Advanced Upper Lower Split Workout Plan

Whichever workout routine you follow, in some way or another way it will boost your strength and mass. But the results will depend on the efficiency of your workout plan. Many trainers believe that their workout routine is better, some believe that all workout plan leads to same result. But why believe those when we have proven results and research that proves that there are ways of training which are better than others.

While all other workout programs hold their benefits, when it comes to achieve the most gains with efficiency you have to consider upper lower split workout plan. This upper/lower split plan requires you to divide the training sessions in only two groups. Training sessions for upper body workouts and training sessions for lower body workouts.

Upper Lower Split Workout Plan

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Isolated workouts targeting one muscle group in a session allows you to accommodate maximum one session per week for a muscle group. This might provide six days to recover which is more than needed and in fact decelerates the progress. On the other hand, with upper body lower body split workout plan you can train one muscle group more than once a week, that greatly accelerate the muscle hypertrophy.

Splitting the sessions in to upper and lower body allows you to train the muscle groups more than once a week. Research has shown that training muscle groups more than once a week maximises gains. As with more than one session per week per muscle group, you can increase the volume as well as frequency of your training. Higher training volume along with high frequency results in more muscle growth. Thus, for overall strength and mass gains, upper lower split is more effective than many other alternatives.

There are mainly three things that induce increase in muscle size; that are, mechanical tension, muscle damage and, metabolic stress. Mechanical tension is nothing but the tension developed in the muscles while lifting weights. With upper lower workout you can focus more on heavy lifts than other workout plans. This makes sense to do upper lower split for bodybuilding. The chemical by-products built up from anaerobic metabolism called metabolic stress and it is responsible for twenty five percent hypertrophy. The increased metabolic stress due to higher workout intensity and frequency is what benefits you when you follow upper lower split for mass gains. 

What is an Upper Lower Split Workout?

The concept of upper/lower split workout is very simple. You need to divide your training sessions in to two groups, workout sessions targeting upper body muscle groups and lower body workout sessions. You don’t perform upper body and lower body exercises in same session. You do either of upper/lower workout on one day and do the other on next day.

Upper Body Muscle Groups

The upper body split consists of exercises targeting upper body muscle groups namely; chest, shoulders, triceps, and biceps, middle and upper back. Do not include any exercise that targets lower body muscle groups.

Lower Body Muscle Groups

In lower body split you will be doing the workouts to target lower body muscle groups. The muscles you are targeting would be; quads, hamstrings, glutes, abdominals, lower back and calves. The lower back and abs can be switched in upper body days if you choose.

Upper/Lower Workout Benefits

How Upper Lower Split Maximizes Workout Frequency?

To get better muscle growth you need to optimise your training frequency. It is said and proven that high frequency training will yield higher muscle growth. The traditional workout programs that target one muscle group per day and one week recovery for the muscles trained, does not allow you to squeeze in higher frequency. If you literally train a single muscle group per day, you will need more than a week to go back to training the same muscle group again.

The studies have shown that lifting weights built up the aspects of metabolism and that effect lasts for only 2 days. With traditional training programs you go in to longer rest periods than needed.

When it comes to upper lower split routine, most of the time you will train each muscle in every two days. You train the muscle again when the anabolic activity of that muscle group is still at an elevated level. And research shows that muscle recovery takes place in 48 hours and the same muscle can be trained without any loss of strength after that period. Training a muscle group every 48 hours instead of every week, allows you to put more weight while providing enough time to recover and thus maximises the workout frequency to optimum level.

Upper/Lower Split Workout & Training Volume

After training a muscle group 1-2 days of recovery is necessary in order to train the same muscle group again. The rest periods more than two days are just waste of useful time if you are working on a definite target. With upper/lower split workout you will be training each body part twice a week with allowing optimum recovery phase in between. The spread of workout volume through the week allows you to achieve higher frequency and put in higher training volume without compromising on recovery.

Why you need an Upper Lower Split Workout routine?

The schedule of our advanced upper lower split workout allows you to do more reps, sets and weights for each muscle group per week, this results in faster muscle growth. It keeps enough rest period while retrains the muscle group at elevated anabolic activity resulting in consistent strength gain. With sufficient rest periods and higher training volume the upper lower split creates optimum environment for muscle growth.

