Ever wonder what the best workout split is to build the most muscle, lose the most fat, or both? In a recent appearance on the Huberman Lab Podcast with Dr. Andrew Huberman, Jeff Cavaliere answered this complex answer. Find out which workout split is best for you and learn how things you may have heard or thought about other splits may not be as accurate as you once thought.
When we talk about a training split or workout split we are referring to the way in which we split up the muscle groups we train in a given workout over a period of time. Most of us look at a week as the time frame within which we want to either hit a single muscle group once, twice or even more often. In order to achieve this goal we often times group certain muscles together into the same workout to condense the work over fewer numbers of days.
There are so many options for how we do this however. You can do something called a PPL or push, pull legs workout split, a total body workout split or even an upper body / lower body split. In a PPL you are going to reserve one day to train all the muscles that are responsible for upper body pushing movements. This means that you are going to be training the triceps, shoulders and chest predominantly. On pull day, you’ll be training all the muscles in the upper body that are responsible for pulling. This means that the lats, upper back, traps and biceps get trained together with the exercises you choose.
Finally, on leg day, as you might guess you will be training your legs.
In a total body workout however you would be aiming to workout all of your major muscle groups in the same workout, usually with a series of compound exercises like bench press, squats, overhead press and rows.
Even with either of these workout splits however, the frequency with which you perform them in a given week is also a variable that needs to be considered. Some will do the PPL workouts just once each per week and others will pair them up back to back (with either a rest day in between each round of PPL or after you have completed the circuit twice).
Different considerations have to be made however to determine whether this is a workload that your body can handle and more importantly, recover from.
Then there are the “bro splits”. This is a term referring to the style of working out favored by bodybuilders who prefer to train one single muscle group in a day or maybe pair up antagonistic muscle groups like chest and back for example. Science has moved us away from these workouts in favor of push, pull legs workouts and total body workouts since the restimulation of muscle every 48 hours seems to point to more muscle protein synthesis.
That said, that does not mean that you cannot get benefits from a “bro-split” if handled more intelligently. For example, if you train your biceps on a Monday, you can schedule a back workout for Wednesday which will give the biceps some additional stimulation due to their role as accessory muscles to the major back exercises. Here you would get enough of a stimulus to result in continued adaptation and growth without nullifying the benefits of the one a day muscle group frequency.
Regardless of which workout split you choose, there is one key determining factor that overrides all. That is, choose the one that you can stick to. If you find that a total body split either leaves you too tired to get a good effort out of the muscles that are trained in the latter half of your workout or you just aren’t interested enough in the workouts that are structured this way – you likely will not be able to stick to this long term.
Vice versa, if you really like Push Pull Legs workout routines and find that it is the perfect way to group your exercises to take advantage of a shared function or purpose for one training day, then you are likely to put in more effort and keep up the consistency needed to see great results over the long haul.
If you’re looking for help in finding the plan that best suits your body’s natural desires to train and therefore get better results from your workouts, head to athleanx.com via the link below and take the program selector quiz shown.
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For the complete interview of Jeff Cavaliere on the Huberman Lab Podcast be sure to check it out here:
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