Last night, you went to bed reading about an amazing workout routine posted by your favorite social media fitness model.
You’re motivated to start the week with this new training split. You have convinced yourself that this routine will finally burn fat and build muscle.
Three weeks into it, you’re already burned out. You’re not seeing the results you thought you would. What gives? Is the routine garbage for your body type?
Thus is the issue with workout routines. It’s why I get triggered when fitness “celebrities” are advertising the “latest and greatest” workout routine.
And, most of these male fitness stars blatantly lie. They claim to be natural, but they got their results with steroids. They might be clean now, but the gains came from drug use in the past.
It’s scummy as hell. But, it works to sell their latest and greatest training split to followers who don’t know better.
This debate will never end: which is the best training split? Should I be in the gym 3 days per week or 6? Do I need to hit each muscle group 2-3 times per week?
Should I be on a full body split? An upper and lower split? Hit 1 muscle group per day, 5 days per week?
As you can see, these are a lot of questions that do nothing but cause information overload. You’re more confused than you need to be about training.
But, none of these questions address the biggest elephant in the room: you won’t get results until your diet is in check.
Your diet will be responsible for 80-90% of the results you get regardless of your training split. You won’t burn fat or build muscle without the right diet.
With that said, you should still take your training seriously. Go hard in the gym every single time you workout. A tiny bit of size goes a long way when you lean down. It’s all about perception.
The Most Common Training Splits
I’ll go over the three most popular splits I see these days: the push/pull split, the full body split, and the single-muscle group split. Each split has it’s purpose and is effective in their own way.
1. The Push/Pull Split
We’re starting big with the splits. This is easily the most hardcore of all and intended for immediate to advanced lifters. Do not do this training split if you’re a beginner.
You will be in the gym 5-6 days per week with this split. It is 3 days on and one day off. This means that over a period of 4 weeks, you will only have 8 days off. And, you should still do some interval training and ab work on off days.
You must have time available every day to make this split work for you. If you’re too busy, you won’t enjoy this split because you’re not able to get in the gym.
Even though this is the most advanced routine, I mention it first because it’s the most hardcore. I like to start with a bang. Let’s take a look at the typical schedule for this training split:
- Monday: Pull exercises
- Tuesday: Leg exercises
- Wednesday: Push exercises
- Thursday: rest day/conditioning and abs
- Friday: Pull exercises
- Saturday: Leg exercises
- Sunday: Push exercises
- Monday: rest day/conditioning and abs
As you can see, this is a pretty hardcore training regimen. I wouldn’t recommend this type of routine to anyone but the most die-hard lifter. You do NOT need to be in the gym 6 days per week to be a badass warrior.
Notice how the days change: On week 1, you’re doing a pull day on Monday. But, on week 2 Monday becomes a rest day.
This is a routine you would try for at least 4 weeks. See how you feel and track your results.
It’s also best to start with a Pull day and not a push day. This is different from most push/pull routines you read about. I also put the leg day inbetween the push and pull days.
This is because it gives your upper body (arms mainly) 48 hours to recover inbetween upper body lifts. I have found this to be much more effective in my overall training.
2. The Full Body Split
This is a training split that’s been quite popular over the years. Think Stronglifts and other 3 day per week routines that have you doing deadlifts, squats and bench presses.
Every split has it’s purpose. The benefit of the 3-day per week split is that you’re hitting your big lifts every time you’re in the gym. That’s 3 days per week for the muscle group. Not bad!
If your goal is to develop pure strength, then you can’t go wrong with this type of training. But, some people like to be in the gym more than 3 days (like me). Therefore, I do not personally do this training split.
The split basically goes like this:
You are in the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Take a rest day on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
When you’re in the gym, you are doing the big, compound lifts: deadlifts, squats, bench presses. Because you’re focused on strength, you are moving heavy weight for low reps.
One of the reasons I dont lift super heavy is simply because my joints don’t like it. This is a factor that many trainers seem to forget about. Heavy lifting is not ideal for every single lifter.
And, you don’t need to lift heavy to build an amazing physique. You can build an even better physique with lighter weights. The diet you have will be responsible for your fat burning anyway.
