We all know that real, visible progress can take time, especially when working on our muscular profiles and strength. A key goal of many bodybuilders is not simply strength or fitness but looking great, too. What are the best bodybuilding programs for a chiseled physique?

The 5 X 5 Workout, German Volume Training, FST-7, Upper-Lower Split Training, and Full-Body Workouts are all excellent approaches for bodybuilders looking for aesthetics as well as strength. All of these routines have their pros as well as their cons, and it’s important to work out safely and carefully, no matter one’s skill level.

Keep reading to learn what each of these routines entails, how to benefit from them, and which one may be ideal for your workout needs.

Which Body Building Programs Will Offer a Chiseled Physique?

Any bodybuilding program that targets the major muscle groups, either together or separately, will help you achieve an all-over attractive and fit figure. The key here is to make sure that one’s back, chest, shoulders, arms, and legs are all getting a healthy workout. While it’s possible to burn calories no matter which muscle group is being targeted, the aim with bodybuilding is for a whole-body toned and handsome aesthetic.

Make sure the routine that you choose is appropriate for your skill level. Not every routine is best for beginners, while others may work muscle groups separately or more intensely. All of these bodybuilding workout programs can help you gain mass, lose weight, and achieve a sculpted appearance.

The 5×5 is barbell heavy and good for those of intermediate skill, while German Volume Training is far more intense, and geared towards professionals. FS-7 Training is also fairly intensive and can be exhausting for beginners, while Upper / Lower Split Training and Full-Body workouts are easy to tailor to those new to bodybuilding.

Be sure to talk with your doctor before starting any workout, and make sure that your diet is high in protein, healthy fats, and whole foods. Fuel your body right for the best gains, and for a truly beautiful, chiseled physique. Which foods do we suggest?

  • Fatty Fish like Tuna and Salmon
  • Leafy Greens
  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Whole Grains
  • Legumes
  • Whole Dairy


The better you eat, the more energy you’ll have for lifting and gains. Avoid junk food, fast food, and refined sugar. And above all, stay hydrated! 60 ounces of water per day should be a minimum on rest days, and aim for 100 to 120 ounces of water on gym days. Hydrate before, during, and after your workout for the best results.

Getting enough sleep also allows for healthy testosterone levels to boost muscle gains. Keep your life less stressed, consider yoga (yes, yoga!) on rest days, and stay mentally healthy for the best chances of a beautiful and toned figure. Believe it or not, the happier and more confident you are, the better your chances of success with weight loss and bodybuilding.

Now let’s get into these bodybuilding workout programs, and find one that’s right for you.

The 5 x 5 Workout

The 5 x 5 workout involves a lot of lifting. It’s barbell-heavy and involves 5 sets of 5 lifts on a given exercise. It’s not as tough on the body as some other routines and can be attempted by intermediate lifters.

You’ll be doing three of these exercises each routine day, rotating them on a schedule. Every workout will have to include barbell back squats and 2 other exercises. Add weight little by little to help yourself bulk up beautifully at a safe yet intensified pace.

You’ll do a few basic exercises. These are

  • Barbell back squat
  • Barbell bench press
  • Barbell deadlift
  • Barbell overhead press
  • Barbell row

Remember, there’s a schedule to keep here. Here’s what it looks like :

Week 1
Workout A Monday and Friday
Barbell back squat (5 sets of 5)
Barbell bench press (5 sets of 5)
Barbell row (5 sets of 5)
Workout B Wednesday
Barbell back squat (5 sets of 5)
Barbell overhead press (5 sets of 5)
Barbell deadlift (1 set of 5)



Week 2
Workout A Monday and Friday
Barbell back squat ( 5 sets of 5)
Barbell overhead press (5 sets of 5)
Barbell deadlift (1 set of 5)
Workout B Wednesday
Barbell back squat (5 sets of 5)
Barbell bench press ( 5 sets of 5)
Barbell row (5 sets of 5)



Week 3, head back to Week 1’s routine, adding weight little by little to help your body bulk up. You Want to add great-looking muscles as well as strength, and this 5 x 5 routine can help achieve that with frequent exercises that work a range of muscles.

