StrengthLog’s 6-Day Upper/Lower Workout Split is a nine-week training program for intermediate to advanced lifters and bodybuilders who want to build muscle and strength, training six days per week. It is a high-frequency hypertrophy program based on current exercise science.
This article outlines everything you need to know about the training split: the workouts, the exercises, the progression system, and what to expect.
StrengthLog’s 6-Day Upper/Lower Workout Split is one of many premium bodybuilding training programs in the StrengthLog workout tracker. You can download it for free with one of the buttons below:
Introducing StrengthLog’s 6-Day Upper/Lower Workout Split
StrengthLog’s 6-Day Upper/Lower Workout Split is designed for the intermediate and advanced lifter looking to build muscle with a high-frequency approach without spending hours in the gym every workout.
Unlike the classic upper/lower split, where you train four times per week, splitting your body parts into two upper body workouts and two lower body workouts, StrengthLog’s 6-Day Upper/Lower Workout Split ups the frequency. As the name suggests, you train six days per week, alternating between an upper body day and a lower body day, resting on the seventh day.
Each training sessions is relatively short, which allows you to maintain a high training intensity for the entire workout. The increased training frequency provides optimal weekly training volume to maximize muscle gains.
Please note that StrengthLog’s 6-Day Upper/Lower Workout Split is not a beginner’s workout split. You might not have yet developed the ability to recover from this kind of high-volume, high-frequency training if you’re relatively new to the gym. If you’re a beginner, we suggest you start with one of our beginner training programs.
Our popular four-day Upper/Lower Body Split Program is also a great option if you have a few months of regular training under your lifting belt:
StrengthLog’s 6-Day Upper/Lower Workout Split: The Training Week
StrengthLog’s 6-Day Upper/Lower Workout Split is a high frequency, high volume upper-lower split where you train six days per week. The workout sessions are fairly short with a mix of compound movements and isolation exercises. You perform fewer exercises per session, but the total volume per week is high enough even for advanced athletes: the best way to build a solid foundation for muscle growth without spending too much time in the gym each workout session.
The six workouts form a perfect balance between training for muscle hypertrophy and strength gains. While strength isn’t the end-all-be-all for a bodybuilder, in general, a stronger muscle is also a bigger muscle and vice versa.1 2
As you train six consecutive days, you only have one day of rest per week, but you can take it whenever it fits your schedule. A lot of people will probably use Sunday to rest, but feel free to rearrange the separate days as you see fit.
- Monday: Upper Body
- Tuesday: Lower Body
- Wednesday: Upper Body
- Thursday: Lower Body + Abs
- Friday: Upper Body
- Saturday: Lower Body + Abs
- Sunday: Rest Day
StrengthLog’s 6-Day Upper/Lower Workout Split: The Workouts
Here’s an outline of each workout. You can see details like the number of sets and reps in the StrengthLog app.
Click on the exercise name for instructions.
The first two workouts of the week are dedicated to heavy low-rep training using primarily compound exercises. You stay in a rep range dedicated to gaining strength and building muscle, focusing on high intensity in the compound lifts.
Workout 1, Upper Body:
Workout 2, Lower Body
The next two workouts focus on hypertrophy training: classic bodybuilding exercises using a moderate rep range for every body part. The upper body day and the lower body day combine different exercises for specific muscle groups to target your entire body for muscle growth.
Workout 3, Upper Body
- Incline Dumbbell Press
- Lat Pulldown
- Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
- Barbell Curl
- Barbell Lying Triceps Extension
Workout 4, Lower Body
At the end of the weekly workout program are two training days dedicated to mostly isolation work. You perform the sets in a higher rep range, focusing on mind-muscle connection and getting a great pump.
Workout 5, Upper Body
- Standing Cable Chest Fly
- Dumbbell Row
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise
- Face Pull
- Dumbbell Preacher Curl
- Overhead Cable Triceps Extension
Workout 6, Lower Body
As you can see, StrengthLog’s 6-Day Upper/Lower Workout Split offers a variety of upper and lower body exercises on different days to work your entire body the best way for muscle growth. By splitting the weekly workout routine into six training sessions, you can keep the quality of the sets high while still getting enough total training volume to optimize muscle hypertrophy. The increased training frequency allows you to stimulate muscle protein synthesis often enough to keep it elevated in all major muscle groups the entire week.
You train your abs on the lower days to even the training volume out.
StrengthLog’s 6-Day Upper/Lower Workout Split: Progression Model
The two primary drivers of muscle hypertrophy are training volume and training intensity in the form of progressive overload. To keep making progress and keep the gains coming, you must strive always to do a little more and lift a little heavier.
With StrengthLog’s 6-Day Upper/Lower Workout Split, you continuously increase your training volume over the nine weeks, and you’ll become stronger as the program progresses.
When it comes to stimulating muscle growth, more is better. Until it isn’t. You can’t keep increasing training volume indefinitely, or you’ll find yourself unable to recover from your workouts sooner or later. Balancing a high enough training volume with the recovery time you need for your muscles to adapt and get bigger and stronger is the key to progression.
