T Nation

optimal muscle split??


this is my first post outside of trying to win a free supplement along with the other "lurkers". i've been reading t-mag for a few months now and i think there are some really experienced and knowledgable people here.
i'm 6' 3" and weigh 215 lbs. I've only been lifting for about 6 months and have put on almost 30 pounds by eating everything i see, training as heavy as i possibly can, and getting plenty of sleep. Everybody i know can't help but to comment on how much bigger i am.

Here's my routine.

monday: shoulders, biceps, stomach
Standing Military Presses, Side Lateral Raises, Rear Lateral Raises, chinups, ab pulldowns (not sure what those are called)

tuesday: back
Bent-over barbell rows, Lat Pulldowns (In the front), Seated Cable Rows (using a v bar), pullups

wednesday: legs
squats, seated calf raises, leg press, straight leg deadlifts

thursday chest, triceps
flat bench, dips

friday: drink
sat: drink
sunday: rest

I do most exercises for 3 sets with as much weight as i can handle for 5-7 reps. I'm not sure if this is the best way to split up my muscle groups. I've heard that i don't want to work chest and triceps the same day because after doing bench my triceps will be too tired to train properly. Any suggestions are appreciated. I want to make the most of my time in the gym.



Welcome to the forum, good to have you here!

As to your schedule I am wondering why you are doing Chins on Monday and then training back again on Tuesday with Barbell Rows and Pulldowns?

Also, you train four days in a row then take three days in a row off. I would use one of those days off to break the four days in a row in half.

Other than that it sounds like you are making great progress. Do you know how much of that 30lb gain is muscle? Did you do body fat measurements?

Keep up the great work!

And once again welcome aboard!



well, i do the chins on monday because that seems to be the best way to hit my biceps. perhaps i should do biceps on a different day. This schedule works for me with my work shedule but i'm ready to make changes.
i was 12.5% bodyfat when i measured six months ago. I have admittedly added some fat that i'm either going to have to shed or buy a lot of larger pants really soon.
my main goal was to big large and now i'm ready to get disciplined and eat cleaner and cut out the weekend partying. well, not totally cut out, but be smarter about it.
i also have another question. I train chest with 205 lbs which is the same amount of weight that i use for squats. I know it's pitiful and I'm working hard on legs. Does anybody think hitting legs twice a week might be better than once a week?


a few things i noticed:
1. you dont seem to be hitting your biceps very hard, i think chinups are the only thing i seen.
2. on your leg day you should be doing your calves at the end of your workout

and i agree with #2, i would split up your 4 days on with an off day in between.



I personally feel that legs should be trained twice per week. They are actually more slow twitch muscle than most other body parts and will respond to more training sessions. I have trained legs up to three times per week for limited periods of time, with great results.

One particular program, written by the former publisher of "Iron Man" magazine, calls for doing a 20 rep squat session three times per week. You try to hit 20 reps with your normal 10 rep weight! one warm up set and then one set to 20, it's nasty.

Are you stating that you are benching the same weight that you are squatting? I am not clear on that.


yes....sadly, i am squatting and benching the same weight. i think i will switch to working my legs twice per week although i already hate leg day. I have been hitting them very hard....damn things just don't want to grow....CHICKEN LEGS!!


horizontal push/pull


vertical push/pull




If you are up for it try my Crazy Eights routine which is listed on another thread in this section. This may shock your legs into growth! Either way the best of luck to you, keep up the great work.



Horizontal push is bench press, right?
i'm not sure what horizontal pull is. back?


For a relative beginner, I believe this split is effective:

DAY 1 (Chest, tris)
DAY 2 (Legs)
Rest (you should need it after hammering your legs)
DAY 3 (Back, Bi's)
Day 4 (Shoulders, Abs)

Stick with compound movements,avoid machines like the plague, and lift HEAVY, low reps and volume.


I was reading CT's new article and he recommends a rep range of 10 to 12, in order to build structial strength (tendons, liagaments etc) as well as strength, this is for a beginner.


I like P-DOG's split.

I strongly believe in separating back training in horizontal and vertical pulling.

I also believe in separating leg days into quad dominant and hip dominant days. No one can do their hamstrings justice if they've trained quads effectively.