Can I Do Upper/Lower 6 Days a Week? (Revealed!)

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So, you’ve tried a number of training splits including push/pull/legs and the bro-split.

However, you’ve finally settled on the upper/lower body split, as you find that this works best for you.

That being said, you typically find that most programs call for performing upper/lower as a 4-day split, and perhaps occasionally a 5-day split.

But, not many people seem to talk about doing upper/lower for 6 days a week.

Is there a particular reason for this?

Should training your upper and lower body 3 times a week each be avoided?

Let’s find out.

You certainly can do upper/lower 6 days a week, although this very much depends on your training experience and powers of recovery. A 6-day a week split should not be attempted by beginners in their 6 months of training. However, as an intermediate or advanced trainee, this is definitely possible. However, it’s important to listen to your body, as doing upper/lower 6 days a week may make you more susceptible to overuse injuries.

How Many Days a Week Should I Do Upper/Lower Split?

As I’ve mentioned, you’ll typically find most upper/lower body split workout programs require you to workout 4 days a week.

Then again, you may even come across a 5-day split, which involves 3 lower and two upper body workouts one week, and then 3 upper and 2 lower body workouts the following week.

Realistically, with these types of workouts you’ll never be training for more than 3 days in a row before you have a rest day.

This obviously makes a great deal of sense, as your muscles typically become bigger and stronger while at rest rather than when you’re actually training in the gym.

In other words, it makes a great deal of sense to have 2-3 rest days a week.

That being said, training and recovery is very much an individual thing, so there is no “one-size-fits-all”.

What I mean by this is that one person would be able to workout 6 days a week with no problems, whereas someone else would struggle with recovery,

In fact, person number two could even go backwards in their muscle-building attempts.

Basically, they don’t have enough recovery time for their individual body, so they actually end up losing muscle and perhaps even end up gaining some fat.

So, how many days a week you should do an upper/lower split will always depend on you as an individual.

That being said, one thing I will always say is that as a beginner, typically someone in their first 6 months of training, you should never attempt a 6-day a week split.

The main reason for this is that you are going from no real physical activity to training on a regular basis.

In fact, I would urge most lifters in their first 6 months of training to stick to just three full-body workouts a week.

So, there should be more rest days than actual training days.

However, once you have got through the beginner stage of training, you can now start looking at other training splits, e.g. upper/lower or PPL, while also increasing the number of days that you workout.

Frequency vs. Volume

Okay, let’s imagine that you are now into the realms of being an intermediate or advanced lifter.

Therefore, it is now perfectly feasible that you can do an upper/lower split 6 days a week.

However, once more, how effective this will be will still very much depend on you as an individual.

And above all, your powers of recovery.

Unfortunately, for most of us mere mortals, those of us who aren’t genetic freaks, we will typically have to make a choice between frequency and volume.

What I mean by this is that it is highly unlikely that most of us will be capable of 6 all-out high-volume workouts a week.

Let’s face facts, one of the main concepts when it comes to building muscle is training volume.

However, if you’re looking to train upper/lower 6 times a week, you’ll need to make a trade-off somewhere along the lines.

A prime example of this could be that your 70-minute workouts, 4 times a week, doing an upper/lower body split will have to change if you’re extending this to 6 days a week.

In effect, you will probably have to perform six 45-minute workouts a week to ensure that you’re recovering well-enough between workouts.

This in turn means that you won’t be able to hit as much volume with each workout.

That being said, the “extra” 2 workouts a week will obviously allow you to get in the same amount of volume over the entire week.

However, you may not actually elicit as much muscle-growth as when your training involved a higher volume of sets per workout on a 4-day split.

Let’s Look at an Example

Here’s another way to look at it.

Let’s say that I wanted to perform 100 push ups a day.

I can either do 100 push ups as quickly as possible or I could spread out the push ups into 5 sets of 20 reps throughout the day.

Now, even though I’m hitting 100 push ups either way, doing my 100 push ups in one “workout” as quickly as possible is likely to evoke greater muscular gains.

Basically, my muscles are being stressed far more by doing my 100 push ups in as little time as possible, i.e. I’m not taking 1-2 hours “rest” between sets of 20 push ups, thus allowing the muscles to fully recover.

And the exact same principles can be applied to an upper-lower split either 4 days or 6 days a week.

Obviously, I’m not saying that you can’t build muscle with shorter but more frequent workouts, of course you can.

However, for me, greater training volume per workout and adequate rest days will always be the best way to build muscle.

Listen to Your Body

It’s probably starting to sound as though I’m not a fan of doing upper/lower 6 days a week.

However, nothing could be further from the truth, although I still maintain that this is an individual thing.

In other words, it’s fine for some of us, but should be avoided by others.

One of the main issues with performing upper/lower 6 days a week is going to be your recovery.

Furthermore, there is the potential for overuse injuries.

This is especially true of your joints.

Personally, I know for a fact that if I hit a major compound pressing movement three times a week that my elbows and shoulders would be pretty much annihilated.

But, then again, that’s just me.

This doesn’t mean that you would suffer the same problems as me.

And that’s the point – when it comes to doing upper/lower 6 days a week, or any other training program for that matter, you must listen to what your body is telling you.

Granted, we have all worked through the occasional niggle, and still achieved a great workout.

However, it’s important to understand the difference between a niggle you can train through and an injury that requires nothing more than rest to heal properly.

So, if you do wish to do an upper/lower split 6 days a week, please be my guest.

But, always ensure that you listen closely to what your body is telling you.

Upper/Lower Workout Split Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s some frequently asked questions (answered) about the upper/lower split, as well as training 6 days a week.

