A frequently asked question among bodybuilders: what is the best training split for muscle growth? The answer may surprise you.
There is no best split. What training for muscle growth is all about is
- that you do sufficient volume on a weekly basis: 10 to 20 sets apply for most;
- that you exert enough effort in your sets: usually 1-2 reps away from muscle failure (1-2 RIR);
- that you use more reps and/or weight over time: progressive overload;
- that you let your muscles rest enough after a workout: on average 48 hours.
If you meet these criteria, it doesn’t really matter how you structure your training volume over the week: full body, upper body/lower body, push/pull or push/pull/legs are all great options, depending on your personal preference. preference and what your schedule allows.
For example, if you can ‘only’ train three times a week, full body is a logical possibility. If you train six times a week, you can spread your volume over those days by means of a push/pull/legs split. Each muscle group is then trained twice a week.
You can even do a combination split: for example, three days push/pull/legs and one day full body.
The only split that we generally advise against is the ‘bro split’, the split in which you train only one muscle group at a time (Monday chest day, Tuesday back day and so on). Beginners can get away with it even more, because they only have to complete a limited training volume – around ten sets per week. You can easily put ten sets per muscle group in one workout, if it is more sets, then you have to spread them over at least two workouts. The growth stimulus stagnates, seen per muscle group, around ten sets per training.
In short, there is no magic training split. How you structure your training volume is a matter of agenda and personal preference.