June 21, 2021 9 Comments
Let us just start by saying, a 6 day workout split is not for the faint of heart...at least not an effective one. But for those who have experience, determination and dedication, it can be the best training split frequency for building muscle and strength, for both men and women alike.
This article will dive into the nitty gritty of the mighty 6 day workout split to teach you all you need to know. It also contains a full 6 day weight training split program that you can follow if you decide to take the 6-days-of-working-out-a-week journey.
A 6 day workout split is a routine that involves 6 workout sessions per week, done on 6 different days.
So, that’s 6 workouts, 6 different days, with only 1 rest day each week.
If that sounds intense, that’s because it is! This is a workout split that should be saved for more advanced lifters.
In regards to bodyweight-only workouts, 6 days a week becomes more penetrable for a wide range of fitness levels, as it can be less taxing on the body.
Nevertheless, optimizing both your workouts and recovery are important regardless of whether you are lifting weights or doing calisthenics.
A 6 day split is one of the most effective workout splits for accelerating and maximizing muscle growth and strength. However, this is usually only true for those who have a solid foundation in fitness. If you are new to lifting weights, a 3 day, 4 day, and at most, 5 day workout split is typically better as it allows for enough recovery time.
If your workouts are intense, you will need more time to recover. Experienced lifters understand how to optimize both their workouts and recovery to allow for 6 days of training per week.
Without a good understanding of how to structure your workouts, control intensity/weight load/rep ranges, and recover properly, 6 days of weightlifting per week can lead to overtraining and even injury, which is obviously counterproductive.
On the flip side, low intensity workouts 6 days per week, which a beginner could manage, will not be as effective as 3 high intensity workouts. So, there’s no point to train more often for worse results.
As such, not all 6 day training splits are created equal...
There are many ways to go about creating a 6 day workout split. A 6 day workout split can involve training each muscle group once, twice or even three times per week.
A 6 day workout split that involves training each muscle group about once a week would be something a more novice lifter could manage as it allows for enough recovery time based on each muscle group.
However, the general consensus is that the most effective 6 day split will be one that trains each muscle group at least twice a week. This is what makes a 6 day split so appealing.
For those who have good recovery practice, they can capitalize on protein synthesis with a 6 day split.
Muscle protein synthesis (which is a naturally occurring process for repairing muscle and hypertrophy) levels off at around 36-48 hours after a good workout. So, ideally, you could hit the same muscle group every third day and constantly keep that process going while not letting DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) get in the way. This is a lot easier said than done. Again, a good workout formula and good recovery practices (sleep, diet, hydration) are key to achieving this.
Our goal is to teach you how to do this. That said, we really want to stress that our 6 day training split is not for newbies. If you are a beginner, get on one of our 3 day, 4 day or 5 day splits for a couple months.
If you are still unsure whether a 6 day split is right for you, just think about the following points:
If you have the time, dedication (it can be a challenge to stay consistent with both workouts and recovery when training 6 days a week), youthfulness, and experience, and you want to get into the best shape of your life, then a 6 day split can be great.
It depends on whether you are adequately recovering between workouts for each muscle group, how intense your workouts are, how long your sessions are, are you doing any other kind of training (sports, running, yoga, etc). It really just depends.
If you are doing effective workouts, pretty much just sticking to weight lifting, and you are recovery properly, then it’s perfectly fine to lift 6 days per week...
But you need the right plan (which we have for you below). It needs to be designed in a way that is intense and effective enough to see great results yet allows each muscle group enough recovery time. This takes a much more fine tuned balance between the two than it does with 3 or 4 day splits.
If you enjoy lifting, then you can make it work. A lot of people love lifting 6 days a week because it makes them feel great!
However, one big issue is it’s not always obvious whether you getting enough rest. Your lifestyle will really determine if lifting 6 days a week is good for you. This includes your eating habits, sleep schedule, and stress.
