Weeding Through Workout Splits to Find the Best Choice

Weeding Through Workout Splits to Find the Best Choice

One of the favorite questions of bros everywhere is, and always will be:

"Which workout split should I use?"

With so many different options to choose from, how do you determine which split is best suited for your goals? Let's take a look at some of the different workouts and help you to determine which is right for you.

Sorting Through Workout Splits

Upper/Lower Workout Split

The upper/lower split generally consists of a 2 day per week or 4 day per week split. It involves working the upper half and lower half of the body on alternating days.

The upper/lower workout split is useful for individuals that have limited available time and can only make it to the gym a couple of days per week. Beginners generally may see noticeable gains with this split due to the fact that their bodies are previously unaccustomed to resistance training. Therefore, any new sort of stimulus will provide muscle building benefits never before seen.

Related: Are Bro Splits Legit?

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An upper/lower split will generally consist of a single exercise per muscle group. For example, an upper day may consist of dumbbell flyes, lat pull down, lateral raises, bicep curls, and triceps extensions.

While the upper/lower split provides frequency in terms of the workout, it simply does not have the abundant volume necessary for intermediate and advanced lifters to make gains. Performing one single exercise per muscle group will generally not provide the progressive overload needed to see results. Therefore, unless time is a major issue the upper/lower split is best suited for beginner lifters only.
  • Monday - Upper
  • Tuesday - Lower
  • Wednesday - Off
  • Thursday - Upper
  • Friday - Lower

Push/Pull/Legs Workout Split

The push/pull/legs workout split is a popular mass building routine that breaks the workouts for the body into three separate days.

The push day will consist of exercises for chest, shoulders (front and lateral deltoids), and triceps. The pull day will consist of exercises for back, biceps, and rear deltoids. Leg day, on the other hand, will incorporate all muscles of the legs including quads, hamstrings, and calves.

The push/pull/legs workout split is perfect for individuals that can make it to the gym 3 days per week because all muscle groups will be worked at least one time per week. However, if you go to the gym more than 3 days per week the split can simply be rotated in a fashion that calls for 3 days on and 1 day off (e.g. push/pull/legs/off, repeat).

If you are really into both volume and frequency you can run a 6 day split using the push/pull/legs/push/pull/legs-off setup with only one day off per week.

The advantage of the push/pull/legs split is the frequency and volume. However, since you are working out several muscle groups on the same day certain muscles may become fatigued and therefore may not receive as much volume as is typically ideal.

I find that on push days after performing chest movements my shoulders are usually too tired to really get the killer workout they deserve. One possible solution for this is to have one push day begin with chest movements before moving onto shoulders.

The next push day can begin with shoulder movements followed up by chest movements. The push-pull-legs split is a solid option for intermediate lifters and even some advanced lifters resulting in plenty of gains.
  • Monday - Push
  • Tuesday - Off
  • Wednesday - Pull
  • Thursday - Off
  • Friday - Legs
  • Saturday/Sunday - Off
Dumbbell Press

Bro Workout Splits

The bro split is most commonly a 4 day split routine where a main muscle group is worked at the beginning of the workout followed by a secondary muscle group that is typically synergistic to the first muscle group.

For example, a chest/triceps day will involve performing chest movements first then moving onto tricep movements. Since the triceps are already being used throughout the chest movements, making the triceps the secondary muscle group makes sense logically.

The typical bro split looks something like this:
  • Monday - Chest/Triceps
  • Tuesday - Back/Biceps
  • Wednesday - Off
  • Thursday - Shoulders/Traps
  • Friday - Legs
  • Saturday/Sunday - Off
The bro split is perfect for someone that wants to work each body part once per week. Lifters of all skill levels can use this split. This is one of the most common splits used in gyms today.

Body Part Workout Splits

Many advanced lifters and professional bodybuilders will use body part splits since. They can overload each of the individual muscles with a ton of volume on a single day and absolutely demolish that particular muscle group.

Body part splits focus on overloading one particular muscle. If you're working chest that day that is the only muscle group you are focusing upon.

If you are one of the people that feels you need a week to recover and want to work muscle groups only once per week then the body part split may be the perfect choice for you. Also, if you enjoy placing all your effort towards one muscle group and don't want the hassle of switching to another try body part splits.
  • Monday - Chest
  • Tuesday - Back
  • Wednesday - Shoulders
  • Thursday - Legs
  • Friday - Arms
  • Saturday/Sunday - Off
The body part split is great if you enjoy giving your full attention to a single muscle group one at a time or seek to work muscle groups only once per week to give yourself more recovery time.

Full Body Workout Split

Cable FlyesThe full body split is most likely the least effective split. You generally only perform one exercise per muscle group.

Beginners may achieve some noticeable gains with a full body split. However, there is a lack of volume for individual muscle groups in full body splits.

The only times I would recommend a full body split is if:

a) You can only make it to the gym once per week, but still want to maintain your current muscle state, or

b) If you are on vacation or traveling and are too busy to go to the gym several times per week.

For the individuals looking to gain lean muscle mass the full body split is the least effective option to choose.

The YOLO Split (You Only Lifted Once) or the IDGAF Split

This split is done by either inexperienced gym bros or people that generally do not care about working out properly. Their splits typically consist of something like this:
  • Monday - Arms
  • Tuesday - Arms
  • Wednesday - Off (or Arms)
  • Thursday - Chest and Arms
  • Friday - Not legs (most likely arms)
  • Saturday/Sunday - Off (or Arms)
A lot of us were there at one point in time with our YOLO style of lifting, but the good news is we no longer are.

What Workout Split is Best for Me?

Now after reviewing all of the splits you may be asking yourself which split is best for me? The truth is it depends upon several factors including your skill level, individual goals, and what splits give you the best results.

You can always switch up your splits either every few months or even weekly. If you see great results in a body part split there's no need to switch to a push/pull/legs routine if it doesn't provide you better results.

All of this takes time in realizing what is best for you in particular and applying the best split possible for reaching your goals.

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