The Best Workout Split for MAXIMUM Muscle Gains

The Best Workout Split for MAXIMUM Muscle Gains


What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. Your training split is killing your gains. I promise I’m going to make this worthwhile
for you today because a lot of us are following very, very, very different types of training
splits. Are you here people? You’ve got buddies at the gym that do the
bro-splits – don’t bash them yet, guys. Not yet. It’s too early. Especially as you’re going to see here,
total body training – you could even take the guy who influenced me a long time ago
to dial back my workouts a bit. Mike Menser. High intensity workouts, one muscle group
every 14 days. You go and take that and think “That is
so much different from the advice that some people say now, with more frequent training,
with total body workouts. So how is it that even existed? How are people able to get away with that
if it never worked?” Maybe it does. So, what I want to do is go over some of these
splits to tell you what I think is going on here. Right here we’ve got the days of the week
and the typical training schedule. What I’ve laid out here first and foremost
is a total body split. For a total body split you’re looking at
the classic ‘train everything Monday, Wednesday, and Friday’ and you have a bunch of off
days. What’s nice about the total body split is
a few things, what you’ve probably heard. Number one: you get a little more recovery
in the week. Which is music to my ears. That’s the first thing. Number two: You’re getting more frequent
stimulation of the muscles in your body – all of them – so you’re getting that opportunity
to resume muscle protein synthesis every 48 hours or so, which is what the research is
pointing us to. I’ll be back to research in a second. But that’s what it’s pointing us to here,
why this is superior and why a lot of guys are moving toward this. We even have our own program coming out, which
is Total Body Split. So, I do believe it’s extremely beneficial
for many, many, many, many people. But if you could go back – this is not new. This is not new. You could go back decades and decades. Guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger were doing
both total body Monday, Wednesday, Friday splits and even more than that. What they were doing was taking your typical
total body workout which consisted of all of – your legs, chest, shoulders, arms,
back, everything – and they put them all in one workout. And he just decided to split it up a little
more into a push/pull with legs included in both of those workouts. So, a push workout would be chest, triceps,
shoulders, and quads. Then a pull workout would be back, biceps,
and hamstrings. So, you’re doing that now and you’ve taken
one workout, split it over two, increased the volume of those exercises a little bit
– because you could do so because you didn’t have so much to do in one day – shorten
the workout a little bit. Yes, the frequency is greatly enhanced here
with six days versus three, but the workouts were a little bit shorter. The idea was the same because you’re still
stimulating every 48 hours. So, the research with the proponents of total
body training will say, but we go and look at some of the other ideas and we have push/pull
legs as well. That’s another popular thing. People have probably heard about that. We’ve programmed push/pull legs many times. With a push/pull legs what we have here is,
a gain, six days a week. And we can do this even in a beginner versions. I’ll explain that in a second. But with a push/pull legs, the benefit is
that you’re starting to train more athletically. My big benefit with this split is that I get
to pair muscles together that share similar functions. So, I’m not thinking about chest training. I’m not thinking about tricep training. I’m thinking about push training. When you saw Antonio Brown coming through
here, we did a push workout. When you saw Seamus coming through here, we
did a posterior chain workout. We’re grouping muscles that tend to work
together because athletically, that’s how we’re going to function. So, I like this, and I veer toward this a
lot. What we do is – if you wanted to go more
toward a beginner level, we could do a push workout on a Monday, we could have a day off. We could do a legs workout here on Wednesday,
a day off. A pull workout here, and a couple of days
off. So, we’re dramatically decreasing the overall
volume, but at least we’re still maintaining the benefits of those similar functions and
shared functions to at least train the body in that way. What we don’t want is what we talked about
with bro-splits. We can break this down even further. A lot of guys do this. Again, we’ve used bro-splits in training
for a particular purpose because you always have to ask, “What is the end goal?” If it’s straight hypertrophy there are going
to be benefits to bro-splits, in terms of developing muscle, and building muscle like
