‘Yo bro. What’s the best training split for building muscle. How did you do it?’
A common question that I get regularly from guys like myself who are forever on a quest for getting bigger, stronger and leaner. And unfortunately the answer isn’t actually that straightforward, as much as I would love it to be.
So here is the fully answer to the above question.
First off, let’s explore the popular training splits. We have:
- The Bro Split – The most popular training method of all splits is the generic bodybuilding style split or ‘Bro Split’ as I like to call it. This is where you work each each group once per week with the theory being that you blast the muscle as much as you can for that one workout then give it plenty of time to recover.
- Push, Pull, Legs – This is where you break your training down into Push Days (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps), Pull Days (Back, Biceps) and Legs (Quads, Hamstrings, Calves). Can either be done over 3 days or 6-7 days (Do each day twice).
- Powerlifting – Powerlifting splits are when an individual focuses mainly on Bench Press, Squats and Deadlifts, performing each multiple days a week and adding in accessory work such as bicep curls, pull ups etc around the main lifts.
So Which One is The Best?
Unfortunately, that’s where things get a little complicated. You see, the best split is actually the one that you enjoy, work really hard at and that you can stick to. If you love one particular split and can stick to it forever then go for it! Lifting weights, no matter how you do it, still stimulates and works the muscles. Not lifting weights because you find a programme boring will not work the muscles no matter how good it it.
What Does the Science Say?
Now we get to the interesting bit. All the data that we currently have clearly shows that the typical ‘Bro Split’ of training each muscle group once per week is actually the LEAST EFFECTIVE way of building muscle. Now, if you’re a beginner I would generally recommend the Bro Split because it’s a good way of getting you used to lifting weights and because you’re body is so not used to it, any form of training will stimulate growth.
The evidence shows that the more frequently you train a muscle, the better the results are so you can take that information and adapt it to what type of training you prefer. If you like Push, Pull, Legs then do it twice a week. If you like Powerlifting then make sure you Bench, Squat and Deadlift 2-4 times a week. If you like none of those and what to create your own then great, if you want to most scientifically optimal method then don’t go for the Bro Split, but if you love it then knock yourself out.
And there you have it, the big question finally answered. On a side note, training each muscle group multiple times a week will be a key focus of our upcoming Muscle Building Programme. Stay tuned for details!