Key Points:

  • Working movement patterns are better than focusing on muscle groups
  • Working out 3-4 times per week is going to be the best
  • As you get further into lifting, you need to increase volume

As I am knocking on the door of 40, I often think back to my late teens and 20’s and how little I knew when it came to working out.

I would jump from program to program.

I was getting advice from juiced up bodybuilders.

I skipped legs for a full year because “they were big enough”.

Granted, the information that was available back then is nothing compared to what it is now.   

Not 100% sure that would have made much of a difference but that’s the excuse I’m rolling with. 

So I wrote this as if I was lucky enough to have a time machine and meet the skinny, strength of a prepubescent girl 18 yr old me.   Because that is the ONE point in time anyone with access to a time machine would go to.

Not to see the dinosaurs.

Not to see Abraham Lincoln give the Gettysburg Address.

Not to place an early investment in Google, Facebook or Amazon.

Ah well.

So this is the advice I would give my 18yr old self about how to build muscle that would bring me more confidence and hopefully more sex.

Some Popular Workout Splits

The most popular workout splits are Upper Lower, PPL, Full body, and the infamous bro split.  

Most people start with the bro split. It’s tempting. You’ll be working out 5 days per week so each body part gets a day in the sun.

But as you get older and those damn adult responsibilities get a hold of your time, the bro split doesn’t work anymore because you can’t be in the gym everyday.

So now you have some options.

Upper/Lower – 

This is a good 4x per week workout split where you separate the upper body from lower body.  

Push/Pull – 

This one can be broken up in a couple of different ways.  It can either be Push/Pull where you separate out pushing muscles from pulling muscles, including legs. 

This would be a 4x per week split. 

Or you can seperate push and pull muscles then have a separate leg day.  This could be either a 3x per week split or you can double up and do it 6x per week.

Full Body – 

As the name implies you’re working out all your muscle groups every time in the gym.  For this one 2-3x per week works best.

And of course there’s also hybrids of all of these. There’s the Full Body/Upper/Lower (one of my favorites) and Push/Pull/Legs/Upper/Lower for 5x per week.

Another way to do it is to combine muscles together.  Opposing muscle groups are the best to pair together so one doesn’t sacrifice the other.

For example, pairing biceps and back together would be a bad idea.  Your biceps are engaged in all back muscles so adding more bicep exercises would tire out your arms faster than your back.  

Going with a tricep and back day would work.  

The downside of this type of training is you only hit your muscles once a week.  Hitting them more is better for building muscles in the beginning and intermediate phases.  

Plus, focusing on just muscle groups isn’t an effective use of your time.  Focus on movement patterns in the gym.  By doing this you can hit multiple muscle groups and not drown yourself in exercises that are just fatiguing you and making it harder to grow.

If you can’t recover, you can’t grow. <- Always remember that.

Once you get more advanced your training needs will change and pairing muscle groups together might work for you then.  Until then, stick to the ones I listed above and pick exercises based on movement patterns.

Which Workout Split Is Best For Beginners

Remember back when you had your first drop of alcohol?

It tasted like shit but it didn’t take all that much to catch a buzz.  Your body was so sensitive to the effects of that Jack Daniel’s Sipper, half a drink would give you the confidence to talk to a girl.

Just starting in the gym is the same thing.

When you’re just getting started on your workout journey, your body is super sensitive to exercising.  Simply, looking at a weight could increase bicep size by 2 inches.

So in the beginning you want to take advantage of that sensitivity and hit your muscles multiple times per week through a Full Body Split.  

This will allow you to stimulate the muscle multiple times per week and ride the noobie gainz train.

This also allows you to practice the exercises more to allow for better form later on in your lifting career so you can attain your life long goal of being a jacked human.

Which Workout Split Is Best For Intermediates

As you progress further into your lifting career, the noobie gains will level off.  

The deeper into your lifting career you go the more volume and intensity you’ll need to keep growing.

The easiest way to do that is to go with either an Upper/Lower split or an Upper/ Lower/ Full Body.

This way you can add a few more exercises for each movement pattern in each workout and you can hit them twice a week.  

This split is also good because you’ll have a kid and man they take up a lot of time.  He’s funny as hell so it’ll be alright.  

With the Upper/Lower you can cut it back to 4 days per week but if you get really busy, go with the Full Body/Upper/Lower 3 days per week.  Either way it leaves you slack in the week to move workouts if shit gets busy or you sleep an hour because your son is up all night with a diaper rash.

The Best Workout Split For Fat Loss

You’ll be tempted to make your workout a cardio session.  Don’t.  All this does is make your strength and muscles expendable.

The goal with your workout when you’re trying to lose fat is to keep the strength you have.  Keep the workout split the same, Upper/Lower or Fullbody/ Upper/Lower but reduce the volume a bit.

This will help you from getting really cranky because you can’t perform as well as you like and it’ll also help you from feeling like a bag of dicks because calories are low.

You will appreciate not feeling like crap all the time and your wife will appreciate you not being a giant douche.

The Best Workout Split For 5 Days

Before your son is born you will have time to enjoy hitting the gym 5 days a week.  Don’t go with a bro split.

It’s tempting, but so is masterbating and watching porn all day.  

The best workout split for 5 days is an Upper/Lower/Vanity split.

Same format as an Upper/Lower split, you’ll just be adding a Vanity day to bro out.  Chase the pump, hit a few exercises and machines you couldn’t in the rest of your workout and get out.

Go light on this day since the rest of your workout is going to be pretty heavy.

Important Muscle Building Information

Picking a workout split is a small piece of the puzzle.

Actually setting up what you’re gonna do plays a bigger role.  For that, here’s how to pick the right exercises for your workout.

Also, progressive overload is something you want to focus on.  Can’t be doing the same weight, on the same exercises for months on end and expecting to grow. Here’s how to incorporate progressive overload into your workout.

Finally, the biggest piece of the muscle building puzzle…eating.  You need to eat to grow but you don’t want to be an ass about it.  You can’t keep your abs and leanness while trying to build muscle optimally.  You’re gonna get fluffy but it’s OK because you can lose the fat later.  This article will show you how to set up calories and macros so you can grow as best you can being 100% natural.

If you take everything I layed out for you, you’ll be light years ahead of other people in the gym.  You’ll also save yourself a shit ton of time by not falling for different trends or jumping from one program to another.