Mitchell Hooper’s 3 Favorite Training Splits for Strength and Size for Different Experience Levels

Few decisions in strength training carry as much weight as choosing an optimal training split. It dictates an individual’s weekly workout distribution and significantly impacts their overall training volume.

On May 19, 2024, 2023 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champion Mitchell Hooper published a video on his YouTube channel sharing the best training splits for beginners, intermediate, and advanced lifters to promote strength and muscle gains. Check it out below:

[Related: A Guide to the Best Pre-Workouts in 2024, Tested and RD Approved]

How Many Days a Week Should You Train For Strength?

“You don’t want to go less than three days between workouts for the same body part,” says Hooper, highlighting the importance of recovery. The delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) peaks around the second day after the workout, and training the same muscle again within this period significantly lowers training output and increases injury risk. 

While training for strength, you’re not training your muscles, you’re training your nervous system.

Below are the three training splits Hooper recommends for beginners, intermediate, and advanced lifters:

Advanced Lifters (Three Days a Week)

“The nervous system of advanced athletes can’t handle huge volume,” said Hooper. 

Athletes nearing their genetic potential can opt for a three-day training split to maximize strength gains, provided they push their limits in each session by training close to mechanical failure. Hooper suggests the following three-day split:

Day One — Squat & Push

Day Two — Overhead & Leg Accessory

Day Three — Hinge & Pull

Hooper recommends advanced athletes dedicate the first day to one primary squat and one primary push exercise, followed by one or two accessory lifts, all performed at near-maximal intensity.

The second day focuses on overhead pushing and pulling movements, followed by lower body accessory work like walking lunges or leg extensions, tailored to an individual’s specific objectives. “Pick exercises that give your nervous system a break and avoid lifting heavy to allow your body to recover between Day One and Day Three,” Hooper said. 

The final day of the weekly split features a deadlift-type movement, a hinge accessory lift, two pulling exercises, and optional biceps work.

Intermediate Lifters (Four Days a Week)

Hooper prescribes intermediate lifters with two to three years of consistent strength training experience to train four days a week. A sample training split includes:

Day One — Squat-Based

Day Two — Push-Based

Day Three — Hinge-Based

Day Four — Pull-Based or Overhead Press

Hooper’s preferred exercises for Day One are Barbell squats, front squats, lunges, and leg presses. The push-based workout consists of horizontal and overhead pressing movements. 

“On Day Three, we will return to the lower body and do a hinge-based workout which involves deadlift or anything deadlift-related,” said Hooper. Hinging exercises involve bending at the hips while maintaining a relatively constant knee position.

This four-day split concludes with a pull-based workout. Hooper encourages strongman athletes to add overhead pressing exercises to this workout. 

Novice Lifters (Five Days a Week)

Hooper suggests a five-day-per-week training split for beginners or those with quick recovery capabilities. Here is a sample five-day training split that comprises three upper-body and two lower-body sessions per week:

Day One — Push & Pull

Day Two — Squat

Day Three — Push & Pull

Day Four — Hinge

Day Five — Push & Pull

Hooper recommends incorporating overhead pressing exercises into two of the three designated pushing and pulling days to promote overall strength gains.

An individual’s ideal training split and volume will ultimately depend on their specific goals, timelines, and recovery ability.

Way Forward

Hooper will likely next compete in the 2024 Strongest Man on Earth (SMOE) contest at the Shaw Classic, scheduled for Aug. 16-18, in Loveland, CO. Other top contenders at the comp include three-time WSM champion Tom Stoltman, 2018 WSM champion Hafthor Björnsson, 2020 WSM champion Oleksii Novikov, and former two-time Shaw Classic champion Trey Mitchell.

Featured image: @mitchellhooper on Instagram

The post Mitchell Hooper’s 3 Favorite Training Splits for Strength and Size for Different Experience Levels appeared first on BarBend.


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