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How to Set your Training Split for Muscle & Strength Gains

In this article you’ll learn which training split will help you make the fastest progress depending on your training experience and goals.

So please note that this article is for the people who are training primarily for a lean and muscular physique (“Hollywood look”).

If training is your primary goal (you’re a powerlifter or bodybuilder) and you want to gain as much mass as possible, including leg mass, you’ll see that these routine include too little lower body training to be suitable for you.

With that out of the way, let’s begin!

The Goal of your Workout Routine

If we want to build muscle, the main goal of our workouts should actually be getting stronger.

A lot of people don’t realize this, but we can’t train for size. Muscle grows either to produce more force (increasing the size of the contractile tissue so it can lift heavier weights) or to improve endurance (increasing the capacity of glycogen it can store around the muscle fibers).

However, the amount of growth you can stimulate with each training style is not equal. Increasing the amount of fuel you can store inside the muscle only accounts for a small percentage of the overall muscle growth. That’s because there is only so much glycogen you can store before you are maxed out.

Most of the muscle mass a natural lifter can gain will come from getting stronger in a medium rep range. That is because lifting heavier and heavier weights over time increases the actual size of the muscle fibers.

You’ve probably noticed this as well. You can’t find a guy who can lift heavy weights for 4-10 reps without having a lot of muscle. On the other hand, you cand find a lot of skinny guys doing pump training routines. This alone should tell you tell you that there’s something about getting stronger in a medium rep range that makes you bigger.

Actually, the relationship between strength and size is usually so precise that we can predict the level of muscle development a person has just by looking at their relative strength and height.

Look at the pictures below for a minute:


If you would like to get a physique like any of the guys above, all you have to do is hit their strength standards and waist measurement. That’s it.

It may sound overly simplistic but getting strong on those 4 key exercises, guarantees a proportionate & muscular physique.

What this means for you

I don’t know where you’re currently at but chances are you still need to gain 10-40 lbs (5-18 kg) of muscle to reach your goal physique. If that’s the case, then all you have to do is get strong on the main lifts listed above as indicator exercises.

That is the goal of your training routine. So let’s look at where you are now and see what training split will allow you to make the fastest strength gains to reach you goal physique.

Training Split for Complete Beginners

As I’m sure you know complete beginners can do pretty much any type of training and get decent results for a few weeks. However, in this article we’re not talking about what works and what doesn’t work, we’re talking about what would work best.

In the case of complete beginners, the ideal training split for gaining muscle and strength is the same in all situations. That is because they can make rapid strength gains regardless if they are in a deficit, at maintenance, or surplus of calories.

High Frequency is Ideal

The fastest way to make strength and muscle gains as a beginner is to train the main exercises very often, about 2-3 times a week. There are two main reasons for this:

  • The vast majority of the initial strength gains a person makes are neurological in nature. When a person starts lifting weights they are weak not only because their muscles are small, but mainly because their nervous system is not trained to recruit the muscle fibers properly. Training each main exercise 2-3 times a week gives you a lot of opportunities to practice the movement. That helps you make the neurological adaptations as fast as possible and get to the point where muscle fibers have to increase in size to contribute to strength.
  • Because initially you don’t lift heavy weights, you don’t create much muscle damage and therefore you don’t need much recovery after training. Two days of rest are usually enough to allow you to recover and be able to replicate or surpass your previous performance.

You’ve probably noticed this yourself. In the first weeks of lifting you set a PR every time you go the gym. So it make sense to train an exercise more often and progress as fast as possible.

Unfortunately, most beginners here in Romania (I’m sure in other countries as well) go for the advanced routines right of the bat. They train each muscle group only once a week with  20-25 sets and high reps. I’m not saying this training routine won’t produce results (hell, I started like this myself and I made great gains in the first 6 months) but a higher frequency routine will produce BETTER results. The guys training each muscle group one a week have to wait 7 days before they can do an exercise again.

High Frequency only works with Reduced Volume per Session

Because you’ll be training each muscle group 2-3 times a week with high intensity, the volume done each session must be low. Otherwise you won’t be able to recover optimally.

The same exercises should be performed every session. This will ensure a lot of form practice and help you make the fastest strength gains.

Here’s how your first training routine might look like:

Your First Training Routine 

Monday – Upper Body
● Incline Bench Press – 3 sets of 5 reps
● Weighted Chins – 3 sets of 5 reps
● Seated DB Shoulder Press – 3 sets of 8 reps
● Cable Rows – 3 sets of 8 reps
● Machine Chest Press – 3 sets of 10 reps

Wednesday – Lower Body
● Barbell Squats – 5 sets of 5 reps
● Romanian Deadlift – 3 sets of 6 reps
● Leg Press – 3 sets of 8 reps
● Seated Calf Raises – 4 sets of 12 reps

Friday – Upper Body
● Incline Bench Press – 3 sets of 5 reps
● Weighted Chins – 3 sets of 5 reps
● Seated DB Shoulder Press – 3 sets of 8 reps
● Cable Rows – 3 sets of 8 reps
● Standing DB Curls – 3 sets of 10 reps
● Cable Triceps Pushdowns – 3 sets of 10 reps

This routine is fantastic for the first 2-5 months of training.

The reason we’re doing only low rep training is because we need to use weights that are heavy enough to cause growth. In the beginning you’re far too weak to get a good training stimulus from high rep training as the weight you’d be using are too light. By doing mostly sets of 5 you’re getting full muscle fibre recruitment, enough muscle damage, and enough volume per set to cause growth.