If you are not eating well, sleeping well, you are stressed from work, and you are lifting damn near every day for long workout sessions, it will be a recipe for disaster, or in other words, overtraining.
The most common signs of overtraining are:
Some people may even experience a loss of sex drive, insomnia, depression, reduced appetite, and the list goes on.
Needless to say, this is completely counterproductive. It’s far worse than undertraining.
If you feel you are overtraining, you need to take a rest from lifting. Even advanced trainees will experience overtraining, as lifestyle changes can creep up on you.
The best way to avoid overtraining is to choose the right workout split that works with your lifestyle. And if you do decide to do a 6 day workout split, then take 1-2 weeks off from training every 8-12 weeks. This is called periodization and it’s vital to avoiding overtraining, no matter what fitness level you are.
When it comes to lifting 6 days a week, recovery becomes even more paramount (albeit, it’s important for all workout splits).
Diet: You need to eat healthy foods with the right macros and micros. High protein and adequate fats and carbs are essential.
Sleep: The average adults needs 7-8 hours of sleep, but that’s not factoring in intense workouts. If you are lifting 6 days per week, you need to bump that up to 9 hours ideally if you want to recovery in time for your next workout. Sleep is ESSENTIAL.
Hydration: Hydration is just as important as eating, and on so many levels. You need to be drinking at least one ounce per half pound of bodyweight each day. So, if you weigh 200lbs, you need 100 ounces of water (or 3 liters)...and even that’s a little low.
Stress: Stress is killer on the immune system and a healthy immune system is vital to recovery. So, do everything you can do reduce stress and keep your immune system strong. Lifting will lower your immune system as it is so taxing on your body, so you need to combat this with great recovery!
The best supplements you can take if you are a serious lifter who trains 6 days a week is protein powder and creatine. Protein powder is often needed to supplement your diet so that you are getting enough protein intake and creatine will help you with performance and recovery on so many levels. All other supplements are unnecessary if your diet is on point. That said, you can take multivitamins as well if you feel the need or you are on a special diet (i.e. vegan diet).
Your workouts should last no longer than 60 minutes, which includes warm up and warm up sets. This is the perfect time zone for a metabolic workout, which is what you want for hypertrophy and fat loss.
You workout should consist of mainly compound exercises, with one or two main lifts per workout, followed by accessory compound lifts, and if there's time and it's needed, some isolation work.
All in all, if you have good training experience, you can lift 5-6 days per week (7 days is just an overkill for most, unless it's done right) and if you are more of a beginner, keep it to 3-4 days per week.
If you are a beginner and you really want to train 6 days per week, do cardio, HIIT or bodyweight training a couple times per week rather than lifting every day. Lifting heavy weights is more taxing on your body. Spend a day or two doing yoga or focusing on movement skills like agility, speed, etc. It doesn’t always have to be a lifting day. Work on being well-rounded and building a solid foundation of fitness. Then, when you are truly ready, you can give a 6 day lifting split a try for 4-12 weeks.
For those who are ready for a 6 day workout split, and who can do it properly, here are some of the rewards you will reap.
The benefits of a 6 day split will vary based on what kind of 6 day split you are doing.
If you are doing a 6 day split that has you training each muscle group two or three times per week, that would be the main benefit of that particular 6 day split - maximizing frequency. Studies show training each muscle group twice a week is best for hypertrophy.
If you are doing a 6 day split that train each muscle group once a week, that means your volume is spread out across the week. This may be a benefit for certain people who like to really hone in on one muscle group each workout to maximize intensity.
As for overall benefits of training 6 days a week, you workouts will not need to be so high volume so you can get in and out of the gym (45-60 mins)...and...you can train 6 days a week! Once the habit for exercising is built, it becomes addicting and something to look forward to, so for a lot of people, the more they can train, the better!
Finally, a 6 day split allows for multiple variations of splits. You can create a 6 day split in many different ways and for many different goals - strength, hypertrophy, powerbuilding, fat loss, etc. So you can change up the plan every training cycle (4-12 weeks) and still workout 6 days a week.