Science behind this advanced upper lower split

With our advanced upper lower split workout, you can use different methodologies of training during workout

  • Tempo weight training: In tempo weight training, during the set you do not stop at rest position. You lift the weight faster, say in two seconds and at the end of movement you change the direction immediately. Then you should lower the weight slower in about four seconds and immediately change the direction without pausing at rest position (4-0-2-0).
  • Ascending Pyramid style traditional training: Here you start off with lower weight and higher repetition set. Then you keep on increasing the weight and lowering the reps in each set.
  • Drop set: You start off with certain weight, you complete certain sets of fixed reps with it. On the next set you do as many reps as you can and then drop or reduce the weight without any rest. Continuously lift the new weight till you fail and then drop the weight further. Repeat this till you can’t lift the bar any more. (Used to increase training volume)
  • AMRAP set: Here we are using it as a finishing move, as many reps as possible as an extra set. For some exercises last set is AMRAP set (+ sign indicates AMRAP)
  • Vince Gironda’s 8×8 high volume Method for chest: One of the methodologies of Vince Gironda is 8×8 program. Here you will do 8×8 high volume method for chest.
  • Escalating Density training for arms: This involves performing as many reps as possible of two antagonistic exercises working on opposing muscles alternatively within given time frame. Here you choose two antagonistic exercises for arms, perform the given number of reps of one exercise then perform same number of sets of other exercise. Keep repeating this for 10-15 minutes. Your goal is to squeeze in as many reps as you can for both exercises and try to beat the number you achieved in the last session.
  • Negative training for biceps: In negative or eccentric training of the biceps the weight is lifted with help of a partner or spotter and it is lowered slowly by working muscle. You can load up to forty per cent more weight in negative training.
  • Additional workout day for deadlifts, abs & cardio: With our upper lower split you get an additional workout day that you can dedicate for deadlifts, abs and cardio. It is up to you and depends on your training goals whether to utilise it for the same or not.

Why you need separate days for deadlifts in Upper/Lower split workout?

The advanced upper lower split is a demanding workout program. Doing heavy deadlifts along with the high intensity, high volume lower body workout may lead to burnout. It makes sense to do the deadlifting on separate days. This way you can lift higher weight in dead lifts without burning out. Thus we have scheduled a separate optional day for deadlifts and cardio.

How to prevent Overtraining in Advanced Upper Lower Workout?

The advanced upper lower workout may seem a bit overwhelming in the beginning. Even if you are used to train regularly you will feel the burn when you shift to our upper lower split. As it aims to increase the intensity and volume of your training than your current regime you are ought to feel more tired and have higher muscle soreness for first few weeks. Your body will take time to adapt with the increased volume and intensity of the training. It is normal and you don’t have to worry. Within 3-4 weeks of following this workout your strength will rise. If you still feel that the workout is extreme and still causing higher muscle soreness you should slow down a bit to avoid injury. You can go rest for a day or two even within first four weeks if the discomfort is bit too much.

Deloading in Advanced Upper Body Lower Body Spilt Workout

Keeping your body continuously under heavy training for long period of time may slow the results and also can cause injury. For better results and prevention of injury deloading is necessary. Deloading is a deliberate lessening of training volume and intensity for recovery of the muscles and making them ready for next high intensity training period.

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While following our advanced upper lower split workout we recommend you to plan a deloading period of 1 – 3 weeks depending upon your fitness level. This deloading period should be planned after every 8 – 12 weeks of high intensity training. During the deloading period you should be working with 60-70% of your normal weights.