Notes for the Workout:

Rest 2 minutes between sets for the compound movements.

When you hit the required reps for all sets, increase the weight with 5lbs on all sets the following workout. This will probably cause you to lose 1 or 2 reps in the last 2 sets. That’s normal and the goal for the following workout is to add back the reps in those last sets so you can increase the weight again.

Training Split for Intermediates

I use the term novice to describe a beginner that has been lifting weights for at least two months. Intermediate would be someone who is under or at the Greek God Standards for strength.

At this point in your lifting journey, the frequency you train each muscle group with becomes less important than the overall volume you do every week and the intensity used. Frequency is now more of a way to organize your volume instead of a distinct training variable.

People get great results training each body part anywhere from once to three times per week as long as they use appropriate training volume and do the majority of their reps in the 4-10 rep range using compound movements.

This routine builds on the beginner program by slightly increasing volume on all muscle groups. The reason for that is because as you become more advanced, volume usually needs to go up to stimulate further progress. However, not by much. You’ll see you only do 10-20 reps more than in the beginner routine.

An Intermediate Routine might look like this:

Monday – Upper Body, Back Emphasis
● Weighted Chins – 3 sets of 4-6 reps
● Standing Shoulder Press – 3 sets of 4-6 reps
● Barbell Rows – 3 sets of 6-8 reps
● Machine Incline Bench Press – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
● Lateral Raises – 3 sets of 12 reps

Wednesday – Lower Body
● Barbell Back Squats – 3 sets of 4-6 reps
● Romanian Deadlifts – 3 sets of 4-6 reps
● Leg Press – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
● Leg Extensions – 3 sets of 10 reps
● Seated Calf Raises – 3 sets of 12 reps

Friday – Upper Body, Chest Emphasis
● Incline Bench Press – 3 sets of 4-6 reps
● Cable Rows – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
● Flat Bench Press – 4 sets of 6-8 reps
● Barbell Curls – 3 sets of 10 reps
● Cable Triceps Pushdowns – 3 sets of 10 reps
● Face Pulls – 2 sets of 15 reps

Notes on the Workout:

Rest 3-4 minutes between sets where you use heavy loads (4-6 reps per set).
Rest 2-3 minutes between sets where you use medium loads (5-10 reps).
Rest 1-2 minute between sets where you use light loads (more than 12 reps
per set).

The Machine Incline Bench Press I refer to is this one . I find that to be a great exercise.

For Straight Sets when you hit the required reps for all sets, increase the weight on all sets the following workout. This will probably cause you to lose 1 or 2 reps in the last 2 sets. That’s normal and the goal for the following workout is to add back the reps in those last sets so you can increase the weight again.

Stop one rep before failure. Failure in this context is when you cannot lift the weight for one more rep without help and without severely compromising form.

Final Thoughts

Many beginners go straight for advanced routines and don’t get optimal results. On the other hand many advanced lifters try to specialize everything, huge fast everywhere, at the same time but they see little to no progress. Don’t make these mistakes.

To make the fastest progress possible you must use the right training split for YOUR level.


What did you think about the ideas in this article? Have any questions? Anything else to add? Leave a comment below and let me know! 

Want to build a body like Dustin Clare in Spartacus?

Then you need to build proportionate mass and incredible strength while staying lean.

One of the best ways to do that is with The Greek God Program. That’s the program that helped me build my physique.

Click here to learn more about it


  1. Tracey on July 10, 2015 at 11:34 am

    What would you add/subtract/delete for a woman’s training program?

    • Radu Antoniu on July 13, 2015 at 7:56 am

      Hey Tracey (I read your Instagram comment first haha)
      For women I’d focus more on the lower body. A routine that I like for women (at the beginner/novice level) is this:

      Workout A – Upper Body
      • Chin ups / Lat Pulldown – 5 x 6-8 reps (+2 warm-up sets with 50-60% of working weight)
      • Bench Press – 5 x 6-8 reps (+2 warm-up sets with 50-60% of working weight)
      • Seated Shoulder Press – 3 x 6-10 reps
      Workout B – Lower Body
      • Squats – 5 x 6-8 reps (+2 warm-up sets with 50-60% of working weight)
      • Sumo Deadlifts – 3 x 6-8 reps (+2 warm-up sets with 50-60% of working weight)
      • Forward Lunges – 3 x 8-10 reps

      1. Workouts are alternated in non-consecutive days. Monday A, Wednesday B, Friday A, Monday B, Wednesday A, etc.
      2. Rest 2-3 minutes between sets and exercises.
      3. You use the same weight in all sets until you can complete 3 or 5 sets of 8 or 10 reps (depending on the exercise). When you can complete all the required reps, increase the weight by 5lbs or less. With the new weight you probably won’t be able to complete all sets and you will lose 1 or 2 reps in the last set. Your goal the next workout is to add back all the reps and increase the weight again.
      For example:
      today maybe you did this
      8 x 100lbs
      8 x 100lbs
      8 x 100lbs
      8 x 100lbs
      7 x 100lbs
      You almost did 5 x 8 but you couldn’t complete the last set. Next time you’ll do this:
      8 x 100lbs
      8 x 100lbs
      8 x 100lbs
      8 x 100lbs
      8 x 100lbs
      Next time you’ll increase the weight in all sets by 5lbs or less.
      4. Don’t train to failure. Stop one rep before that. When you’re not sure you can complete another rep without highly compromising form, wrack the weight. The only exception is the last rep of the last set. You should always push yourself at that point (but still don’t compromise form)

  2. Tracey on July 13, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    This is great! For lower body, do you recommend barbells for squats and dead-lifts? Also, would you add any ab training? Thank you again!

