The Upper / Lower Split program is a two day split program designed to work your entire body to its full potential. The first day, the upper day, includes both compound and isolated workouts targeted at your back, biceps, triceps, and shoulders. It’s a little bit of everything as to tire your muscles out, but not give you too much fatigue on any one muscle. It’s great for toning and building muscle.

The lower day, is focused on everything from the waist down. There are both strengthening movements like leg presses and squats as well as compound movements such as lunges and fire hydrants that will stretch your muscles out, hitting angles you might not have hit before.

After doing the upper and lower day, take 1 – 2 days of rest before repeating. If it’s your first time working out, or trying this split take 2 – 3 days off before doing any heavy lifting for recovery. Also consider doing one of our ab workouts or cardio on the rest days to finish off your week strong!

DAY 1

Upper Body Day

Exercise no. 1

Tricep Dips

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Place your hands shoulder width apart on a stable chair or a secured bench. Slide your butt off the seat with your legs stretched out in front of you. Straighten your arm while keeping just a small bend in your elbows to reduce elbow joint tension.
  2. Bend your elbows to lower your body until your elbows are at about a 90 degree angle. Make sure to keep your back as close to the bench as possible.
  3. Once you reach the bottom of the movement, press down into the bench to straighten your elbows, returning to the starting position. This completes one repetition.
  4. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.

Tips: Keep your shoulders down as you’re performing this exercise. You can also bend your legs to make the dip easier.

Exercise no. 2

Skull Crushers

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Start by grabbing an EZ bar. Load weight if desired and lay flat down on a flat bench with your head almost touching the end of the bench. At this point you should be holding the EZ bar in your hands with your palms facing each other following the close grip, inward curls of the EZ bar.
  2. Keep your upper arms close to your body and raise the bar up so that your arms are perpendicular with your body.
  3. While inhaling, slowly lower the weight back backwards towards your head while keeping your upper arm and elbow still.
  4. Once you’re about to touch the top of your head pause, then exhale as your bring the weight back up to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.
Exercise no. 3

Shoulder Press

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Start by picking two dumbbells that will allow you to complete the desired number of reps. Sit on a utility or military press bench that will give you back support and place both dumbbells on your thoughts. Grip the dumbbells with your palms facing each other.
  2. Use your thighs to kick the weights up to shoulder height on either side. Your wrists should be rotated so that the palm of your hands are facing forward.
  3. Exhale while pushing (“pressing”) the dumbbells up until your arms are almost fully extended and the two flat sides of the dumbbell touch.
  4. Pause, then inhale while moving the weights back down to shoulder height.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
  6. Once you’re done with your set, rotate and lower the dumbbells back onto your thighs to prevent injury.
Exercise no. 4

Seated Rows

4 sets of 10 reps

There are a few variations to this exercise based on the equipment that you have. Some gyms have pulley systems set up with seated rows that have a flat bench with a place for your feet, others don’t.

  1. Start by attaching a V bar to the lower or mid to lower setting of the pulley. If you’re on a fixed seated row machine that has a place for your feet you can simply leave the pulley as is. If there is no seated pulley row machine, bring a seated bench about 2-3 feet from the cable machine.
  2. Sit with your feet planted against the feet pads or firmly planted. Hold the V Bar firmly in front of you with your arms extended, but relatively straight. Lean back slightly while keeping your torso straight.
  3. Pull the V bar towards your chest, while trying to keep your elbows close to your body. You should feel your back muscles contracting towards each other. Exhale through the movement.
  4. Pause for a moment then slowly release the weight back to the starting position. Inhale through the movement.
  5. Repeat for your desired number of reps.
Exercise no. 5

Dumbbell Flyes

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Start by picking two dumbbells that you can do the desired number of reps with. Lay down on a flat bench with the two dumbbells on your thighs. You should be gripping the dumbbells with your palms facing inwards.
  2. Raise the dumbbells over your head with your knuckles facing upwards like you’re punching the ceiling, but don’t lock your elbows. Rotate the dumbbells so your palms are again facing each other. Bend your elbows slowly and slowly bring each arm down to your side as to create a T with your body.
  3. With your elbows still slightly bent bring the dumbbells back to the center completing one rep.

Tips: Squeeze your chest together through each rep for maximum effectiveness. Keep your arms relatively stationary and push through your shoulders to bring the weights together during each movement.

