Once you’ve decided that you want to build muscle, lose fat, increase strength or improve your body in any way, the first subject that always comes up is weightlifting workout routines.
In order for you to get the best results as fast as possible, you must make sure your workout routine is designed specifically for you, your body, your experience level, and your exact goal. The problem is, there are a ton of different weightlifting factors to set up, and a ton of conflicting, confusing and all around horrible advice out there about how you should do it.
Seriously. Just spend a few minutes searching around online for workout routines and you’ll come across thousands of different weightlifting and bodybuilding programs, plans, schedules, splits and methods that your head could explode. I’ve been there before, so I know exactly how annoying it is.
That’s why I want to eliminate all of your confusion about workouts and programs right now by taking you through a FREE guide that will cover every major factor of weightlifting workouts and show you exactly how to create the workout routine that will work best for you.
The 6 Factors Of A Perfect Workout Routine
In order to put together the best program possible, there are 6 weightlifting factors that we need to set up effectively. They are:
- Frequency: How often should you work out?
- Weekly Split & Schedule: How should your program be organized throughout the week?
- Intensity: Should you lift heavy or light weight? High or low reps?
- Volume: How many sets and reps should you do?
- Exercises: Which are best for you?
- Progression: How, when and why should you progress?
To build muscle, lose fat or improve your body, you need to get each factor just right. Here’s how…
The Best Frequency
Workout frequency most often refers to how many total workouts you’ll do per week, and how many times you will train each muscle group over the course of that week (once, twice, three times?). Let’s figure out both.
How many workouts per week?
This answer is easy. The majority of the population should be doing 3 or 4 weightlifting workouts per week. Yes, it’s possible to get by with just 2, and it’s possible to still recover well enough to make 5 work. However, workout routines that consist of 3 or 4 total workouts per week are definitely most ideal and most often recommended for getting the best results possible.
How often should you train each muscle group per week?
- Beginners with ANY goal should train each muscle group 3 times per week.
- Intermediate or Advanced trainees whose #1 goal is building muscle, losing fat or just improving the way their body looks should train each muscle group about 2 times per week. Those mostly interested in JUST increasing strength or performance (rather than looks) should train each muscle group 2 or 3 times per week.
So, if you’re a beginner to weightlifting (training for less than 6-8 months correctly), stick with 3 times per week. If you are anyone else with pretty much ANY goal, training each muscle group about twice per week is what has been proven to work best in most cases.
Training each muscle group once per week is the LEAST EFFECTIVE weightlifting frequency of all. Workout routines built around this lowered frequency work well for bodybuilders with amazing genetics and tons of steroid use, and it works fine for just maintaining muscle (rather than actually building it), but it sucks for everything else. It can still work if done right, it’s just NOT what works best.
The Best Weekly Split & Schedule
Now that you know what weightlifting frequency will work best for you, you need to pick a weekly split and schedule that allows that ideal frequency to be reached. At the same time, it also needs to allow for optimal recovery and fit your own personal schedule. Here are some recommendations…
The 3 Day Full Body Split
Monday: Full Body Workout
Wednesday: Full Body Workout
Friday: Full Body Workout
Literally all of the most highly proven and often recommended weightlifting workout routines for beginners with ANY goal use this 3 day full body split. It allows each muscle group (or key exercise) to be trained 3 times per week, which allows beginners to build muscle and increase strength at the fastest rate possible. For this same reason, it’s also ideal for people past the beginners stage whose #1 goal is increasing strength.
The 4 Day Upper/Lower Split
Monday: Upper Body
Tuesday: Lower Body
Thursday: Upper Body
Friday: Lower Body
And here is the workout schedule that I personally use and most often recommend to pretty much EVERYONE besides beginners. It allows for each muscle group to be trained twice per week, which is what has been proven to work best for intermediate and advanced trainees. Many of the most effective workout routines on the planet use this split.
A 3 day version of this upper/lower split is also possible and equally effective, which is ideal for people who can only manage to work out 3 days per week or would just prefer a slightly reduced weightlifting frequency. You’d just do upper, lower, upper one week, and then lower, upper, lower the next and keep alternating like that (with 1 day off between workouts and 2 days off at the end).
The Push/Pull/Legs Split
Monday: Chest, Shoulders and Triceps
Tuesday: Back, Biceps
Saturday: Chest, Shoulders and Triceps
Sunday: Back, Biceps
And here is one of the only true “body part splits” that I actually like. Most body part splits used in typical bodybuilding programs train each muscle group once per week. As I explained earlier, this is the least effective weightlifting frequency. However, this split avoids that. It’s slightly less frequent than the 4 day upper/lower split above, but still more frequent than once per week.