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Best Workout Split for Natural Bodybuilders for Building Muscle


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Kevin Richardson’s Best Workout Split for Natural Bodybuilders for Muscle Growth

What’s the best workout split for natural bodybuilders to build muscle?

It’s a hard question because there’s so many splits out there. 

Should you train legs by itself? Should you do back and biceps? Should you do arms by themselves? Should you do chest and biceps? 

Chest and shoulders? Back and shoulders? Chest and arms? 

Back and Shoulders is day 2 of this high intensity training split

It’s really confusing, especially when you’re just starting off. 

In this video, I’m going to talk about the workout split that I have used for the past 30 plus years. 

A workout split that I have used to compete successfully as a natural bodybuilder, create other successful natural bodybuilders using this workout split, and train hundreds of men and women over the past three decades of my personal training career to help them build muscle and lose fat. (And do be sure to check out my post and video Why I Train Only Three Days A Week- A Training Split for Natural Bodybuilders)

In the beginning of my career, I tried just about every possible workout split imaginable. 

And this was what I came up with as being the most efficient. 

It has continued to work, as I said, for all these decades without fail for everyone who’s ever tried it. 

Kevin's 3 day workout split for natural athletes for muscle growth

So, if you’re serious about building muscle, and getting the results, and doing it the natural way, stay tuned.

So, we’re talking about workout splits, namely what’s the best workout split for building muscle if you are natural? 

I want to start by saying that it is a blessing to have been able to have realized my dream as a natural bodybuilder and to have trained so many people. 

And one of the things I try to do with this channel is to pass on the experience that I’ve picked up over all these years onto you. 

To whom much is given, much is expected. 

And that’s a phrase that I live by and try to live by as much as I can by trying to spread as much information as I can about training naturally. 

Popular training splits were created by steroid using bodybuilders and athletes

That being said, thank you so much for tuning in and thanks also for all those people who have said this should be a one stop resource for anyone interested in training naturally and without supplements. 

And do be sure to like, subscribe, and hit that bell so you’re first to get the new content as it comes out. 

So, onto our topic at hand, which is what’s the best training split for building muscle if you are natural and not using drugs. The one that I use, and I have used for the past 30 plus years at this point is the one that seems to yield the most in terms of results if you’re training at very high intensities. 

Now that being said, there are many ways to get to the top of the mountain. But this is one way that I know for a fact that’s gotten every single person who’s taken this path to the top of that mountain. 

Kevin’s Workout Split for Building Muscle Naturally

So, here’s how it works. 

On day one, I do legs by itself. Leg Day means quadriceps… hamstrings… and calves. 

All trained on the same day. 

Legs is the first muscle group targeted in this high intensity training split

Now day two is back and shoulders which is a very strange thing ’cause in Trinidad where I was growing up, it’s called “back & shoulders” even though you do shoulders before you train your back muscles. 

That’s just how it is back home, and I’ve always called it back and shoulders. 

Back and shoulders are day 2 in this high intensity training split

And then day three is chest, arms and abdominals. 

And while I haven’t trained my abdominals directly since the mid-1990s, which by itself is a whole video in and of itself, when I train my clients, we always do chest, arms and abdominals on that one day. 

Chest and arms are the last muscle group targeted in this high intensity training split

Why a 3 Day Workout Split for Building Muscle Naturally

So, the why of it, why these particular breakdowns? 

First off, recovery time. 

Trainings three days a week means that you have at least six to seven days between your muscle group workouts to get the most in terms of muscle growth. 

Optimal muscle growth happens during recovery when you are resting

Remember, muscles grow as a response to unaccustomed stimulus or some degree of overload. But that doesn’t happen while you’re working out. The recovery process is when your muscles are building themselves up to make themselves stronger in order to deal with the stress that they’ve experienced. 

Differences Between Natural Athletes and Steroid Users

The biggest difference between a natural athlete and someone using drugs is that someone using drugs has an exponentially higher recovery time. 

For example, if I train my biceps today and someone using drugs train their biceps today, it’s like comparing apples to watermelon. 

Steroid users have faster recovery times than natural athletes

I can’t train my biceps a day or two later because they’re still recovering from the initial workout.  

They can recover so much faster. And so for them, it makes sense to do high volume workouts because the more they train, the more muscle growth they can experience. 

Recovery Considerations for Building Muscle Naturally

On the other hand, think about a natural athlete. 

Steroid using bodybuilders and athletes popularized much of modern day training methods

A natural athlete has to consider the fact that there are limitations to how much our body can adapt. An easy to understand analogy is a sun tan. 