Exercise no. 6

Barbell Bench Press

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Lie back on a flat bench. With a medium width grip (a grip that produces a 90-degree angle in the center of the motion between the forearms and the upper arms), lift the bar from the rack and hold it straight above you together with your arms locked. This is your place.
  2. From this position, as you inhale and slowly come down until the bar touches your middle chest.
  3. After a brief pause, push the bar back to the starting place while breathing out. Concentrate on pushing on the bar using your chest muscle. Squeeze your chest at the peak position of the movement, hold for a second and then begin coming down slowly. Tip: Ideally, lowering the weight should take about twice as long as raising it.
  4. Repeat the movement for the amount of repetitions.
  5. When you’re done, set the bar back in the rack.

Additional Tips:

  • If you’re new at this Exercise, it’s recommended that you use a spotter. Also, be conservative with the amount of weight if you don’t have a spotter.
  • Beware of letting the Bar drift too far forward. Ideally, you want the bar to touch your middle chest
  • Don’t bounce the weight off your chest. You should be in fully control of the barbell at all times.
Exercise no. 7

Alternating Hammer Curls

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Stand upright with a dumbbell in each hand held at arms-length. The elbows should be close to the torso.
  2. The palms of your hands should be facing your torso. This is will be the starting position.
  3. While holding the upper arm stationary, curl the weight forward as you breathe out while contracting the biceps. Complete the movement until your bicep is fully contracted and the dumbbell is at shoulder level. Hold this contracted position for a second as you squeeze the bicep. Tip: During this exercise, the forearms should only move.
  4. Slowly bring back the dumbbell to the starting position.
  5. Repeat this movement with the other hand. This equals one repetition.
  6. Continue alternating hands for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Variations: There are Lots of Variations for this movement. As an example, you can do this exercise sitting down on a bench with or without back-support and you can also perform it by doing both arms at the same time.

Exercise no. 8

Alternating Dumbbell Curls

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Stand upright with a dumbbell in each hand held at arms length. The elbows should be close to the body and the palms of the hand should be facing your thighs.
  2. While holding the upper arm stationary, curl the right dumbbell as you rotate the palm of your hand until they are facing forward. At this stage continue contracting the biceps as you exhale until your bicep is fully contracted and the dumbbell is at shoulder level. As you squeeze the biceps hold this position for a second. Tip: During this exercise, the forearms should only move.
  3. As you breathe in, slowly bring the dumbbell back to its original position. Tip: Remember to twist the palms back to the original position as you come down.
  4. Repeat this movement with the opposite hand. This equals one repetition.
  5. Continue alternating hands for the recommended amount of repetitions.
DAY 2

Lower Body

Exercise no. 1

Leg Press

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Load the desired amount of weight to each side of the leg press machine. Sit down and grip the side handle bars.
  2. Place your feet on the platform in front of you with at about shoulder width apart. Slightly angle your toes/feet outward about 5 degrees. This is your starting position.
  3. Push the weight up with your legs, then with your hands unengage the safety bars.
  4. While inhaling, slowly contract your legs towards your body until your legs are at about a 90 degree angle.
  5. Hold this position for a second then exhale push the weight and platform with your heels back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.
  7. When you’re finished with your set, push the platform/weight all the forward with your legs and reengage the safety bars before letting your legs and the platform back down.
Exercise no. 2

Vertical Leg Press

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Using a leg press or smith machine, lay down on the machine or floor and place your legs on the platform directly above of you at a medium (shoulder width) foot stance. (Note: For the purposes of this discussion we will use the medium stance described above which targets overall development; however, you can choose any of the three stances described in the foot positioning section).
  2. Lower the security bars holding the platform that was weighted and press the stage all the way up until your legs are fully extended in front of you. Tip: Make certain your knees are not locked by you. The legs and your torso must make a perfect angle. This is your place.
  3. As you inhale, slowly lower the platform and lower legs until it’s at a 90-degree angle.
  4. As you exhale, push firmly with the heels of your feet and using the quadriceps go back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of reps and make sure to lock the safety pins properly soon as you’re done. You don’t want the platform falling on you when it’s fully loaded.
Exercise no. 3

Prone Leg Curls

4 sets of 10 reps

There are multiple ways to do prone leg curls. You can improvise using a cable if your gym does not have a leg curl machine. If you have the strap attachment, insert it on the hook and bring the pulleys down to the lowest setting. If you don’t have the strap attachment the handle attachment often works just as well.

