The Ultimate Guide To Designing Your Own Mass Building Workout Split

mass-buiding-workout-plans

Your body and lifestyle are like anyone else’s, so why shouldn’t that hold true for your mass building workout program as well?This guide will walk you through a system to design your own training program, custom-tailored towards your particular attributes, schedule, and lifestyle. In essence, you will become your own personal trainer.

Step 1 – Choosing Your Training Split

The first step in designing your mass building workout is selecting your training split.

I will go over seven of the most popular and effective training splits used by bodybuilders today:

    1. Whole-body training split
    2. Upper-and-Lower Body Training Split
    3. Two-Dat Training Split
    4. Three-Day Training split
    5. Four-Day Training Split
    6. Five-Day Training Split
    7. Twice-a-Day Training Split

The one that is right for you largely depends on your current experience, goals, and schedule. Reading through a description of each split will paint a better picture.

1. Whole-Body Training Split

Muscle Building Curl

As the name implies, such a split entails stimulating every major muscle group (chest, back, shoulders, arms, legs) in every workout. In this way, exercises and sets per muscle group are kept to a minimum while frequency, i.e. the number of times you target them per week, is kept high.

Whole-body training is the best choice for you if you have fewer than 6 months of consistent strength training experience. As a beginner, the major improvements made during the first few months of training are in the nervous system, more specifically, in the recruitment of motor units.

Motor units are the nerve fibers in muscle cells that allow the muscle to contract properly. They are best trained with constant repetition. A whole-body training split will maximize the learning effect that has the greatest benefits on your nervous system.

Your split can be arranged as follows:

3 workouts per week, 1 exercise per major muscle group, 2-3 sets per exercise, 8-10 reps per set

SAMPLE WORKOUT

  1. Bench press: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  2. Cable rows: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  3. Squat: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  4. Shoulder press: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  5. Hyper Extension: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  6. Dumbbell curl: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  7. Triceps extension: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  8. Sit-ups: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  9. Calf raise: 3 sets – 8-10 reps

2. Upper-and-Lower Body Training

With this split, you train either muscles of the upper body or the lower body in each workout. Abs are usually split with lower body training.

You target each muscle group two times a week, allowing for four training days per week. This is a good step forward for a beginner advancing from whole-body training.

Compared to a whole-body training split, you train fewer muscle groups per workout and can therefore allow more exercises and total sets per muscle group.

SAMPLE SPLIT

WORKOUT A (UPPER BODY):

  1. Bench press: 3 sets – 6-8 reps
  2. Incline press: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  3. Pull-up: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  4. Cable row: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  5. Military press: 3 sets – 6-8 reps
  6. Lateral raise: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  7. Shrug: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  8. Dumbbell curl: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  9. Hammer curl: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  10. Triceps extension: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  11. Triceps pressdown: 3 sets – 8-10 reps

WORKOUT B (LOWER BODY):

  1. Squats: 3 sets – 6-8 reps
  2. Leg extension: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  3. Leg curl: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  4. Seated calf raise: 4 sets – 8-10 reps
  5. Leg raise: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  6. Crunch: 3 sets – 8-10 reps

Workouts A and B can be done on alternate days (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday), two days consecutive with one day off (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday), or on four consecutive days with three days off.

3. Two-Day Training Split

This is very similar to the upper-and-lower body training split in that you train all muscle groups within two workouts. The only difference is that some upper-body muscle groups are trained with legs. The idea is to balance out the training since the upper body has more muscles than the lower body.

SAMPLE SPLIT

WORKOUT A (CHEST, BACK, SHOULDERS, TRAPS, ABS):

  1. Incline bench press: 3 sets – 6-8 reps
  2. Flat dumbbell press: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  3. Lateral pulldown: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  4. Barbell row: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  5. Seated dumbbell shoulder press: 3 sets – 6-8 reps
  6. Cable lateral raise: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  7. Dumbbell shrug: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  8. Cable crunch: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  9. Leg raise: 3 sets – 8-10 reps

WORKOUT B (LEGS AND ARMS):

  1. Squat: 3 sets – 6-8 reps
  2. Leg extension: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  3. Leg curl: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  4. Seated calf raise: 4 sets – 8-10 reps
  5. Barbell curl: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  6. Concentration curl: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  7. Lying triceps extension: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  8. Triceps kickback: 3 sets – 10-12 reps

4. Three-Day Training Split

With this type of split you target each muscle group over three workouts. A common breakdown is to have a push (chest, triceps, shoulders), pull (back, biceps), and legs workouts throughout the week. Abs can be fit in with any of three workouts.

