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Hardcore Training - Splits That Just Won't Quit

For as many bodybuilders as there are in the world, there's probably a split for each one. That means literally hundreds of combinations of splits that can lead you down the path to mass building or fat leaning success. There are 3-day splits, 4-day splits, 5, 6 and 7-day splits, and everything in between.
We're going to list quite a few splits and examine how exercise combinations can affect outcome.

Here is an array of 3 days splits. Look them over and then we'll tell you why we like 'em or not:


Mon: Off Tue: Chest, Triceps, Forearms, Abs
Wed: Back, Biceps, Traps, Forearms Thurs: Off/cardio
Friday: Legs, Delts
Sat: Off/cardio
Sun: Off

Why We Love It: This is a great way to break up the week. First off, we love the weekend off. This allows for a mental and physical break and a life! We also love the combination of medium muscle groups with much neglected small groups, such as traps and forearms. A day off between back and legs and then two off after legs is great!


Sunday: Back, Legs
Monday: Cardio, Abs, Calves
Tuesday: Chest, Shoulders
Wednesday: Shoulders, Triceps, traps
Thursday: Cardio

Why We Don't Like It: Combining legs and back just doesn't work for building mass or intensity or sparing the body fatigue. It's just too exhausting.


Monday: Chest, Triceps
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Back, Biceps, Forearms
Thursday: Off
Friday: Shoulders, Legs

Why We Like It: This one is a classic 3-day. It combines body parts in a traditional way that makes sense. This is a great split for someone just starting to understand splits


Monday- Chest, Triceps, Shoulders
Wednesday- Legs, Abs
Friday- Back, Biceps, Forearms

Why We Love It: This is a great one for beginner or seasoned competitor. It's a great combination to build tension and it's also a great order of exercises. Legs, in our opinion, should always proceed back in an ideal situation. Then again, sometimes, reversing order gives the back more rest.


Monday- Chest, Triceps, Delts
Wednesday- Legs
Friday- Back, Biceps, Traps, Forearms

Here is an example of an array of 4-day splits and what we think about 'em:


Monday- Chest, Triceps
Tuesday- Back, Biceps
Wednesday- Off
Thursday- Shoulders, Forearms
Friday- Legs
Saturday/Sunday- Off or Cardio


Monday- Chest, Triceps
Tuesday- Back, Biceps, Forearms
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday- Shoulders
Friday- Legs

Why We Love It: Starting off strong in the first part of the week is smart after two days off. Combining two or three body parts in one workout, that also combine well, is just plain smart. Putting a strategic rest day in there, prior to shoulders, which then build to legs, is a superb plan!


Fri - Legs
Sat - Chest, Triceps
Sun - Off
Mon - Back, Biceps
Tues - Shoulders
Wed - Off
Thurs - Off

Why we're Luke on This One: This is just okay. Putting two rest days prior to legs, rather than after a leg workout, doesn't make much sense. You won't go wrong on this one, but you also won't really maximize result or recovery either


Mon - Back, Chest
Tues - Rest
Wed - Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Abs
Thur. - Rest
Fri - Legs
at, Sun - Rest

Why We Love It: Not only does this provide the recuperation needed after working the largest muscle group in the body (legs), but combining back and chest can often have GREAT results. Placing shoulders and arms together can also prevent over training of smaller body parts.

Here are examples of 5, 6 and 7-day splits and what we think of 'em:

SPLIT #1 - 5 Day

Mon: Chest, Triceps
Tue: Back, Abs
Wed: Biceps, Forearms
Thur.: Shoulder, Traps
Fri: Legs

Why We Love It: This is a classic 5 day split that is good for all purpose building, leaning or otherwise. It isn't a mass-specific routine, but it does have good qualities. It employs logical combinations, placing smaller body parts together, and keeping larger muscle groups (back and legs) separate. The two days off after legs are great for recuperation. Train 'em hard!


Mon - Chest, Triceps
Tues - Back, Forearms
Wed - Delts, Traps
Thur. - Legs
Fri - Arms, Calves

Why We Would Recommend This to Any Intermediate: This is a well-thought out 5 day routine. We love weekday on and weekend off routines anyhow, because they're great mentally. But apart from that, notice that combinations of a large muscle group like back with forearms is just enough but not too much to detract from an intense back workout. Combining delts and traps is just good common senses, provided you finish delts first and don't slip into trap training out of fatigue. Keeping legs separate and combining bis and tris just makes good sense.

SPLIT #3 - 6 day routine

Mon - Chest, Delts
Tues - Legs
Wed - Back, Traps
Thur. - Arms
Friday - Forearms, Abs
Saturday - Calves, Abs (high intensity for both)

Why We Like It: We typically think that a 6 day routine is excessive, but not this one. Making Saturday all about calves and abs, particularly when they can be forgotten during the week, is a great trade off. If you were to put them anyplace else, it would be an excessive day in combination with other body parts. We don't advocate 2-3 hour workouts! High intensity calves and abs means that, in the off-season, this may be all you need. Superset abs and go to failure with calves in both straight leg and bent leg calf exercises.

SPLIT #4 - 6 day routine

Mon - Legs
Tues - Chest
Wed - Off
Thurs - Back
Fri - Shoulders
Sat - Arms Sun - Off

Why We LOVE It: We love this classic "one body part per day/ 5 days" routine because it puts legs first after a day off on Sunday and a mild workout on Saturday of arms. We love that legs are followed by a totally unrelated upper body workout in chest, and then a day off is planned. We love that you're fresh for back, but carry that intensity into shoulders. Having arms after two hard days is actually good because you're pre-exhausted and won't over train them. Putting them together also keeps you from over training one or the other of biceps or triceps.

If this hasn't left you overwhelmed, it's probably motivated you to reassess what it is you currently do in the gym. Use any of these, or create your own. The point is, changing up and reconfiguring your workouts on a regular basis is what keeps you growing and changing as a bodybuilder or physique technician


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