Workout Split for Maximum Muscle Growth
You know the classic bodybuilding muscle split of doing one muscle group a day. Biceps one day, triceps the next, legs the following day, and then conclude with back. That is a pretty standard training split you will see in any commercial gym.
If you go more into the performance world, you might see splits that max effort once a week, a dynamic effort later in the week, and bodybuilding stuff at the end. It is a decent split, but not the best.
Then there is the functional fitness realm of doing a full-body workout every single day. You go into the gym and it looks like a monkey through everything together. It is often trash.
Proper training splits give your body a massive stimulus and provide enough time for you to recover. In all reality, the best split you can do will contain max strength work, rapid rates of coordination, mobility work, and hypertrophy work. It will force your body to adapt and be incredibly well-rounded.
The best splits for you are all rooted in sports performance.
Transfers Well To Sports Performance
Begin by thinking about what transfers well to sports performance that can also lead to increased muscle mass.
To increase sports performance, you want to increase your ability to produce a ton of force. To increase your ability to produce a ton of force, you need to develop your max strength. Back squats are a great exercise for you to perform.
Another trick to improve your sports performance and muscle mass is doing plyometrics like a box jump. Plyometrics will increase the efficiency of your neural drive. Producing more force allows you to get bigger and add more muscle mass.
Impulse work is also great to lead to muscle mass gains. This means you need to produce as much force in a short period to train your nervous system to be more efficient.
You also want to train in hypertrophic ranges. The mechanical load will lead to metabolic stress and muscular breakdown for muscle mass gains.
Another example of impulse work you can do that will lead to big-time gains in your traps to get that yoke is a power snatch. You will be fast, explosive, and able to innervate your muscular structure to improve force production.
You need to break things down into different types of adaptations. For instance, imagine you only want to build muscle mass. You can begin by looking at your max strength compared to your hypertrophy, power endurance, or general endurance. Maybe you can do 5x2 back squats at 200 kilos but can’t do 1x10 at 170 kilos, you know for you to gain a ton of mass you need to work hypertrophy work or endurance work.
Now you can look at impulse training or plyometric training. Let’s say you back squat 5x2 at 200 kilos but if you put 205 kilos on the bar you die. You don’t have a rapid rate of recruitment at a higher intensity. You can trick your nervous system to be more twitchy through more plyometric work and impulse work. It will then lead to an increase in your absolute strength. And then you feed that back into the hypertrophy work.
Absolute Best Split For Muscle Growth
Day 1 is a max strength lower body day. There are zero exercises out there that will get you as big or as strong as a back squat. If you can hammer out 8x8, 7x4, 5x5, and 6x6 you will gain a large amount of strength and muscle mass.
On day 2 the big thing you want to focus on is absolute strength for your upper body. Doing a fat bar incline bench press is a great way to do so. You can do supersets to do more work in a shorter time frame to antagonize the muscles. If you are doing presses, pull-ups are a greater movement to put in the superset.
Day 5 will be hypertrophy work. You might do something similar to your absolute strength upper body day, but you might be doing dips for sets of 17 reps to increase the overall muscle mass through sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. You can then go ahead and hammer out a set of dumbbell chest rows for 17 reps to blow up from a metabolic response.
One day the adaptation may be from myofibrillar hypertrophy or sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. The difference between the absolute strength days and the hypertrophy days is the rep schemes.
Rep schemes control adaptations.
You can work through the week and be dynamic with your splits. Day 3 is an athlete day which will allow you to increase muscle mass by doing athlete-based work. Day 4 is an impulse day as the programming progresses to keep you twitchy and explosive to recruit well at high speeds.
The adaptation priority is always the first exercise (1a). The accessory work (3a, 3b) is the support group to optimize the results from the first exercise. The second exercise (2a) plays a role regarding 1a. As you get down to 4a or 4b, you want to focus on structural integrity or trunk-based work to optimize overall performance to lead to better recovery for a better adaptation from exercise 1a.
Remember, you are thinking about adaptations. You have big lifts at the beginning of the week and rapid lifts in the middle of the week. At the end of the week, you have crazy hypertrophy rep schemes. When you look at the adaptations, you have myofibrillar adaptations at the beginning of the week. In the middle of the week, you are having neurological adaptations that focus on being as twitchy as possible. You learn how to handle a lot of force from unilateral and bilateral aspects. You then finish it all off with metabolic aspects occurring on the hypertrophy day. You are covering all major types of adaptations to occur within your overall muscle mass.
It comes back to you building a larger and larger muscle. You also have to make sure that the larger structure innervates well, can handle force well, and can handle force rapidly. This way you can keep increasing your max strength, force output, and endurance under the bar which leads to big-time gains.
The best training split for muscle mass goes like this:
- Lower body strength day
- Upper body strength day
- Athlete day
- Impulse day
- Hypertrophy day
It works. You just have to look at the athletes who train at Garage Strength to see how well it works.
Yo, It's Dane
Welcome to the Garage Strength Blog, where it is my goal to provide you with the experience and knowledge I've gained in the strength and conditioning world over many years of learning from both successes and failures. I train elite-level athletes in a multitude of sports from the high school to professional levels, already producing 5 Olympics and 30+ National Champions. If you want to be the next champion I train, check out my strength programs below!
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