Alright so you’ve nailed down your diet. You’ve been working out 6 days per week, making great progress but you KNOW your workout split could pack more of a punch for your physique and lifestyle. You’ve been searching goal bodies on Instagram and maybe trying to follow similar splits as them in efforts to get to their level.

It unfortunately doesn’t work like that! Here are a few factors you need to take into consideration before jumping into a workout split that may or may not work for you:

  1. What’s your schedule like?

This is one of the first questions I ask my clients when deciding what kind of workouts and split I am going to assign them. Because truthfully, this is the base for selecting the best split for YOU. Can you actually make it to the gym 6 days a week? Or are you more likely to be able to be there 5 days a week? Or maybe 3 times? Is your schedule consistent? Or ever-changing like mine? These are the questions to ask first when deciding which split is best for you.

  1. What types of training do I enjoy?

For those of you with a higher training age, you may not care. You just want results, but for beginners, it’s very important that to some degree you enjoy what you’re doing in the gym. If you’re likely to skip a session that you just don’t enjoy you’re going to end up having chicken legs or tiny arms and shoulders. Can you realistically train legs 2x a week, or am I kidding myself? 

  1. What’s the most beneficial type of training for my age and experience?

In my opinion, which split is best for you is determined by how long you’ve been in the gym and how much muscle you currently have, while you may say that if it worked before it should work now, that’s just simply not true sometimes. I’ve found that beginners thrive on simplicity. Intermediates crave results and need to feel like they’re doing more. And advanced trainees are willing to simply do whatever it takes to grow and get even a 10th of a percent better.

Once you’ve asked yourself these three questions, you can move on with choosing a split that is best for you, below I have listed my favorite splits that I use with most of my clients once we’ve figured out what their schedule is like, what they enjoy doing, and what their current training age is.

So let’s walk through a few of our favorites!

Body Part Split (The “Bro Split”): This is known as the Bro Split because it has been utilized to build more muscle than probably any other split in Bodybuilding. It’s timeless and has its place in Beginners and Advanced trainer’s protocols. It’s simple, easy to track progressive overload and can truly allow you to build momentum each week. I tend to use these splits in either my mega beginners who thrive on simplicity and my more advanced trainers who need to simplify their training after months of overreaching with a PPL split without enough rest days.

Push-Pull Legs: This split has garnered tons of attention due to Frequency Research that shows that training a body part up to 2/3x week can increase hypertrophy with the same amount of Volume. Nobody here is going to throw out the baby with the bathwater and throw everyone on a high-frequency split due to some studies, as anecdotally speaking there are benefits to each and every split. But I love using this split in my clients and most of them run some variation of it, due to the fact that it just simply works and works well in a lot of individuals. This split consists of training Push (Chest, Delts, Triceps), Pull (Back, Biceps and sometimes Hamstrings) and a Leg Day. Followed by a rest day and then you repeat the cycle.

Full Body Split: These are for the busy ones. The ones who just simply have too much shit going on, but want to maximize their time in the gym. (Think general health client who is working 60+ hour weeks and have kids and family). They aren’t trying to go pro, but they are trying to do the most with the least. I don’t have many clients who I assign this split, because most people that are willing to hire a coach, are willing to put in at least 5 days a week in the gym. But for those of you reading who this applies to, this split might be for you. A full body split should not be used if you’re in the gym 4+ times a week. But if you go maybe 2-3 times a week, this could be exactly what you need! A full body split consists of taking each body part to failure on 1-2 sets, 2-3 times a week. You go in and hit the chest, delts, arms, back, legs and then get back to your family. 

To conclude, if you’re a beginner, maybe look at a body part split or Full Body Split as an opportunity to learn your body before jumping into a PPL split. If you’re an intermediate and have always just done the bro split, why not try to maximize your 6 days in the gym by training each body part 2x week instead. And if you’re too busy to breathe, but want to be healthy and put some effort into your health, give the full body split a go. At the end of the day, if you’re in the gym, training to a mechanical failure with good form, you’re going to get results. There are so many variables with training that can be played with, my advice? Find one you love doing and do it over and over again, attaining progressive overload and you will be happy with the results, no doubt.

-Kaylin Hauge BS, CSCS

Disclaimer: The author is not a physician or a registered dietitian. The contents of this article should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem – nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician.