4-Day Machine-Only Upper-Lower Workout Routine (with PDF)

Devising a structured workout plan is essential for achieving your fitness goals efficiently. The key lies in figuring out the perfect training frequency and intensity to challenge the targeted muscle groups.

In resistance training, training frequency basically refers to the number of times you work out a specific muscle group within a single week [1]. Ideally, research indicates that you should train each muscle twice every week for superior hypertrophic gains [2].

Normally, that would require 6 days of intense training when using the traditional BRO split. However, not everyone can spare the time or energy to hit the gym each day of the week.

To help them out, we’ve come up with a comprehensive machine-only 4-day upper lower split that can help them engage each major muscle group twice a week.

Without further ado, let’s dive straight into the routine.

4 Day Machine-Only Upper-Lower Split

4 Day Machine-Only Upper-Lower Split

Multiple trials have been conducted to study the efficacy of upper-lower splits spanning over 4 days a week. In one such trial, participants gained 12 pounds, or 5.6 kilograms, of muscle in just 10 weeks [3].

This proves that 2-day splits can be very effective when hypertrophy is the focal point of your fitness goals.

Keeping that in mind, we have developed the ultimate upper-lower routine with only machines to enhance the overall results. Many people are skeptical about machine-only training programs, as they feel that they are slightly restrictive compared to free weights.

But that is far from the case.

Studies indicate that there is no notable difference in strength or muscle gains when training with machines versus when you are training with free weights [4].

In fact, a machine-only approach can eliminate the need to coordinate and balance your body (as is required in free weights) so that you can put your entire focus on the exercise and reap maximum gains.

Based on these scientific conclusions, our machine-only upper-lower split contains the most comprehensive cheat sheet for optimal bodybuilding.

While we have provided the layout of our machine-only upper-lower workout routine, the basic training principles should be the same. Training volume (repetitions and sets) are mentioned in the schedule.

However, you have the liberty to adjust the intensity according to your requirements and capabilities.

Other considerations, like rest and recovery, should also be planned in a structured manner. You can opt to take a day’s rest between consecutive training sessions. Moreover, you should also aim to rest for at least 2-3 minutes between consecutive sets, as doing so yields the maximum results in terms of strength and size [5].

Now that we are familiar with the ins and outs of our routine let’s move on to the actual schedule of the machine-only 4-day upper lower split.

4-Day Machine-Only Upper-Lower Workout Routine

Day 1: Upper Body

The first training session of our upper lower split will work on the upper-body muscle groups. More specifically, you shall be performing exercises that target the chest muscles (primarily pectoralis major), anterior deltoids, triceps brachii, back muscles, and the biceps brachii.

We start off the routine by performing machine chest presses, the most effective exercise for targeting the pectoralis major. After this, we immediately move on to the inclined variation of the same exercise.

The goal is to promote well-rounded development of the chest region. When performed on an inclined surface, machine chest presses will target the upper pectoralis (which are largely left unactivated in a traditional press). For the inclined variation, lower the weight slightly as the accessory muscle group (shoulders) plays a more influential role and is not as strong as the chest muscle.

From there, we move on to the cable front raises, which is an effective exercise for targeting the anterior deltoids. Single-arm cable tricep extension should be performed for both hands, with 3 sets reserved for each.

For building the lats, we have V-bar lat pulldowns and cable rows, two of the most popular and simple compound movements at the gym. Finally, we finish off the workout with preacher machine curls and cable curls to give some attention to the biceps brachii.

It’s important to know that many accessory muscle groups will be involved in these exercises. In fact, even v-bar lat pull-downs can activate the biceps to some degree. So, the overall routine will train your entire upper body efficiently.

  • Machine chest press: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Incline machine chest press: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Cable front raises: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Single-arm cable tricep extension: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • V bar lat pulldown: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Cable row: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Preacher machine curl: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Cable curl: 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Day 2: Lower Body and Abs

For the second day, we shall be focusing on the lower body and core muscles. The exercises we have included will target the quads, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, calves, rectus abdominis, and obliques.

We start with some Smith machine squats and leg presses. These exercises will target the quads, glutes, and hamstrings.

To target the gluteus maximus, the largest muscle in the buttocks, we have included the cable hip thrust movement. Lying leg curls machines and leg extension machines will be used for isolation exercises that primarily activate the hamstrings and quadriceps respectively.

Smith machine calf raises are quite simple. But they are very effective at targeting the calves – the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles.

Finally, we will devote some time to the core muscles. We shall be performing cable crunches and also use the ab crunch machine for the same.

In this routine, it’s very important not to ignore core and abdominal exercises. Since you are already using machines that have a fixed range of motion, you’re not engaging your core muscles for balance and coordination while exercising.

So, you need to give special attention to their development by performing these exercises.