  • Switch to 3 day upper lower split schedule with light weights and do normal 3 sets x 10 reps for all exercises

Upper Lower Split Workout Routine

Upper Lower Split Workout Routine

Upper/Lower Split Workout Schedule

  • Note: Lower 1 (L1), Upper 1 (U1), Upper 2 (U2), Lower 2 (L2) & Additional Workout (AW)

3 Day Upper/Lower Split

Week 1

  • Day 1: U1
  • Day 2: Off
  • Day 3: L1
  • Day 4: Off
  • Day 5: AW
  • Day 6: Off
  • Day 7: Off

Week 2

  • Day 8: U2
  • Day 9: Off
  • Day 10: L2
  • Day 11: Off
  • Day 12: AW
  • Day 13: Off
  • Day 14: Off

4 Day Upper/Lower Split

  • Day 1: L1 + optional Abs
  • Day 2: U1
  • Day 3: Off/AW
  • Day 4: L2 + optional Abs
  • Day 5: U2
  • Day 6: Off/AW
  • Day 7: Off

5 Day Upper/Lower Split

  • Day 1: L1 + Abs
  • Day 2: U1
  • Day 3: Off
  • Day 4: L2
  • Day 5: U2
  • Day 6: AW
  • Day 7: Off

6 Day Upper/Lower Split

Week 1

  • Day 1: L1 + Abs But instead of barbell squats do Deadlifts 8 x 6, 6, 5, 5, 4, 4, 3, 3 (Tempo: 4-0-2-0)
  • Day 2: U1
  • Day 3: L2 + Abs
  • Day 4: U2
  • Day 5: L1 + Abs
  • Day 6: U1
  • Day 7: Off

Week 2

  • Day 8: L2 + Abs But instead of barbell squats do Deadlifts 8 x 6, 6, 5, 5, 4, 4, 3, 3 (Tempo: 4-0-2-0)
  • Day 9: U2
  • Day 10: L1 + Abs
  • Day 11: U1
  • Day 12: L2 + Abs
  • Day 13: U2
  • Day 14: Off

Upper/Lower Split Workout Plan

Upper 1 (U1)

Exercise Reps
Dumbbell Bench Press4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6 reps (Pyramid style training)
Incline Barbell Bench Press8 sets x 8 reps (High volume + tempo approach, do it with 60% of your one rep max & 3-0-2-0 tempo)
Barbell Row4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6 reps (Pyramid style training)
Wide Grip Lat Pull Down2 x 10 + 1 drop set
Seated Arnold Press4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6 reps (Pyramid style training)
Cable Lateral Raises3 x 10+
Cable Curl + Cable Tricep Extension10-15 minutes (Escalating Density Training)


Lower 1 (L1)

Squat4 x 10, 8, 6, 4 (Tempo: 4-0-2-0)
Goblet Squat3 x 10+
Leg Extension2 x 10 (slow reps) + 1 drop set
Lying Leg Curl2 x 10 (slow reps) + 1 drop set
Standing Calf Raise3 x 10+


Upper 2 (U2)

Barbell Bench Press4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6 reps (Pyramid style training)
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press8 sets x 8 reps (High volume + tempo approach, do it with 60% of your one rep max & 3-0-2-0 tempo)
Barbell Row4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6 reps (Pyramid style training)
Wide Grip Lat Pull Down2 x 10 + 1 drop set
Seated Arnold Press4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6 reps (Pyramid style training)
Cable Lateral Raises3 x 10+
Single Arm Cable Kickback3 x 10+
Spider Curl 3 x 10(Use heavy weight and focus on negative training, you might need spotting)


Lower 2 (L2)

Squat4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6 reps (Pyramid style training)
Lunges3 x 10
Bulgarian Split Squat3 x 10+
Lying Leg Curl 2 x 10 (slow reps)2 x 10 (slow reps) + 1 drop set
Standing Calf Raise3 x 10+


Additional Workout (AW)

ExerciseReps & other instructions
Deadlifts8 x 6, 6, 5, 5, 4, 4, 3, 3 (Tempo: 4-0-2-0)
Abs (optional)Leg Raise with butt lift, Russian Twits, Jackknife Sit Up, Standing Cable Wood Chop & Tuck Crunch (repeat the circuit 2-4 times)
15 minute low intensity cardio (optional)spinning 


Upper Lower Split Template 

Upper Lower Split Workout Plan

Upper Lower Split Workout Plan PDF

Click on the button to download upper lower split workout plan PDF file

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Final Thoughts

As you might have guessed through the description this program is suitable to the intermediate to advance lifters only. Do not mix this program with any other workout regime as this itself is a high-volume high intensity program.
It is important that you follow the workout schedule and the deloading schedule as well. You will definitely reach your muscle building goals with this balanced training plan.