    • Radu Antoniu on July 13, 2015 at 7:12 pm

      Yes, barbells.
      Yes, you can do abs on your off-days 2-3 times a week. I think the most efficient ab exercises are ab wheel rollouts and all forms of leg raises.

  3. Tracey on July 15, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    Ok, thank you!

    • Radu Antoniu on July 16, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      You’re welcome Tracey!

  4. Jason on July 18, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Hey Radu, I think I prefer an A/B/C split, what do you think about the following Push/Pull/Legs routine:

    A: Incline Bench Press, Overhead Press, Lying Triceps Extensions, Side Raises
    B: Deadlift, Chin Ups, Biceps Curl, Rear lateral raises
    C. Squat, Power Clean, Calve Raise, Ab Work

    Thanks, keep up the great work!

    • Radu Antoniu on July 18, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      Hey Jason!

      Yeah, looks good 🙂

      • Jason on July 19, 2015 at 4:29 pm

        Thanks Radu! 🙂

        • Radu Antoniu on July 19, 2015 at 6:00 pm

          You’re welcome dude!

  5. Ari on July 28, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Hi, Radu. I already wrote to you on FB, but decided to do it here too, so that other people can see the response, so it can help them, too if they need it.
    I’m 19 years old, 188cm, about 85-90kg(idk, because I don’t have a scale). I don’t know if I’m fat with very little muscle mass or skinny fat fatter than skinny. I can’t do even one chin-up and I can only do about 5 push-ups. I’ve been doing IF and I can see results in the mirror. I want to start going to the gym, but I have 2 problems:
    – Problem A: I don’t know what to do. Should I do this:
    Weighted Chin-ups/Lat Pulldown – 3 x 5
    Incline Bench Press – 5 x 5
    Squat/Deadlift – 5 x 5 (does the “/” sign mean that I should do both or whichever one I choose?) 3 times a week or should I do an A/B split workout from your ebook or posts?
    – Problem B: I’m shy about going to the gym. If you have ever experienced it do you have any tips on how to deal with it?

    Thanks and keep posting food vlogs, I love the ideas for food!

    • Radu Antoniu on July 28, 2015 at 8:55 pm

      Hey Ari!

      Thanks for posting here. I rarely check facebook and it’s the only platform I don’t answer comments or messages on. In the future it’s best to get in touch with me here or on email.

      Yes, do that routine for the first 3 weeks then move to the A/B split given in the Path to your Goal Physique. Yes the “/” sign means you choose only one of them, not both.

      Could go to the gym with a friend? I was shy about going to the gym as well but luckily a friend of mine took me under his wing and showed me what I had to do. Of course we did a lot of mistakes in the beginning but we got comfortable in the gym environment. That would be the best advice I could give you on this: find a workout partner.

      • Ari on July 29, 2015 at 3:56 pm

        Thanks for the fast answer, Radu. Have a great day!

        • Radu Antoniu on July 29, 2015 at 7:51 pm

          You’re welcome Ari!

          • Ari on August 10, 2015 at 5:13 pm

            Hello again, Radu.
            I’ve been doing what you recommended since when I last wrote to you. Today, while doing my workout, the fitness instructor saw that I’m new in the gym and decided to ask me about my program. After I told her about it she said that it doesn’t really train the whole body and that it was too easy, because you don’t really focus on a certain muscle/body part long enough. She said that doing back(Lat Pulldowns) then chest(Incline BP) and last Deadlift means that the back muscles go cold during and bench press and don’t really get much of a workout like that. She said that I should find a split program that focuses on separate muscles.
            I don’t question your credibility. I’m a big fan and will always be. But do you think I should stop doing this program and look into something else?

          • Radu Antoniu on August 12, 2015 at 8:44 am

            Thanks for sharing this Ari

            No way, keep doing what you’re doing. That routine is hands down the best training routine for complete beginners. After 3-6 weeks, you can move on to the A/B split.

            What does going cold even mean? That has nothing to do with muscle growth

          • Ari on August 12, 2015 at 2:10 pm

            I can’t reply to the comment below, so I’ll reply here. The instructor said that when you workout a muscle for only one exercise it gets warmed up, but not really tired and doesn’t grow much in strength or size. And for it to grow I need to do like 3-4 exercises for that muscle in a row, while it’s still warmed up, so it can get very tired and really worked out. At least that’s what I understood from what she told me.
            I’ll keep doing what you recommended and when I’ve been doing it for 5-6 weeks I’ll try to find a suitable split for me.

          • Radu Antoniu on August 19, 2015 at 12:27 pm

            I see. That’s not accurate information Ari. Muscle grows in response to tension overload regardless if you do 2 or 10 sets.

            If you’re getting stronger and you’re no longer in the first few weeks of working out, you are by default getting bigger muscles.

            Let me know how your progress goes.

          • Ari on August 19, 2015 at 2:46 pm

            Thanks for the information, Radu. It’s really nice that you’re always answering and helping people. You’re extremely motivating. Keep it up!
            The last time I weighed myself was about 2 months ago and I was 90kg then. Today I am 76kg and my lifts have been getting stronger. I’ll continue cutting ’till I get to 70kg. I think that’s okay for my height.
            Do you mind sharing your thoughts on stomach vacuums?

