T Nation

2 Upper Days Per Week Sufficient?

My work is not only making my training pattern/regularity increasingly difficult, but is also leaving me walking around 2 hours a day. As such, I’m looking for a slightly more relaxed routine (that can flexibly fit around unforeseen work commitments) but crucially one that won’t lead to upper body shrinkage (for want of a better word) with that level of walking. What I’m thinking is an upper/lower split - 2 days of each per week.

Question - is working the upper body twice a week sufficient to grow?

Sample upper routine structure would be:

  • Vertical push s/s with vertical pull (3x8-12)
  • Horizontal push s/s with horizontal pull (3x8-12)
  • Biceps s/s with triceps (3x8-12)

Thanks for your help guys.

Absolutely. Though I am a powerlifter and don’t train specifically for size goals, I do not have a problem gaining and keeping mass training upper body twice per week. My upper body days look like this:

Wednesday: Heavy Bench, Tricep work, Upper back/rear delt finisher

Sunday: Speed Bench, Pec Work, Lat Work, Upper back/rear delt finisher

Direct bicep work can be added as needed on either day in the form of any type of curl. Typically my bi’s take a good beating from all of the pulling I do to work my lats but I will throw in some curls for good measure and elbow health once every other week or so.

Chad Waterbury thinks so.

Clay Hyght thinks so.

Jim Wendler thinks so.

Paul Carter thinks so.

Christian Thibaudeau thinks so.

Charles Staley thinks so.

Charles Poliquin thinks so.

But really, I’m still trying to figure out why walking would cause your upper body to shrink.


Hi Chris

Many thanks for your input. Feel I phrased that wrong - what I meant is that the increased walking feels like it’s impacting my recovery and associated performance on the “upper” days, be that a psychological thing or a tangible (stalling on major lifts growth etc). I guess I consider walking cardio, and my question relates to whether that level of catabolic cardio far outweighs the potential growth and anabolic stimulation of 2 upper days per week.

Unless you’re walking on your hands, I’d lean towards it being primarily psychological. Part of your brain is probably thinking “OMFG I’m doing so much cardio, I’ll never get gainz”, but walking is rarely catabolic. I’m also still not seeing how walking would impair upper body recovery.

For sure, 2 hours five days a week is on the high side but if it’s low intensity, it should become essentially a non-issue once your body adapts (one sign of your body having adapted is feet/legs feeling less tired at the end of the day). If you want to double-down, make sure you’re eating something substantial on lunch break and don’t sweat it.

Can I ask what you do for work? If we’re talking, like, walking around a warehouse for two hours a day loading and unloading boxes of stuff, that’s one thing and the walking itself wouldn’t be the issue. If we’re talking walking around a retail store to help customers, that’s something else and not worth worrying about.

very unlikely that walking could have any negative impact, and you’ll probably find your appetite’ll just increase with the increased calorie output anyway.

Software sales - so in all honesty it’s very inactive outside of all this commuting.

If your diet us in line, you will loose weight. Fat mostly. I sip BCAA’s myself (mag-10) when I have it.

If you feel like you’re shrinking and getting weaker due to the added walking, it’s likely a result of the fact that you’re burning extra calories. While walking for 10 hours per week is unlikely to directly impact your recovery, it can put you into a calorie deficit which would indirectly have a (potentially large) impact on your recovery. Eat more and you should be fine.

And yes, 2 upper body days per week is fine.

Do to my job about four months a year a can only train twice a week and make gains, muscle memory helps though.

Are you seriously worrying about 2 hours of walking affecting recover? I walk more than that outside of work and have a physical job and never thought about it before.