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The Top 3 Muscle Building Routines To Follow For Maximum Muscle Gains!

Are you having difficulty finding a training routine that works for you? Read this guide to full body workouts and splits to see if a 3, 4 or even a 5-day split might be the muscle building routine that you need!

By: Joey Vaillancourt

Article Summary:
  • Using a 3,4, or 5-day split can help with your goals depending on your training level.
  • These routines usually involve full body workouts.
  • The 5-day split is typically for a more advanced trainer.

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The Top Three Muscle Building Routines To Follow For Maximum Muscle Gains

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There is often a lot of confusion about just what routine to follow when trying to build muscle. There are several options that people can choose from and just about all of them will work.

The real question is which one will work best for you and your starting point. Let's cover the most common routines out there today and describe the category requirements so that you can make an informed decision on which program will suit you best.

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3 Day Full Body Routine
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This routine is a 3 day a week workout routine. Each workout day is followed by 1 rest day and the third workout is followed by 1 or 2 rest days (as most people will take the weekend off entirely).

This routine is typically used by beginners and involves full body workouts.

There Is Often A Lot Of Confusion About Just What Routine To Follow When Trying To Build Muscle
+ Click To Enlarge.
There Is Often A Lot Of Confusion About Just What Routine
To Follow When Trying To Build Muscle.

It is great for beginners because of many reasons:

  • It allows you to get familiar with the exercises by repeating them many times throughout the week.
  • Since most beginners do not possess the same strength levels as more advanced lifters, it is good to trigger the muscle more often because the amount of weight lifted is significantly lighter and you will not need as much time to recover and repair before their next workout.
  • As a beginner, your body will actually experience greater gains training less rather than training more. Take advantage of this time in your training as you will experience the 'beginner gains' that you may never experience again. You need to allow your body to adapt to exercises and recover in order to grow. 3 days is a good start for beginners and it will allow you to eventually progress to more volume and more frequency if desired.


Sample 3 Day Full Body Routine

Day 1:

Day 2: Off

Day 3:

Day 4: Off

Day 5:

Day 6 And 7: Off

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4 Day Split
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This is the next step from the 3 day full body workouts.

This routine is typically performed by intermediate trainers.

There are many variations that are floating around but the most common template to follow is performing upper body then lower body on the following day, then a rest day, then repeat (upper body/lower body).

RELATED VIDEO: Your 12-Week Daily Bulking Trainer
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Watch More From This Series Here.

As in the 3-day workout program, you have the choice to take two days off for the weekend or to continue after only 1 day of rest. The disadvantage of only taking one day off instead of the two day weekend is that it throws you off schedule for your next week (if that is important to you).

The reason why this routine is categorized as intermediate is because now that you have been training longer and you have become stronger in your lifts, you will need more rest to allow proper recuperation between body parts you've trained in your workouts. You will back off the frequency you train each muscle but you will increase your training by one day.

RELATED VIDEO: Your 12-Week Daily Bulking Trainer
Your 12-Week Daily Bulking Trainer - Tuesday, Week 1: Lower Body A!

Tuesday, Week 1: Lower Body ACheck out today's training routine here!
Watch More From This Series Here.

Once you have completed about 3-6 months of a 3-day routine, you can move up to this split to start seeing more muscle gains.


Sample 4-Day Split Routine

    Day 6 And 7: Cardio/Off

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5 Day Split
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The 5 day split is the most advanced routine that I would recommend for anyone.

Sure, there are routines that could make you train 7 days a week or even twice per day for a total of 14 workouts per week. But eventually the line has to be drawn and I draw it at 5 days per week for 99% of natural trainers.

After training for many years and developing your maximal strength and growth, you may need to start training using a 5 day split routine focusing on only 1-2 muscle groups per workout.

The 5 Day Split Is The Most Advanced Routine That I Would Recommend For Anyone
+ Click To Enlarge.
The 5 Day Split Is The Most Advanced Routine That
I Would Recommend For Anyone.

When you train for more than 2 years or so, the strength gains experienced in the beginning (due to an adaptation in your central nervous system) due not occur at the same rate. You will reach a point where it will be very tough to add more weight to your lifts or even grow additional muscle.

It's not to say that you can't, it just becomes a lot harder.

At this point, it is better to increase the volume trained on the muscle on the day you work it and allow a longer cycle for it to repair fully and to stimulate growth.


Sample 5 Day Split Routine

Day 1: Chest

Day 2: Back

Day 3: Off

Day 4: Shoulders

Day 5: Legs

Day 6: Arms

Day 7: Off

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Starting Point Guidelines
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If you do not know where your starting point is, please refer to the guidelines below:

  • Beginner: 6 months or less of weight training.
  • Intermediate: 6-18 months of weight training.
  • Advanced: 24 months or more of weight training consistently.

If you have trained on and off over many years but never consistently followed any program, then I would consider yourself to be intermediate, but you may even want to start as a beginner to condition your body for the higher volume training to come later on. It's your choice.

You Will Reach A Point Where It Will Be Very Tough To Add More Weight To Your Lifts Or Even Grow Additional Muscle
+ Click To Enlarge.
You Will Reach A Point Where It Will Be Very Tough To Add More
Weight To Your Lifts Or Even Grow Additional Muscle.

Decide what your training level is and then choose a routine that best suits your individual requirements. Be patient and focus on one thing at a time and you should start to progress through each routine and see some very impressive gains.

Here for you,

Joey Vaillancourt NSCA-CPT
http://www.JoeyVaillancourtFitness.com/blog
http://www.BonesToBuff.com

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AOPrinciple

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AOPrinciple

I know that there are a variety of opinions on how best to realize serious muscle size, but sometimes the sheer amount and severity of conflicting advice is overwhelming for someone who doesn't have a degree in nutrition or some bedrock principles to rely on.

For example, I have been weight training seriously for 3-4 years and am looking to re-evaluate my program in light of less-than-stellar gains in the size category. I have perused a number of articles on this site and within the span of 20 minutes have come across so many mutually exclusive and disparate suggestions that I just feel like stopping altogether. This article suggests that for "advanced" lifters higher volume and intensity, and less frequency per body part, is the intelligent way to make gains. On the other hand, this article by Ryan Patrick:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/gain-muscle-by-training-less.htmhttp://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/gain-muscle-by-training-less.htm">http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/gain-muscle-by-training-less.htmhttp://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/gain-muscle-by-training-less.htm

communicates that high frequency and low volume is the core around which you should orient your strength training. There are, of course, other painfully humorous disagreements, each with anecdotal support. What?! I'm not a biochemist and I can't begin to debate with these people about what kind of stimulus or rep range is most effective for size gain. Do 90% of trainers just not know what they're talking about?

Aug 24, 2012 1:38pm | report
 
dkameel

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dkameel

on the five days routine, what is the "close grip pull downs" doing on the arms day? is it a worm up to the biceps?

Feb 25, 2013 8:02am | report
 
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