T Nation

Upper/Lower Schedule Split


Male: 46 years old.
5,7" 152 labs
5% body fat.
Lifter. Marathon runner.

I have a history of lifting for around 30 years or so. Could bench 325 neighborhood consistently prior to my running days. Couple years ago was benching 225x10 when had a few months I couldn’t run.

I have run a marathon each year since 2009. I currently run a marathon around 3:25. So, I am not fast, but decent. Similarly, my lifting isn’t impressive but considering I ran 55 miles per week the past marathon cycle I am comfortable with it.

I’ve been doing the classic bro split of 4 days a week/1 body part a week for 30 years . I know it’s been an outdated model for most, but it fit well into my 6 days a week running schedule (and 1 yoga session a week).

My marathon finished last week. I have 8 weeks I’d like to prioritize lifting as my running mileage will be lower/recovery from race. I’d like to adapt an upper/lower body split and would like your input on schedule below? Thank you!

Day 1: Bench press. Incline bench. Shoulder lateral raises. Lat pull downs. Tri press down. Bicep curls.

Day 2: Squat. Leg ext. leg curl.

Day 3: OFF.

Day 4: Dumbbell chest press. Decline chest press. Back bent over rows. Shoulder press. Tri extension. Bicep curl.

Day 5: Leg press. Leg curl. Hip thrusts. Bulgarian squat.

Day 6: OFF.

Day 7 Repeat day 1.

What mostly sucks is that you do 2 horizontal presses and not enough vertical pressing is done. I dont see the point to do horizontal on flat, incline and decline twice a week. Also, two squat days and no hip hinging is done at all.
Instead id like Day1 - bench, incline bench superseted with chinups and pullups and you can throw in some supersets of bis and tris and day 4 - overhead press and DB press superseted with rows and can finish with supersets of bis and tris…
The same is with squat and leg press which is sort of the same thing… Id like Day 2 - Squats, lunges, leg extensions and abs. Day 5 - Deadlifts, good mornings, leg curls and abs.

With your plan you are just doing half of the movements we need to do.
Due to your age, you should do more stuff for athleticism and health and longevity, so just skipping a few strenght positions at all is a bad idea. Hip hinging is definetly super important for posterior chain. Probably should skip the arm work at all and just focus on pushing and pulling as 46 year old runner wont grow any biceps anyways, so why waste time.
Id rather see a person be able to produce force into all 6 directions of strenght for human body. Outside the 6 strenght directions, the only small movements that would matter are abs and rear delt work like band pullapparts or bent over side laterals or some machine with light weights… i have found that rear delt work is very important for shoulder health.


If you were anywhere near your current bodyweight back then, that’s very good. 225x10 around your size is still very good. What about lower body strength?

That’s an extremely vague, borderline useless, priority. Do you want to focus on strength? Muscle size (tricky, at best, considering your body fat)? Structural imbalances?

Like Hank was getting at, you’re very clearly playing to your strengths (pun intended) by doubling up on chest work each upper body day. This program is a better example of a more well-rounded upper/lower split.

In your situation, I’d make a conscious effort to incorporate more single-leg training, either focus one lower body day on just unilateral stuff or fit in a single-leg lunge/step-up variation one day and a single-leg deadlift variation on the other day.

Your leg work looks light on posterior chain work. I’d do more posterior chain work and I’d put it first in the session in front of squats, leg press, etc. I also second the single leg work Chris suggests.

Thanks fellas, I appreciate the advice!

Replying on phone, so can’t quote from above but regarding lower body strength…Honestly running 55-60 miles a week this summer I was just more interested in a decent leg workout. I would work up to 225X8 for instance on Smith machine. Then isolation movements.

The next 8 weeks i would like to gain some size. Since, I won’t be running a ton I think it’s possible. When I was benching 225x10 a few years ago it was after 3 months of no running. So, I can gain muscle back when not running/minimal running. But when marathon training, the miles chip away at the muscle.

Of course, when I up the running next year, it will take away some gains. But the goal is to be a decent runner and lifter. And not look like my running group peers. Ha

Can I ask why?

It’s not a dig. But if you are running 50miles a week carrying even an extra kg of muscle will make it harder. An extra 4kg assuming you gain that much will be a noticeable difference.

Edit - I’m operating on the assumption you like being good at running. A 3:15 marathon is really good

No problem. Why? Honestly, just aesthetics. I realize it won’t help my running. But I don’t want to be any lighter than I am.

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Easy dude. Just seems like you’re pretty good at running and you want to get heavier. Which will not help. But like wise there is no harm in looking better.

Try/ take elements from this…