The goal of this routine is to allow the body to gain strength and mass over time. Work with your body, and push the limits of your strength safely, in increments. Your upper body gets an intense and challenging workout every set while allowing for rest days in the middle. This gives muscle tissue time to grow, repair, and get stronger each week.

It seems simple but is actually quite intense. This is a great routine for those looking to focus mainly on sculpting the body while building strength and endurance over time.


Are there any cons to the 5 x 5 routine? As mentioned, it’s not ideal for those brand new to lifting. It’s intense and long-term and puts your upper body through quite a workout. You need comfort and familiarity with the equipment and need to know how to increase weight safely.

It’s also an intensity level that doesn’t leave as much energy for other activities or training programs. This makes it perfect for those whose sole focus is bodybuilding, but less ideal for those with other physical activity commitments.

German Volume Training

German Volume Training is quite similar to 5 x 5 but involves 10 repetitions per set. It’s more intense and requires more existent strength and endurance than 5 x 5. German Volume Training focuses on 2 groups of muscles per day and works different groups over 3 days per week.

This workout helps build bulk at an accelerated pace and is ideal for those wanting to attain a chiseled physique at a faster pace. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that you’ll spend quite a bit of energy here. Make sure your diet is rich in protein and healthy fats, and be sure that you can handle the routine.

Here’s what a routine might look like

Day 1 works the chest and back with 10 sets of 10 barbell bench presses. Day 2 works the legs and abdomen with 10 sets of 10 barbell squats. Day 3 gives you a rest. Day 4 works the arms and shoulders with 10 sets of 10 bench presses. On day 5 you rest, and on day 6, you start over again.

This is tougher than it looks and is genuinely exhausting for many. So what are the benefits?


The benefits of German Volume Training are its intensity and the gauntlet it puts each muscle system through. You’re bound to see gains here, and results will be visible faster. This technique is often used by movie stars who have to buff up fast for a shirtless scene (or a few of them), and you’ll see a more chiseled physique all around.


What are the drawbacks here? It’s intense as hell. Many, many lifters find this routine exhausting and quit along the way. You need to make sure that your body can handle the intensity of this workout. Tackle only if you’ve been lifting and handling weights for at least 1 year.

Don’t attempt German Volume Training if you have any hints of a cardiac condition, aren’t in peak physical condition all around, and aren’t eating well. Stock up on protein and fats for this one, and talk with your doctor before attempting.

FST-7 Training

FST-Training isn’t as specific or regulated as 5×5 or German Volume, but provides guidelines for the workout. FST is short for Fascial Strength Training, with fascia being the soft connective tissue that joins muscles. The stronger this tissue gets, the bigger gains you can see in your physique.

This system was developed by world-famous trainer Hamy Rambod and is famously used by Olympic athletes to maximize mass. Your muscles get more nutrition, benefit from vitamins, protein, and minerals more efficiently, and use maximum oxygen quantities for growth, too.

For this system, you’ll simply do 7 sets of 8-12 repetitions of the final exercise for the muscle group you’re working on that day. This helps stress and stretch the fascia in that specific muscle group and will allow for better gains. Switch up the muscle group each day and you’re likely to see growth in each section.

For example, let’s say you’re working your legs on a given day. You might do 3 sets of barbell back squats followed by 3 sets of leg presses, each with 8 to 12 repetitions. But for your final exercise (let’s say it’s leg extensions) you’ll do 7 sets of 8 to 12 reps before winding down your gym day.

This can get pretty tiring, so stay hydrated and listen to your body. Reduce the weight used on the final 7 sets, too. The goal is not strength training directly, but rather allowing that connective tissue to stretch so that muscle can develop.


FST-7 is easy to do, and far less specific than other routines. It’s simple to incorporate into any existing workout, and you’re likely to improve your metabolism with this routine, as well. Get ready to bulk up and lose a few pounds of fat. Both elements will contribute to a chiseled, handsome physique with time and effort.

Many bodybuilders see some faster and surprising gains with this technique, especially those who feel they’ve hit a plateau in muscle growth. Giving muscles the chance to benefit from good nutrition can give them the jumpstart they need to bulk up even more.


