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For the last 6 months I have been doing a 3 day routine twice per week in the following structure:

  • Legs and shoulders
  • Chest and triceps
  • Back and biceps

I have seen very good results with this routine (I'm fairly certain it is quite a common plan) but lately I haven been reading a lot about doing chest and back on the same day.

I'm considering changing my routine to:

  • Legs and shoulders
  • Chest and back
  • Biceps and triceps

But I am very skeptical of having two large muscle groups (chest and back) on the same day. I have always been under the impression that recovery doesn't yield good results if you hit multiple large areas. I did previously train biceps and triceps on the same day with better results than I am currently experiencing, but my current routine overall is working better.

Would this change have better results than my current routine? What are some pros and cons of what I am doing now vs the proposed routine? I've touched on some material talking about lactic acid moving around in a beneficial way during your workout if you alternate chest and back sets, but I'm not sure what is true and what's not.

My goal is mass.

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You do not want to use the second routine because working on your chest would most likely mean that you are also working on triceps (pushups, dumbell/barbell presses, etc). That counts for your back and biceps too! –  user8502 May 1 at 18:27
    
I'm asking myself the same question. You say you've been reading a lot about combining chest and back. Do you have any links about that? In my (very small and anecdotal) experience, training back and biceps the same day gave me the impression that once I had finished training my back, my arms were already half exhausted and didn't really benefit from the remaining exercises. Same for chest + triceps. I now combine biceps + triceps and then back + chest and I feel that it allows me to train more intensely. –  s427 May 2 at 11:15
    
@s427 I have been thinking the exact same thing; my biceps are pretty worn out after an intense back workout, same with my triceps after chest. I will collate what material I have come across when I get the chance. –  Marty May 2 at 11:19
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1 Answer 1

As a former competitive bodybuilder, I can tell you that there is no one recipe for gaining mass. My "pros" and "cons" for a routine would not be the same for you. That's because everyone is an individual. It's all about forcing your muscles to overcome their desire to adapt to workload. One sure way to help that is to change up your training routine as you've proposed. That may mean switching the order of body parts, days, etc. In the "old" days, we would switch up the routine every 6 to 8 weeks in order to not become "stale". As there are with diets, there are many "fad" training routines. Pick the one(s) that work for you and make small adjustments. Just be mindful of getting proper nutrition and rest.

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I agree with everything said, though I am curious whether you tried the proposed routine in your career? If so, what was your experience with it? –  Marty May 2 at 6:10
    
Yes, I have tried that routine. However, as I stated in my answer, I made sure to avoid any problems with pre-exhausting antagonist muscles by occasionally changing the order they were performed. That way, one muscle group does not become more dominant than the other thus affording you a more balanced physique. –  rrirower May 2 at 12:24
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