Ah yes, the best workout routine. Spend 5 minutes in any weight lifting related forum and you’ll come across dozens and dozens of posts from people interested in finding the very best workouts that have ever existed. It’s a nice idea, I guess.
We all want the best results in the shortest amount of time possible, so it would only make sense that the better our workout is, the better our results will be.
This is exactly what makes the best workout routine such a sought after commodity. It’s also what allows countless magazines and products to sell and gives various websites something to keep writing about. All they have to do is mention something about the “best weight lifting workout” and taaadaaa, the magazines get sold, the products get bought, and the articles get read.
There’s just one tiny problem…
There Is No Such Thing As The Official “Best Workout”
Seriously, it doesn’t actually exist. That may sound a bit depressing to some people, but it’s true. Believing me now will save you a lot of time later when you finally realize it for yourself after having wasted tons of time, effort and (most likely) money.
See, the thing is, there are certain workout routine fundamentals that exist. These are things that are scientifically proven to work for weight lifting and have worked for years and years and years for countless people time and time again. These are things that will always work as long as they are executed properly.
And, as long as your workout routine is based on these fundamentals… it WILL work. You will get great results as quickly as you can get them.
However, that doesn’t mean you should just take any random routine with sound fundamentals and start doing it. The reason why is because those “fundamentals” I keep talking about actually change slightly depending on what stage of training you are at. Meaning, the best workout for a beginner is different than the best workout for an intermediate or advanced lifter.
So, while there definitely is NO one best workout routine that will work amazingly for everyone, there are definitely best TYPES of weight lifting workouts for you based on what stage of training you are at.
Let’s now go through each of those stages and take a look at their fundamentals…
The Best Workout Routine For A Beginner
Beginners are usually classified as people who have been working out seriously and consistently for less than 6-12 months. Note the use of the words “seriously” and “consistently.” You could have been working out for 5 years incorrectly and/or inconsistently and still be considered a beginner.
Since a beginner is new (or still relatively new) to working out, their body is basically primed to make progress at a very fast rate because a) they are at their low point as far as strength and muscle go, and b) because their body will basically be learning new exercises for the first time.
This is why beginners make progress much faster than anyone else. At the same time however, the work capacity of a beginner is low, so it doesn’t take many sets, reps and exercises for them to make progress (and trying to do too much makes it very easy for a beginner to overtrain).
For these reasons, it is pretty widely agreed upon that the best workout routine for a beginner has them working each body part fairly often (high frequency, usually hitting each muscle group 3 times per week), but without a lot of work each workout (low volume, usually doing 2-5 sets for each big muscle group per workout, and 0-3 sets for each small muscle group) and doing pretty much only compound exercises.
An ideal workout split for a beginner would be:
Monday: Full Body
Wednesday: Full Body
Friday: Full Body
A total body workout like this definitely appears to be the type of workout that will allow beginners to get the best results in the shortest amount of time. Obviously there are dozens of ways to take it from here and dozens of different workouts that could be created with this information, however these are the fundamentals that will ensure it works for a beginner. And, as long as those fundamentals are in place, you’ll be doing the best workout.
Of course, I lay out the full details of the specific highly proven routine that I most often recommend to beginners in The Ultimate Fat Loss & Muscle Building Guide.
The Best Workout Routine For An Intermediate
An intermediate is someone who is past the beginner stage and has been weight lifting seriously and consistently for at least 6 months or more and has built up some base amount of strength and/or muscle. They certainly don’t need to be super big and strong and in shape or anything even close, they just need to be past that initial beginner stage when you really have little to no base level of fitness at all.
This is definitely the stage that lasts the longest, and I’d guess that the majority of the people reading this fall into this intermediate category.
The best workouts for intermediates tend to have a little more volume and a little less frequency than the best workout routine for a beginner that I described earlier. This is due to the simple fact that as you get stronger and start gradually lifting heavier weights, it becomes a bit harder to recover from and progress when you’re hitting your whole body 3 times per week.
For this reason, it is pretty widely agreed upon that the best workout for an intermediate has them working each muscle group with a moderate frequency (usually about 2 times per week per muscle) and with a moderate volume per workout (usually 4-8 sets for big muscle groups per workout, 2-3 sets for small muscle groups) and is still comprised mainly of compound exercises with a possible small focus on isolation exercises as well.
An ideal workout split for an intermediate would be:
Monday: Upper Body
Tuesday: Lower Body
Thursday: Upper Body
Friday: Lower Body
This is definitely what appears to be the type of workout that will allow intermediates to get the best results in the shortest amount of time. Obviously there are dozens of ways to take it from here and dozens of different workouts that could be created with this information, however these are the fundamentals that will ensure it works for an intermediate. And, as long as those fundamentals are in place, you’ll be doing the best workout.
Of course, The Ultimate Fat Loss & Muscle Building Guide also contains the full details of the exact intermediate training program I most often recommend (along with the entire diet that goes with it).
The Best Workout Routine For The Advanced
Someone would be classified as “advanced” when they have been working out seriously, correctly, and consistently for years and have gotten very close to their genetic potential. When you are getting close to being as big and strong and ripped as your body is capable of being, you are in the “advanced” category.
Meaning, if you are reading this, you are most likely NOT advanced. It’s possible, but doubtful. Truly advanced people are definitely in the minority.
The best workouts for an advanced lifter would typically be something that allows for a little more volume, specialization and exercise variety than the best intermediate workout therefore usually requiring slightly less frequency somewhere (and maybe for only certain muscle groups at a time) to compensate. Workouts are usually comprised on an even mix of compound and isolation exercises.
As for a sample training split for an advanced lifter, it’s really not as clear cut and simple as it is for a beginner or intermediate. For example, an advanced lifter may want to specialize their back. In this case, for a period of time they’d probably do a little less work for the rest of their body (and train it all less often) but then do extra work for their back and train it more often than the rest of their body.
There’s really too many different ways it can go because there are so many individual goals that an advanced lifter may be looking to reach. For this reason, I don’t really feel comfortable giving any sort of sample split. At this point, an advanced lifter knows their own body and goals well enough to plan out what would be the best workout for them. When you reach that point, you’ll understand.
Start Doing What’s Most Effective For You!
So, there you have it. The 3 best types of workouts for the 3 possible stages of training. Just figure out which stage you’re at, ensure your fundamentals are in place, and then set up your weight lifting routine accordingly.
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