  1. Sit on your stomach with your torso raised and your legs 2-3 steps away from the cable machine
  2. With the strap attached to your ankle begin to raise your ankle towards your body so that it’s perpendicular from the ground.
  3. Slowly bring your leg bag down to the starting position.
  4. After you complete the desired number of reps, switch legs and repeat.
Exercise no. 4

Fire Hydrants

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Start by finding an open spot on the ground or on a mat. Get on your hands and knees and be sure to keep your back straight.
  2. While keeping the natural bend in your knee from your starting position, kick one leg out to the side as high as you can (similar to a dog on a fire hydrant).
  3. Pause, then inhale while bring your leg back to the starting position. This completes one rep. You can alternate reps between legs or finish your reps on one leg before switching to the other.
Exercise no. 5

Dumbbell Lunges

4 sets of 10 reps

Dumbbell lunges are similar to normal lunges, but the added weight helps you challenge yourself through each movement.

  1. Start by grabbing to dumbbells that you can reasonably complete the set with. Hold shoulder width apart with both dumbbells by your side. Your palms should be facing each other.
  2. Keeping you body upright, take one medium to large step forward while naturally lowering your other leg with your body.
  3. Push through the heel of your front foot to push back to your initial starting position.
  4. Switch legs and repeat the movement to complete 1 rep.

Tips: Be sure to keep the dumbbells at your side and stationery through the entire movement. Be sure not to extend your front knee too far forward (generally not past your toes) to keep from straining.

Exercise no. 6

Barbell Squats

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Start with the barbell supported on top of your traps. Your chest should be up and the head facing forward. Maintain a hip-width stance with the feet turned out as needed.
  2. Descend by flexing your knees, refraining from moving the hips back as much as possible. This requires that the knees travel forward. Ensure that they stay align with the feet. The goal is to keep the torso as upright as possible.
  3. Continue all the way down while keeping the weight on the front of the heel. When the upper legs contact the lower legs, reverse the motion, driving the weight upward.
DAY 3

Rest Day

Time to take a break!

DAY 4

Upper Body Day

Exercise no. 1

Tricep Dips

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Place your hands shoulder width apart on a stable chair or a secured bench. Slide your butt off the seat with your legs stretched out in front of you. Straighten your arm while keeping just a small bend in your elbows to reduce elbow joint tension.
  2. Bend your elbows to lower your body until your elbows are at about a 90 degree angle. Make sure to keep your back as close to the bench as possible.
  3. Once you reach the bottom of the movement, press down into the bench to straighten your elbows, returning to the starting position. This completes one repetition.
  4. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.

Tips: Keep your shoulders down as you’re performing this exercise. You can also bend your legs to make the dip easier.

Exercise no. 2

Skull Crushers

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Start by grabbing an EZ bar. Load weight if desired and lay flat down on a flat bench with your head almost touching the end of the bench. At this point you should be holding the EZ bar in your hands with your palms facing each other following the close grip, inward curls of the EZ bar.
  2. Keep your upper arms close to your body and raise the bar up so that your arms are perpendicular with your body.
  3. While inhaling, slowly lower the weight back backwards towards your head while keeping your upper arm and elbow still.
  4. Once you’re about to touch the top of your head pause, then exhale as your bring the weight back up to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.
Exercise no. 3

Shoulder Press

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Start by picking two dumbbells that will allow you to complete the desired number of reps. Sit on a utility or military press bench that will give you back support and place both dumbbells on your thoughts. Grip the dumbbells with your palms facing each other.
  2. Use your thighs to kick the weights up to shoulder height on either side. Your wrists should be rotated so that the palm of your hands are facing forward.
  3. Exhale while pushing (“pressing”) the dumbbells up until your arms are almost fully extended and the two flat sides of the dumbbell touch.
  4. Pause, then inhale while moving the weights back down to shoulder height.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
  6. Once you’re done with your set, rotate and lower the dumbbells back onto your thighs to prevent injury.
Exercise no. 4

Seated Rows

4 sets of 10 reps

There are a few variations to this exercise based on the equipment that you have. Some gyms have pulley systems set up with seated rows that have a flat bench with a place for your feet, others don’t.