A three-day split allows targeting each muscle group with higher volume than the previous splits (whole-body, upper-lower, two-day) because each muscle is given anywhere from 3-7 days of rest between workouts.

The three-day split is commonly used to train each muscle group either once or twice a week. You can train on whatever days suit your schedule. You can perform the workouts on consecutive days or you can leave a day of rest in between workouts.

If you are looking to train with high volume and high frequency, you can train Monday through Saturday and use Sunday as a rest day. Lower volume should be used when training with high frequency.

SAMPLE SPLIT

WORKOUT A (PUSH):

  1. Incline dumbbell press: 3 sets – 6-8 reps
  2. Cable fly: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  3. Lateral pulldown: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  4. Barbell row: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  5. Seated dumbbell shoulder press: 3 sets – 6-8 reps
  6. Cable lateral raise: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  7. Dumbbell shrug: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  8. Cable crunch: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  9. Leg raise: 3 sets – 8-10 reps

WORKOUT B (LEGS):

  1. Squat: 3 sets – 6-8 reps
  2. Leg press: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  3. Leg extension: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  4. Seated leg curl: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  5. Seated calf raise: 4 sets – 8-10 reps

WORKOUT C (PULL):

  1. Pull-up: 4 sets – 8-10 reps
  2. Reverse-grip pulldown: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  3. Seated cable-row: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  4. One-arm dumbbell row: 4 sets – 8-10 reps
  5. Dumbbell curl: 4 sets – 8-10 reps
  6. Hammer curl: 4 sets – 8-10 reps
  7. Hanging leg raise: 4 sets – 8-10 reps
  8. Cable crunch: 4 sets – 10-12 reps

5. Four-Day Training Split

The four-day training split targets each muscle group over four workouts.

By training fewer muscle groups per workout you can impact two critical factors of progression:

Intensity and volume.

Since you do lower volume overall, you can increase the intensity and volume per workout.

A common way to breakdown the four-day split is to train chest and triceps, back and biceps, legs, and shoulders and traps. In this way you are training larger muscle groups with the assisting smaller muscle groups.

When working on the bench press the majority of the work is done by the pectorals, but the triceps play a part as well. When working on the back, biceps play a part. It is important to work the larger muscle groups before the assisting smaller ones as to minimize the effects of fatigue and be able to exert full strength.

SAMPLE SPLIT

MONDAY (CHEST & TRICEPS):

  1. Flat barbell bench press: 3 sets – 6-8 reps
  2. Incline dumbbell bench press: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  3. Dumbbell fly: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  4. Cable fly: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  5. Lying triceps extension: 3 – 6-8 reps
  6. Triceps pressdown: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  7. Triceps kickback: 3 sets – 8-10 reps

TUESDAY (LEGS & ABS):

  1. Squat: 3 sets – 6-8 reps
  2. Leg press: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  3. Leg extension: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  4. Seated leg curl: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  5. Hanging leg raise: 4 sets – 8-10 reps
  6. Cable crunch: 3 sets – 10-12 reps

THURSDAY (BACK & BICEPS):

  1. Barbell row: 3 sets – 6-8 reps
  2. Seated cable row: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  3. Lateral pulldown: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  4. Standing pulldown: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  5. Dumbbell curl: 3 sets – 6-8 reps
  6. Hammer curl: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  7. Concentration curl: 3 sets – 8-10 reps

FRIDAY (SHOULDERS, TRAPS, & ABS)

  1. Seated dumbbell shoulder press: 3 sets – 6-8 reps
  2. Lateral raise: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  3. Front raise: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  4. Rear-delt fly: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  5. Shrug: 4 sets – 8-10 reps
  6. Decline crunch: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  7. Oblique twist: 4 sets – 20 reps

6. Five-Day Split

The five-day split puts further emphasis on individual muscle groups per workout. You can train the major muscle groups on a day of their own, allowing for increased intensity and volume.

