Getting Started - Lifting
Wondering what routine to use when getting started (for the first time ever, or jumping back in)? Here is my overall favorite, and you pretty much can't go wrong by using it: Push, Pull, Legs. This routine is fantastic for both beginner and advanced. Is it perfect? Nope. But all split routines have advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of this routine are: It can work well in only 3 days per week workouts, but it also works well with 4, 5, or 6 days per week. This routine, when done properly, can pack on muscle. Rest days can pretty much be put anywhere into the routine, e.g. push, pull, rest, legs, push, rest, pull.... This is just one example of many. Here is another: push, pull, legs, rest, (repeat) push, pull, legs, etc. For those who only want to workout 3 days per week: push, pull and legs can be put on most any day, e.g. Push (Tuesday), Pull (Thursday), Legs (Saturday).
The downside of this routine is that there are lots of muscles to work in a day at the gym, unlike the bro split (which I still love BTY), of Back (Monday), Chest (Tuesday), etc....
So, here is an example program:
Push: Chest, Shoulders and Triceps
Pull: Back, Rear Delts, Biceps
Legs: Quads, Hams, Calves, Abs
Can the days be re-arranged, e.g. pull, legs, push? Yes
Can cardio be done on the same days? Yes. First thing AM is typically a great time (how is your adrenal function?), post workout cardio is fine and so is cardio on non-lifting days.
If just starting out, how many sets and reps should I do? I recommend 2 sets (only) at 3 exercises per body part. So, for example, chest gets only 6 good, working sets total (warmups don't count). This is not a lot of volume, but you will get sore. There is no need to get very, very sore. Major soreness taxes the CNS = tiredness, and that's not a good way to start out. After your first week, you can add a set to each exercise to raise value. For simplicity and effectiveness - 10 reps per set is not a bad place to start. There is value in low reps (e.g. 4) and high reps (12-20), but 10 is a nice starting point.
How soon can I repeat the split? As a rule of thumb, work the muscles when they are no longer sore. If you are more advanced, you can use an Oura ring to look at Readiness and HRV.
What if one misses a day? On this split routine, it does not matter. Pick up whatever you missed the next day that you are in the gym.
Finally, if just starting out, do not do an exercise that hurst. Form matters, but not all exercises feel good to everyone, e.g. upright rows with a barbell may feel great to one guy, but hurt the next one.