An Expert Trainer’s Two-Day Workout Split To Build Full-Body Muscle

Man performing side lunge holding dumbbell
(Image credit: Fly View Productions / Getty Images)

Finding time to train can be tricky, but beginners in particular can get a lot of bang for their buck from just two trips to the gym every week. 

These sessions don’t have to take an age either. Top trainer Luka Hocevar has created a two-day workout split with just three moves per workout. With a warm-up and warm-down each one will take less than 30 minutes. 

“These exercises cover the main movement patterns that we need to build as humans and they involve using a lot of muscle,” says Hocevar, who’s also a brand partner for booking service Vagaro.

“This means they'll help you build strength and lean muscle, while also improving your movement within daily life activities."

How To Do Luka Hocevar’s Two-Day Workout Split

Do each workout below once a week, leaving at least one day between them to allow your body to recover. 

For the final exercise of each workout, Hocevar lets you choose between any variation of the lunge and single-leg Romanian deadlift

This gives you the flexibility to use whatever equipment is free and available. You can also incorporate different planes of motion in the first exercise by opting for a lateral/side lunge or curtsy lunge

Two-Day Workout Split: Day One

Click or press the exercise name for how to do each exercise.

1 Trap bar deadlift

Sets 3 Reps 5-6 Rest 2min

2 Push-up

Sets 3 Reps 8-12 Rest 60sec

3 Lunge variation

Sets 3 Reps 8-12 on each side Rest 60sec

Two-Day Workout Split: Day Two

1 Goblet squat

Sets 3 Reps 5-6 Rest 2min

2 One-arm dumbbell row

Sets 3 Reps 8-12 Rest 60sec

3 Single-leg Romanian deadlift variation

Sets 3 Reps 8-12 on each side Rest 60sec

How To Progress These Workouts For An Eight-Week Two-Day Workout Split

If you want to build muscle, you need to repeat workouts and make them progressively harder over time. Hocevar has also provided the optimal way to progress this two-day workout split over eight weeks. 

For the first exercise in each workout, which focuses on building strength, he recommends lifting slightly more weight each week. 

With the second and third exercises, he takes a slightly different tact. 

“Add a rep a week for four weeks, then drop back down to the number of reps you did in week one and add weight. 

“For example, if week one was eight reps, add a rep a week until you get to 11 reps in week four, then drop back down to eight reps in week five while increasing the weight.”

Why Are These The Best Exercises For A Beginner Two-Day Workout Split?

Hocevar selected these exercises because they cover most major movement patterns, but that wasn’t the only factor at play when choosing the moves.

“These exercises are not necessarily that complicated, which means that a person can learn them quickly,” says Hocevare. 

“From this starting point, the goal is to work on progressing load by using heavier weights and adding reps or sets. These are necessary building blocks for the body to adapt and begin to increase strength and build muscle. This process is called progressive overload.”

However, he recommends making sure your form is flawless (“without letting your ego get in the way”) before adding more weight. 

What Are The Limitations Of A Two-Day Workout Split? 

A two-day workout split is ideal for beginners, because it supplies enough stimulus to develop muscle while at the same time the schedule doesn’t feeling overwhelming or unsustainable. 

It can also be a great approach for athletes from other sports looking for a minimalist strength training program to supplement their favored activity—a one-stop shop for reduced injury rates and improved performance among runners and others. 

But there are some drawbacks to this training split, particularly when it contains shorter workouts. 

“Limiting oneself to just three exercises is not necessarily an ideal program,” says Hocevar. 

On top of this, a two-day split of this sort may not provide the volume, variety or frequency to stimulate further strength and muscle gains among seasoned lifters. 

Harry Bullmore
Staff writer

Harry covers news, reviews and features for Coach, Fit&Well and Live Science. With over a decade of training experience, he has tried everything from powerlifting to gymnastics, cardio to CrossFit, all in a bid to find fun ways of building a healthy, functional body.