This is the typical Upper – Lower Body Workout for building muscle mass. It’s recommended for intermediate or advanced bodybuilders. You’ll be training 4 days a week. Each muscle group will be hit twice during this period this way. That makes it perfect for natural athletes. But there’s also option to work out only 3 days or even twice a week for people with very busy lifestyle.
The general idea of U/L split is dividing body into two parts: top and bottom; and train each part in a different day.
|Upper Body||Lower Body|
In our version of this routine we’ll have 2 different upper body workouts and 2 different lower body trainings. This way all areas of each muscle group will be trained equally and will be growing proportionally and even.
This workout should be performed 4 times a week (first column) however it’s possible to train only 3 or even 2 days a week:
|4 days a week||3 days||2 days|
|Monday||Upper 1||Upper 1||Upper 1|
|Thursday||Upper 2||Off||Lower 1|
|Friday||Lower 2||Upper 2||Off|
|Monday||Upper 1||Lower 2||Upper 2|
|Thursday||Upper 2||Off||Lower 2|
|Friday||Lower 2||Lower 1||Off|
First option is the most efficient for building muscle mass. This way we hit each muscle group twice a week what provides much more stimulation than typical bodybuilding split.
In all of the above options leg muscles are trained as much as the upper body. It makes this workout great for people with underdeveloped legs and weak core which is very common. Each schedule gives us plenty time for recovery.
Volume – number of repetitions, sets and intensity
- 3 sets of 8 repetitions for each exercise (unless stated otherwise), 4 sets for advanced;
- 6-8 sets for big muscle groups* 3-4 for small,
- ~75% of 1RM (moderate weights),
- Straight sets (each set with the same weight).
*shoulder muscles receive much stimulation from chest and back muscles training that’s why we’ll hit them with only 4 sets (one exercise).
We’ve decided for straight number of repetitions – 8 in most exercises. Each set will be done with the same weight. This way it will be much easier to track the actual progress. Basically everything will be simpler.
Each workout should be done with slightly heavier weight than a previous one. If you are not able to increase the weight try to do few more repetitions. Constant progress is number one rule of muscle growth.
Number of repetitions doesn’t always have to be exact. I mean if you’ll do 8/7/6 instead 8/8/8 it’s not a problem. If you feel strong enough you can add weight on the next session, if not try to push the same weight for more reps next time. Aim for 3 sets of eight anyway, 4 if you are advanced.
Upper / Lower Body Workout
Workouts should be alternated – once you’ll perform upper and lower body workout 1 change it to upper and lower workout 2 and then back again to number 1. It applies also to people who choose training only 3 times or twice a week as well.
|Upper Body Workout 1||Lower Body Workout 1|
|Bench Press 3×8||Squat 3×8|
|Incline DB Bench Press 3×8||Dumbbell Lunges 3×8|
|Pull-Ups 3×8||Standing Calve Raises 4×10|
|DB Row 3×8||Good Mornings 3×8|
|Shoulder Press BTN* or DB Sh. Press 4×8||Decline Sit-ups 3×10|
|Barbell Curls 3×8||Dumbbell Side Bends 3×10|
|Upper 2||Lower 2|
|Incline Bench Press 3×8||Stiff Leg Deadlift 3×8|
|Dips 3×8||Leg Press 3×10|
|Barbell Row 3×8 (underhand grip)||Seated Calve Raises 4×10|
|Pull Downs BTN* 3×8||Weighted Back Extensions 3×8|
|Wide Grip Barbell Upright Row 4×8||Leg Raises 3×10|
|DB Alt Curls 3×8||Side Crunches on Back Ext. Machine 3×10|
*BTN – behind the neck. If you are not able to perform these exercises behind the neck, try different or similar version of these movements.
Intermediate lifters should perform only 3 sets for each main exercise. People more advanced are advised to do 4. Alternatively you can start this workout from 3 sets and after few weeks add another set for each exercise whenever you feel that you need more stimulation.
Because there are more pushing/pressing exercises than pulls our triceps is stimulated quiet well. That’s why I didn’t include any direct exercises for this body part. There’s just one direct biceps exercise. However if your triceps is underdeveloped comparing to the biceps you can swap curls for french press or just add one extra movement for this muscle group at the end of the workout.
If your traps are small (lagging) you can do 3 sets of shrugs at the end of upper body training. Besides that I don’t advise to add any more exercises. It would make gym sessions too long and probably too taxing.
Warm-up, tempo and resting time between sets
General warm-up should be performed as always – 10 minutes of moderate intensity cardio (treadmill, stationary bike, etc…). After that do 2 sets of 8-6 repetitions with light weight (40-50% of max) before first exercise of each major muscle group (chest, back, legs, shoulders). Perform only 1 warm-up set before training secondary muscles (arms, calves, lower back and abs).
- 1 second up – concentric, positive phase (pressing the weight up or pulling it);
- 1 second pause at the top – isometric, static phase (tensing trained muscle);
- 2 seconds down – eccentric, negative phase (lowering the weight and stretching worked body part).
Resting time between sets should be as usual during muscle mass building training (hypertrophy) – 60-120 seconds. Take up to 3 minutes break between each body part if you need it.
Upper – Lower Body Workout is a very effective routine for building muscle mass. Its biggest advantage is possibility to hit each muscle group twice a week. This way we provide much more simulation than with typical body part splits.
Because we’ve included 2 different routines for each body part all areas of every muscle group is trained equally. It makes it great for building big, aesthetic physique and improving underdeveloped muscles and weaknesses. This program should last minimum 6 to maximum 10 weeks.