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Since I want to focus more on running, I don't have much time practicing bodybuilding anymore. I want to switch to a full body workout that still promotes muscle growth but only needs to be performed twice a week.

I've compiled this workout regime:

  1. Warm-up (5-10 minutes)

  2. Barbell squat (3 sets of 8 reps)

  3. Barbell deadlift (3 sets of 8 reps)

  4. Barbell bench press (3 sets of 8 reps)

  5. Barbell bent-over row (3 sets of 8 reps)

  6. Pull-ups or lat pulldown (3 sets of 8 reps)

  7. Barbell shoulder press (3 sets of 8 reps)

  8. Plank (3 sets, hold for 30-60 seconds)

  9. Cooldown and stretching (5-10 minutes)

I think this should hit every muscle efficiently. Am I correct in my assumption?

UPDATE: Some extra info: I'm currently doing a 3 day split which hits each muscle once a week (which seems to promote growth).

2 Answers 2

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You need a periodization scheme that focuses on growing some subset of muscle groups at any given time.

The trouble you are going to run into is that it’s really hard to get enough volume on every muscle group when you’re only lifting twice a week, unless you’re spending an unreasonable amount of time in the gym. You’ve got six working sets of squats per week. That’s just not enough volume to grow, especially at your training age (you mentioned 5 years in a comment).

However, maintaining muscle mass takes even less volume than you are doing now. What this means is that you can periodize your training to focus on getting enough high volume to grow one or two muscle groups, while doing just enough on the rest to maintain, switching it up every 8-12 weeks.

So the way I would set this up is to have three mesocycles lasting 8-12 weeks each: a squat, a push, and a pull. On your squat cycle, most of your volume would be dedicated to your squat pattern and knee extension movements. You might do something like 6-8 sets of 6-8 reps of challenging back squats each day, then do some leg extensions or leg press for additional, lower fatigue volume on the quads. Then, with the remaining time on the two days, split up the rest of the movements to get just enough volume to maintain.

For a pull cycle, I’d do something like conventional deadlifts from the floor one day, then RDLs the other, and do barbell rows and pull-ups both days, getting in 6+ working sets on your pull movements, and finally, as before, use the rest of the time to get maintenance volume in for pushing and squatting.

For the push cycle, I would just barbell overhead press both days, barbell bench one day, and dumbbell bench the other for 6+ working sets on all movements. And as before, maintenance volume with the remaining time.

A periodization scheme like this allows you to get enough volume to grow on some muscle groups, some of the time, and over time you hit all the muscle groups. I don’t see any other way to get enough volume in without adding a third day or spending 3-4+ hours in the gym each day (which comes with its own fatigue management complications). It will take longer to gain mass, but that’s the price you pay for the conditions you’re working with.

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  • Thank you for your response, Thomas. I'm a bit puzzled, though. Currently, I follow a 3-day split routine that segregates my muscle groups into three categories: chest/shoulders on Mondays, legs/biceps on Wednesdays, and back/triceps on Fridays. This routine means each muscle group is trained only once weekly. Since I've noticed some growth from this regimen, I'm curious why working the same muscle group twice a week wouldn't foster growth. Additionally, could you please clarify your statement about having "six working sets of squats per week"? May 12, 2023 at 10:56
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I think you out to look at something like starting strength novice linear progression.it will be 3 days instead of two and will be a full body with the most efficient exercises chosen. Some of these are accessory exercises and won't be needed until you develop a little further. Would strongly suggest you get the two books starting strength and practical programming for starting strength. This will give you a sound foundation of knowledge. Alternatively if you don't want to spend the time reading there is always the option of finding a coach. Cheers and all the best.

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  • Thanks Dude. I'm looking for a 2 day workout since I don't have the time (any more) for 3. I'm already 'developed' since I'm lifting for about 5 years now. If I remember correctly Starting Strength also focussed mostly on compound movements. May 9, 2023 at 11:15
  • Yes because you get the most out of them for the time spent lifting. If you insist on two days a week I'm sure you could modify one of the programs to fit your needs.
    – Dude
    May 10, 2023 at 3:06

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