What is the Best 6-Day Gym Split?

If I was pushed to answer what the best 6-day training split is I would say push/pull/legs.

Well, in reality, a modified version of push/pull/legs.

I have previously spoken about whether a 6-day push/pull/legs split is too much.

For me, as a beginner, someone in their first 6 months of training, you should definitely not be in the gym for 6 days a week.

It would just be too much volume, your body hasn’t trained this way before, so it’s likely to lead to injury.

That being said, I have no issues with intermediate and advanced lifters doing a 6-day split.

So, when it comes to doing a “modified” PPL for 6 days you should split your week up so you are hitting different muscle groups a lot of the time.

An example workout would look something like:

  • Monday (Push) – Shoulders and Triceps
  • Tuesday (Pull) – Back and Biceps
  • Wednesday (Legs) – Quad Focused
  • Thursday (Push) – Chest and Triceps
  • Friday (Pull) – Traps and Biceps
  • Saturday (Legs) – Glute & Hamstring Focused
  • Sunday – REST

You can of course stick to a more traditional way of training PPL, so hitting all the push muscles in one workout, all the pull muscles in another workout, and then all the leg muscles in your next workout.

However, if you’re doing this I would suggest that you vary weights lifted, reps, and the overall intensity.

A great way to achieve this will be to have a heavy and light day of each training protocol.

Essentially, I would say that the first part of your week could be focused on either strength or hypertrophy, depending on your training goals.

Whereas, the second half of your week could be more focused on muscular endurance and conditioning.

What is the 6-Day Bro Split?

The “bro-split” has always been viewed as a bodybuilder’s workout.

However, you’re probably used to seeing the bro-split as a 5-day per week workout.

I’ve actually seen a few variations of this, and trained regularly with a couple of bodybuilders in the early 2000s.

But, I found their 5-day bro-split to be a bit weird and uneven.

Basically, they trained legs and back on the same day, biceps and triceps together, and then chest, shoulders, and abs all on separate days.

So, there was a huge focus on the front of the body.

The reason I found this somewhat weird is because for me the two body parts that typically produce the best results, in terms of aesthetics, are legs and back.

Therefore, training these two body parts on the same day means that you won’t be getting much volume.

The more “normal” version of the 5-day bro-split would be chest, back, legs, shoulders, and arms, all on separate days.

Now, when it comes to doing a 6-day bro-split you can obviously get much more volume in, while training 1-2 body parts per day.

I would also suggest that this once again is an intermediate to advanced workout program.

Furthermore, I wouldn’t want to be training for more than an hour per day.

A great 6-day bro-split would look something like this:

  • Monday – Quads
  • Tuesday – Back
  • Wednesday – Chest and Abs
  • Thursday – Hamstring and Calves
  • Friday – Shoulders and Triceps
  • Saturday – Biceps and Triceps
  • Sunday – REST

Do Bodybuilders Use the Upper/Lower Split?

As I’ve mentioned, bodybuilders are most commonly associated with the “bro-split”, essentially training different parts of the body on different days.

However, this certainly wasn’t always the case.

In fact, it wasn’t really until the late 1960s, and predominantly during the 1970s, that it seems that most bodybuilders “converted” to individual body part training.

Prior to this period it seems that full body workouts were all the rage among bodybuilders, and this is even how Arnold Schwarzenegger started out.

That being said, bodybuilders have always been more attuned to lots of volume, and this is definitely something that an upper/lower split provides.

Furthermore, you could say that a 6-day upper/lower split provides the necessary volume required for a pro bodybuilder.

Realistically though, most bodybuilders will stick to some form of the bro-split, typically training just one to two body parts per day.

So, while using an upper/lower split is certainly feasible, it isn’t an option taken by many bodybuilders.

In fact, that vast majority of competitive bodybuilders will stick to training one to two body parts per day, with a specific focus on lagging body parts.

Is it Better to Do Full Body or the Upper/Lower Split?

Whether a full body workout is better than an upper/lower split often comes down to personal opinion.

My personal opinion is that the upper/lower split is the better option.

Firstly, when performing a full body workout on a weekly basis you’re going to require more rest days.

Basically, you may find that your muscles are still sore the day after your workout, therefore it makes sense to take a day’s rest to allow your muscles to recover.

This is also why most full body training splits incorporate working out for 3 days per week.

So, an ideal training week will typically see you working out on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

This means that you get a full day’s rest in-between workouts and you get the entire weekend off.

For me, I would use my rest days for active recovery, which may include some cardio, walking, or even taking part in sports.

That being said, as a beginner I would generally say that starting out with a full body split is the best way forward, and your 4 rest days should be used to completely recover.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can take a 45-minute walk as “active recovery” on your rest days. 

So, the main reason for me that the upper/lower split is better is because it allows me to train more days of the week and therefore I’m able to get more volume in on a weekly basis.

Don’t forget that it’s likely you’ll still suffer muscle soreness after your workouts, but when your upper body is sore you can work your lower body and vice versa.

Final Thoughts

So, I hope you understand that it’s perfectly feasible to do upper/lower 6 days a week.

However, this will always be an individual thing, so some people would be capable of this, while others won’t.

That being said, I would never recommend a 6-day split for a beginner in their first 6 months of training.

This is mainly because it would be extremely tough on the body to go from no exercise to suddenly training 6 times a week.

However, as an intermediate or advanced lifter, you can definitely hit an upper/lower split, 3 times each for 6 days a week in total.

But, you should also listen to what your body is telling you, as training so often can make you prone to overuse injuries.

If you’re interested in the best training split for you then check out the Massthetic Muscle workout program.

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