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What is the Best Workout Routine For Muscle Gains?

Bro Split Vs. Push, Pull, Legs Workout Routine

We all want the "most optimal" workout routine. In this article we will explain the difference between the "bro split" and the push pull legs training program.

What's the Best Workout Routine?

If you ever had the chance to try someone else's workout routine, you would quickly realize that their "optimal" training program might not work for you.

Why?

  • Different goal: someone who is trying to lose 10 lbs of fat should not train like someone who is trying to build 5 lbs of lean muscle mass.
  • Different body composition: some people respond better to different type of training intensity.
  • Different personality: if you tend to be more hyperactive, you would certainly prefer to train using circuit training rather than one exercise at a time.
  • Different schedule: if you only have 45 minutes to work out, you will train differently than someone who can train for 2-3 hours.
  • The list goes on...

The bottom line is, the best workout routine is the one that will make you progress and that you can stick to.

What's a Workout Split?

Every training routine has a specific goal: lose weight, build strong legs, get bigger arms...

A workout split is a way to break up your training over a period of time. Some people like to do a full body workout three times a day and others prefer to train one muscle group per session, also know as "bro split".

Is Bro Split Bad?

A "bro split" is a workout routine that focuses on every muscle group once a week.

This was a common training routine among professional bodybuilders.

Here's a 6-day bro split workout routine:

  • Monday: Chest
  • Tuesday: Back
  • Wednesday: Legs
  • Thursday: Shoulders
  • Friday: Arms
  • Saturday: Rest or Abs & Calves
  • Sunday: Rest

Been there, done that.

There is nothing wrong with that type of workout routine if performed with the right training volume. However, it's probably not appropriate for most people and you're more likely to do more training volume using a different workout routine.

Research suggests that training a muscle group twice a week can create superior hypertrophic outcomes than once a week.

A natural athlete tends to increase muscle protein synthesis for 48 hours after a muscle group has been trained. Therefore, you should be able to train a muscle group 2-3 times a week with proper nutrition and recovery.

What is the Push Pull Legs Workout Routine?

The Push Pull Legs (PPL) workout routine is a very simple, yet very effective training program.

It's mainly suited for intermediate and more advanced lifters. If you're beginner you should probably do a full body workout 2-3 times a week.

Here's a 3-day push pull legs workout routine:

  • Monday: Push A (Chest, Shoulders and Triceps)
  • Tuesday: Rest
  • Wednesday: Pull A (Back and Biceps)
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: Legs A (Quadriceps, Glutes, Hamstrings and Calves)
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: Rest

Here's a 6-day push pull legs workout routine:

  • Monday: Push A (Chest, Shoulders & Triceps)
  • Tuesday: Pull A (Back & Biceps)
  • Wednesday: Legs A (Quadriceps, Glutes, Hamstrings and Calves)
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: Push B (Chest, Shoulders & Triceps)
  • Saturday: Pull B (Back & Biceps)
  • Sunday: Legs B (Quadriceps, Glutes, Hamstrings and Calves)

What are the Benefits of Push Pull Legs Training Split?

The primary goal of this workout routine is to train all related muscle groups in one workout.

This will allow you to train each muscle group two times a week and keep muscle overlap to a minimum.

How To Avoid Overlapping Muscle Groups?

Push pull legs workout routine will help you decrease overlapping muscle groups; using certain muscles across workouts as part of a movement when they're supposed to be resting.

For example:

  • Monday: chest, which also involves deltoids and triceps in certain movements.
  • Tuesday: shoulders, which also involves chest and triceps in some movement, there are overlaps.

Overlapping muscle groups should be kept to a minimum in order to maximize muscle growth and prevent injuries.

Compound and Isolation Exercises for Push Pull Legs Routine

This type of training highly focuses on compound exercises. They target several muscle groups and maximizes hypertrophy (muscle growth).

Isolation movements are useful if you're trying to target a specific muscle group such as biceps, triceps, calves...

Gymaholic Push Workout: Chest, Shoulders and Triceps

  • Dumbbell Incline Bench Press 4x6 reps (90s rest)
  • Chest Dip (or assisted): 4x8 reps (90s rest)
  • Alternate Arnold Press: 4x10 reps (90s rest)
  • Bent Over Dumbbell Rear Delt Raise: 4x12 reps (90s rest)
  • Cable Rope Tricep Pushdown: 4x12 reps (60s rest)

Gymaholic Pull Workout: Back and Biceps

  • Bent Over Reverse Grip Row: 4x6 reps (90s rest)
  • Pull Up (or assisted): 4x6 reps (90s rest)
  • Alternate Regenade Row: 4x10 reps (90s rest)
  • Hyperextension: 4x12 reps (60s rest)
  • Cable Curl: 4x12 reps (60s rest)

Gymaholic Leg Workout: Quadriceps, Glutes, Hamstrings and Calves

  • Barbell Squat: 4x5 reps (2m rest)
  • Hip Thrust: 4x8 reps (90s rest)
  • Leg Curl: 4x12 reps (60s rest)
  • Leg Extension: 4x12 reps (60s rest)
  • Calf Raise: 4x12 reps (60s rest)

In Summary

  • The best workout routine is that makes you progress and that you can stick to.
  • There's nothing wrong with bro split, but you're more likely to do more training volume with PPL.
  • Push pull legs split allows you train each muscle group up to twice a week and minimize overlaps.
  • Push pull legs workout routine primarily focuses on compound exercises, but also adds some isolation movements.
  • Give our push pull legs workouts a try.

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