The Best Workout Split for MAXIMUM Muscle Gains

What's up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.


Your training split is killing your gains.

I promise I’m going to make this worthwhilefor you today because a lot of us are following very, very, very different types of trainingsplits.

Are you here people? You’ve got buddies at the gym that do thebro-splits – don’t bash them yet, guys.

Not yet.

It’s too early.

Especially as you’re going to see here, total body training – you could even take the guy who influenced me a long time agoto dial back my workouts a bit.

Mike Menser.

High intensity workouts, one muscle groupevery 14 days.

You go and take that and think “That isso much different from the advice that some people say now, with more frequent training, with total body workouts.

So how is it that even existed? How are people able to get away with thatif it never worked?” Maybe it does.

So, what I want to do is go over some of thesesplits to tell you what I think is going on here.

Right here we’ve got the days of the weekand the typical training schedule.

What I’ve laid out here first and foremostis a total body split.

For a total body split you’re looking atthe classic ‘train everything Monday, Wednesday, and Friday’ and you have a bunch of offdays.

What’s nice about the total body split isa few things, what you’ve probably heard.

Number one: you get a little more recoveryin the week.

Which is music to my ears.

That’s the first thing.

Number two: You’re getting more frequentstimulation of the muscles in your body – all of them – so you’re getting that opportunityto resume muscle protein synthesis every 48 hours or so, which is what the research ispointing us to.

I’ll be back to research in a second.

But that’s what it’s pointing us to here, why this is superior and why a lot of guys are moving toward this.

We even have our own program coming out, whichis Total Body Split.

So, I do believe it’s extremely beneficialfor many, many, many, many people.

But if you could go back – this is not new.

This is not new.

You could go back decades and decades.

Guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger were doingboth total body Monday, Wednesday, Friday splits and even more than that.

What they were doing was taking your typicaltotal body workout which consisted of all of – your legs, chest, shoulders, arms, back, everything – and they put them all in one workout.

And he just decided to split it up a littlemore into a push/pull with legs included in both of those workouts.

So, a push workout would be chest, triceps, shoulders, and quads.

Then a pull workout would be back, biceps, and hamstrings.

So, you’re doing that now and you’ve takenone workout, split it over two, increased the volume of those exercises a little bit– because you could do so because you didn’t have so much to do in one day – shortenthe workout a little bit.

Yes, the frequency is greatly enhanced herewith six days versus three, but the workouts were a little bit shorter.

The idea was the same because you’re stillstimulating every 48 hours.

So, the research with the proponents of totalbody training will say, but we go and look at some of the other ideas and we have push/pulllegs as well.

That’s another popular thing.

People have probably heard about that.

We’ve programmed push/pull legs many times.

With a push/pull legs what we have here is, a gain, six days a week.

And we can do this even in a beginner versions.

I’ll explain that in a second.

But with a push/pull legs, the benefit isthat you’re starting to train more athletically.

My big benefit with this split is that I getto pair muscles together that share similar functions.

So, I’m not thinking about chest training.

I’m not thinking about tricep training.

I’m thinking about push training.

When you saw Antonio Brown coming throughhere, we did a push workout.

When you saw Seamus coming through here, wedid a posterior chain workout.

We’re grouping muscles that tend to worktogether because athletically, that’s how we’re going to function.

So, I like this, and I veer toward this alot.

What we do is – if you wanted to go moretoward a beginner level, we could do a push workout on a Monday, we could have a day off.

We could do a legs workout here on Wednesday, a day off.

A pull workout here, and a couple of daysoff.

So, we’re dramatically decreasing the overallvolume, but at least we’re still maintaining the benefits of those similar functions andshared functions to at least train the body in that way.

What we don’t want is what we talked aboutwith bro-splits.

We can break this down even further.

A lot of guys do this.

Again, we’ve used bro-splits in trainingfor a particular purpose because you always have to ask, “What is the end goal?” If it’s straight hypertrophy there are goingto be benefits to bro-splits, in terms of developing muscle, and building muscle likea body builder.

Even though we don’t train body builders.

But we do recognize that guys want to buildmuscle and sometimes doing that, it’s important to split things up.

