How To Setup A 2 Day Split Workout Routine To Focus On Getting Defined & Toned Muscles

Although the 3 day split is probably one of the most popular workout routines, there is a better approach when training for muscle tone. If your goal is to gain muscle mass, go with a bodybuilding workout routine like the 3 day split. If your goal is to get lean and defined muscles, the 2 day split workout is a better approach.

2 Day Split Workout

A 2 day split just means that you are training all of your muscle groups over 2 separate workouts.

I think it’s important to bring out that no matter what workout split you follow, you can tweak it to fit your needs. For example, you could setup a 3 day split to focus on building muscle mass or to focus on building muscle tone. The same goes with the 2 day split workout. Because the 2 day split is the optimal workout for muscle tone that is what I use it for.

2 Day Split Workout For Muscle Mass

Many times the 2 day split is setup with pushing exercises on day one and pulling exercises on day two. Separating your workouts into pushing and pulling days is smart way to go for building muscle mass because you can create more fatigue.

So an example of a 2 day split could look like this if you’re aiming to put on size:

  • Day 1 – Chest, Triceps, Shoulders, Abs
  • Day 2 – Back, Biceps, Legs, Calves
  • Day 3 – Rest
  • Day 4 – Chest, Triceps, Shoulders, Abs
  • Day 5 – Back, Biceps, Legs, Calves
  • Day 6 – Rest
  • Day 7 – Rest

With the exception of the ab exercises in day one and the leg exercises in day two you can see that each day separates the muscle groups into pushing exercise and pulling exercises. Here are some examples to show you.

Day 1 – Pushing

  • Chest – Bench press, Dumbbell press, Dumbbell flys
  • Triceps – Tricep extensions, Skull crushers, Dips
  • Shoulders – Military press, Arnold press, Handstand pushups

Day 2 – Pulling

  • Back – Pullups, Seated rows, Lat pull downs
  • Biceps – Curls, Supinated rows, Chinups

2 Day Split Workout For Muscle Tone

When you’re trying to focus on muscle tone, the split will look a little different as far as the grouping of the muscles. Whereas a routine setup for building muscle mass should create fatigue, a routine purely for muscle tone should not create fatigue. Because of this the 2 day split for muscle tone will not group pushing and pulling exercises together.

Here’s what the 2 day split routine will look like when focusing on muscle tone:

  • Day 1 – Chest, Back, Abs
  • Day 2 – Biceps, Triceps, Shoulders, Legs
  • Day 3 – Rest
  • Day 4 – Chest, Back, Abs
  • Day 5 – Biceps, Triceps, Shoulders, Legs
  • Day 6 – Rest
  • Day 7 – Chest, Back, Abs

You’ll notice that when it comes to day 7 you’re right back at it working out. This is different from the 2 day split for mass because we aren’t creating as much fatigue in the muscle.

When training for muscle definition it’s good to do higher sets of lower reps. Anywhere from 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps is  a good place to start. For more information on this, you can checkout my post on how many reps to build muscle as I do into more detail on what different rep counts build.

Here are some example exercises that you can do during this workout split.

Day 1

  • Chest – Incline dumbbell press / Flat bench dumbbell press
  • Back – Chinups / Seated rows
  • Abs – Leg raises / Plank holds

Day 2

  • Biceps – Standing barbell curls / Seated preacher curls
  • Triceps – Close grip bench press / Tricep extensions
  • Shoulders – Standing military press / Lateral raises
  • Legs – Squats / Straight legged deadlifts

When you are training for pure muscle tone you need to workout more often. In order for your muscles to look toned they need to constantly be in a state of contraction. No, you don’t need to walk around with your guns flexed, but by training frequently your muscles will be trained to be stay in a slight state of contraction, leaving them harder and more defined.