Finding a training plan that delivers results can be quite difficult. It’s not like choosing a pair of socks, where one size fits all
Your workout plan needs to be specific to you – your goals, body type, fitness and health, activity levels, likes and dislikes.
Just because a workout plan has paid off for one person does not mean it’s best for you – even if that person is famous or an athlete. Similarly, you may thrive off a routine that someone else has already written off.
Here are some of the most notable training programmes – just pick which one is best suited for your body, goals and lifestyle:
Bro Split: 5 Days A Week
This style of training is most synonymous with pro bodybuilding, and as such is copied by a large portion of recreational gym users – hence ‘bro’. It involves training one muscle group per workout, once a week.
This routine is popular with advanced bodybuilders, so anyone looking to compete on stage will likely gain results. It allows you to hit each muscle from a variety of angles in one workout.
It’s less effective for people with busy work and social commitments because you’ve only got that one day to hit each muscle. Natural lifters also need more frequency in their routines.
Full Body Workout: 3 Days A Week
Pretty self-explanatory, full body workouts involve hitting each muscle group with one or two exercises in a single session.
Monday: Bench Press / Squat / Deadlift / Pull-Ups / Bicep Curls
Wednesday: Bench Press / Squat / Deadlift / Pull-Ups / Bicep Curls
Friday: Bench Press / Squat / Deadlift / Pull-Ups / Bicep Curls
Research shows you should probably be training each muscle two or three times a week. This kind of training is used by rugby and NFL players as it fits around busy schedules while still including most major lifts. It’s also great for beginners as it provides you with plenty of opportunities within each week to get better at an exercise.
Bodybuilders – who need to train a muscle from multiple angles – may not favour this style of training. While each workout will burn a lot of calories, you’ll only be in the gym for about three hours a week. This is best if you’re active with other sports or engaging in other styles of training on non-lifting days.
Upper & Lower Split: 4 Days A Week
A training plan that comprises strength (heavy, low-rep training) and size (lighter load, high-rep training) over the course of four workout days. Popular takes on this include Joe DeFranco’s Westside for Skinny Bastards programme.
Monday: Upper Body Strength
Tuesday: Lower Body Strength
Thursday: Upper Body Size
Training each muscle twice a week will elicit gains, and allow you to hone your technique on the main lifts. While this doesn’t provide as much volume over seven days as full body training, you’re in the gym for a longer period each week.
Having Wednesday and weekends off gives you ample amount of time for recovery. Relying on set training days could be problematic for those with busy schedules or serious sporting commitments.
Push Pull Legs: 6 Days A Week
This workout plan also hits each muscle twice a week, but your upper body sessions are separated between push (chest, triceps and shoulder exercises) and pull (back, biceps and rear delt exercises).
At face value, a push-pull-legs split seems to be the best package. You’ll get the frequency of training a muscle twice a week, plus you’ll be able to hit each muscle from an array of angles in each session.
The downside is that training six days a week can be very demanding, taking its toll on your body. This is best for people who aren’t prone to a lot of stress elsewhere in life, or those who can absolutely guarantee they’ll get sufficient sleep each and every day.
It’s all too easy to follow what someone else does, even if it works for them. Pick a plan that coincides with your goals and lifestyle, and results will come your way.