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How to Build Muscle: Upper Lower Body Split Program

Use this tried and tested method to pack on muscle.

How to build muscle? It is not straightforward and easy at all. There are many factors to consider, from what you are eating, to genetics, and also the amount of training and what type.

A hypertrophy program is designed not to increase strength or improve athletic performance (although there is an overlap, of course), but to primarily cause muscular growth by increasing the size of your muscle fibres.

Hypertrophy is simply the increase in the size of an organ or tissue through the enlargement of the cells that comprise it.

Try the 20 Rep Squat Program

Remember, this plan is not designed to improve strength or power. This program is strictly for the purpose of gaining serious muscle size.

  • Main Goal: Build muscle
  • Program Duration: 10 weeks
  • Days Per Week: 4
  • Time Per Workout: 45-60 minutes

Weekly Training Schedule – How to Build Muscle

  • Day 1 – Upper Body
  • Day 2 – Lower Body
  • Day 3 – Off
  • Day 4 – Upper Body
  • Day 5 – Lower Body
  • Day 6 – Off
  • Day 7 – Off

Workout description

The upper / lower body split works well both with and without a training partner. If training with a partner, keep rest periods brief. After your partner’s set is finished, you should waste little time before hitting your next set.

Each training day is balanced. You start by challenging major muscle groups with 3 sets of a compound or taxing machine exercises.

Try the Wendler 531

Next, you follow up by finishing a muscle group with a more isolation-style movement that typically focuses on the use of 3-second negatives.

Lastly, you work smaller muscle groups with 3 sets each, using 3-second negatives when it makes sense.

How to Build Muscle: Upper Body Training Days

Upper body training days follow this scheme:

  • Chest – 3 sets, compound
  • Back – 3 sets, compound
  • Shoulders – 3 sets, compound
  • Chest – 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Back – 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Shoulders – 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Triceps – 3 sets, isolation or machine/cable exercises. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Biceps – 3 sets, isolation or machine/cable exercises. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.

Try German Volume Training

Lower body training days

Lower body training days follow this scheme:

  • Quads – 3 sets, compound
  • Hamstrings – 3 sets, compound
  • Calves – 3 sets, taxing machine or isolation
  • Quads – 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Hamstrings – 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Calves – 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Abs – 3 sets, isolation or machine/cable exercises.
  • Abs, Lower Back or Obliques – 3 sets, isolation or machine/cable exercises.

How to Build Muscle: Upper Lower Body Split

Day 1
Upper Body
ExerciseSetsReps
Bench Press36-12
Barbell Row36-12
Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press38-12
Pec Dec – 3 sec negative210-12
V-Bar Lat Pull Down – 3 sec negative210-12
Side Lateral Raise210-15
Cable Tricep Extensions – 3 sec negative38-12
Cable Curls – 3 sec negative38-12
Day 2
Lower Body
ExerciseSetsReps
Squats36-12
Stiff Leg Deadlifts38-12
Standing Calf Raise310-15
Leg Extensions – 3 sec negative210-12
Leg Curl – 3 sec negative210-12
Seated Calf Raise – 3 sec negative210-12
Cable Crunch – 3 sec negative310-12
Cable Pull Through w/Rope310-12
  • DAY 3 – REST
Day 4
Upper Body
ExerciseSetsReps
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press38-12
Rack Deadlifts – 3″ to 5″ off ground35-8
Military Press38-12
Machine Chest Press – 3 sec negative28-12
Pull-Ups or Machine Rows – 3 sec negative28-12
Machine Shoulder Press – 3 sec negative28-12
Dumbbell Curls – 3 sec negative38-12
Machine Tricep Dip – 3 sec negative38-12
  •  
Day 5
Lower Body
ExerciseSetsReps
Leg Press310-20
Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlifts38-12
Leg Press Calf Raise310-15
Hack Squat28-12
Seated Leg Curl – 3 sec negative210-12
Seated Calf Raise – 3 sec negative210-12
Planks360 sec
Hyperextension310-12

This is just one of many programs you can follow to gain muscle mass and look better. If you want to try a different one, give this one a chance.

How to Build Muscle: The 6 Day Split Program

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