When I first started lifting, I followed Starting Strength religiously, falling victim to the all too common perception that squats, deads, bench, presses, cleans, and food would get me the muscular body that I so desperately wanted. I was reasonably successful, going from 6’2 and 160 lbs body weight to 200 lbs in a 6 month period, bringing my reps for deadlift from 135 to 335, squats from 115 to 245, bench from 105 to 185, and military press from 65 to 135. I felt good about being stronger and could tell I was somewhat bigger, but I realized I wasn’t making the appearance change that I thought would come with such changes in strength.
I got to reading, and realized that I’m not the only one to achieve an oversized lower body relative to my upper with Starting Strength. I realized that I’m not lifting to get strong as my primary goal, I’m lifting to achieve a better physique, so why on earth would I continue to follow a non-bodybuilding program? So that being said, I’m looking to follow a traditional bodybuilding split. I’ve searched the forums ad nauseum and have found a few routines that I am interested in, but I am curious about one thing.
I am finishing graduate school this week, and will have 3 months with literally no responsibilities whatsoever until I begin my job July 1. Given that, I want to take this time to do everything right, from my training to my nutrition, to make the best gains possible. I won’t be able to lift this way forever, but it’s an opportunity I want to make the most of. It’ll be my first foray into bodybuilding, and I want to do it right, and forge good habits from the start that will stick with me.
Given that I have the time to eat big and eat clean and the capability of hitting the gym for 7 days a week for as much time as I need, I was hoping to get some insight into an ideal routine for someone at my level of progress. I rarely see anyone talk about six or seven day splits, and in my forum searches I’ve only seen them described as being possible with gear or someone able to focus entirely on lifting/cooking/resting. Is there a reason for that beyond that it can be tough to schedule?
Since I am by no means lifting heavy compared to most users here, is it possible for me to do this without beating up my joints too much? Are full days off from the gym entirely necessary as long as the body part you’re training has been rested for 3 days? Or would it be better still to simply follow a traditional 5 day split with 2 rest days?
I’ve searched the forum and read for a few hours and seen a lot of conflicting posts from some of the more prominent members of this forum, so I thought I’d ask. Please play nice. I understand that the most important part is just getting in the gym to lift and not posting on the internet.
tl;dr version: I have three months with nothing to do but lift, cook, eat, rest, repeat. I am a relative newbie asking about 7 day splits or if full rest days are truly necessary as long as the body part being trained has been rested.