Written by Lisa Allen | Edited by Dr Mark Kapnoudhis
Knowing what muscle groups to focus on and when is an important part of building muscle. A muscle building schedule can help keep you on track while allowing your body to recover from every workout.
With so many different programs and routines available for bodybuilding it can be tough to figure out what the best muscle building schedule really is. There are a number of different options available though ultimately what’s going to work best for you will be what best fits your day-to-day life the best. Some people prefer to work out during the week and take the weekend off while some people only find time to hit the gym on Saturday.
3 Day Muscle Building Schedule
This has to be the most popular muscle building schedule. It allows you to work out 3 times a week while taking the weekend off completely. This schedule involves taking a 1 or 2 day break after each workout. Here’s an example of how the plan works:
- Monday – Leg Exercises
- Tuesday – REST
- Wednesday – Core Exercises
- Thursday – REST
- Friday – Arm Exercises
- Saturday – REST
- Sunday – REST
As you can see, this program provides you with a total body workout throughout the week with plenty of time for your body to recover between exercises. Alternatively, you could also perform a full body workout on each of the 3 days, depending on how you like to workout. This workout schedule is great for beginners as it allows them to workout regularly and eventually move into more frequent workouts if they should feel the need.
4 Day Split Muscle Building Schedule
There are many different versions of this exercise routine out there, but the most common version is to exercise your upper body one day, your lower body the next day and then take a day off in between. Like the 3 day schedule, you can also take the weekend off with this routine if you like. You could also just take 1 day off every time, although this will change the days of the week you work out on every other week. It’s recommended that you stay on the 3 day program for a few months before moving into an intermediate program like the 4 day split.
5 Day Split Muscle Building Schedule
Working out 5 days a week is going to be as effective as possible for 99% of bodybuilders. Sure, you could spend 7 days a week at the gym or even exercise twice a day bringing your weekly total to 14 workouts, but you really need to draw the line somewhere. At some point you’re only going to be improving your endurance and not effectively building new muscle. I would recommend the 5 day split program only to those who are experienced in bodybuilding.
After a few years of lifting you will find that your body has somewhat of a tolerance to building muscle. Lifting 5 days a week might be exactly what you need to start gaining again. At this point it’s not exactly impossible to gain more muscle, though it can be extremely difficult. It’s at this point that it’s better to lift more during every workout, pushing your body to the limit and then allow a much longer recovery period before lifting again.