I get asked these questions all the time:
“What Training Program Is The Best?”
“How Often Should I Train?”
My answer usually is: it depends on your training stage. If you are a beginner you can’t expect that you can successfully rock an advanced training program and look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in one month. If you are advanced, but follow a beginner program, you are just wasting your time by not challenging your muscles enough and not getting the gains you could be gaining. If you are an intermediate lifter, you are somewhere between both worlds. Depending on your training stage, the time period changes in which your muscle grow after you’ve hit them in the gym.
If you are a beginner, with less than 1 year training experience, the muscle groups that you train in a training session grow for up to 72 hours. This means you have to hit each muscle group once in three days to get maximum muscle growth.
You can do either a whole-body workout every three days or an upper-lower-body split routine or you can follow a 3-day split routine to get optimum muscle growth. The difference between a whole body workout and a split workout is that in a whole body workout you train every muscle group in each training session and in the upper-lower-body split you alternate between upper and lower body training on different training days. In a body part split workout you train different muscle groups on different days.
A 5-day split program, which is designed to train every muscle group every 5 days or once a week (depending on how many rest days you take), will give you some gains, but not optimum growth as your muscle will grow only one half of the week.
If you are an intermediate, with about 1-2 years of training experience, the best strategy for you is to follow a whole-body routine and train every two days with one day rest between the sessions or alternatively using an upper-lower-body split.
If you do a 3-day split routine, your muscles won't grow on one of the three days (as your muscle growth window is about 2 days and you train each muscle group once in 3 days). For this reason, the 3-day split routine is not the optimal routine for you.
A 5-day split routine will leave most of your muscle without growth for the most time of the week.
If you are advanced, with more than 2 years training experience, the case is clear. If you want maximum muscle growth you should do a whole-body workout every day. Or at least train the muscle groups you want to grow the most every day.
It is important to note that it is vital to regulate the rep and set number carefully when you do daily training. If you are highly advanced, but don’t do enough sets, you won’t get any results, however, if you do too many sets per muscle group in every session, the sets may get 'wasted' and your performance may decrease if you stress your body too much. You can find more information on this topic in my article on training frequency.
Now you have all the knowledge you need to choose the training program that will give YOU the most gains. However, knowledge without execution is just philosophy. So, what are you waiting for? Go to the gym, lift and make gains!
P.S. If you are looking for the most optimum training program for YOU and YOUR training stage, then check out my Training Plan Package. The package includes whole-body workouts, upper-lower body split workouts and 3-day body-part split workouts.