          • Radu Antoniu on August 21, 2015 at 5:17 pm

            Hey Ari!

            I really appreciate your support man!

            Wow awesome job! Going from 90kg to 76kg is a massive change. And if you’ve gotten stronger too the difference in your physique must be night and day.

            I’m not familiar with stomach vacuums. What are they for?

          • Ari on August 22, 2015 at 7:03 pm

            Thanks. It’s changed quite a lot. My clothes are too big now 😀
            I don’t really know much about them, but I know that old school bodybuilders used to do them to get great abs and a slimmer waist.
            There’s this dude on YouTube that you should check out. His name is The Hungarian Experiment. He talks about them and he’s made a video about his progress with them. I’m doing them. I think you should look for some information about them when you have some free time. You might like the benefits of them and implement them in your daily routine.

          • Radu Antoniu on August 23, 2015 at 7:51 am

            Ok Ari I’ll look into it when I have some time 🙂

  6. Matt on August 1, 2015 at 6:28 am

    Hey Radu! I love your collabs with Greg at Kinobody, the podcasts and interviews with you two together are really awesome. I discovered you through his podcast and am super happy I did.

    I have a couple of questions for you;

    1)Currently I’m 5’10, 153 lbs or so and maybe around 13% BF, I’m not exactly sure (only place I really have any BF on my body is obliques). Right now I can incline bench 140 for 5, neutral grip chins 45 for 5, seated DB press 55 for 5-6 reps. Should I do the 5×5 routine you have listed above or the RPT one? I do have the GGP as well but not sure if you think I have the strength levels to successfully do RPT yet.

    2)I got Greg’s Kinochef and I have to say it is quite awesome. My only complaint is most of the meals while being simple, do take quite a while to cook. And my favorite main meals and side meals both tend to require the use of an oven which can take quite a while (for ex. one chicken recipe cooks at 385 for 30 mins, potato wedges are 450 for 35 or so). Do you know a place where any quick, simple meals with macros are to accompany Kinochef so days where I have less time I don’t have to wait an hour to cook?

    Thanks and keep up the awesome work!

    • Radu Antoniu on August 2, 2015 at 2:58 pm

      Thanks Matt! Glad you like to content 😀

      1. Yes, you can do RPT.
      2. Hmmm, there are a lot of cooking videos in YouTube that also include macros. Michael Kory has some really cool recipes. Check it out and let me know what you think.

      • Matt on August 3, 2015 at 3:44 am

        Awesome man, thanks!

        • Radu Antoniu on August 4, 2015 at 11:06 am

          You’re welcome Matt!

  7. Matt on August 12, 2015 at 2:54 am

    Hey Radu, what are your thoughts on snatch grip deadlifts in place of sumo? From what I hear they are fantastic for upper back and rear delt developement, wouldn’t that be a terrific option for a Greek God physique if kept at 2 sets?

    • Radu Antoniu on August 12, 2015 at 8:55 am

      I’ve never tried snatch grip deadlift.

      Sure, you can give them a try.

  8. Adi on August 18, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Salut,Radu pana acum 2 luni am folosit Rutina 1 SPLIT A/B din acest articol Acum doua luni am obserbat o stagnare si m-am mutat dupa cum spune acel articol pe un split A/B/C Rutina #1 (Rutina #1 – Potrivită pentru cei care vor să-și dezvolte partea de sus a corpului uniform dar nu vor creștere mare la picioare) acum am inceput sa stagnez si la acest split si vreau sa te intreb ce mi-ai recomanda sa trec la split-ul A/B (pentru intermediari) din acest articol ( sau sa revin tot la ala A/B din prim-ul articol?

    • Radu Antoniu on August 19, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      Salut Adi,

      Iti recomand sa treci pe split-ul A/B din articolul Best Training Split for Muscle and Strength.

  9. Rob on September 1, 2015 at 2:03 am

    Hey Radu,

    For a novice would you recommend an a/b split or 3 day split when cutting?

    • Radu Antoniu on September 3, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      Hey Rob,


  10. Ed on September 8, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    Radu… I really enjoyed your interviews with Greg. You seem very knowledgeable about the whole strength and leanness protocols.

    Since you follow the GGP, do you do it as is???
    1) For Incline press, 3 sets x 5,6,8 reps…
    (Adding 5lbs to 3rd, then 2nd, then 1st???)
    2) Do you do the Standing Press instead of seated DB?
    3) when you plateau , do you drop the third set? Or change exercises?
    4) do you ever do the 3 day split?

    • Radu Antoniu on September 10, 2015 at 7:36 pm

      Hey Ed!


      Yes I follow the GGP as it is but I’ve focus mainly on the 3 day split routines. In the first few months I made incredible gains on the 2 day split routines but then I switched to the 3 day split so I can include more exercises (including heavy leg training).

      1. Yes
      2. Yes
      3. To be honest I haven’t been stalling at all lately. When I did stall it was all a mental issue. The program never failed me.

