Three Top Workout Routines to Build Muscle Effectively

I bet you wish there was some magical workout program that could easily put on 20 lbs of muscle in one month. Unfortunately, that does not exist, but there are some really effective proven workout routines to build muscle. Creating a workout program can be a difficult and confusing, so stick to these Top 3 Workout Routines to Build Muscle:

Workout Routines to Build Muscle

Classic Arnold Bench Pressing

Workout Routines to Build Muscle #1: Split Training Routine

A split body workout routine is probably one of the most popular weightily lifting routines out there. “Split” means that the workouts are split by bodypart. I recommend you go with one of the standard splits out there. Here are two popular splits:

3 Day Split

  • Monday: Back / Biceps
  • Wednesday: Chest/Triceps
  • Friday: Legs/Shoulders

4 Day Split

  • Monday: Chest/Triceps
  • Tuesday: Back
  • Thursday: Legs
  • Friday: Shoulder/Biceps

As shown in these two examples split routines will divide up the big muscle groups. For example, you would not want to work out chest and back on the same days. Advanced lifters and professional bodybuilders might even workout 5 times a week using only one body part per workout.

Some advantages of split training workouts include:

  • Resting body parts more often
  • Wide range of exercises
  • Can isolate both big and small muscle groups
  • Easily customizable

Check out these great split body muscle building workouts for details on actual programs and exercises.

Benedikt Magnusson Deadlifintg 940lbs! Image credit: Egill Bjarki

Benedikt Magnusson Deadlifintg 940lbs! Image credit: Egill Bjarki

Workout Routines to Build Muscle #2: 5×5 Workout Routine

There are several popular 5×5 workout routines and variations but the primary principle is weekly progression of each of your lifts using a 5 set and 5 reps approach on each exercise. 5×5 Routines run 3 days a week with a break between days. The main exercises used for a 5×5 routine are:

  • Squats
  • Deadlift
  • Bench Press
  • Overhead Press
  • Rows

A simple schedule would look something like this:

Squats 5×5, Bench Press 5×5, Rows 5×5

Deadlift 4×5, Overhead Press 4×5

Squats 5×5, Bench Press 5×5, Rows 5×5

Advantages of 5×5 routines:

  • Increases strength faster
  • Easy to follow and track workouts
  • Sticks with the most efficient muscle building exercises

Some popular 5×5 routines are Bill Starr 5×5 and Stronglifts 5×5. Be sure to also checkout the 5×5 routine for more details, exercises and training split.


Heavy Squats!

Workout Routine #3: Upper/Lower Full Body Routine

A full body routine can also be considered an upper/lower body routine. You will usually work each body part twice a week unlike a split routine.

Advantages of Full Body Routines:

  • Work body parts twice a week
  • Increase strength on certain lifts faster
  • More focus on compound exercises to maximize muscle growth

Here is an example upper/lower body workout routine below:


  • Bench Press
  • Chin Ups
  • Incline Press
  • Rows
  • Skull Crushers
  • DB Laterals


  • Deadlift
  • Sqauts
  • Hypers
  • DB Curls
  • Leg Curls
  • Cable Laterals


  • Overhead Press
  • Pullups
  • Dips
  • Incline Press
  • Yates rows
  • Triceps Pushdowns


  • Squats
  • Stiff Legged Deadlift
  • Hypers
  • Leg Curls

One of the many full body workout routines I enjoy is Westside For Bodybuilders. Although many Westside workouts are aimed for strength there are some modified more towards bodybuilding – this will definitely kick your butt.

Final Thoughts

Each of these workout routines will help you build muscle along with a solid diet. Follow these guidelines to maximize muscle growth with these 3 types of workout routines:

  • Stick to compound exercises (Squats, Bench Press, Deadlifts, etc.)
  • Stick to the 6-10 rep range. Going lower will focus more on strength
  • Use Free weights as much as possible
  • Vary your workout about every 12 weeks
  • Remember to rest!!!! (Muscle grows between workouts)
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