T Nation

Upper/Lower 3 Days a Wk


Long time lurker, finally signed up. As the title states - I'm looking for feedback/opinion from those who have attempted/still use a Upper/Lower split three times a day (Monday - Lower, Wednesday - Upper, Friday - Lower, Monday - Upper, Wednesday - Lower, Friday - Upper, etc.).

I'm not interested in what you guess about this - I can do that. I'd like to hear from those who have actually tried this. My schedule right now does not permit getting to my gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I'm contemplating this or full body.



Most of my training "career" has been spent doing upper/lower splits. They allow excellent recovery and allow intensity to be high all the time on most training sessions (important for pushing it 100%). Good for joints too.

Have drifted away from them (upper/lower) occasionally, only to return again some time later when feeling fatigued.

Sometimes I split it up so that I do arms after upper body (sounds strange...considering you indirectly trained arms the day before, but it works, and still allows good recovery/progress).

That ^ is controversial on here (we are bodybuilders, not powerlifters), but it works really well for me (especially considering when I push it 4+ days per week with compounds etc I reach a point of diminishing returns).


your post is wonky ("...three times a day"), you mean a regular ABA, BAB split, right?

Or do you imply to do that while essentially tripling volume? Ax3 (meaning three times throughout the day) Bx3Ax3; Bx3Ax3Bx3 ?
That would be weird.

Generally, I'd rather do a 3x/week fullbody workout with A and B having different exercises then splitting them to upper lower.
It's oldschool and it works.

I've never known anyone doing that upper-lower ABA BAB split, for what it's worth.


You don't know anyone that has ever done 5/3/1 three days a week?

And Op that should answer your question as well. Not everyone that's on 5/3/1 does upper lower 3 days a week, but a lot do.


ABA BAB fullbody is known to me.
ABA BAB with A and B being distinctly upper/lower is unknown to me.

It does seem like very little volume.
Who would do such a routine, assuming his only sport is bodybuilding?
We're talking about working out the whole upper body only 1.5x per week.

It's definitely not for beginners, who I just don't see profiting from such low volume.
And most advanced lifters probably need more attention to different spots.

As an complimentary thing (say you're a runner and don't want to end up too skinny) it sounds splendid, but I think the OP would have told us.


Sure, you could do an upper/lower split 3 times/week...but It would be much more effective if you did an upper/lower 4 days/week IMO.


Have you considered a Push/Pull/Legs routine? I do a 4 day upper/lower now, but when there's weeks I know I can only hit the gym 3 days I sometimes do: Mon- Arms/Delt/Traps, Wed- Legs/abs, Fri- Back/Chest and compensate on the lack of frequency by upping the volume. Not ideal, but it works for me when I can commit to 4 days.


Could work (like 5/3/1 3 days/week as is mentioned before), but I like Ecto's suggestion. OP, what are your goals exactly?


It's low frequency not low volume. Adjusting the number of sets/reps/exercises you can have low volume, medium volume etc.

OP I've tried it and it works fine. Sometimes I would finish with arms on the leg day because I had no time/energy for them on the upper body workout. Another split I've used for 3 days/week was

workout A: Legs/Back, workout B: Chest/shoulders/arms


Great for strength. Could be great for fat loss if you're in enough of a caloric deficit. Not so great for hypertrophy.