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The best workout routine ever – does it exist?

By August 20, 2010January 13th, 20174 Comments

Everyone is searching for the holy-mutha-f*$ken-grail of workout routines. How does one go about deciding which circuits or body parts to train on any particular day?

After all, there are literally hundreds of variations out there. This can drive you insane.

They work for a while, then nothing

Each split will give you results for a finite amount of time before the body starts realising that you’re trying to trick it into gaining unnecessary muscle whilst shedding its precious fat. MMMmmmmmm fat.

The fact of the matter is, there isn’t a ‘best training split’—Every single program that has been designed will offer at least SOME benefit to the trainer even on the smallest of scales (depending on dedication and training intensity).

Mix it up every 5-6 weeks

Ok, so its a Dodgeball line, but I freakin LOVE it. You gotta keep the body guessing and that means, changing your program every 5-6 weeks.

This will also keep you from becoming bored, as the more times you train on the same routine, the less energy you are likely to put into it each subsequent workout.

What I’ve used with SUCCESS

Below are two training splits which can be used as your program outline (that have both been VERY successful for me over the years). All you need to do is fill in each training split with exercises (which I have outlined with examples below).

3 Day training split

Routine A Back/Biceps
Routine B Chest/Shoulders/Triceps
Routine C Legs/Abs

This split is great in terms of completely isolating all areas of the body. Back/Biceps together will allow for complete annihilation of the back, which will then pre-fatigue the biceps. (unfortunately you won’t lift as much for biceps once you’ve already done back). Chest/Shoulders/Triceps together allows for a similar result. When you train chest, you are also indirectly working triceps and shoulders, so they will also be pre-fatigued. Legs/abs is a great combo as it allows you to put full concentration into your leg workout by isolating the bottom half of the body.

Day of the weekRoutineExample exercises
MondayAChin-ups, seated cable row, barbell bicep curls, seated bicep hammer curls
TuesdayBIncline dumb-bell chest-press, flat-bench dumb-bell flyes, military press, lateral raises, close-grip bench, tricep pull-downs
ThursdayCSquats, dead-lifts, calf raises, fitball situps, abdominal vacuum
FridayHIIT SprintsSprint for 30 seconds, rest 1.5mins and repeat for 15-20mins

Editor’s comment: If you don’t like sprints or any kind of cardio, you can always repeat routine A on the Friday.

2 Day training split

Routine A Legs/Back/Biceps
Routine B Chest/Shoulders/Triceps/Abs

2 Day training splits are great as you are hammering your body with a broader workout twice whilst maintaining a high level of volume. If you train 4+ days a week, you can repeat both routines ad infinitum in the following fashion:

Day of the weekRoutineExample exercises
MondayASquats, dead-lifts, pull-ups, one-arm dumb-bell rows, standing bicep barbell curls, alternating dumb-bell bicep curls
TuesdayBDecline bench press, incline dumb-bell press, seated dumb-bell shoulder press, shrugs, tricep skull crushers, weighted tricep dips, hanging leg raises, ab-wheel roll-out
ThursdayAdead-lifts, leg-press, lat pull-downs, bent-over rows, standing bicep cable curls, decline bicep curls
FridayBIncline bench press, flat-bench dumb-bell press, standing military press, cable lateral raises, close-grip bench press, tricep rope pull-downs, ab-wheel roll-out, bridge

Editor’s comment: If you want to train 5 days, just repeat routine A on the Saturday, then start with routine B on Monday. At the time of writing this article, it’s the format I am training with now.

What about rep ranges, set numbers etc?

I haven’t included rep ranges or number of sets for a reason now that you’re asking. Those things will differ for everyone depending on your goals (muscle size, fat-loss, strength etc).

The aim was to give you a training split outline that you can use to fill in with your own exercises.

My friend says he is on one of the best workout routines EVER!

There is no such thing as a best workout routine. They all offer their own unique amount of awesomeness which will put you on the right path to making gains no matter how small or large. Just don’t fall for someone telling you they’ve found the best split ever. Your gains may not be quite as good as his or hers which will send you down a path of disbelief. This could eventually lead to late-night donut marathons whilst watching re-runs of Two and a Half Men.


Editor’s note: How do you like to mix it up? Comment below.

Clint Nielsen

Author Clint Nielsen

Clint is a dad and husband trying to stay in shape. He's also a highly opinionated fitness enthusiast and author of Reveal The Steel. Follow him on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google+

More posts by Clint Nielsen

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Jay says:

    This is a great topic. I just recently switched my routines up after about a 6 or 7 week focus on body weight exercises which were absolutely great for the first few weeks after coming off from free weights. Now on my return to free weights, my workouts are again giving me that post workout buzz. I think a rotation similar this is a great way to keep your body honest, with good relative strength and not just gym strength.

  • I’m a big fan of changing up routines every 4-8 weeks. Keeps the muscles guessing and prevents boredom. Right now I’m doing a lot of compound exercises so I do those 2-3 times per week and HIIT 2-3 times per week.

  • physician assistant says:

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  • Juliana Flanagan says:

    Great writing! You may want to follow up to this topic!?

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