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6-Week Workout Routine | Upper & Lower Body Training Split

6-Week Workout Routine | Upper & Lower Body Training Split
Writer and expert7 years ago
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By Edd Oldfield |

Bodybuilder and Personal Trainer

So you’re fresh to the gym or you're bored with your current routine. Before you unleash yourself on every exercise, machine and barbell available, it's important to consider what training split to use. If you're new to the gym, it's easier to make some huge gains in muscle and strength in a very short period of time.

What should be included? Should we use free weights or machines? What about rep range? Sets? Drop sets?

So let’s look at what will work, what to avoid and how to put it all together.

Free Weights Vs Machines | Who wins?


One of the biggest dilemmas could be whether to use free weights or machines.

? Free weights build a strong foundation to a physique and bring with functional strength.

? Machines can isolate muscle groups and can be safer to go to failure on. So what should we include? Simple answer: both.

Benefits of free weights

Free weights exercises will make up the start of our sessions.

Exercises such as the squat, deadlift and bench press require a lot of core strength and are generally very taxing on the body. Doing these later in the session when muscles are already fatigued for a beginner could result in injury.

? Also, we will not be going to full failure on free weight exercises. Technique should be of primary concern to the beginner during free weight exercises. If pushing too hard towards failure, novices are much more likely to simply move the weight in order to complete the rep rather than use the target muscles.

? So when doing free weights initially, start light and get form spot on. Don’t worry about what you’re lifting. The better your technique, the more lift in the long term and the more muscle gains you will make.

Benefits of weights machines

We will use machines to finish our sessions off so to speak, to push to failure.

leg press

? Machines also us to safely push to failure as they require less stabilising. They are fixed and will only go in one way, so it makes it a lot harder to cheat reps - therefore the stress is kept on the muscle. There is also less stabilising involved.

? We will only use machines that mimic natural movements that could be replicated with free weights. There are plenty of machines that put the body in an unnatural position which could lead to injury.

Reps, sets and training sessions?

Our training method will consist of hypertrophy - this is a type of strength training performed with the intent of building muscle - quicker than with any other method.

Training sets

Sets will be limited to 10-12 working sets per session. Too much volume early on maybe tempting in this new environment however this can lead to burnout and fatigue.

However, we need to give thorough stimulus to each muscle group so each is given adequate volume to allow for a symmetrical physique without muscular imbalances.

Rep range

Therefore - the rep range will be 10-15 on all exercises. This will allow for loads to be used that will be enough to stimulate muscle growth, all proper technique to be learnt but not too heavy to bring about injury.

Training Days

These will be 3 times a week, ideally: Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

This will allow for at least one of rest in between training sessions. This is pivotal for growth, recovery both physical and mental and general wellbeing. Burnout can very easily happen in your early gym days so this will give you longevity in the gym and keep you fresh.

The Training Split

The program will last 6 weeks. 

Weeks 1-2: It's important to not go to failure on ANY exercises - in addition to stopping a few reps short.

Weeks 3-4: Consciously log your weights and reps.

Weeks 5-6: Look to beat weights/reps you have logged - however, still going a rep or two short of failure on free weight exercises. Train to failure on weights machines.

The training split consists of upper and lower body sessions. E.g.

Monday – Upper, Wednesday – Lower, Friday – Upper, Monday – Lower and so forth...

All exercises will start with 2 warm up sets using 50% of your working weight (weight you will use on your working sets) of 15 – 20 reps followed by 2 working sets of 10 – 12 reps. Following the initial exercise, complete just one warm up set.

Upper Body & Lower Body Exercises
Upper Body Exercises Lower Body Exercises
Deadlifts Squats
Standing Military Press Romanian Deadlifts
Bench Press Walking Lunges
Close Grip Lat Pulldowns Leg Extensions
Incline Machine Chest Press Lying Leg Curls
Seated Machine Lateral Raise Leg Press
Lower Body Training Day | Workout Example

Upper Body Exercises Sets & Reps
Deadlifts 2 x 15-20 Warm up, 2 x 10-12 Full
Standing Military Press 2 x 15-20 Warm up, 2 x 10-12 Full
Bench Press 2 x 15-20 Warm up, 2 x 10-12 Full
Close Grip Lat Pulldowns 2 x 15-20 Warm up, 2 x 10-12 Full
Incline Machine Chest Press 2 x 15-20 Warm up, 2 x 10-12 Full
Seated Machine Lateral Raise 2 x 15-20 Warm up, 2 x 10-12 Full
Lower Body Training Day | Workout Example

Compound Lifts | Reasons Why Women Should Squat, Deadlift & Bench Press

Lower Body Exercises Sets & Reps
Squats 2 x 15-20 Warm up, 2 x 10-12 Full
Romanian Deadlifts 2 x 15-20 Warm up, 2 x 10-12 Full
Walking Lunges 2 x 15-20 Warm up, 2 x 10-12 Full
Leg Extensions 2 x 15-20 Warm up, 2 x 10-12 Full
Lying Leg Curls 2 x 15-20 Warm up, 2 x 10-12 Full
Leg Press 2 x 15-20 Warm up, 2 x 10-12 Full
Take Home Message

Machine exercises aren’t set in stone so if your gym doesn’t have them feel free to swap them out for a suitable alternative.

Free weights however are there for a reason - don't swap these out!

Anything seems scary at first - take it easy, buddy up with a friend and/or ask for the help of a fitness instructor/personal trainer in your gym.

Get training and get gaining!

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you're concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

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