However, this is why bro-splits get a badname.

What we’ve done here is, we go shoulders, chest, triceps, back, biceps, legs, and then a day off.

Why is that not so good? Because based on what I just told you here, you’re sequentially overlapping shared functions.

I’m going with a push muscle – shoulders– and push.


And push.


Where’s the recovery.

We know that when we do chest exercises, we’regoing to impact the shoulders.

If you do a bench-press here, you know you’reworking the shoulders.

Where’s the recovery from your shouldertraining from the day before? Especially as a natural athlete, recoveryis paramount.

Where is it? It’s absent.

So, what you want to do is make sure you’renot doing bro-splits like this because this is where they get a bad name.

Instead, you opt for something different.

Instead you’d opt for – again, I’m justsharing some of the popular splits that are out there.

I’m not trying to make a judgment on anyof them…until the end.

We have chest and biceps.

Chest and bis.

Back and tris.


Legs are often done twice a week simply becauseit allows you to train them more frequently, for the reason we talked about down here.

Then shoulders and traps, or shoulders andwhatever you want to include.

Shoulders and abs.

Whatever that split might be.

We’ve got this other version here.

This is another popular one.

Chest, back, legs, shoulders, arms, and thenlegs.

Again, split out more of an anterior/posterior.

This is very popular.

Especially arm day on Friday is key, becausebefore you go out to the bars, if you could just do as few sets of biceps and triceps, you’re good to go.

I promise you.

Especially in – a chest day is intact.

This is great.

Again, what we can do though is take a bro-splitand actually make it work.

The way you make it work for you is basedon exercise selection and then putting the workouts in the right sequence, so you avoidthis and benefit a bit more from the principles of what we established back here with thetotal body training.

So, let’s take a look at this one here.

When I train my biceps and chest, I wait 48hours and I’m back to back and triceps.

So, I have the potential to involve bicepsin my back exercises here.

I have the ability to hit my chest again andmy triceps if I choose the right exercises.

Again, if I place them in the right sequence, in terms of the time lag between workouts – in my back workout – that would demand, however, that I do exercises like an underhand barbell row, or even better, a weighted chin-up.

You guys here me talk all the time about howI think the weighted chin-up is a great back exercise and, of course, it’s a great bicepexercise as well.

So, I can get great bicep activation, reactivation48 hours after, by choosing that exercise or both of those exercises here.

If my back workout consisted solely of straightarm pushdowns – which I love, by the way – dumbbell pullovers.

People call it the upper body squat.

Another great exercise.

Maybe even lat pulldowns, or wide grip latpulldowns.

I don’t have as much bicep activation there.

As a matter of fact, I can pretty much goan entire workout without activating the biceps, which would be a violation of the re-stimulationof the biceps within 48 hours.

It becomes very important, that if you’regoing to do this, you choose the right exercise.

So why do some guys get results and some guysdon’t? Some guys choose better exercises.

Some guys plan this out more thoughtfullyand it winds up working.

Again, as soon as you hear somebody say “Well, research says”, what that means is, ‘I have no experience’.

That’s what that translates to.

If they lead with “Studies show”, it means‘I have not experience.

I’m not training people.

I don’t understand how people train in frontof me because I’ve never trained them myself.

I just read studies’.

You could take strength coaches.

I have a great friend of mine, Joe DeFranco, who’s a great strength coach.

Do you know what his studies are? The hundreds, and hundreds of athletes thatcome through his facility every day that show these differences to him.

He knows they’re not a textbook.

He knows that they’re not a PubMed study.

He knows that there are differences from personto person.

Which is going to lead me to my final point.

You realize that these things can vary intheir success level because of the different variables.

Even the person’s ability to sleep wellbetween the accessions.

We don’t know that in our studies.

They’re not controlling for what these guysdo when they leave the lab.

One guy could sleep 10 hours a night and theother guy could be out partying and eating like crap.

Which would entirely impact what their trainingprotocol was.

So, what would make this all simple? What would tie this all together? What would tie it all together is a scenarioI want you to imagine.

People have said “Jeff, your biceps arereally good.

They have good bicep development.

Especially for your physique.