The typical five-day split is to train chest on Monday, back on Tuesday, legs on Wednesday, shoulders and traps on Thursday, and biceps and triceps on Friday. Abs can be trained on any workout day you choose.

The order and which days you split your training comes down to what is convenient for you.

MONDAY (CHEST & ABS):

  1. Bench press: 4 sets – 6-8 reps
  2. Incline dumbbell bench press: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  3. Decline barbell bench press: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  4. Cable fly: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  5. Incline dumbbell fly: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  6. Decline crunch: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  7. Leg raise: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  8. Oblique twist: 3 sets – 10-12 reps

TUESDAY (LEGS):

  1. Squat: 4 sets – 6-8 reps
  2. Leg press: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  3. Lunge: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  4. Leg extension: 4 sets – 10-12 reps
  5. Romanian deadlift: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  6. Leg curl: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  7. Standing calf raise: 3 sets – 10-15 reps
  8. Seated calf raise: 3 sets – 12-15 reps
  9. Donkey calf raise: 3 sets – 15-20

WEDNESDAY (BACK):

  1. Pull-up: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  2. Lateral pulldown: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  3. Seated cable row: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  4. Machine row: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  5. One-arm dumbbell row: 3 sets – 8-10 reps

THURSDAY (SHOULDERS, TRAPS, & ABS):

  1. Military press: 3 sets – 6-8 reps
  2. Seated dumbbell press: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  3. Side raise: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  4. Front raise: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  5. Rear deltoid raise: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  6. Dumbbell shrug: 5 sets – 8-10 reps
  7. Hanging leg raise: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  8. Cable crunch: 3 sets – 12-15 reps
  9. Reverse crunch: 3 sets – 12-15 reps

FRIDAY (BICEPS & TRICEPS):

  1. Barbell curl: 3 sets – 6-8 reps
  2. Hammer curl: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  3. Preacher curl: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  4. Concentration curl: 3 sets – 6-8 reps
  5. Lying triceps extension: 3 sets – 6-8 reps
  6. Triceps pushdown: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  7. Overhead triceps extension: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  8. Triceps kickback: 3 sets – 10-12 reps

7. Twice-a-Day Training Split

increase my bench press

This type of training split can offer many benefits, but is mainly used by advanced lifters preparing for competition. The twice-a-day split involves doing two workouts per training day. Typically, one workout is performed during the day and one is performed 6-8 hours later.

When training twice per day, you can target every muscle group within three-four days, allowing for three-four days of rest per week. However, you can also use this split to increase frequency and target each muscle group twice per week.

To bring out lagging body parts, you can also structure the twice-a-day training split in a way to target the same muscle group twice in one day.

SAMPLE TWICE-A-DAY TRAINING SPLIT

MONDAY A.M. (CHEST):

  1. Bench press: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  2. Incline dumbbell bench press: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  3. Incline dumbbell fly: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  4. Cable crossover: 3 sets – 10-12 reps

MONDAY P.M (TRICEPS & ABS):

  1. Close-grip bench press: 3 sets – 6-8 reps
  2. Lying triceps extension: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  3. Triceps pressdown: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  4. Reverse-grip pressdown: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  5. Leg raise: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  6. Cable crunch: 3 sets – 8-10 reps

TUESDAY A.M. (QUADS & CALVES):

  1. Squat: 4 sets – 6-8 reps
  2. Leg press: 4 sets – 8-10 reps
  3. Lunge: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  4. Leg extension: 4 sets – 10-12 reps
  5. Donkey calf raise: 3 sets 15-20

TUESDAY P.M. (HAMS & CALVES)

  1. Romanian deadlift: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  2. Leg curl: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  3. Hyper extension: 3 sets 8-10 reps
  4. Calf raise: 8 sets – 10-12 reps