  11. bobu on September 10, 2015 at 5:08 am

    Where does the GGP 3 day split fit in with the program’s 3 phases? Thoughts on the 3day split vs the 2 day split with shoulder specialization? The 3 day split would seem ideal as i wont have to ditch incline pressing for 8 weeks but i dont need all the extra leg volume on lower body day. I also dont want to just modify the split as i see fit as there is no point following a structured prepackaged program if im just gonna change i anyway. Whats your thoughts

    • Radu Antoniu on September 10, 2015 at 7:47 pm

      Hey Bobu!

      You’re completely right.

      You can definitely do the 3 day split routines. That’s what I’ve been doing for more than 6 months now.

      I believe the 3 day split routine is one that allows even growth of all muscle groups. The 2 day split routine is great for building 2-4 muscle groups fast.

  12. Cameron on November 12, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    I have been making great progress with reverse pyramid training. Some really good strength progressions. However, on some key movements I have reached a sticking point. I have changed movements and rotated exercises to address this issue but I would like to know your thoughts on taking a Deload every 4 to 6 weeks as a way to further advance with my key lifts. Is this unnessary? Or can it help. Cheers


    • Radu Antoniu on November 17, 2015 at 10:04 am

      Nice! Great to hear that!

      Do you feel you’re not recovered? If so, sure, you can have lighter week.

      If you are recovered and you’re no longer progressing, increase volume by 15% on that movement. Add another set

  13. Andy on November 18, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Hey Radu!

    I’ve just switched to incline dumbbell bench from incline barbell bench. Do you know what the relative strength standards are (good/great/godlike) for the incline DB exercise on the GG program? I’m not sure what I should be aiming for. Are the standards the same as barbell, or less?


    • Radu Antoniu on November 28, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      Hey Andy,

      With dumbbells you can usually lift less weight. The standards would be lower in my opinion.

      But I do know that if you get to ~100lbs dummbells for a few reps your chest will be huge.

  14. Roy on November 19, 2015 at 2:47 am

    Hello Radu!

    I have a question!
    At the Warrior physique standards above, you mention that weighted chinups must be executed with a 30% bw, while Greg says must be 50-65%.
    Am I missing something?
    Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Radu Antoniu on November 28, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      Greg has much higher standards than me haha

  15. Jonas on November 19, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Hey Radu,

    is there also a good Routine example for a Split which I can hit 4 times a weak?

    I´m impressed by the resuts f yours and Gregs Routines so I start to include them in my life (IF, IIFYM,…) but I want to train more than 3 Times a weak because I love the sport to balance my mind. So do you think I actually can take the A/B Split from the top and hit it 4 days a week or should I take a other plan?


    • Radu Antoniu on November 28, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      Hey Jonas,
      You can use the A/B split given here but you mustn’t use Reverse Pyramid Training. Use straight sets instead

  16. Yagiz on November 25, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Hey man great article. Just what i needed at this particular time. I am so bored of this classic pyramid workout routines that gives no result at all in terms of size and looks (i’ve no problems with strength gains tbh) . Ok here’s my question i’ll be following your a/b split routine but my arms are considerably weak compared to other parts. Do you think it’ll be good for me to follow a a/b/c(dedicated arms workout) routine? And if so, what kind of training method do you think i should use for that ‘c’ workout. (Rpt,pt,supersets,straight etc.) Without going into an overtraining phase of course. Thanks a lot! keep up the good work!

    • Radu Antoniu on November 28, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      Hey Yagiz!

      I think your arms will grow well if your bench and chin-ups go up. Arms rarely grow by themselves.

      You can follow the A/B split as it is and add another 3 sets for biceps and triceps. I would do higher reps on that other exercise as well (8-12).

  17. Carson Danyluik on December 7, 2015 at 12:54 am

    Sounds like the A/B Split is very similar to Lyle Mcdonalds every 5th day upper/lower routine (I use this and love it).
    It does not surprise me since Greg has interviewed Lyle in the past and probably has learned a lot from him.

    I wonder why Greg does not just use an upper/lower split for various reasons. It still provides the every 5th day frequency and is a little simpler and better for recovery I would think.

    But ultimately there quite damn similar….Lyles might be a little more towards hypertrophy though.

    • Radu Antoniu on December 12, 2015 at 11:24 am

      Yes exactly.

      I think Lyle was the main source of inspiration in setting up this type of split. Greg doesn’t do an upper/lower because he doesn’t train legs for size. Kinobody is about building the model/actor type physique and huge legs are not part of that.

  18. Salih on December 9, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Hi radu
    I’m in caloric deficit and i’m doing ab split
    Bench press RPT
    skullcrushers RPT ( 6,8,10)
    lateral raises spt ( 12,10,8,6)
    Lat pulldown RPT ( can’t do chin ups )
    Sumo deadlift RPT (2-3 SETS)
    Curls RPT ( 6,8,10)
    facepulls spt ( 12,10,8,6)
    Is this good for cutting ?

    • Radu Antoniu on December 13, 2015 at 7:06 pm


  19. Mohammed on December 27, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Hi Radu, i am currently going to the gym 5 times a week, my routine consisting of, 30 minutes of cardio every day, and 45 minutes of weight lifting, (Routine: Monday – Shoulders + Biceps, Tuesday – HIIT, Wednesday – Chest and Triceps, Thursday – Legs and Friday – Back and Rear Delts) I’ve gone from 14 stones to 10 stones in around 10 months. But problem, I’ve might have lost a lot of fat and weight, but have become too weak and haven’t seem to have gotten any stronger or muscular. My aim is to get lean and build muscle, achieving a warrior/Greek god body, what advice would you give me?