  1. Start by attaching a V bar to the lower or mid to lower setting of the pulley. If you’re on a fixed seated row machine that has a place for your feet you can simply leave the pulley as is. If there is no seated pulley row machine, bring a seated bench about 2-3 feet from the cable machine.
  2. Sit with your feet planted against the feet pads or firmly planted. Hold the V Bar firmly in front of you with your arms extended, but relatively straight. Lean back slightly while keeping your torso straight.
  3. Pull the V bar towards your chest, while trying to keep your elbows close to your body. You should feel your back muscles contracting towards each other. Exhale through the movement.
  4. Pause for a moment then slowly release the weight back to the starting position. Inhale through the movement.
  5. Repeat for your desired number of reps.
Exercise no. 5

Dumbbell Flyes

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Start by picking two dumbbells that you can do the desired number of reps with. Lay down on a flat bench with the two dumbbells on your thighs. You should be gripping the dumbbells with your palms facing inwards.
  2. Raise the dumbbells over your head with your knuckles facing upwards like you’re punching the ceiling, but don’t lock your elbows. Rotate the dumbbells so your palms are again facing each other. Bend your elbows slowly and slowly bring each arm down to your side as to create a T with your body.
  3. With your elbows still slightly bent bring the dumbbells back to the center completing one rep.

Tips: Squeeze your chest together through each rep for maximum effectiveness. Keep your arms relatively stationary and push through your shoulders to bring the weights together during each movement.

Exercise no. 6

Barbell Bench Press

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Lie back on a flat bench. With a medium width grip (a grip that produces a 90-degree angle in the center of the motion between the forearms and the upper arms), lift the bar from the rack and hold it straight above you together with your arms locked. This is your place.
  2. From this position, as you inhale and slowly come down until the bar touches your middle chest.
  3. After a brief pause, push the bar back to the starting place while breathing out. Concentrate on pushing on the bar using your chest muscle. Squeeze your chest at the peak position of the movement, hold for a second and then begin coming down slowly. Tip: Ideally, lowering the weight should take about twice as long as raising it.
  4. Repeat the movement for the amount of repetitions.
  5. When you’re done, set the bar back in the rack.

Additional Tips:

  • If you’re new at this Exercise, it’s recommended that you use a spotter. Also, be conservative with the amount of weight if you don’t have a spotter.
  • Beware of letting the Bar drift too far forward. Ideally, you want the bar to touch your middle chest
  • Don’t bounce the weight off your chest. You should be in fully control of the barbell at all times.
Exercise no. 7

Alternating Hammer Curls

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Stand upright with a dumbbell in each hand held at arms-length. The elbows should be close to the torso.
  2. The palms of your hands should be facing your torso. This is will be the starting position.
  3. While holding the upper arm stationary, curl the weight forward as you breathe out while contracting the biceps. Complete the movement until your bicep is fully contracted and the dumbbell is at shoulder level. Hold this contracted position for a second as you squeeze the bicep. Tip: During this exercise, the forearms should only move.
  4. Slowly bring back the dumbbell to the starting position.
  5. Repeat this movement with the other hand. This equals one repetition.
  6. Continue alternating hands for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Variations: There are Lots of Variations for this movement. As an example, you can do this exercise sitting down on a bench with or without back-support and you can also perform it by doing both arms at the same time.

Exercise no. 8

Alternating Dumbbell Curls

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Stand upright with a dumbbell in each hand held at arms length. The elbows should be close to the body and the palms of the hand should be facing your thighs.
  2. While holding the upper arm stationary, curl the right dumbbell as you rotate the palm of your hand until they are facing forward. At this stage continue contracting the biceps as you exhale until your bicep is fully contracted and the dumbbell is at shoulder level. As you squeeze the biceps hold this position for a second. Tip: During this exercise, the forearms should only move.
  3. As you breathe in, slowly bring the dumbbell back to its original position. Tip: Remember to twist the palms back to the original position as you come down.
  4. Repeat this movement with the opposite hand. This equals one repetition.
  5. Continue alternating hands for the recommended amount of repetitions.
DAY 5