THURSDAY A.M. (SHOULDERS):

  1. Military press: 4 sets – 6-8 reps
  2. Machine shoulder press: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  3. Side raise: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  4. Lateral raise: 3 sets – 10-12 reps

THURSDAY P.M. (TRAPS & ABS):

  1. Behind-the-back barbell shrug: 3 sets – 6-8 reps
  2. Dumbbell shrug: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  3. Triceps pressdown: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  4. Decline sit-up: 3 sets – 10-12 reps
  5. Oblique twist: 3 sets – 8-10 reps

FRIDAY A.M. (BACK):

  1. Barbell row: 4 sets – 6-8 reps
  2. One-arm dumbbell row: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  3. Lateral pulldown: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  4. Standing pulldown: 4 sets – 8-10 reps
  5. Cable row: 3 sets 8-10 reps

FRIDAY P.M. (BICEPS):

  1. EZ-bar curl: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  2. Hammer curl: 3 sets – 8-10 reps
  3. Incline dumbbell curl: 3 sets – 8-12 reps
  4. Concentration curl: 3 sets – 10-12 reps

Step 2 – Putting Your Training Split Together

Regardless of the split you choose, it is important to understand the most effective techniques with which to target each muscle group.

The training split you choose has little impact on the acute training variables. Taking these variables (number of exercises, intensity of each workout, number of reps, and amount of rest) into account, there are additional principles for you to consider.

The main point when looking to gain muscle size is to perform each set to failure. Training in the 8-12 rep range is the best to gain muscle mass. However, a study out of the McMaster University in Canada reports interesting results:

  • Participants were divided into 2 groups.
  • The subjects in the first group trained to failure for 20-30 reps.
  • The subjects in the second group trained to failure for 9-12 reps.
  • At the end of 6 weeks, both groups gained about the same amount of muscle mass.

Taking this into account, the optimal strategy is to alter the amount of weight you use, and in effect, the amount of reps you perform each week. Incorporate sets in the 3-5 rep range, 6-10 rep range, and the 12-15 rep range. Cycling through different rep ranges constantly introduces your muscles to new stimulus allowing them to make continuous adaptations.

Training in the lower rep range (<5) with heavy weight has been shown to increase the production of testosterone more than training with lighter weight. On the other hand, training in the higher rep range (>15) is associated with an increased production of growth hormone. Furthermore, training in the higher rep range also enhances blood flow to the targeted muscle. Increased blood flow means more nutrients delivered to the targeted muscle, e.g. carbs, amino acids, protein, and fat.

Another training variable to consider is the amount of rest between sets. The typical rest period used by most bodybuilders is under two minutes. Shorter rest periods are associated with higher surges of growth hormone that typically follow a workout. Shorter rest periods also up the ante in terms enzyme production, enzymes that are involved with energy supply for the muscle.

To give all of this a scientific perspective, one study reports that subjects on an eight week strength training program who decreased their rest period by 15 seconds every week had more gains in muscle mass compared to those who kept their rest periods at the standard 2 minutes.

Other variables are the exercises you choose and the order in which you perform them. For larger muscle groups that recruit multiple muscle fibers (chest, back, legs), perform compound exercises earlier in a workout when the muscle is fresh. After tiring out the muscle, choose isolation exercises that involve the movement of a single joint and best target the intended muscle group.

Putting Together Your Chest Workout

In reality, the chest is just one muscle group. However, in order to target the whole pectorals you have to perform exercises from different angles. The main angles being the flat bench, incline bench, and the decline bench to target the middle, upper, and lower parts.

The two main movements for targeting the chest are the press and the fly.

The following table provides guidelines on how to structure your chest training based on your chosen training split:

chest-workout-for-mass-guide

Putting Together Your Back Workout

When referring to the back, we mostly consider the latissimus dorsi muscles, i.e. the lats, which run from the upper arms all the way down to the buttocks.

The two main movements for the back are pulling and rowing. Pulling exercises focus more on the upper and outer regions of the back while rowing exercises focus more on the middle and lower area of the lats as well as the rhomboids and middle traps.

