bodyA lot of people often wonder what the best training routine is, how many sets to do per exercise and what rep ranges to use. My answer usually is: It all depends on your body type, how quickly you can recover from workouts, and how often you can go to the gym.  A lot of guys generally stick to the traditional bodybuilding style type routine where they train for 5 days a week. Monday’s are usually chest, Tuesdays are legs, Wednesdays are back, etc.

The training volume that traditional bodybuilding routines call for, combined with frequency and often intensity, can sometimes lead to being sore for days and often overtraining, if not careful.

My current training routine consists of push and pull workouts. One day being a push day, one day being a pull day, followed by a day of rest, and it repeats. The pull days consists of working out my back, rear delts, hamstrings, biceps and forearms. The push days consist of training chest, triceps, quads and shoulders ( lateral and medial heads).

I find that personally, this routine allows for maximum strength and muscle gains, and it works great for me. Though some may argue that overtraining may occur because of the frequency of my workouts (training each body part twice a week),I can safely say that my routine is incorporated to fit my body and also allows for maximum rest and recovery. On top of that, I never push my exercises to complete failure. So my current routine looks something like this:

Fridays: Heavy pull day
Saturdays: Heavy push day
Sundays: rest
Monday: Moderate pull day
Tuesday: Moderate push day
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: rest

The reason I do this routine is that it allows me to increase the frequency of my training because sometimes I hate being away from the gym. Also, I find that if I work out one body part per week, sometimes it’ll recover too quickly and I find that I”ll be “waiting” to go to the gym to train that body part again. This push/pull routine allows me to work out my muscles more frequently and I can assure you that my muscles are given optimal rest periods (48 hours+) before hitting them again. This will allow for quicker strength and size progression, providing that nutrition and adequate sleep is provided.

So my current heavy pull day looks something like this:

Rack Pulls – 3 sets of 5
Close grip lat pull down – 3 sets of 5
Wide grip lat pull down – 3 sets of 5
Barbell shrugs – 3 sets of 5
Barbell bicep curls – 3 sets of 7
Straight Leg deadlifts – 3 sets of 5

My moderate pull day which occurs roughly 48+ hours after my heavy pull day is:

Barbell Deadlifts – 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Barbell rows – 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Dumbbell shrugs – 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Dumbbell concentration curls – 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Lying leg curls – 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Cable crunches – 3 sets of 10

My current heavy push day consists of:

Barbell Squats- 3 sets of 5
Barbell incline press – 3 sets of 5
Barbell bench press – 3 sets of 5
Barbell shoulder press – 3 sets of 5
Calf raises- 5 sets of 5

My moderate push day looks something like this:

Machine leg press- 3 sets of 10
Front squats- 3 sets of 10
Incline cable flies- 3 sets of 12
Flat cable flies- 3 sets of 12
Triceps Extensions – 3 sets of 10
Dumbbell shoulder press (preferably Arnold presses)- 3 sets of 10

This is pretty much my workout routine right now. I find it very effective for myself. The rest time between sets on heavy days is no longer than 90 seconds, and moderate days are anywhere from 30- 60 seconds. My heavy days combine the perfect amount exercises and rep ranges for increasing strength, without stressing out my body and central nervous system too much.

I find that 48 hours in-between the heavy and moderate weighted workouts are nearly perfect in terms of resting time. And my moderate weight days allow just the right volume to achieve muscle hypertrophy and really stimulate new muscle growth. The reason I give 2 days of rest between the moderate weight and heavy days is so my body can recover from muscles that may be sore from the higher rep ranges that are performed. As I’ve said, you should use workout routines that you find online and in magazines as a rough guideline. Everybody’s body is different and performing a routine that some buff guy gives you will not ensure the same outcome. With that said, feel free to use this routine, train hard, train smart and grow!

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John considers himself as a fitness enthusiast who loves to do anything to keep the body in peak physical performance (much like a highly tuned machine). He mainly focuses on sports nutrition and supplement research, but is also highly knowledgeable in relation to muscle growth and fat loss. He's helped numerous people over the years achieve the body that they've always wanted and hopes his information will guide you to the goals you want.

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