  • Smith machine squat: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Cable hip thrust: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Leg press: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Lying leg curls machine: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Leg extension machine: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Smith machine calf raise: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Ab crunch machine: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Cable crunches: 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Day 3: Upper Body

While you were training your lower-body muscles, your upper-body counterparts had plenty of time to rest and recover. Now, it’s time to train them for the second time.

We will begin with the traditional machine chest presses. However, the second exercise will involve the “decline” variation of the same. This will primarily target the lower pecs, which largely get ignored at the gym. This will ensure that you get equitable muscle development in all regions and build a well-shaped, toned chest.

Next up, we’ll perform Smith machine shoulder presses, which target the deltoids [6].

Next up, we have leaning cable lateral raises to focus on the middle head of the deltoids. When combined with other shoulder exercises, leaning cable lateral raises provide a more well-rounded muscular development and strength gains [7].

For triceps, we have two basic exercises – cable overhead tricep extensions and cable tricep pushdowns. Chest-supported machine row is a good exercise for targeting the major back muscles.

Finally, we end the training session by performing cable rope hammer curls to activate the biceps.

  • Machine chest press: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Decline machine chest press: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Smith machine shoulder press: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Leaning cable lateral raises: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Cable tricep pushdown: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Cable overhead tricep extension: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Chest-supported machine row: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Cable rope hammer curls: 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Day 4: Lower Body and Abs

Now, we’re on to the last day of our upper-lower split routine. We will go back to performing lower-body and core exercises.

We will start with the basic Smith Machine squats and then move on to cable glute kickbacks. Leg presses will take place on the machine to target the hamstrings and the quads.

Then, we’ll perform lying leg curls and leg extensions on the respective machines. For calves, we will be using the seated calf raise machine before finally going on to the leg raise machine to work your core.

We will then move on to Ab coaster machine. Unlike crunches, this machine will focus on all the muscle groups located in the core region instead of just building six-pack abs.

  • Smith machine squat: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Cable glute kickbacks: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Leg press: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Lying leg curls machine: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Leg extension machine: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Seated calf raise machine: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Leg raise machine: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Ab coaster machine: 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Machine-Only Upper-Lower Workout Program PDF

That marks the end of our 4-day upper lower split gym machine workout routine. By following our carefully devised training plan, you can maximize the effectiveness of your workout and get optimal gains.

To download the complete machine-only 4-day workout program, click on the button below.

The file is available in PDF format and can easily be downloaded and printed.

Don’t miss:

Machine-Only 4-Day Full Body Workout Routine
Machine-Only 3-Day Push Pull Legs Split Workout Routine
5 Day Gym Machine Workout Routine for Beginners
4 Day Push Pull Workout Routine

Final Words

Following the upper-lower split can be highly effective and rewarding. It will allow you to train each muscle group at least twice a week, even if you take just four training days.

The split is designed in such a manner that it will allow your muscles to rest and recover and get maximum strength and size gains.


  1. Schoenfeld, B. J., Ratamess, N. A., Peterson, M. D., Contreras, B., & Tiryaki-Sonmez, G. (2015). Influence of resistance training frequency on muscular adaptations in Well-Trained Men. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 29(7), 1821–1829. https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0000000000000970
  2. Schoenfeld, B. J., Ogborn, D., & Krieger, J. (2016). Effects of Resistance Training Frequency on Measures of Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine, 46(11), 1689–1697. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-016-0543-8
  3. Willoughby, D. S., Stout, J. R., & Wilborn, C. (2006). Effects of resistance training and protein plus amino acid supplementation on muscle anabolism, mass, and strength. Amino Acids, 32(4), 467–477. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-006-0398-7
  4. Haugen, M. E., Vårvik, F. T., Larsen, S., Haugen, A. S., Van Den Tillaar, R., & Bjørnsen, T. (2023). Effect of free-weight vs. machine-based strength training on maximal strength, hypertrophy and jump performance – a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Sports Science, Medicine & Rehabilitation, 15(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13102-023-00713-4
  5. Longo, A. R., Silva-Batista, C., Pedroso, K., De Salles Painelli, V., Lasevicius, T., Schoenfeld, B. J., Aihara, A. Y., De Almeida Peres, B., Tricoli, V. a. A., & Teixeira, E. L. (2020). Volume load rather than resting interval influences muscle hypertrophy during High-Intensity Resistance training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 36(6), 1554–1559. https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0000000000003668
  6. De Almeida Costa Campos, Y., Vianna, J. M., Guimarães, M. P., De Oliveira, J. L. D., Hernández-Mosqueira, C., Da Silva, S. F., & Marchetti, P. H. (2020). Different shoulder exercises affect the activation of deltoid portions in Resistance-Trained individuals. Journal of Human Kinetics, 75(1), 5–14. https://doi.org/10.2478/hukin-2020-0033
  7. Coratella, G., Tornatore, G., Longo, S., Esposito, F., & Cè, E. (2020). An electromyographic analysis of lateral raise variations and frontal raise in competitive bodybuilders. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(17), 6015. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176015