    • Radu Antoniu on January 5, 2016 at 9:19 pm

      If you’re losing strength while cutting check out this article.

      • Al on January 7, 2016 at 5:12 pm

        Hey Radu,
        I could really use your input. Im already somewhat strong on some exercises (Incline bench 210lbs, Standing Press 140lbs for reps on the GGMB) the only thing is that Im like 20% bodyfat. My goal is 7-8%. However, I want to skip Strength n Density and just jump into Specialization Training. I like the specific training since im intermediate. So, can I do specialization on a cut? If so can I do an aggresive cut like on A.Fatloss 2.0?

        • Radu Antoniu on January 17, 2016 at 7:57 pm

          You can do an aggressive cut but it’s not worth doing a high volume + high intensity routine at the same time. It’s already pretty hard to recover due to the calorie deficit so it’s not worth doing a lot of volume like a specialization routine.

          While you’re cutting you can do the Strength and Density Routine.

  20. Vali on January 17, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Salut, Radu
    Cu ce greutate crezi ca ar trebui sa incep?
    Chiar daca pot ridica mai mult de 40 kg ( sa zicem) la piept, ar trebui sa incep programul de forta cu ceva mai putin(30kg) , sa dau muschiului timp de acomodare?

    • Radu Antoniu on January 17, 2016 at 4:51 pm

      Salut Vali

      Incepe cu greutati cu care poti face corect numarul de repetari cerute in program. Daca forma de executie se strica un pic cand folosesti greutati mai mari, nu merita.

  21. Adi on February 5, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Hi radu can you give me an example for an intermediar whit a/b/c split i am doing IIFYM and i did a/b split(from this article but i don`t deadlift i only squat ) for quite a while and now im on a Strength Training Plateau and i want to change it

  22. JC on February 16, 2016 at 7:02 am

    Hey Radu,
    Thanks for the article! I have to say a few points here though. I think the main thing is getting form right first so the first couple of weeks should establish form before performance. Weight should be at a point where it engages the muscle but also light enough that the form is 100% correct. If beginners start this program, and they go for heavy sets trying to increase strength gains without proper form, then they won’t make those strength gains later on in the program because their form is off, regardless of how they train. Also, mass is directly caused by diet. No matter how much you lift, if you’re not eating enough, then you won’t gain mass. Throwback to basic thermodynamics.

    • Radu Antoniu on February 27, 2016 at 4:56 pm

      You’re right on both points JC

      From what I’ve seen if beginners start with just the bar and progress by 5lbs every session until they hit their limit they will do enough work to learn proper form.

      And beginners can easily gain muscle as their bodyweight goes down. I see it happen almost every time in people that start training properly and eat a deficit of calories.

  23. Marcello Antonio Dreier on March 18, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    Radu you are exploding with awesome knowledge!!! You grow fast like hell with your awesome content.

    I have wrist + shoulder injury and I will start the Beginner Version in bodyweight version.Thanks!

  24. Bart on March 19, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Hi Radu,

    thanks for your tips.

    Just a quick question. In terms of Your First Training Routine, if you write ‘Squat/Deadlift – 5 x 5’, you mean both 5 sets for 5 reps each or I choose between squats and deadlifts?

    Many Thanks,

  25. Raf on May 1, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Hey Radu,

    I have a few questions about the Beginners Routine:

    – Are Squats and Deadlifts done on alternating days or should we choose one of the exercises?
    – You mentioned 4-8 weeks. Should we continue with this plan as long as we are making progress and are not having bad muscle aches after training?
    – Should the incline bench press be done with a barbell or dumbbells?

    Thanks a lot for your help!

    • Radu Antoniu on May 3, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      1. You choose one of them.
      2. No, you should change it. As a beginner you could make progress with this routine for at least a year. But switching to an AB split would be better.
      3. Barbell.

      You’re welcome!

  26. Gus on May 15, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    I’m skinny fat, should I start with Greek god or can I go straight to super hero?

  27. Diego on May 20, 2016 at 1:52 am

    Hey Radu,

    I am doing the beginner’s routine, my question is if should I add 5lbs the next day I work out or the next week? Also if I add 5lbs as total weight or 5lbs in each side of the bar for the Incline Bench Press and Squats (I am doing Hack Squats, I hope thats OK).

    Thanks for all the help and congratulations for doing such a great job with your website!

  28. Adrian on May 20, 2016 at 6:54 am

    Hi Radu,

    I’m confused about the novice routing. You mention: `An example might look like this: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps (Workout A) and Back, Biceps, Legs (Workout B).`
    However, the exercises in Workouts A and B don’t seem to follow this pattern. For example biceps are supposed to be trained on Workout B. But curls are done on wk. A. Am I missing something here?

  29. Matt on May 29, 2016 at 3:00 am


    I apologize if this question has been asked before. I’m currently working out with a routine similar to what you have laid out for a “novice” lifter. The difference is that I don’t do all arms/upper body one day (i.e. Workout A), and legs/lower body the other day (i.e. Workout B). I’ve been trying to pair counter movements and include some upper and lower body in the same day. For instance I would do bench press paired with rows and then do squats (all 5×5) as Workout A. Then overhead press paired with pull/chin ups and deadlift for Workout B. My questions is whether there is a good reason to focus on upper body one day and lower body the next; or if the way I’m setting up my routines is okay.

