What Is The Best Way To Train For Muscle

by : Jimmy Smith



When it comes to the best training split for size, arguments abound. There are multiple schools of thoughts at play. Some swear by traditional one bodypart once a week routine. With the recent invasion of powerlifting and sports performance training methods into the physique world many coaches and individuals are advocating full body routines with their support being that no muscle works in isolation. Who is right and who is wrong? In my opinion, the best way to figure out what is right for you is to look at all the methods that are out there.

Trying to increase muscular size and definition is not mutually exclusive to body part split, there is a few other ways to get it done. Let us take a short Pro/Con approach. Knowing that the three characteristics to muscle growth are volume, intensity and frequency we see that each split has their own advantages and disadvantages.

Body part splits once a week
Pros
-Highest amount of recovery
-Potential least CNS fatiguing
-Highest volume per body part
Cons
-Infrequent muscle stimulation
-Inability to use greatest total load per session
-Least amount of total muscle recruitment per session
-Lower amount of calorie usage



Body part splits twice a week
Pros
-More frequent muscle stimulation
-Greatest total volume per body part
-Lack of full recovery
Cons
-Greater likelihood of adrenal fatigue
-Potential for wasted energy
-Inability to use greatest total load

Total Body Training
Pros
-Frequent muscle stimulation
-Ability to use more total muscle
-Ability to use greater total loads
Cons
-Inability to significantly improve a specific movement
-Lack of isolation exercises may leave specific bodyparts under stimulated
-Impaired recovery
Upper/Lower Split
Pros
-Increased focus on specific areas
-Appropriate mix of frequency and intensity
-Ability to significantly increase lifts
-Ability to focus on weak areas
Cons
-Lack of significant volume



Upper/Lower Split with body part training
Pros
-Appropriate mix of volume, frequency and intensity
-Mix of recovery and lack of recovery
-Ability to increase lifts while focusing on specific weaknesses
Cons
-Increased risk of fatigue if training is not monitored correctly
-Increased likelihood of wasted exercises on body part days


As you can see, each split has positives and negatives. One is not better then the other and each split is appropriate at certain times. Breaking each split down according to volume, intensity and frequency categories produces the following:

Volume splits: Body part splits once a week, Body part splits twice a week, Total body training, Upper/lower split with body part raining.

Intensity splits: Upper/lower splits, Upper/lower splits with body part training

Frequency splits: Body part splits twice a week, total body training, upper/lower splits with body part training

When we look at the breakdown, we see that only one method falls into each category, upper/lower splits with body part training. This method not only allows us to focus on increasing specific lifts but also to have direct work on the areas that we need to improve. In short, we have increased volume with proper intensity and frequent muscle stimulation. That is where my money goes!