On that note, here are some examples of different 6 day workout splits.
6 Day Workout Split PPL
Day 1: Push
Day 2: Pull
Day 3: Legs
Day 4: Push
Day 5: Pull
Day 6: Legs
Day 7: Rest
Day 1: Push
Day 2: Pull
Day 3: Legs
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Push
Day 6: Pull
Day 7: Legs
Day 8: Rest
6 Day Workout Split Upper/Lower
Day 1: Upper (strength)
Day 2: Lower (strength)
Day 3: Upper (hypertrophy)
Day 4: Lower (hypertrophy)
Day 5: Upper (endurance)
Day 6: Lower (endurance)
Day 7: Rest
Note: You can move the rest day to any day. Also, you can focus your upper and lower days on any goal you’d like.
6 Day Workout Split Arnold
Day 1: Chest & Back
Day 2: Legs
Day 3: Shoulders & Arms
Day 4: Rest
This is a 3 days on, 1 day off, so essentially a 6 day training split.
6 Day Workout Split Bro Split
Day 1: Chest & Tricep
Day 2: Back & Bicep
Day 3: Shoulders & Calves
Day 4: Legs & Glutes
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Chest & Tricep
Day 7: Back & Bicep
Day 8: Shoulders & Calves
Day 9: Legs & Glutes
Day 10: Rest
Day 11: Chest & Tricep
Day 12: Back & Bicep
Day 13: Shoulders & Calves
Day 14: Legs & Glutes
This is your typical bro split with just one rest day after all muscles have been worked.
As you can see, on the two week scale, you’ve trained each muscle group 3 times. So, the “6 Day Bro Split” allows for a little higher muscle frequency than the more standard 5 day bro split, yet it still allows for plenty of rest time between each muscle group.
6 Day Workout Split Athlete Routine
Day 1: Upper
Day 2: Lower
Day 3: Bodyweight HIIT or Cardio & Core & Movement Practice (agility, explosiveness, speed)
Day 4: Rest
WHAT ABOUT CORE/ABS?
While core wasn’t listed, you should obviously be hitting your core. The thing is, though, if you are doing big compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, bench press and military press, your core will be getting plenty of work. So, you won’t need to spend an entire workout on core. Just add one or two core exercises to the end of your workouts two to three times a week.
The best core exercises to add to the end of a workout are:
WHAT ABOUT CARDIO?
Cardio can be done at your discretion. You may choose to do cardio after your workouts on some days or in the mornings. Cardio is optional. Cardio should be done if you have cardiovascular health goals and/or you want to burn calories, as weight training doesn't hold a candle to cardio in terms of calorie burn.
The best 6 day workout split is arguably the Push Pull Legs 6 Day Split, which was the first option we listed above. It allows you to hit each muscle group twice a week and it’s super efficient because you are training muscles that work together at the same time, and thus the next workout session will focus on opposing muscles groups that have no conflict in terms of recovery.
Overall, it is efficient and it facilitates recovery better than other body part splits.
If this doesn’t make sense, let us explain a little better...
With a split like the Bro Split, you have chest and triceps on day 1 and then shoulders on day 3, that only gives you on rest day between muscle groups that are often involved in the same exercise (i.e. bench press uses the shoulders and overhead presses uses the upper chest). The Arnold split has the same issue. You really have to be a beast on recovery mode to get good results with these splits, whereas the Push Pull Legs split gives you the most possible rest time and frequency for your muscle groups based on 6 workouts per week. Moreover, you can even do a rest day after every one PPL, rather than after every two PPLs.
SO, our ULTIMATE 6 DAY SPLIT is the PPL 6 Day Split. That is the workout plan we have for you today.
Now, if you prefer another 6 day split, no worries, we are going to cover the most important exercises for each muscle group and discuss other things like rep schemes and volume so you can create your own 6 day split. But, if you decide to do our recommenced 6 Day PPL Split, then you will have the exact plan laid out for you below.