Pulling exercises are associated with back width. 

Rowing exercises are associated with back thickness.

Refer to the following table to properly structure your back workout:

back-workout-muscle-structure

Putting Together Your Shoulder Workout

Shoulders refer to the deltoid muscle. The deltoid muscle is made up of three heads: the anterior deltoid (front head), the middle deltoid, and the posterior deltoid (rear head).

Each head of the deltoid is targeted with different movements. That’s why it is important to structure your shoulder workout around both multijoint movements that target all three heads, and isolation movements that target each head individually.

Putting Together Your Triceps Workout

The triceps muscle consists of three distinct heads that exist at the backside of the upper arm.

The three heads are the lateral, long, and medial. You can target the triceps with multijoint and isolation exercises. Multijoint exercises target all three heads and involve the extension of the elbow and movement at the shoulder. Isolation exercises involve only the extension at the elbow with no other joint movement.

Multijoint exercises are effective at adding overall mass to your triceps while the isolation movements will specifically target the individual heads to bring out shape.

Refer to the following table to properly structure your triceps workout:

triceps-mass-workout-structure

Putting Together Your Biceps Workout

The biceps muscle is composed of two heads that run down the front of the upper arm, the long head and the short head. The long head runs on the outside of the muscle while the short head is the inner part of the muscle.

There are no compound exercises for the biceps. All biceps exercises are considered isolation exercises in which only a single joint is used.

Curls are the only biceps exercise. The way you vary your grip with curls will determine which head of the bicep is most involved in the movement.

Refer to the following table to properly structure your biceps workout:

biceps-mass-workout-structure

Putting Together Your Forearms Workout

The forearms make up the entire lower arm. It can be divided into two groups: the wrist flexor group and the wrist extensor group.

The wrist flexor group performs wrist flexion. This is the movement of the palms towards the inner arm.

The wrist extensor group performs wrist extension. This is the movement of the back of the hand towards the back of the forearm.

The forearm is worked in most bicep exercises and you will tend to see growth as you increase in progression with your biceps training. However, if you feel like your forearm growth is lagging, it is a good idea to add forearm exercises after having worked your biceps.

The two movements that target the forearm are the wrist curl and the reverse wrist curl. Depending on how you much you feel they are lagging in development, you can incorporate 2-8 sets into your training split to accommodate for forearm development.

Putting Together Your Trapezius Workout

The trapezius is the large diamond shaped muscle on the upper back. It is referred to as the traps and is comprised of upper, middle, and lower portions, each performing different movements.

The upper traps lift and rotate the shoulder blades when shrugging.

The middle traps pull the shoulder blades together.

The lower traps rotate the shoulder blades downward.

Most people pair traps training with either shoulder or back. The primary interest of most bodybuilders is to build the upper portion of the traps.

Considering they are relatively small muscle group, it is recommended that you perform 1-2 exercises for traps.

The only exercise that isolates the traps is the shrug. You bring variety to trap training by alternating between dumbbell shrugs, barbell shrugs, and behind-the-back barbell shrugs.

Putting Together Your Quadriceps Workout

The quadriceps is a culmination of four muscles that originate from different attachment points in the hipbone, but all converge to one common tendon. The primary movement is knee extension.

The four muscles are the vastus laterals, vastus medialls, vastus intermedius, and rectus femoris. The rectus femoris originates from the hipbone, unlike the other three heads that originate from the femur (thigh bone).

Although quad exercises target all four muscles, varying stance on certain exercises can target certain muscles more efficiently. For example, the leg extension mostly targets the rectus formis muscle, but turning your toes inwards will place more stress on the outer quad, and pointing the toes out will better target the inner quad.

Always start your leg workouts with squats. The squat is the ultimate compound exercise and involves a variety of different muscle groups including the hamstring and glueteus maximus muscles. The squat recruits all the muscle groups of the lower body and should therefore be done towards the start of every leg workout when all the muscle groups involved are at their freshest.