Lower Body

Exercise no. 1

Leg Press

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Load the desired amount of weight to each side of the leg press machine. Sit down and grip the side handle bars.
  2. Place your feet on the platform in front of you with at about shoulder width apart. Slightly angle your toes/feet outward about 5 degrees. This is your starting position.
  3. Push the weight up with your legs, then with your hands unengage the safety bars.
  4. While inhaling, slowly contract your legs towards your body until your legs are at about a 90 degree angle.
  5. Hold this position for a second then exhale push the weight and platform with your heels back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.
  7. When you’re finished with your set, push the platform/weight all the forward with your legs and reengage the safety bars before letting your legs and the platform back down.
Exercise no. 2

Vertical Leg Press

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Using a leg press or smith machine, lay down on the machine or floor and place your legs on the platform directly above of you at a medium (shoulder width) foot stance. (Note: For the purposes of this discussion we will use the medium stance described above which targets overall development; however, you can choose any of the three stances described in the foot positioning section).
  2. Lower the security bars holding the platform that was weighted and press the stage all the way up until your legs are fully extended in front of you. Tip: Make certain your knees are not locked by you. The legs and your torso must make a perfect angle. This is your place.
  3. As you inhale, slowly lower the platform and lower legs until it’s at a 90-degree angle.
  4. As you exhale, push firmly with the heels of your feet and using the quadriceps go back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of reps and make sure to lock the safety pins properly soon as you’re done. You don’t want the platform falling on you when it’s fully loaded.
Exercise no. 3

Prone Leg Curls

4 sets of 10 reps

There are multiple ways to do prone leg curls. You can improvise using a cable if your gym does not have a leg curl machine. If you have the strap attachment, insert it on the hook and bring the pulleys down to the lowest setting. If you don’t have the strap attachment the handle attachment often works just as well.

  1. Sit on your stomach with your torso raised and your legs 2-3 steps away from the cable machine
  2. With the strap attached to your ankle begin to raise your ankle towards your body so that it’s perpendicular from the ground.
  3. Slowly bring your leg bag down to the starting position.
  4. After you complete the desired number of reps, switch legs and repeat.
Exercise no. 4

Fire Hydrants

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Start by finding an open spot on the ground or on a mat. Get on your hands and knees and be sure to keep your back straight.
  2. While keeping the natural bend in your knee from your starting position, kick one leg out to the side as high as you can (similar to a dog on a fire hydrant).
  3. Pause, then inhale while bring your leg back to the starting position. This completes one rep. You can alternate reps between legs or finish your reps on one leg before switching to the other.
Exercise no. 5

Dumbbell Lunges

4 sets of 10 reps

Dumbbell lunges are similar to normal lunges, but the added weight helps you challenge yourself through each movement.

  1. Start by grabbing to dumbbells that you can reasonably complete the set with. Hold shoulder width apart with both dumbbells by your side. Your palms should be facing each other.
  2. Keeping you body upright, take one medium to large step forward while naturally lowering your other leg with your body.
  3. Push through the heel of your front foot to push back to your initial starting position.
  4. Switch legs and repeat the movement to complete 1 rep.

Tips: Be sure to keep the dumbbells at your side and stationery through the entire movement. Be sure not to extend your front knee too far forward (generally not past your toes) to keep from straining.

Exercise no. 6

Barbell Squats

4 sets of 10 reps

  1. Start with the barbell supported on top of your traps. Your chest should be up and the head facing forward. Maintain a hip-width stance with the feet turned out as needed.
  2. Descend by flexing your knees, refraining from moving the hips back as much as possible. This requires that the knees travel forward. Ensure that they stay align with the feet. The goal is to keep the torso as upright as possible.
  3. Continue all the way down while keeping the weight on the front of the heel. When the upper legs contact the lower legs, reverse the motion, driving the weight upward.
DAY 6

Rest Day

Time to take a break!

Kiyan Sheikh

My goal is to inspire others to reach their fitness goals and become a confident, better version of themselves. Being fit doesn’t just mean going from fatty to lean, people that are lean also need help increasing things like their cardio or endurance.
View profile ›

Jael Lopez

I'm a 1x overall champion, and sponsored by WNC, having performed at multiple shows and trained multiple clients. My goal is to inspire people all over the world achieve their fitness goals.
View profile ›

Personalized Plans

Get a personalized workout and nutrition plan from any of the athletes in this workout.

Get Started