This practice can be tough on beginners. We recommend it for those with the endurance and experience to handle more intense sets of repetitions. Make sure you stretch and allow your body to wind down after each set, as the repetitions can be a bit tiring. As with every bodybuilding program, fuel your body well, stay hydrated, and work with your body’s limits.

Upper / Lower Split Training

Upper / Lower Split training focuses on the upper and lower body, each on separate days. You’ll work the body exclusively on day 1, the lower half of your body on day 3, rest on day 3, and cycle back again on day 4. It’s an ideal training plan for those new to lifting and new to the equipment.

You can work out at your own pace, build mass gradually, and go a bit easier on your body than you would on the previously mentioned methods. This allows you to hone in on specific sets of muscles and permits more creativity and flexibility with things like equipment used, number of sets, and number of reps.

An Upper / Lower Split workout cycle might look like this

Day 1 Bench Press (5 sets of 5 reps)
Pull Up/Lateral Pulldown (4 sets of 8 reps)
Dumbbells (4 sets of 8 reps)
Day 2 Squats (5 sets of 5 reps)
Lower Body Deadlift (5 sets of 5 reps)
Hanging Leg Raise (3 sets of 8 reps)
Day 3 Rest



Working out only one half of the body per day allows the rest of your muscle groups to rest a bit. It’s less stressful overall and allows for a lower chance of injury.


The Upper / Lower Split Training method is ideal for beginners but still promises to help you gain mass and a chiseled physique. We do recommend getting help from a professional trainer if you’re new to lifting, so you can get the most out of your routine.


There are few cons with this system. It’s easy to adapt to your needs and abilities and lets you focus on the muscle groups that need the most work. For those used to an extremely structured system, however, it may be a bit too freeform and open to interpretation.

If you feel you need a far more structured and challenging workout, go with German Volume Training or the 5 x 5 Workout.

Full Body Workouts

A genuine full-body workout will provide you with a single exercise for each major muscle group. Your biceps, quadriceps, chest, back, and shoulders will all get a workout in a single session. This is a great technique for beginners, intermediate, and advanced lifters.

The system allows you to work every muscle group at once, and while this leads to some great overall gains, your body will need a break, too. We recommend a 1-on-1-off approach. Give your body a day to recover in between gym sets, especially if you’re new to lifting.

What might a routine look like?

Day One Day Two
Biceps Barbell Curl (2 sets of 8 reps) Rest
Quads Barbell Squat (3 sets of 8 reps) Rest
Chest Barbell Bench Press (3 sets of 8 reps) Rest
Back Deadlift (2 sets of  8 reps) Rest
Shoulders Arnold Press ( 2 sets of 8 reps) Rest


The range of exercises, number of sets, and number of repetitions can vary based on your stamina and the equipment available. This works great for those with limited gym equipment, or who need a more versatile and flexible routine. Feel free to try a full-body workout using only weights, too!


An all-body workout can get you a chiseled physique faster by working every main muscle group on the same day. You can also adapt this style to suit the gym, equipment, and the amount of time you have per session. It’s also easy to adapt to different skill and strength levels, and we suggest allowing a personal trainer to help you craft a session that works with your strength level if you’re new.


This technique means you’ll have to squeeze more activity into every session. Your workouts can feel a bit crowded in some cases, and you may not feel you’re getting enough time on specific muscle groups (if you have targeted goals). Still, this is a fantastic way to help your entire body gain strength and muscle together and burns quite a few calories in the process.

Final Thoughts

All of these systems allow the bodybuilder to achieve a chiseled physique with patience, time, and the right diet. A Full-Body or Upper / Lower Split technique would work best for beginners, while the 5 x 5 workout is ideal for intermediate lifters. Finally, German Strength Training and FST-7 Training are recommended only for advanced lifters with great endurance.

Fuel your body with fatty fish, leafy greens, nuts, whole grains, and lots of water while lifting. Avoid junk food and fast food, and consult with your doctor before starting any lifting or strength workout program. Getting plenty of sleep is vital, too, as is reducing stress in one’s life.