MAIN MUSCLE GROUPS:
We recommend doing a couple core exercises after your workout on either Push or Pull Days.
Note: Although the rear delts are a shoulder muscle, it is a primary mover for pulling not pushing, so the rear delts will be targeted on pull days.
Here are the main exercises (with the primary mover or movers in parenthesis)
Accessory exercises are either assistance compound lifts or isolation exercises. These should be done after your main compound exercise.
Here are some of the best ones...
Push, Pull and Leg days have two main compound exercises as you can see. These main lifts require high strength and energy levels and are equally important. They should be done at the beginning of your workout. But, you will not do both on the same day. As such, you will split your weekly routine as such:
A and B will have one of the main lifts, so...
PUSH A - Bench Press
PULL A - Pull Ups
LEGS A - Deadlifts
PUSH B - Standing Overhead Press
PULL B - Bent Over Rows
LEGS B - Squats
Pull day is the exception as you can do bent over rows and pull ups on the same day. So, you’ll just be altering which comes first. However, Bench Press, Deadlifts, Squats, and Standing Overhead Barbell Press are all big power movements that can be done for 1RM and will involve the heaviest loads in your entire training program, so they shouldn’t be done on the same day.
As for accessory exercises, you will be doing different ones on A/B days, but you will be doing accessory exercises that target all push, pull and leg muscle groups.
As promised, here is your 6 day workout split - PPL style.
Day 1: Push (A)
Day 2: Pull (A)
Day 3: Legs (A)
Day 4: Push (B)
Day 5: Pull (B)
Day 6: Legs (B)
Day 7: Rest
Day 1: Push (A)
Day 2: Pull (A)
Day 3: Legs (A)
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Push (B)
Day 6: Pull (B)
Day 7: Legs (B)
Day 8: Rest
Choose one and stick with the plan for 6-12 weeks (decide on how many weeks you will do from the start and go the distance!)
Warm Up: Spend approximately 5 minutes doing a dynamic warm before each workout. Focus on the joints and muscles that will be worked on that day.
Warm Up Sets: You will need to do warm up sets that bring you up to your working weight for the main lift at the beginning of your workout. It may take 2-4 sets to warm up to your working weight. Increase the weight with each set, but don’t bring yourself to near failure like you would with a working set. These sets are just to prep your muscles and joints for the heavy working sets.
Barbell Bench Press
2 min rest
|Seated DB Overhead Press||3-4 sets||8-12 reps||90 sec rest|
|Parallel Dips:||3 sets||10-15 reps||60-90 sec rest|
|Flat Bench Flys||3 sets||8-12 reps||60-90 sec rest|
|Lateral DB Raises||3 sets||10-15 reps||60 sec rest|
|Diamond Push Ups||2-3 sets||Max reps||60 sec rest|
|Bent Over Barbell Rows (underhand grip)||4-5 sets||6-10 reps||90-120 sec rest|
|Chin Ups:||3-4 sets||Max full range reps||90 sec rest|
|Rack Pulls||3 sets||5-8 reps||90 sec rest|
|Kroc Rows||3 sets||10-12 reps each side||90 sec rest|
|Seated Close-Grip Rows||3 sets||10-15 reps||60-90 sec rest|
|Bicep Curls||2-3 sets||10-20 reps||60 sec rest|
|Barbell Back Squats||4-5 sets||5-8 reps||2 min rest|
|Barbell Hip Thursts||3-4 sets||6-10 reps||90-120 sec rest|
|RDL||3 sets||8-12 reps||90 sec rest|
|Split Squats||3 sets||8-12 reps each side||90 sec rest|
|Standing Calf Raises||3 sets||12-20 reps||60 sec rest|
|Standing Military Press||4-5 sets||5-10 reps||2 min rest|
|Incline DB Bench Press||3-4 sets||8-12 reps||90-120 sec rest|
|Incline DB Fly||3 sets||8-12 reps||60-90 sec rest|
|Upright Rows||3 sets||8-12 reps||60-90 sec rest|
|Cable Lateral Raises||2 sets||15-20 reps||60 sec rest|
|Tricep Dips x Overhead Rope Extensions||2-3 sets||10-15 reps||60 sec rest|