As mentioned prior, it is a good idea to vary your foot positioning on the squat and leg press to target different muscle fibers. Squats performed with a narrow stance put more emphasis on the outer quads. Squats performed with a wide stance put more emphasis on the inner quad and abductor muscles. The key is to experiment and to keep varying your technique in order to target the wide variety of muscle fibers that exist in your front thigh.

To maximize leg development and bring out separation, include lunging exercises. Lunges work each leg one at a time and require a lot of work from stabilizer muscles. Not only that, but lunges also bring functional strength which can be transferred into compound exercises such as the squat and the deadlift.

Leg extensions are considered the only real isolation exercise for the quads. The majority of stress from extensions is placed on the vastus femoris, but then again you can bring emphasis onto the other muscles by varying your stance and foot positions.

Refer to the table on the following page to properly structure your quad workout:

Mass-workout-for-quads

Putting Together Your Hamstrings and Gluteus Maximus Workout

The hamstrings are the muscles at the back of the thigh. The gluteus maximus are the large buttock muscles.

The glutes are involved in extending the legs back, like when you stand up from a seated position and kicking the legs back behind the body.

The hamstring muscles flex the knee and work in conjunction with the glutes to extend the legs at the hips.

Compound exercises for the quads, such as squats and lunges, also put a heavy strain on the gluteus and hams. For this reason you do not need many exercises to isolate the strain on them.

The two main exercises for the hamstrings are the Romanian deadlift and leg curls. You can alter what part of the hamstrings the leg curls put emphasis on by changing your foot position. Include seated, standing, and lying leg curls if your gym is able to accommodate.

Refer to the table below for guidelines on how to properly structure your hamstring and gluteus workout:

Hams workout for mass

Putting Together Your Calves Workout

The calves are comprised of two muscle groups: the gastrocnemius (upper part of the calf) and soleus (the lower part of the calf). Both muscles are involved in extension of the ankle, like when you are on your tippy toes.

Calf exercises target both the muscles of the calves but some put more emphasis on particular muscles than others. Any calf exercise performed from a standing position better targets the gastrocnemius and any calf exercise performed from a seated position better targets the soleus.

The calf muscle is largely comprised of slow-twitch muscle fibers. This means that they have a high endurance capacity, i.e. they recover quickly and are a stubborn part to grow. It is a good idea to do your sets with very high reps (20-30). But the optimal way is to vary the rep ranges to get a wide variety of benefits.

Refer to the following guidelines to properly structure your calf workout:

mass-workout-for-calves

Putting Together Your Abdominals Workout

The abdominals (aka abs) are comprised of four muscle groups that collectively form the midsection of the body. These are the rectus abdominals, external obliques, internal obliques, and the transverse abdominis. For complete abs development you need to target all four of these muscles.

The rectus abdominis (aka upper abs) is best targeted with crunches that involve the flexion of the upper spine forward to bring the shoulders towards the hips.

The lower abs are best targeted with exercises that involve the flexion of the lower spine bringing the knees towards the chest, like leg raises.

The obliques are best targeted by exercises that flex the spine laterally, i.e. left to right, like oblique crunches and crossovers.

The transverse abdominis is best targeted with core exercises that force the flexion of the transverse abdominis for stabilization of the spine and pelvis, like the plank.

It is common for lifters to train their abs with higher reps than they do with other muscles. This is because the abs, like the calves, are mostly comprised of slow-twitch muscle fibers that are built for endurance and tend to recover more quickly.

Some people train abs everyday, others train them every other day. I would recommend training them on 2-3 nonconsecutive days. Depending on your results and recovery ability, you can adjust.

Abs are usually trained with bodyweight and therefore reps are kept in the 15-30 range. However, what we come back to time and time again is the benefit of periodized cycled rep ranges. You should constantly alter the intensity and therefore the reps you perform.

The optimal way to train abs is to choose 4 exercises that each target a different muscle group.

With the whole body, upper-lower body, 2-day, and 3-day splits it is best to rotate between 2-3 exercises every other workout to target each of the 4 muscle groups collectively.

Refer to the table below to properly structure your abs workout:

abs-workout-optimal

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