The 3 Best Muscle Building Splits For Busy Men

Workouts For Busy Men


Most guys don’t struggle to build muscle due to a lack of effort, they struggle due to inconsistency and information overload.

And if you’re like most busy guys, you’ve probably experienced the same agonizing battle.

You have a perfect plan until life gets in the way and you’re stuck in the office for 60 hours.

You start building muscle, but your gut is growing even faster.

Worse, you think you have a great plan, but read something that sounds even better, leading you to switch your plan.

If you’ve fallen prey to any of these behaviors, you’re not alone. What you need isn’t a complicated, trendy plan–you need a simple program that will improve your life, not consume it.


Building Muscle Comes Back To Two Principles

Consistency and progressive overload.  These are the most critical factors for success in the gym. Without consistency, you’ll never give your body the stimulus it needs to grow.Without progressive overload, you’ll never stress your body enough for it to change.

And while training more frequently or with the latest training method might be the best plan overall, it’s worthless if you’re consistently missing workout sessions.

Today, you can change that. We’re going to focus on the three best training splits for busy bros who want to look great naked without living in the gym. Remember, your training needs to fit your busy lifestyle, not consume it if you are to be consistent.



Workouts For Busy Men


Total body training splits are maximally efficient. They train the body as a unit, rather than as component parts, like your arms, chest, and legs (heh).

The Good
Total body splits are maximally efficient for guys who want to look great naked without living in the gym. With a total body training split, you’ll train most muscle groups 2-3x per week. This is good news because the more often you train a muscle group, the more often you trigger muscle protein synthesis, which can lead to more growth.

The Bad

On the flip side, you won’t train each muscle into oblivion. While this isn’t terrible, you won’t be able to create as much metabolic stress (the pump) within each workout.

It’s difficult to split to train more than three or four times per week, which drives many dedicated lifters crazy, leading to program hopping.  Smaller “show” muscles like your biceps 🙁  may be neglected. That’s tough to swallow for dudes used to bodybuilding -style training.

Total Body Training Examples


1.Back Squat 5×3

2.Bent Over Row 4×6

3.Dumbbell Bench Press 3×8

4a. Dumbbell Curl 3×12

4b. Hip Thrust 3×12

5. Isolation Work on medial delts, biceps, calves for 10-15 minutes


Tuesday: OFF



1.Deadlift 5×3

2.Dumbbell Overhead Press 4×6

3.Chin Up 3×8-12

4a.Plank 3×30 seconds

4b. Biceps Curl 3x 12

5. Isolation Work on medial delts, biceps, calves for 10-15 minutes


Thursday: OFF



1.Squat 5×3

2.Incline Barbell Bench Press 3×6

3.Lunge 3×8

4a.Farmer Walks 3×30 steps

4b. Dips 3×20

5. Isolation Work on medial delts, biceps, calves for 10-15 minutes



Young man workout in fitness club. Profile portrait of caucasian guy making plank or push ups exercise, training indoors

iStockphoto / Milkos

Upper-lower training splits allow for more recovery and training volume than total body splits which in turn, can lead to more muscle growth. Upper body and lower body days alternate for four workouts in a seven-day training split.

The Good

Upper-Lower training splits are a great progression from total body training and work well with most people. Upper-Lower splits allow greater training frequency, which can help you improve your big lifts most likely to help you grow such as your bench press, squat, and deadlift.

Upper-lower training splits also allow you to train each muscle group with more volume in a given workout, which can mean more metabolic stress (the pump) and overall muscle growth.

The Bad
Training days can be unbalanced. Upper body workouts tend to take much longer than lower body sessions, making scheduling hit or miss.  If you only have an hour to train, this can make it difficult to train your upper body to your liking without running out of time.


Upper/Lower Split Examples

Monday: Upper Body

Tuesday: Lower Body

Wednesday: Off/active recovery

Thursday: Upper Body

Friday: Lower

Saturday/Sunday: Off


Training Split Three: Push-Pull-Lower Body Training Split

box jumps


Push-Pull- Lower Body training splits break training up by upper body push (bench press or overhead press), upper body pull (rows and chins), and lower body training (squats or deadlifts).  This allows for more volume to given muscle groups on their select day.

