 - Back
Day 4 - Quads/Calves
Day 5 - Rest
Day 6 - Arms
Day 7 - Shoulders

(I also like routine B, but I’m not sure if hitting just one muscle group a week is conducive to max growth?)


#2

Here is the best split for size:

Breakfast: 3 whole eggs, 2 pieces toast, large glass of milk
Snack: Pretzels or nuts
Lunch: Large sandwich with lots of meat and a gatorade
Snack: Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich
Dinner: Large piece of steak or chicken with rice or potatoes

And another big glass of milk before bed


#3

Any reason for no veggies?


#4

I’d go for A due to training frequency of each muscle group. Regardless of that, you can still botch the program if the training sessions themselves suck donkey dick and even better if you don’t eat enough.


#5

No reason other than this was some brief dry humor, not an actual diet plan, lol


#6

Hahaha I like it max13 and yeah I agree with the training frequency
concept!!


#7

Routine A with six slices of French toast for breakfast (one egg per slice of toast in the mix), bacon optional; and a roast chicken per day; not to mention lots of whole milk and potatoes; whatever other protein sources you need to get 2xbodyweight; and veggies so you don’t die of constipation. I find carrots, broccoli and cherry tomatoes the most user friendly vegetables.


#8

As to your actual question OP, I like the first split you have a lot better than the second.


#9

Same here max13 the more I look at it :+1:t2:


#10

[quote=“mpenque, post:1, topic:220849”]
The thing that is giving me trouble is I will need to take 2 off days a week for my clinical rotation.[/quote]
I’m guessing these 2 off days are floating and won’t be, like, the same two days each week? Consistency is key above all else, so the “better workout split” will be one that you won’t have to rearrange constantly to account for a varied work schedule.

An upper/lower, hitting each half twice a week, is great and adaptable. Something like the Blending Size and Strength routine hits every bodypart directly twice a week and only needs 4 workouts. You can even run three workouts in a row if necessary, because the sets/reps are different each session.

What’s your current height, weight, and general fat level?


#11

Honestly I’m not crazy about either split, but if I had to choose my preference would be “B”, BUT you don’t have any hamstring time in “B”. Don’t forget hamstrings!

If size is your goal, we need to realize a few things:

  • Your nutrition is what will put the size on, assuming your training hard and heavy. So, if you’re not counting calories and macros, your training split doesn’t matter. Figure out your TDEE, add a 10% surplus every day and start there, using the mirror and scale as your guide. If the scale goes up and conditioning still looks good, keep going. If the scale goes up and conditioning is getting puffier, pull back and slow down. Adding LBM is a slow and steady process, despite what most people think and do. If you haven’t been training too long you should be able to put on size fairly quickly with a good, consistent, well executed plan. If you’ve been training longer it’ll be a slower process. Either way you have to be extremely meticulous if you don’t want to get fat.

  • Regarding your question of hitting muscle groups once or twice a week, there’s no “this is better than that” answer. Both are good and must be done correctly when implemented. If you’re hitting once a week, then you kill the muscle, lift heavy, incorporate some intensity techniques like drop sets or forced reps, extended sets etc., and recover until you hit that muscle next week.
    If you hit twice, then you lower the volume a little bit and lose the drop set stuff so you can recover by the time you hit again 3 days later. For example, right now I recently started a 2-a-day program, training twice a day and hitting everything twice a week. So you can bet I cut the volume down and am not doing crazy drop sets. I’ll cycle this plan for a few weeks, then take a “de-load” week for recovery and growth, then repeat the cycle.

So again, it’s not that one is better than the other. Once per week body part splits are the gold standard for a reason, they work. But twice a week is also very common and works well when implemented correctly. If you’re trying to bring up a weak area, higher frequency is certainly a way to do it. So, if you want to hit something twice a week, go for it and see what happens. But, be aware you shouldn’t be doing the same workout twice a week that you would do if you were training them once a week.

~Abs and calves should be trained twice a week regardless of your split~

  • The WAY you train will also play a significant role in your growth, not just the split. Getting some heavy compound movements in and keeping everything in the 8-12 rep range to increase strength and add size is the way to go, keeping in mind you must use a weight that targets your desired muscle and doesn’t have you swinging your body around to get your movements in.

Use the heaviest weight you can to keep the tension and initiate with your desired muscle, try not to get the upper body movement and knee movement that most people have when training with free weights.

  • If you want to grow you MUST have a great MMC (mind-muscle connection) and feel the targeted muscle doing the work. This takes a lot of time and extreme focus throughout every rep of every set of every session.

  • Make sure you’re getting a ton of sleep, otherwise the best training and nutrition in the world won’t mean a thing.

So, just to recap, pick a split that makes sense, train hard and eat to grow. It really takes quite a lot of consistency. Try not to get caught up in the “I want to add “x” pounds of mass”. That’s impossible to say. Execute a well designed plan and see what happens, think LONG term, like at least 6 months to a year if you want to look noticeably bigger.

And of course, be sure to post any questions along the way!


#12

That helps so much thank you robstein!! I completely agree about the volume
of training. Volume can be looked at as an equation: Volume = frequency x
intensity x time, and like your saying by manipulating the variables in
that equation (in this case my frequency or intensity) I can see similar
results! It helps so much talking about this with others. And I have always
been good about nutrition but you have inspired me to crack down on it
harder.

Thank you again!


#13

Like any training variable, there is likely to be a benefit in varying frequency occasionally.


#14

Just pick a proven routine off this site like the one Chris linked.

For ‘max growth’ main thing is making sure youre training the big lifts reasonably heavy at some point in the week and that your numbers go up reasonably regularly


#15

Space out your leg and back day, to give posterior chain a rest go with workout 2, it comes down to time to train, goals diet, are you doing road construction or sitting in cubicle, wish i had 5 days a week to train.


#16

I did the 5 day split best split was push pull 4 days a week. But i was younger recoup better if you want to know push pull split let know


#17

Yeah what was your split, I’d love to hear!