a body builder. Even though we don’t train body builders. But we do recognize that guys want to build
muscle and sometimes doing that, it’s important to split things up. However, this is why bro-splits get a bad
name. What we’ve done here is, we go shoulders,
chest, triceps, back, biceps, legs, and then a day off. Why is that not so good? Because based on what I just told you here,
you’re sequentially overlapping shared functions. I’m going with a push muscle – shoulders
– and push. Chest. And push. Triceps. Where’s the recovery. We know that when we do chest exercises, we’re
going to impact the shoulders. If you do a bench-press here, you know you’re
working the shoulders. Where’s the recovery from your shoulder
training from the day before? Especially as a natural athlete, recovery
is paramount. Where is it? It’s absent. So, what you want to do is make sure you’re
not doing bro-splits like this because this is where they get a bad name. Instead, you opt for something different. Instead you’d opt for – again, I’m just
sharing some of the popular splits that are out there. I’m not trying to make a judgment on any
of them…until the end. We have chest and biceps. Chest and bis. Back and tris. Legs. Legs are often done twice a week simply because
it allows you to train them more frequently, for the reason we talked about down here. Then shoulders and traps, or shoulders and
whatever you want to include. Shoulders and abs. Whatever that split might be. We’ve got this other version here. This is another popular one. Chest, back, legs, shoulders, arms, and then
legs. Again, split out more of an anterior/posterior. This is very popular. Especially arm day on Friday is key, because
before you go out to the bars, if you could just do as few sets of biceps and triceps,
you’re good to go. I promise you. Especially in – a chest day is intact. This is great. Again, what we can do though is take a bro-split
and actually make it work. The way you make it work for you is based
on exercise selection and then putting the workouts in the right sequence, so you avoid
this and benefit a bit more from the principles of what we established back here with the
total body training. So, let’s take a look at this one here. When I train my biceps and chest, I wait 48
hours and I’m back to back and triceps. So, I have the potential to involve biceps
in my back exercises here. I have the ability to hit my chest again and
my triceps if I choose the right exercises. Again, if I place them in the right sequence,
in terms of the time lag between workouts – in my back workout – that would demand,
however, that I do exercises like an underhand barbell row, or even better, a weighted chin-up. You guys here me talk all the time about how
I think the weighted chin-up is a great back exercise and, of course, it’s a great bicep
exercise as well. So, I can get great bicep activation, reactivation
48 hours after, by choosing that exercise or both of those exercises here. If my back workout consisted solely of straight
arm pushdowns – which I love, by the way – dumbbell pullovers. People call it the upper body squat. Another great exercise. Maybe even lat pulldowns, or wide grip lat
pulldowns. I don’t have as much bicep activation there. As a matter of fact, I can pretty much go
an entire workout without activating the biceps, which would be a violation of the re-stimulation
of the biceps within 48 hours. It becomes very important, that if you’re
going to do this, you choose the right exercise. So why do some guys get results and some guys
don’t? Some guys choose better exercises. Some guys plan this out more thoughtfully
and it winds up working. Again, as soon as you hear somebody say “Well,
research says”, what that means is, ‘I have no experience’. That’s what that translates to. If they lead with “Studies show”, it means
‘I have not experience. I’m not training people. I don’t understand how people train in front
of me because I’ve never trained them myself. I just read studies’. You could take strength coaches. I have a great friend of mine, Joe DeFranco,
who’s a great strength coach. Do you know what his studies are? The hundreds, and hundreds of athletes that
come through his facility every day that show these differences to him. He knows they’re not a textbook. He knows that they’re not a PubMed study. He knows that there are differences from person
to person. Which is going to lead me to my final point. You realize that these things can vary in
their success level because of the different variables. Even the person’s ability to sleep well
between the accessions. We don’t know that in our studies. They’re not controlling for what these guys
do when they leave the lab. One guy could sleep 10 hours a night and the
other guy could be out partying and eating like crap. Which would entirely impact what their training
protocol was. So, what would make this all simple? What would tie this all together? What would tie it all together is a scenario
I want you to imagine. People have said “Jeff, your biceps are