Research shows that you need at least ten weekly sets per muscle group to optimize muscle growth.3
The latest scientific review looking at training volume to increase muscle hypertrophy found that 12–20 sets per muscle group per week might be the optimum recommendation.4
StrengthLog’s 6-Day Upper/Lower Workout Split covers that entire set range, ensuring you get enough training volume to maximize muscle growth. At the same time, the length of the workouts, the exercise selection, and the combination of heavier weights and lighter isolation work guarantee your muscles get what they need from a recovery standpoint.
You’ll perform 12 weekly sets per muscle group when you start the program. You’ll then add a set per week for each of your larger muscle groups, ending up at 20 sets the final week. Smaller muscle groups like the biceps don’t get that much direct training, but you also train your biceps during your back workout, your triceps during pressing movements for your chest and shoulders, and so on.
Progressive overload, continually increasing the stress you put on your muscles, is another of the fundamental principles of building muscle mass. By using a heavy weight, you force them to respond by growing bigger and stronger.
When it comes to training intensity, it means that once you can lift the target number of reps for any given exercise in the program, you increase the amount of weight next week.
Of course, once you’re past the beginner stage of your lifting career, you can’t expect to be able to increase your training weights every week. The important thing is that you’re always aiming to lift a little heavier or do one more rep than last week. Some form of progression, over time, is essential for strength training results and one of the best ways to keep your motivation up.
Feel free to decide the length of your inter-set rest periods to fit your needs and time frame. Resting two to three minutes is standard practice, but if you want to rest longer, that’s not bad at all. On the contrary, it allows you to use heavier weights and achieve a greater training volume, one of the critical factors regulating muscle growth. Of course, the drawback is that your workouts will take much longer if you rest five minutes between every set.
You’ll likely know when you’ve recovered enough to do yourself justice in the next set. For isolation exercises for a specific muscle group like dumbbell lateral raises, a one-minute rest interval could be enough. However, you might need four minutes to recover from heavy squats.
If time is a factor, you can reduce your rest intervals to a minute. That’s not an optimal approach, and you’ll have to adjust your training loads accordingly, but how long you rest between sets is not the single factor determining your progress and results.
Training to Failure
Training to failure means you can’t complete another repetition without assistance or “cheating” by using momentum. Many bodybuilders consider training to failure necessary for maximum muscle growth.
However, research suggests that you don’t need to train to failure to see gains in strength and muscle mass.56 However, advanced bodybuilders and strength athletes might benefit from failure now and then.
Generally, when following StrengthLog’s 6-Day Upper/Lower Workout Split, we suggest you terminate most of your sets a rep or two before failure.
Don’t train to failure all the time. Constantly aiming for failure could impair recovery, increase muscle damage, stress your central nervous system, and even slow down your gains. The sweet spot might be to train to failure in a couple of exercises per week, sticking to isolation exercises where you can simply rack the weight when you can’t do any more reps.
Avoid failure in heavy compound exercises like the bench press and the squat, where you can easily injure yourself.
When You Reach the End of StrengthLog’s 6-Day Upper/Lower Workout Split
After nine weeks, you have completed a round of StrengthLog’s 6-Day Upper/Lower Workout Split, emerging on the other end a little bigger and stronger than before. After almost three months of hard training, you can expect to have gained significant amounts of muscle.
If you enjoyed the workout plan and the results, feel free to start over from the beginning. The lower training volume of week one is almost like a deload week, and you’ll feel the difference in your strength levels.
Alternatively, if you’re feeling fresh and strong, you could stay at week nine until you feel the need to back off on the intensity and volume.
Follow This Workout Routine in StrengthLog
Want to give StrengthLog’s 6-Day Upper/Lower Workout Split a go?
It’s available exclusively in our workout app StrengthLog.
While this program requires a premium subscription, StrengthLog itself is entirely free. You can download it and use it as a workout tracker and general strength training app – and all basic functionality is free forever.
It even has a bunch of free programs and workouts. However, our more advanced programs (such as this one) are for premium users only.
Want to give premium a shot? We offer all new users a free 14-day trial of premium, which you can activate in the app.
Download StrengthLog for free with the buttons below:
Good luck with your training, buddy!
For more bodybuilding, check out these great resources:
- J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2013 Aug;53(4):409-14. Relationship between lifting performance and skeletal muscle mass in elite powerlifters.
- European Journal of Applied Physiology Volume 86, Pages 327–336 (2002). The role of FFM accumulation and skeletal muscle architecture in powerlifting performance.
- International Journal of Strength and Conditioning, Vol 1 No 1 (2021). Resistance Training Recommendations to Maximize Muscle Hypertrophy in an Athletic Population: Position Stand of the IUSCA.
- J Hum Kinet. 2022 Feb 10;81:199-210. A Systematic Review of The Effects of Different Resistance Training Volumes on Muscle Hypertrophy.
- Journal of Sport and Health Science, Volume 11, Issue 2, March 2022, Pages 202-211. Effects of resistance training performed to repetition failure or non-failure on muscular strength and hypertrophy: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
- J Sports Sci. 2022 Jun 5;1-23. Towards an improved understanding of proximity-to-failure in resistance training and its influence on skeletal muscle hypertrophy, neuromuscular fatigue, muscle damage, and perceived discomfort: A scoping review.