If you go out into the sun, and you’re there for a relatively short period of time, the ultraviolet radiation that’s striking your skin is going to cause a reaction whereby your skin is going to start producing more melanin in order to minimize the damage done by the ultraviolet radiation. 

Muscle growth is like sunburn, your body is responding and adapting to unaccustomed stimuli.

So, you have a stress and in response to a stress, you have the body adapting in a way to deal with that particular stressor to minimize the possibility of overload. Because if your skin gets too much ultraviolet radiation exposure, it can cause a burn. 

It’s the same in terms of muscle growth. (See also my article- How Muscles Get Bigger And Stronger From Weight Training)

As a natural athlete, we have to make sure that our muscles have enough time in between our workouts in order to recover. An overuse injury is something we don’t talk about very often in the natural body building world. 

Less time and more versatility with training leads to less overuse injuries

I’m going to be 50-years-old next year and my three day training split has allowed me to be able to still lift heavy at this age. 

But in terms of being able to put on quality muscle mass, it’s the time in between the workouts that have really been crucial for my overall growth and the muscle growth of my clients. 

The Science Behind the Training Split

Now, why did I choose to train those particular muscle groups together? 

Muscle groups are trained together to optimize muscle growth

Here’s the biology behind it. 

When you are working out and you get a pump, the muscle becomes engorged with blood. The longer you have that nutrient rich blood going through the muscle, the more of an adaptation you’re going to get from your workout. 

Increased blood flow to one muscle group means more muscle growth

So, the idea is to try to keep your pump to last as long as possible. 

Now that being said, if you think about it, if you do your legs all by themselves, all the blood stays in your legs, simple enough.  

But if, let’s suppose we did a leg workout and a back workout on the same day, it would be very difficult to maintain the blood in one area because your legs are really huge, and your back is a pretty big muscle as well. And there’s only a finite amount of blood in your body and so you can’t get a maximum back pump after doing legs. 

Legs are one of the largest muscle groups in your body, training them alone help keep blood in the lower body for muscle growth

It’s simply impossible. 

So, to that end, by training shoulders and back at the same time, you’re keeping the blood in the same area for as long as possible, which gives you the maximum pump possible on the longest pump possible. 

By training chest with your biceps and triceps as well, keeping blood in the same area for as long as possible and also makes for fantastic pumps. 

The other important factor is intensity. 

Intensity is key to successful high intensity training and muscle growth

If you do a really high intensity leg workout, it is almost impossible to do anything for upper body with a degree of intensities you would do if you’re doing it on your own. 

If I do a back workout with the type of ferocity that I attack my back muscles when I’m training, 

I can’t do a bicep workout because my biceps are already fried from the back workout. 

And I can’t switch it around. If I do biceps first, the intensity that I use in my bicep workouts means that as a secondary mover in my back movements, it will not work. I won’t get a good back workout. 

And so that’s some of the rationale behind my three-day workout split for muscle growth. 

And bear in mind it works not just for muscle growth but also, for fat loss, as well. 

High intensity training is great for muscle growth and fat loss

Variations on Kevin’s Workout Split

Now sometimes I will do back and shoulders first, put legs in the middle, and then do chest and arms. 

But I recommend that most people do legs first only because it is the hardest muscle group to get through. 

And you also want to make sure if the entire week goes and you only get one workout in, it should be legs. 

Another important factor, because the muscle groups split the way they are, you can literally train one day after the other. 

Completely different muscle groups are targeted which means you can train consecutive days if you want

In fact, very often I can train Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. 

It doesn’t make a difference because my individual muscle groups have enough time in between each workout, at least six, seven days to fully recover and make sure that when I’m ready to work out, I can really give it my all. 

Less training days means less risk of injuries and overuse injuries

So, consider my three-day training split if you’re a natural athlete. It’s based on hundreds of men and women who have had fantastic results over decades. 

So, stay natural, know that I believe in you. 

Thank for so much for tuning in and as always, Excelsior. 

Related Articles:

How To Lose Fat and Build Muscle At The Same Time

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Kevin Richardson
Kevin Richardsonhttps://www.naturallyintense.net
Featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to CBS News, celebrity Personal Trainer NYC and with over 2.6 million readers of his blog, Kevin Richardson is the creator of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training, one of the top lifetime drug free bodybuilders of his time, the first International Fitness & Nutrition Consultant for UNICEF, 2020 and 8 Time Winner of the Best of Manhattan Awards for Personal Training and a world recognized authority on high intensity training. Kevin has helped thousands, from celebrities to CEO's over the past 30 years achieve their fitness goals with his 10 minute high-intensity workouts done just three times a week in conjunction with his holistic nutrition approach. You can learn more about about his diet and training services at www.naturallyintense.net

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