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One Major Muscle With Two Smaller Muscle Groups Bodybuilding Workout Split

Work One Major Muscle With Two Smaller Muscle Groups In Each Workout

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In a one major muscle group with two smaller muscle group workout split, bodybuilding workouts are designed in such a way that the largest major body parts (such as the chest, thighs and back) are paired together with two smaller muscle groups (such as the biceps, triceps, hamstrings, calves, abs and shoulders) in each bodybuilding workout. Besides the antagonistic muscles workout split this is another one of my favorite ways to train in the off-season.

There are two advantages to this workout split:

  1. It allows you to prioritize your large body parts as that is the one that gets trained first in the workout.

  2. It can help you get through the workout as though you will be expending a lot of energy in the first body part, since the remaining two ones are smaller in relation to the first one, you can easily finish it.
There are a couple of ways in which I have set up a one major muscle group with two smaller muscle group bodybuilding workout split:

Three Day Split #1

In this split, the whole body is worked over a period of three days pairing chest with arms on one day, thighs with hamstrings and calves on the next, and finalizing with back, shoulders and abs:

Day 1 - Chest/Biceps/Triceps

Day 2 - Thighs/Hamstrings/Calves

Day 3 - Back/Shoulders/Abs

Training Notes

  • This version of the split is my favorite as it incorporates pushing and pulling muscles in the same day. Through my training years I have noticed that combining pushing and pulling muscles in the same workout protects the joints.

  • As a good rule of thumb, you can perform 10-12 sets for the chest, back, thighs, hamstrings, and shoulders. Abs, calves, biceps and triceps can be trained with 8-10 sets. More genetically gifted bodybuilders may be able to get away with more, but this amount works for most.

  • Frequency wise, three days on and one day off is good for mass gains.

  • If you are looking for fat loss, doing six days in a row and then resting on the seventh works best if time allows. You can also rotate days doing 5 days on and two days off (which leaves the weekends off), or three days on, one day off, 2 days on, and one day off (which allows for Thursday and Sundays off).

  • Hardgainers benefit most from doing two days on, one day off, one day on, and one day off. Alternatively, they can also do just workout Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, doing each workout just once per week.

Three Day Split #2

In this split, the whole body is worked over a period of three days pairing chest with shoulders and triceps on one day, thighs with hamstrings and calves on the next, and finalizing with back, biceps and abs:

Day 1 - Chest/Shoulders/Triceps

Day 2 - Thighs/Hamstrings/Calves

Day 3 - Back/Biceps/Abs

Training Notes

  • I use this push/pull version of the split sporadically for variety purposes as I find it to be too hard on my joints if used for too long. If you notice, you are training all upper body pushing movements one day and all upper body pulling movements on another day. So on chest day, the shoulder and elbow joints are really stressed while on back day, the biceps tendon is the one that gets a lot of stress. The only positive that this routine have is that you can get away with less sets for the smaller groups as they are getting trained when you target the major muscle. You also get to aid in the recuperation of all upper body pulling and pushing muscles as they are trained directly only once though the three day cycle.

  • As a good rule of thumb, you can perform 10-12 sets for the chest, back, thighs, hamstrings, and shoulders. Abs, calves, biceps and triceps can be trained with 6-8 sets. More genetically gifted bodybuilders may be able to get away with more, but this amount works for most.

  • Frequency wise, three days on and one day off is good for mass gains.

  • If you are looking for fat loss, doing six days in a row and then resting on the seventh works best if time allows. You can also rotate days doing 5 days on and two days off (which leaves the weekends off), or three days on, one day off, 2 days on, and one day off (which allows for Thursday and Sundays off).

  • Hardgainers benefit most from doing two days on, one day off, one day on, and one day off. Alternatively, they can also do just workout Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, doing each workout just once per week.

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