But, if your goal is sheer strength, then by all means give this training split a try.
If you don’t have a lot of time, then 3 days per week in the gym can be good as well. You can develop your own workout routine that allows you to hit all your muscles every week with just 3 days. Get creative!
3. Individual Muscle Group Split
This is another popular training split that will have you in the gym 4-5 days per week. It is a split that I have used many times in my life and I recommend it to beginners.
Why is this good for beginners? Because it gives your muscles ample time to recover. Your body gets results during recovery. It’s hard to build muscle and burn fat when you’re constantly sore.
I wouldn’t have you on this type of training split if pure strength was your goal. You would be better off with the 3-day split mentioned earlier.
While you may only lift 4 days per week with this split, you would still be exercising every day if possible. This is the best way to burn stubborn fat. Get your body used to exercise!
Typical training schedule:
- Monday: Chest, Quads, Triceps
- Tuesday: Back, Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves, Biceps
- Wednesday: off day (10 minutes of interval training)
- Thursday: Shoulders, Traps, Arms
- Friday: Abs, Core work, Conditioning
- Saturday: off day (10 minutes of interval training)
- Sunday: off day (10 minutes of interval training)
As you can see, this split is hitting your main muscle groups just once per week. It might appear as full body workouts at first, but it really isn’t. You’re simply hitting certain muscles once for that week.
Here’s the deal: the most important part of this training split are the off days. Notice how you are performing 3 days of HIIT training. This is really key if you want to speed of the fat burning process.
I also believe that these short sessions of cardio helps recovery for the rest of your body. It gets the blood flowing and the oxygen pumping. This helps send nutrients into your muscles for recovery. Be sure to eat a good meal 1-2 hours before your internval training to take advantage of this fact.
This is personally one of my favorite splits when I want to get lean. The interval training plus the Warrior diet gets you shredded rather quickly.
It’s important to listen to your body. If you feel fresh on saturday, go ahead and hit whatever muscles you wish for another workout. There’s no harm in this at all. I do it all the time.
Which Training Split Is Best For You?
There are plenty of other splits that I haven’t discussed here. For our purposes, these three training splits are all you need to develop the Lean Warrior physique.
People will debate these splits all day long, but the truth is this: your diet will determine how well your body gains muscle or burns fat. If your diet is off, you’ll struggle.
So, you need to determine which split is best for you. Figure out how much time you have per week to devote to training. If you’re a busy person, then the 3 day split might be best for you.
However, if you have a lot of time, I highly recommend the 4-5 day split. Getting in the gym 4-5 days per week will simply develop the habit for you to get in the gym and bang out some weight.
You can create your own workout routines as well. Take a look at my fat burning leg workout for example. Take this routine and hit your legs with it 1-2 times per week. Legs burn the most calories of all body parts.
A full body split is usually best for beginners simply because your body isn’t used to training. It’s great to start off slow and ease your way into it. Build up your strength to a level that’s above average and you’ll be more than ready to get lean.
More intermediate or advanced lifters will enjoy the 4-5 day per week training split. This is because you can hit your muscles twice per week. Add in some HIIT training and you’re good to go.
My muscle building shoulder workout is designed for this type of split. In fact, I recommend you hit your shoulders twice per week if you’re a guy. Broad shoulders are better for symmetry than a big chest.
Why Is Diet So Important?
These days, the most overlooked aspect of getting the body you desire is the diet. Most people are not eating enough protein. They’re eating too many carbs and fats.
Take a look at my article about reducing stomach fat and you’ll learn the science behind weight loss. You need to stick to a high protein diet if you wish to develop a lean physique.
You also need to be in a caloric deficit. But, I don’t recommend the -500 caloric deficit everybody else seems to push these days. This is because the Lean Warrior workout program is all about being active everyday.
Therefore, you only need to be in a minor caloric deficit of around 200 calories from your base. The workouts and the interval training is more than enough to accelerate the fat loss process. You’ll also keep your lean mass this way.
The training split you choose isn’t really a big deal when you get your diet right. As long as you are pushing yourself in the gym and progressing every time you workout, you’re gold. Keep going.
Thanks for reading and feel free to leave questions and comments below.