The Good
Push-Pull-Lower body routines are suitable for intermediate to advanced trainees. They’re very economical and allow you to train a variety of exercises for each muscle group on a given day.

This translates to more muscle damage and metabolic stress within each workout, which can both lead to increased muscle growth. Best of all, they are fun! They allow for more isolation work than other workout routines.

The Bad

For beginners, they only hit big movement patterns like a squat or hinge once per week– which may lead to slower gains in strength and technique. Overall, these are great for intermediates and advanced lifters, but not beginners.


Push/Pull/Lower Body Training Example

Monday: Pull

1a. Medicine ball Slam 2×5

1b. Box Jump 2×5

2. Chin Up 4×6

3. Bent Over Barbell Row 4×8

4a. Wide Grip Cable Row 3×12-15

4b. 1/2 Kneeling Pallof Press 3×12-15

5. Barbell Curl 3×8

6. Hammer Curl 3×12/each


Tuesday: OFF


Wednesday Push:

1. Med ball Chest Pass 2×8

2. Close Grip Bench Press 4×5

3. Dumbbell Seated Military Press 3×8

4a. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3×10

4b. Chest supported Row 3×12

5a. Feet elevated push up 3×10

5b. Triceps rope pushdown 3×10

5c. Dumbbell lateral raise 3×10


Thursday: Off


Friday: Lower

1a. Box Jump 3×5

1b. Plank 3×45-60 seconds

2. Front Squat 4×5

3. Barbell RDL 4×8

4a. Dumbbell Walking Lunge 3×10 each

4b. Ab Wheel Rollout 3×10

5a. Calf Raise 3×15

5b. Stability Ball Crunch 3×15


Saturday/Sunday: OFF


Picking Your Split 



What’s your goal? To maximize your training split, your goals must be clear. Since your time is limited, you can’t isolate every muscle group and pound it into oblivion. You can do anything, but not everything. Pick one or two muscles you’d like to focus on, and do all your isolation work on that muscle for 4-6 weeks. Then move onto the next muscle group.

What’s your schedule? Regardless of how “busy” you are you still have 24 hours every day…just like the rest of us. So prioritize. If training two hours a day, five days a week isn’t ideal, merely pick a more efficient split. A workout is only as good as it’s execution. Determine what you can realistically do. And then do it.

What is your training age? Too many beginners jump into body part splits and focus on isolation workouts before they’re strong enough to reap the rewards of their beloved biceps curls. Consider the total body training split to get stronger faster which in turn, will lead to better long-term muscle growth.

Older and stronger lifters can’t train the big lifts as heavy as often. In this case, a push-pull, lower split allows enough time to recover between workouts.

Recoverability. Your body is an integrated system. Rather than looking at recovery based on how your muscles feel,  you must take into account everyday stress, the nervous system, sleep quality, and nutrition. If you’re working a high-stress job, staying up late, and partying your ass off on weekends your training can’t be as demanding. All stress acts on the same system in your body.

Effort: Because you’re training less often you need to be 100% focused. No skipped workouts. No Bumble (or whatever else you do when you’re supposed to be lifting), and no excuses. Get in, get focused, and maximize your minimal time.

Wrap Up

There’s more than one way to do things. The body-part split you’re doing today might not be the best for you.

And some people, especially the time-pressed, might respond best to total body training splits to lock inconsistency and progressive overload.

The ideas outlined above should inspire some fresh thinking about what’s best for you.

Bottom line: Don’t overcomplicate things. Find a program that fits your schedule and goals. Stick with it for a few months, and progressively add weight and volume. Reassess as required, and keep your pedal to the metal. Your program is only as effective as the consistency and effort behind it.

And if you’re still unsure of where to go? Grab Your Copy of the Minimalist Muscle Blitz:Muscle Building made Easy for Busy Men.


Follow Eric and get tons of awesome fitness advice on his Instagram at Bach Performance.

More From Eric Bach On BroBible: 

Why Most Fat Loss Diets Fail: And Two Better Options To Achieve Actual Results

4 Ways To Dominate Workouts While Traveling, Even If The Hotel Gym Is Trash

4 Exercises That Will Power Up Your Training And Keep Your Body Young