really good. They have good bicep development. Especially for your physique.” However, some people would say “Jeff, you
just have good bicep genetics. That’s all it is.” Let me lay out a scenario for you. What if I was following, let’s just say
– not this bad bro-split – but this split here. When I’m training biceps directly, once
a week, and if I do that and my biceps are developed the way they are, but your chest
doesn’t look so good. People have actually said that about me. No upper chest. Whatever, guys. It is what it is. The fact is, maybe it’s not that I have
such great bicep genetics. Maybe it’s that my training split that I’ve
stuck with so long because it’s been so loyal to me is optimal for bicep development. Hitting them once every seven days with this
indirect work on back day here is the holy grail of biceps for me. Maybe not for you, but for me. But the problem with that is, because we’re
on a routine in a split – which we all do. We follow the same split. We follow a split. I don’t care how long you’re doing it
for. You follow the split. The other muscle groups that aren’t responding
as well are slaves to that split. The chest is also – because it’s linked
here and it’s only once a week – may not be getting enough stimulation. Even with the indirect stimulation here. By the way, tricep day would involve some
sort of a close-grip bench-press to do that. But let’s say that’s not enough. The chest isn’t responding well enough. It’s a slave to that split. So, what I want to do is make sure I change
my split up. I would go to a total body and in my total
body, if I was doing 12 sets of biceps over here over the course of a week, and now I
divide them up to four, four, and four; monitor what happens. Do you continue to see strength increases? Do you see development continue? Or do you see the opposite? Do you start to become less strong in your
bicep training? Do you start seeing development of your biceps
taper off, or not look as good anymore? If that’s the case, what you would do is
modify this split. So, you were doing biceps, once again, in
addition to this split once a week. It only makes sense. From a frequency standpoint it’s optimal. But it doesn’t sacrifice the fact that now
my chest gets stimulate every other day and now I’m going to start to see gains. So, you know why splits are killing your gains,
guys? Because we’ve fallen in love with the same
one too often and we stick with it for far too long. If you’re not making gains in strength,
if you’re not making gains in hypertrophy, if you’re not changing in the mirror, if
you’re not satisfied with where you’re at, but you’ve been told ‘because studies
say that a certain method of training is what you should be doing’; stop thinking that
way. Start changing what it is you’re doing. Experiment with something different. Try a different split. Don’t go with the dumb bro-splits because
those are dumb for a reason. We’ve already outlined those. But use something different. I’m not advocating for any of them in particular. I’m advocating for change. If you’re unwilling to change just because
you’re locked in, because people will tell you ‘total body is so great’, or ‘splits
have helped build massive biceps’, or whatever it is, stop thinking that way. It’s not individual to you and it’s your
responsibility to start figuring out what is. When you do start mixing your routines and
your splits up and you start to see the changes and the improvements in some areas, and maybe
regressions in others. Then you become a little more educated as
to how you need to put that workout together for yourself to allow for the best gains everywhere
going forward. Guys, I hope you’ve found this video helpful. Again, the point here is that you need to
put the science back in strength. You need to stop putting studies at the forefront
of every decision you make. Experience trumps everything. I can tell you that, again, firsthand, myself. I could tell you that experience trumps everything
because we are individuals and we respond differently to training. You’re an individual. You want to make sure you understand how you
best respond. If you’re looking for training programs,
we have training programs with all kinds of splits. All different splits for different reasons. Based on goal. Based on experience level. Based on the need to change up what you’re
doing. They’re all over at ATHLEANX.com. In the meantime, if you’ve found the video
helpful leave your comments and thumbs up below. If you haven’t already, please subscribe
and turn on your notifications so you never miss a video. Let me know what else you want me to cover. This has been a question that has been asked
here many, many times before. I feel like it needed a more elaborate answer. There’s no “Oh, the best training split
is this!” No. That’s wrong. That’s B.S. That’s bad advice. That’s what you’d get, maybe, on another
channel. Not here. All right, guys. I’ll be back here again soon with another
video. See you.

