Should I Be Training Muscle Groups Separately Each Day?

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question-icon-newI am currently training different muscle groups on separate days during the week. I do chest on Monday, back on Tuesday, shoulders on Wednesday, biceps and triceps together on Thursday, and legs on Friday. For every muscle group, I do 5 total sets and about 7-8 reps with a 3 minute rest break in between each set. I want to know if this method is a good one to build up the most amount of muscle mass and get big. Do you have any other recommendations for workout routines and exercises for adding maximum muscle so I can get huge?

answer-icon-newIt looks like you’re on the right track with the workout routine you have outlined. What you are currently doing is a basic 5 day split routine and this layout works very well for many people. There are several important things you should be aware of when weight training so you can maximize each workout and really tear down the muscle fibers to stimulate growth. These areas include the specific exercises you choose, repetition ranges, rest and recovery periods along with your overall mind-body connection.

Let’s tackle the topic of exercises and discuss how critical this is for building up lean muscle tissue. Since you did not mention the specific type of exercises you are currently using in your workouts, I want to stress the importance of choosing basic, multi-joint mass building movements in order to overload the muscle and stimulate growth. If you are currently doing single joint exercises for the bulk of your workouts, then you absolutely need to start making changes right away. Single joint exercises are ones like concentration curls for your biceps, cable crossovers for your chest, leg extensions and cable pushdowns for your triceps. These types of exercises will not help you pack on the thick slabs of striated muscle mass you’re after. You need to implement better mass building movements to really be able to overload the muscle with a lot of weight in order to stimulate growth.

deadlifts-heavy-gymSome of the best mass building exercises include multi-joint movements like deadlifts, barbell squats, bench press and military press. The reason these are considered “multi-joint” is because they require more than 1 joint to be activated and used when they are performed. So in the example of the deadlift exercise, you are activating multiple joints with extension occurring at the hip, knee and ankle joints. This allows you to recruit several large muscle groups and provides an intense whole body workout. Along with working the lower body muscles of your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes, you are also hitting your back muscles extremely well as you pull up and tear the weight from the ground. By hitting so many major muscle groups, you are able to elicit a substantial hormonal training response that results in greater strength grains which allows you to build more muscle mass. So, always make sure to use big, basic mass building exercises as the core foundation of your weight training program.

The different types of repetition ranges you implement are also extremely important when designing a quality workout plan. It’s important to use a combination of low reps and heavy weight along with higher reps and decreased weight so you can shock your muscles by confusing them in order to stimulate growth. Not only is muscle confusion training important for continued growth but it’s also critical for overall recovery in order to avoid overtraining. If you do the same heavy weight, low reps style workouts every time you head into the gym, your body will be so overloaded and taxed that you will eventually start overtraining and essentially “burn out” which is the last thing you want to do. If you overtrain long enough, your body will start to fight back which will result in losing hard-earned muscle mass and a big decrease in your strength levels.

I recommend implementing “heavy” and “light” weeks into your training. For the first week, go super heavy and do lower reps in the range of 4-6 per set. The next week, do your light training with much less weight for reps in between 12-15 per set. This will allow you to let your body recover from the super intense and heavy workouts from the week before and it will also provide a different stimulus for your muscles by going higher on your repetition range for each set. This allows you to cover two important aspects of training at once which include implementing muscle confusion along with adequate recovery so you can continue to make gains and pack on serious amounts of thick muscle!

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