  30. Adi on May 31, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Hi Radu,
    I have vacation for a month. I want to gain as much muscle as possible during this time. I was following your A/B split with rest on alternate days for the last two months. Can I add more volume for faster gains? If yes, then how?

  31. David on May 31, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Hey Radu, thank you so much for this great info. It left me with a question though….this only applies to exercises with weights right? so let’s say I want to complement my workout with some abs specific exercises like crunches, bycicle crunches, leg raises,etc…how many sets and reps should I do as a begginner?

  32. Catalin on June 8, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Salut Radu. Am o întrebare: Eu îmi dezvolt foarte usor picioarele, sunt un novice, dar am probleme la partea superioară, atât forta, cat si masa, crezi ca as putea aa fac A/B split asa: Luni:A Miercuri:B Vineri:A? Sau cum sa procedez ca sa cresc mai usor partea superioară? Mersi mult 😀

  33. max on June 26, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Hi Radu!
    In your ” how much volume you should do” video you mentioned that 40-90 reps a week is ideal. In this novice routine the volume is actually lower than that. Why?

  34. Dustin on June 27, 2016 at 4:03 am

    Dear Radu,

    Thank you for sharing an effective training and diet system that fits so well into a balanced lifestyle. I have learned a lot from checking out your various posts and videos. Based on the training principles that you teach, I have created a program for myself, and was hoping you could give me some feedback. First, some Background info:
    Age: 34
    Height: 6-1
    Weight: 185
    BF %: Aprox. 12 % (please check out the attached pics to verify if you have the chance)
    Goals: reduce BF% to 6-9%, increase strength

    To achieve the goals above, I am intermittent fasting (2 solid meals per day), eating at about a 500 calorie daily deficit, and doing 30-60 minutes of brisk walking every day, and skipping 1-2 meals per week.

    This is the program that I am using – (I alternate back and forth, training M, W, F). I also train calves and abs on my off-days.
    Workout A – Chest, Shoulders & Triceps
    Incline Bench Press: 3 sets x 5-8 reps
    Weighted Dips: 3 sets x 5-8 reps
    Shoulder Press: 3 sets X 5-8 reps
    Lateral Delts Exercise: 3 sets x 6-10 reps (3RD set RPT) (superset with exercise below)
    Shoulder Shrugs: 3 sets X 10-12 reps (traps our lagging body part for me) (superset with exercise above)
    Workout B – Back, Biceps, legs
    Weighted Chins: 3 sets x 5-8 reps
    Deep Squats: 3 sets x 5-8 reps
    Barbell Rows: 3 sets 5-8 reps
    Rear Delts Exercise: 3 sets x 6-10 reps (3rd set RPT) (superset with exercise below)
    Barbell Curls: 3 sets x 6-10 reps (superset with exercise above)

    -Considering my goals, would you say this program is solid? Any suggestions? Thanks so much in advance.

  35. patrick on July 8, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    hey Radu!
    Should I follow this A/B split until I hit certain strenght standarts?

  36. ATemsah on August 2, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Hi Radu, I’ve just switched to a strength program trying to follow the novice workout you mention. My question is, when you say “dips” do you mean tricep dips (elbows in & body straight) or chest dips (elbows out & leaning forward)?

  37. Ashwini on August 16, 2016 at 3:49 am

    Why does the novice routine dosent include shoulder workouts?

    • Mike on August 23, 2016 at 7:02 am

      It does – shoulder press twice a week…

  38. Namina Jayasinghe on September 2, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Hello Radu,
    Is it okay to use RPT only when cutting and use straight sets when bulking? Or does it even matter? Im following IF and RPT training these days.
    Thank you,

  39. Ron Rutger on September 3, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Radu what does this means: Frequency is now more of a way to organize your volume instead of a distinct training variable.
    I am eating two solid meals per day. When I feel hunger I eat a banana. Is that OK?


  40. Prashant Raj on September 6, 2016 at 7:39 am

    Hello Radu

    I am 34 and 5′ 5″ , I weighed 86 kilos in January 2016 and started on a cutting phase from march 2016 . I weigh 73.6 kilos today AND still have to shed 9-10 kilos more to start on next phase and later to my goal physic .

    I only do :

    1. Cycling for 15 minutes and few stretching for about 20 minutes everyday
    to warm up.

    2. High intensity aerobics for 45 minutes every day for 5 days a week.

    3. Power yoga twice a week for 50 minutes each day

    My question is that , I am hitting a plateau from last 3-4 weeks ,I am on the same weight ,i.e, ( fluctuates between ) 73 -74 kilos. How can I break it to continue to shed the rest of the body weight. Oh by the way i have not lifted any weight till date
    other than some side bends with 3-5 kilos of dumbbells for 2 minutes every alternate days.
    [ I am 1200-1400 calories everyday .My diet mostly is consist of vegetarian meals which includes lentils, cottage cheese and whole wheat , oats and fruits. eggs twice a week ]
    Best Regards
    Prashant Raj

  41. mohammed on October 2, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    i’m a i’ve been training with bodyweight excersie for 6 month
    and i start ab split for 2 week then switch to intermediate cuz i feel that i’ve got the basic sterngth and the warrior physic from the bodyweight excresies
    -is there any partical way to decide if i have to continue with beeginer lvl or it’s right to switch to the intermediate lvl ?
    – i have problems with the weight i should lift idk what is better for my situation

    • Radu Antoniu on October 5, 2016 at 7:03 pm

      Hey Mohammed!