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100 thoughts on “The Best Workout Split for MAXIMUM Muscle Gains

  1. Want to win an ATHLEAN-X program for free, no strings attached? Click the link below to find out how!

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  2. splits just seem dumb compared to fullbody, uless ur traing to be a body builder or whatever total body is far better for overall heath, who the fuck wants to keep track of what mucle group to hit on the day when ur 60 or 70? just get in the gym and hit everything,

  3. Excellent stuff mate, thanks so much for doing this! I found this so helpful as I’m starting back at gym next week. Thanks man.

  4. How does this sound:
    -day one: chest, front/mid delt, biceps
    -day two: back (upper, lats, lower), rear delt, traps, triceps
    -day three: squats, hip thrusts, calves, abs
    -day four: rest
    And then repeat.
    I switched to this from the same workouts but with a day on day off routine.
    Help is appreciated.

  5. just telling you – the sum of anecdote is not equivalent to statistics.
    and yes life behavior is monitored and discussed >.>

  6. Once you hear someone saying " Research says ", he has no experience.
    Wow, who do you mean by that? 😀
    Much more appreciation Jeff, really you are supplying us with great info. Trustworthy.

  7. For anyone confused , I'll make it easy for you ! If a workout routine is working for you then stick to it (it's not necessary that you change it). But if you stop seeing progress , then you should probably try shuffling the routine so that your muscles (that aren't showing progress anymore) get activated again and start to grow.

  8. Monday: Chest & Tricep
    Tuesday: Shoulder & Bicep
    Wednesday: Back
    Thursday: Legs
    Friday: Break
    Saturday: Cheat Day
    Sunday: Regret

  9. i think we should combine Overhead squats, Snatch pull, Clean pull, clean and front squat, Push jerk would be good for your speed and strength muscles as well.

  10. Tell me if my routine is good

    Monday: Chest/Triceps/Legs
    Tuesday: Back/Biceps/
    Wednesday: Shoulders/Abs
    Thursday: Rest
    Friday: Explosive workouts
    Saturday: Rest
    Sunday: Rest

  11. So I only have access to the gym 4 days out of the week. I do biceps with back and triceps with chest and then finally legs. Is that a bad thing or should I find a new routine? I am only now starting to include shoulders so I’m thinking I need a new routine. I’m trying to do the push pull thing

  12. I don't just do 7 day cycles. 7 is an arbitrary number society uses. Yeah that would make remembering what you're doing each day easier (which is good for clients) but if you're serious about what you're doing don't limit yourself to 7 day cycles (the benefit may be small but otherwise you may notice days that feel like you can't recover enough or days you don't fully utilize your ability to recover.

  13. I am currently on a PHUL split
    Upper body Power
    Lower Body Power
    rest
    Upper hypertrophy
    Lower hypertrophy
    rest
    rest

    And works well for me so far seen some great results.

  14. hey jeff, or anyone that can help me, what do you think about the push pull legs routine ? it consists of working out 3 days in a row with training chest and triceps in the first day
    back and biceps in the second day
    and legs in the third day
    with having the 4th day for cardio and abs
    the other days will be for resting

  15. I am currently working on building a new routine right now, but I would like to share my old routine. My previous routine worked wonders in getting me where I am at, and I stayed with it for about a year and a half. its a big 3 type split, although I always emphasized pull ups first over benching (benching is kind of lame)

    Upper: Pull ups (wide, neutral, chin ups, etc.), barbell rows, cable rows or (cable pulldown), shoulder press (DB or bar), bench press (Db or bar), chest fly, curls, tricep exercise (any type)
    Squat: Squat (front or regular), calf raises, hip thrusts, leg press (all of this was high volume)
    DL: Deadlift (regular or sumo), planks, leg raises, sit ups or crunches, battle ropes, Russian twist, and after all this anything you want.
    Rest day
    Upper (same, with variations)
    lower (same, with variations)
    core (same, with variations)
    I usually finish each workout with 20-30 minutes of cardio as well. Doing this workout I lost about 15 lbs of weight, and much much more than that of fat while gaining a lot in muscle. That being said, it was basically my beginner program. I started with a 185 Deadlift and currently am at 325. I started barely being able to do pull ups and now do weighted sets of 5×5. Now I am trying to build a targeted routine to take my deadlift to 405.

  16. I'm 6'5 and 185 pounds.
    Bench: 185 max
    Deadlift: 225 max
    Squat: 155 max
    Need some advice fellas. What should I do to gain muscle and strength ?