” However, some people would say “Jeff, youjust have good bicep genetics.

That’s all it is.

” Let me lay out a scenario for you.

What if I was following, let’s just say– not this bad bro-split – but this split here.

When I’m training biceps directly, oncea week, and if I do that and my biceps are developed the way they are, but your chestdoesn’t look so good.

People have actually said that about me.

No upper chest.

Whatever, guys.

It is what it is.

The fact is, maybe it’s not that I havesuch great bicep genetics.

Maybe it’s that my training split that I’vestuck with so long because it’s been so loyal to me is optimal for bicep development.

Hitting them once every seven days with thisindirect work on back day here is the holy grail of biceps for me.

Maybe not for you, but for me.

But the problem with that is, because we’reon a routine in a split – which we all do.

We follow the same split.

We follow a split.

I don’t care how long you’re doing itfor.

You follow the split.

The other muscle groups that aren’t respondingas well are slaves to that split.

The chest is also – because it’s linkedhere and it’s only once a week – may not be getting enough stimulation.

Even with the indirect stimulation here.

By the way, tricep day would involve somesort of a close-grip bench-press to do that.

But let’s say that’s not enough.

The chest isn’t responding well enough.

It’s a slave to that split.

So, what I want to do is make sure I changemy split up.

I would go to a total body and in my totalbody, if I was doing 12 sets of biceps over here over the course of a week, and now Idivide them up to four, four, and four; monitor what happens.

Do you continue to see strength increases? Do you see development continue? Or do you see the opposite? Do you start to become less strong in yourbicep training? Do you start seeing development of your bicepstaper off, or not look as good anymore? If that’s the case, what you would do ismodify this split.

So, you were doing biceps, once again, inaddition to this split once a week.

It only makes sense.

From a frequency standpoint it’s optimal.

But it doesn’t sacrifice the fact that nowmy chest gets stimulate every other day and now I’m going to start to see gains.

So, you know why splits are killing your gains, guys? Because we’ve fallen in love with the sameone too often and we stick with it for far too long.

If you’re not making gains in strength, if you’re not making gains in hypertrophy, if you’re not changing in the mirror, ifyou’re not satisfied with where you’re at, but you’ve been told ‘because studiessay that a certain method of training is what you should be doing’; stop thinking thatway.

Start changing what it is you’re doing.

Experiment with something different.

Try a different split.

Don’t go with the dumb bro-splits becausethose are dumb for a reason.

We’ve already outlined those.

But use something different.

I’m not advocating for any of them in particular.

I’m advocating for change.

If you’re unwilling to change just becauseyou’re locked in, because people will tell you ‘total body is so great’, or ‘splitshave helped build massive biceps’, or whatever it is, stop thinking that way.

It’s not individual to you and it’s yourresponsibility to start figuring out what is.

When you do start mixing your routines andyour splits up and you start to see the changes and the improvements in some areas, and mayberegressions in others.

Then you become a little more educated asto how you need to put that workout together for yourself to allow for the best gains everywheregoing forward.

Guys, I hope you’ve found this video helpful.

Again, the point here is that you need toput the science back in strength.

You need to stop putting studies at the forefrontof every decision you make.

Experience trumps everything.

I can tell you that, again, firsthand, myself.

I could tell you that experience trumps everythingbecause we are individuals and we respond differently to training.

You’re an individual.

You want to make sure you understand how youbest respond.

If you’re looking for training programs, we have training programs with all kinds of splits.

All different splits for different reasons.

Based on goal.

Based on experience level.

Based on the need to change up what you’redoing.

They’re all over at ATHLEANX.


In the meantime, if you’ve found the videohelpful leave your comments and thumbs up below.

If you haven’t already, please subscribeand turn on your notifications so you never miss a video.

Let me know what else you want me to cover.

This has been a question that has been askedhere many, many times before.

I feel like it needed a more elaborate answer.

There’s no “Oh, the best training splitis this!” No.

That’s wrong.

That’s B.


That’s bad advice.

That’s what you’d get, maybe, on anotherchannel.

Not here.

All right, guys.

I’ll be back here again soon with anothervideo.

See you.


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