      1. After 3-4 months of lifting you can move up to the intermediate level.
      2. Use a weight that is heavy to lift for the number of reps required. In your last set, you should be close to failure.

  42. Pablo on October 12, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    Hi Radu !!

    Thank you for all the great videos and other reports.
    I have been lifting weight for a month, so I have a long way to go
    How do I determine your initial weight on the routine ?

    Thank you, Pablo

  43. Chris Petrillo on October 25, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Hi, Radu, what do you suggest on warm up sets as in how many for an exercise?


  44. jim james on February 14, 2017 at 5:32 am

    Morning Mr Radu,

    I do not understand my body. Yesterday a Dexa Scan showed my weight at 100.1 Kgs and a 13.2 % Body Fat.
    Today I Deadlifted 5 sets of 8 Reps at 130kgs. Yesterday I squatted 5 sets of 8 Reps at 90 Kgs.
    Yet I cannot do I regular Chinup or even 5 pushups. I can only Flat Bench Barbell press a total of 5 sets of 8 reps at 50 kgs.

    I commenced lifting and shredding fat wed april 27 2016 when I started at the gym at 134 Kgs. I am 52 years old and 193 cm tall

    I want to be 10 % body fat all year round with slow consistent strength gains. No bulking or cutting. Just athletic look. If you were me how would you progress? Buy shred smart ? Here in Australia an online training 12 week program sells for $1,200 Yes Totally True

    Appreciate your feedback

  45. Jaspinder on March 14, 2017 at 5:20 am

    Hey radu!!
    First of all i love all ur videos and articles
    U r really doing a gr8 job
    I am a big fan of urs
    And i am a doctor too
    And i have just started following ur routines but just wanted to ask 1 thing
    As u say compound exercises r the best for gaining muscle and growing but u still recommend curls and rope pushdowns as isolation for biceps amd triceps but u never recommend any isolation exercises for traps
    I have very weak traps in relation to my body
    So what do u recommend
    Thnx a lot

  46. Yugi on June 7, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    Only one move for biceps in the whole program? Barbell Curls?

  47. Da on July 5, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    Hey I’m a 24 yr old Male at 155 lbs at 5’9 height about 15.5% body fat. However I can’t do any chin ups or pull ups. What would you recommend for me to instead? Or to be able to strengthen myself to the point where I can? Thanks!

  48. Mayank on September 4, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Hi Radu

    i have recently come across your youtube channel and become a huge fan of it. I have been trying to loose fat for last 2 months and have made a decent progress through nutrition and strength training. My main goal at this time is to bring my body fat percentage down to 8-10% I think i am somewhere in between 16-20% at the moment. I am still a beginner with strength training. I have a training program and I would like you to have a look at it to see if it will lead me to my goal. I know you don’t give personalised advise but I would just like to know if this training program would work effectively or not.

    Height – 178 cms
    Body mass – 78.3 kgs
    Goal weight ~70 kgs

    Monday – Lat pull-down
    seated row
    reverse grip pull down
    barbell bent over row

    barbell bicep curls
    seated dumbell bicep curls
    cable bicep curls

    beep test up to a level between 7.5-9

    Tuesday – Flat bench press
    chest press
    chest fly
    cable chest fly

    close grip flat bench press (for triceps)
    rope push downs
    dumbell overhead tricep extension
    straight bar tricep pushdowns

    beep test up to a level between 7.5-9

    Wednesday – Barbell squats
    Leg press
    Leg extensions
    lying leg curls
    standing calf raise

    Military press
    dumbell lateral raises
    dumbell front raises
    dumbell rear delt raises
    dumbell shoulder shrugs

    Thursday – Rest day

    Friday – Push ups
    Ab roll outs
    Lying Leg raises
    Knee raises
    Bicycle crunches

    Saturday – Barbell squats
    Flat bench press
    barbell bent over row
    military press
    Tricep straight bar push downs
    cable bicep curls

    Sunday – Ab roll outs
    Lying Leg raises
    Knee raises
    Bicycle crunches

    All exercises with weights are done for 3-4 sets (5 for compound) in 6-12 rep range.

    Please let me know what do you think of this training program. Much appreciated.



  49. Ruxandra on December 28, 2017 at 9:31 am


    Can you tell us a routine for women at an intermediate level? Thank you and keep up the good work!

  50. Apollo on January 12, 2018 at 7:11 am

    Hey Radu! Big Fan of yours.
    First of all thanks for all that you did to inform people regarding building a great body. It was with the confidence of your information that I decided to join the Gym and get a great body for good 🙂

    Its been 3 days. And I showed the gym instructor your programme for beginners. He is quite an easy going person and told that he would help me go on with my new list. I just wanted to ask that should I do some warmup like running or pushups before getting involved with the weights…

    Once more Thank you for your inspiration.

  51. Samuel on February 8, 2018 at 5:36 am

    Hey Radu! I was wondering how would I achieve the Greek God Physique when I am limited to only having a curled bar,One 2 pound, weight for the bar Two-5 Pound weights for the bar, Two-10 pound weights for the Bar. I also have two 15 and 10 pound dumbbells, I want to get a Physique like Tom Holland from Spider man Homecoming but I am having trouble trying to figure out how to get to it. Can you help me out?

  52. Tyler Gibson on May 18, 2018 at 3:09 am

    Hey Radu! Do I need to change the sample workout program that you’ve provided over long period of time?

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