  17. If I choose the Push/Pull routine for 6 days a week. How many and which exercises should I do? (Personally I love barbells, dips, pull ups (which I’m still using a band) push ups and chin ups) I’ve been working out for about 8 months and I do see progress but I believe if I had the right knowledge I would have better results, please help 🙂

  18. Anyone looking for a push, pull, legs split from athlean x.
    So push would be chest, shoulders, triceps. How ive been do that was doing a 1 primarily extercise for each muscle (example bench press) then sore in 6 routine for each muscle for volume. For Pull it would be back, biceps, and traps same thing big movement for each then sore in 6 (i always deadlift on pull days) for each and for legs it would be quad, hams, glutes and calf which actually for this i found that doing the perfect leg workout and sore in 6 for calfs works great. Then after for abs i train everyday i do them as a burnout after all these extercises (use the six pack promise app) and of course ill do my face pulls before or after the abs everyday (20 perfect reps) additionally i dont take anydays off this is a 3 day split the i just keep repeating it takes 40 to 60 mins to complete that including the 5-10 min mobility drills which varies depending on the day. And every day before i go to bed i do a 20 min full body stretch. Do this and youll see massive gains 💪

  19. Frank zane: a, b, c, rest, repeat.
    Beeing doing that forever and it works great
    A. Chest, triceps and shoulder
    B. Back, traps, biceps
    C. Legs and abs

  20. I'll put my story in here and I think it just shows how different we all are. I've only just started working out again after taking a decade off. Present me is really upset with past me for this, but future me is going to be very happy with present me.

    So. I was 18 years old, 5'7", and 125lbs soaking wet. I moved to Texas, focused on work, working out, and developing a social life. Over the course of 2 years I put on 40lbs of nothing but muscle. My shoulders basically ran away from my head. I was strong. I looked great. I was bigger [which i didn't notice so much]. When I moved back to California, all of my friends told me they were impressed with my gains.

    I wasn't careful though. I sustained a few injuries from not knowing what I was doing. I was running a 4-6 day week at 1-3 hours. And no. Those 3 hour days weren't spent straight up working out. I did a good split that worked for me. Arms and chest. Stomach and back. Shoulders and legs. Day off. Full body. Day off. And this did vary a bit depending on how I felt walking in the gym. 40lbs in 2 years. I was 18 so I know it was much easier to get gains for no reason than it is today at 30. But I'm giving it another go to get my health back in order. I'm on day 2 of working out and man do I already feel good. I'm less sleepy. I have real energy. I'm happy. I feel better. Once this easing in phase is done, I'm gonna get on my old routine and see how it works and if it doesn't I'll switch it up. These videos have been really informative for my approach this go around.

  21. Workout, look good, get the girl, girl ruins life, stop working out, get fat, get rid of girl finally…work out, look good, get the girl, girl ruins life, stop working out, get fat, get rid of girl finally…

  22. This is so good …. experience trumps all. I imagine this is also true as you care for your injured athletes, your experience in helping others trumps the pubmed studies every time! Thanks Man

  23. The takeaway for me is that a modified bro split (being careful not to double-stack push or pull days) can work well for hypertrophy. Thanks once again, Jeff!

  24. Hey guys, someone in here asked about an ideal 4-day split… how does this look:

    M: Chest, triceps
    T: Shoulders, forearms, abs
    W: Rest
    Th: Leg day
    F: Back, neck, biceps
    S: Rest
    Su: Rest

  25. 2 days a week full body. Yoga twice a week. Swim 2-3 times a week as part of recovery.!And judo 🥋 4-5 times a weak. I’m in judo competition. Am I lifting at the gym enough with 2 TB days a week? Please answer 🙏🏼

  26. I want to give Push Legs Pull twice a week a go, but focus on strength rather than size, but a friend of mine says they benefit strength wise from less frequent sessions. Would it be wise to target strength for the first split of the week and size for the second? (sunday rest day)

  27. Some people are complaining that they didn't understand what to do after watching this video. Actually the main point here is that you should not stick to one workout program because there is no 'The Best Workout Program' and everyone's body responds differently and even the same person needs to change his/her workout plan when it's necessary. Every one of popular workout splits works at a certain extent and has it's pros and cons. Experiment with yourself with different workout routines and gain experience which will help you reach your fitness goals. The title of the video is satire because there is no best workout split.

