Choosing the Best Workout Split

With all the choices you have to make when working out, let’s make which muscles to hit the easiest one.

What are you hitting today? If the answer is somewhere along the lines of “I don’t know” or “whatever feels right,” then you might benefit from implementing a workout split. Having set muscle groups to work on each day is a highly effective way to step up your lifting game. Not only does this practice give you focused direction when working out, but it also ensures that your muscles all have ample time to recover before it’s their turn to lift once more. Below, we explore three of the most popular splits and why they return to gym goer routines time and time again.

Upper, Lower, Rest

Simple, effective, and great for building strength. A split alternating upper body days and lower body days is a staple for countless workout routines, and for good reason. Because so many muscles are grouped into each day, it allows for greater load intensity while avoiding volume overload. The big three compound exercises (bench, squat, and deadlift) are easily slotted into the primary movements on these days, benefiting powerlifters and general lifters alike. 

  • Monday: Upper 
  • Tuesday: Lower 
  • Wednesday: Rest 
  • Thursday: Upper 
  • Friday: Lower 
  • Rest on the weekend 

This simple split is a great place for beginning your fitness journey or revitalizing it with something new. You can’t go wrong with upper, lower, and rest.

“Bro” Split

Now, while the bro split may have gotten its nickname from originally being the unscientific, broscience formula to ‘get big,’ doesn’t mean it’s not effective in our current, peer-review obsessed fitness era. A typical bro split targets one muscle group each day, working it to utter fatigue. 

  • Monday: Chest 
  • Tuesday: Back 
  • Wednesday: Legs 
  • Thursday: Shoulders 
  • Friday: Arms 
  • Rest on the weekend
workout split

The main advantage of a split like this is the intensity you can reach each day. Since you’re only going to be working each muscle group once a week, you can crank up the volume and squeeze out every last rep. Bro splits are also nice because of their simplicity. You don’t have to worry if something is really a ‘push exercise’ or if your leg day is going to make you too sore to hit legs again later in the week. Just up the intensity and lift. The only thing to watch out for is scheduling your arm days too close to your chest or back days. Compound lifts, such as the bench press and pull up, work the smaller muscle groups, like the arms, in addition to their main movers. Your split is designed to help you lift and recover optimally, so don’t let accidental volume slow down your groove. 

Push, Pull, Legs

Now, I’ve saved my personal favorite for last. Push, Pull, Legs is a split that synthesizes the positives of both the above splits into a middle ground. Push day involves the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Pull day involves the back, biceps, and forearms. Leg day involves the legs and the core. It’s best performed: 

  • Monday: Push 
  • Tuesday: Pull 
  • Wednesday: Legs 
  • Thursday: Push 
  • Friday: Pull 
  • Saturday: Legs 
  • Sunday: Rest 

It can also be done starting with legs if you find yourself too fatigued to drag yourself through your second leg workout at the end of the week. The main strength of this split is in the way it optimizes muscle recovery between days. Lifting your triceps and shoulders on the same day as your chest contains all three of these muscles to one session. You won’t have to worry about your compound lifts silently fatiguing other muscle groups or if your focused volume is leaking into other days. You only need to focus on the movements, and the muscles will do their thing. If this is the split for you, then check out Project Mass. 


Any of these splits is going to be an effective way to enhance your current workout routine. Adding a focused split helps you stay consistent, provides direction to your lifts, and allows for systematic bodily recovery. Now, these are only three of the most popular ways to structure your week, but there are plenty more. Do your research and experiment with what feels best for you. In time, you will know the best split for your body and your goals. Just keep your lifting consistent, and watch your gains blossom.

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