  28. İ am going to start a split like this.
    Monday: chest + shoulders
    Tuesday: back + abs
    Wednesday: legs
    Thursday: biceps+triceps
    Friday Saturday rest days
    Sunday: cardio or swimming

    What y'all think about it

  29. I just like being in the gym. It's the only time and place in my life where I don't feel depressed and down on myself and can get my mind off of the things that I can't seem to shake otherwise. The more I'm in there the better off I am even if I don't really feel like I'm making the kind of progress I'd like to see.

  30. Due to school being very intense as im in my last years and aiming high academically, i can only go 3 times a week. Sometimes only 2 if exams are coming, mabye 4 times if im a bit free. But for the most part its gonna be 3 times a week. I've had a phase of just testing out the gym and stuff, but for the last 2 weeks i've actually been on a total body training program for x3 a week, with a workout A and B system (by Jeremy Ethier, youtuber). It's not bad although I don't feel soreness that much, and sometimes I don't feel the correct muscle during the exercise (i.e. not feeling chest during an incline press). The workout isnt bad, the exercises are good, but im not sure if they're working for me, or if its just a waste of time. Im not sure if total body works for me at all when it comes to gains, ive thought of trying a split, which could work but i can only go 3 times a week so it wont be as effective i assume. Im not sure what im supposed to do. Should i change it up anyways or wait some time? Im doing my best to follow proper technique and asked coaches around the gym so its not the technique, im just ensure of what to do i hope for a response.

  31. I had to watch this video twice to get the full intent and the science behind the splits that we follow too often. Again, this is one of the many great videos by Jeff advocating for change rather than dependency on "Study Shows"!

  32. If anyone else is confused, here's a simplified version of the same basic information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9O8mOtdKr44
    I recommend watching both videos, but the link above should help you mentally organize the information Jeff provided.

  33. Can someone put all what he said into 1 meaningful sentence? I feel like I wasted my time watching him just blaberring around. I know he's an expert and want to help people with these videos, but man he talks too much…

  34. Im pretty new to the gym, been training for 10 months
    i do 6 day split everyweek so everything gets trained atleast 2 times
    monday, 'chest triceps shoulders' tuesday 'back and biceps' and weedensday 'legs and core'.. and then repeat before taking a rest day
    ive heard of full body workouts can i have some advice on whats best plz :=) im 19 btw sooo got lots of energy

  35. He is super knowledgeable but goddamn get to the point! He needs to treat his videos like a public speach and write it out beginning with a thesis, then an outline, etc. and edit it down so he doesn't ramble or puts forward numerous hypotheticals that get him off topic nonstop.

  36. Used to hit the gym at least 6 times per week. Got busy and only able to go 3 days a week now. Seeing better results with the new routine tbh.

    Monday: Back and Shoulders + abs
    Wednesday: Chest and legs + abs
    Friday: Biceps, Triceps and legs + abs

  37. Perfect training plan was created a long time ago. Why people are still trying to create something that already exists?!

  38. isn't it kinda odd to say put the science back in training but than disregard "what studies say" i get that studies and practical experience aren't the same, but a decent study is repeatable and therefor should be close to the practical.

  39. I tried everything what works best for me is 5 days in a row then a break then 5 days in a row again i even did 6 days in a row it was crazy haha…did that for like 8 months (4 months 3-4 days days a week when i started) i almost look like Jeff now

  40. I stare with back and biceps on Monday shoulders triceps and traps on Tuesday. Wednesday I train my legs abs and a little bit of biceps then on Saturday I finish with chest and triceps and I'm seeing great results

  41. I'm seriously considering to start a real no-BS power building video series just to expose these drug-addict steroid-user/abuser junk-program-selling BS artists that even with all the drugs look like NOTHING! I can't stand these phonies! 😛

  42. Here is my split. (Without any research) any comments.
    Mon: Chest and back ( long day at gym)
    Tue: Shoulder, Legs (light), Abs, Forearms
    Wed: Bicep, Triceps, Light Chest and back
    Thu: Chest and Back (Heavier, Less rep)
    Fri: Shoulder, Legs, Forearms, Abs, Cardio
    Sat: Bicep, Triceps (Heavy) , Cardio

    I anyway do some cardio daily.

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