|Pull Ups||4-5 sets||Max full range reps||90 sec rest|
|Bent Over Barbell Rows||3-4 sets||6-10 reps||90-120 sec rest|
|T-Bar Rows||3 sets||8-12 reps||60-90 sec rest|
|Rear Delt Flys||3-4 sets||10-15 reps||60-90 sec rest|
|Shrugs||3 sets||8-12 reps with 2 sec holds at top||90 sec rest|
|Hammer Curls||2-3 sets||10-15 reps||60 sec rest|
|Barbell Deadlifts||4-5 sets||4-8 reps||2 min rest|
|Front Squat or Leg Press||3-4 sets||8-12 reps||90-120 sec rest|
|Good Mornings||3 sets||10-12 reps||90 sec rest|
|Bulgarian Split Squats||3 sets||8-12 reps each side||90 sec rest|
|Leg Curl x Leg Extension||2 sets||10-15 reps each||60 sec rest|
|Seated or Donkey Calf Raises||3 sets||10-20 reps||60 sec rest|
Core: Either choose 1 core exercise to do at the end of every workout or do 2-3 core exercises for one A and one B workout.
Related: 30 Best Core Exercises
Static Stretching: While weightlifting itself is a form of stretching and mobility training (if you are moving in a full range of motion), static stretching is great for those who need to improve their range of motion and flexibility. Moreover, it can help with recovery. You can do short 5-10 min static stretching sessions after each workout, focusing on the main muscles and joints of that workout, or a couple times a week focusing on the whole body.
Hierarchy of exercises:
No matter what split you choose, always do the big lifts first, then the accessory compound lifts, and finally, isolation exercises.
You will need more energy and strength for your big compound movements as you will be using heavy loads and these are the real result producers, so you want to put your all into them.
Reps & Weight Load:
Generally speaking, here are the goals based on reps & weight load:
That said, you can build pure size in any rep range as long as you are bringing your muscles close to failure. That’s what it takes to build muscle. So, there will be a crossover between all three goals no matter what rep range you work in.
We recommend that you work in all rep ranges to build versatility and well-roundedness.
However, here are the best rep ranges to work in based on the exercises at hand:
The wide rep ranges for each will allow you to progressive overload, perform pyramid schemes, alter weight loads for specific goals, and so on.
For a more in-depth look at optimizing rest time for hypertrophy and strength, check out this article.
Progressive overload involves gradually increasing the intensity of your workouts over the course of your training period. By doing this, you will be able to build muscle or strength because your muscles will be adequately stressed for continual adaptation.
Progressive Overload Methods Include:
If the plan we have for you involves too much volume, you can adjust by making it 3 sets instead of 4, or 2 sets instead of 3, then you can progress by adding sets to the exercises.
Progress should look like this:
Range of Motion ---> Increase Reps ---> Increase Sets ---> Increase Weight Load
So, if the plan has an exercise that calls for 5-8 reps of 4-5 sets. Then you may start with 5-6 reps and eventually work up to 8 reps, then add an additional set, then finally increase the weight load.
Learn all about how to progressive overload.
You should stick with the plan for 8-12 weeks. If you do this, you will see great results starting to occur at week 4. If properly recovering, gains in strength and stamina will be apparent quickly. As for hypertrophy gains, you should definitely see good results after a training cycle (8-12 weeks).
After 8-12 weeks, take a rest period of 1-2 weeks, then start a new plan. You can keep the same plan if you’d like as well, or just make small adjustments like the order of your workout or the rep scheme. For example, you may simply just want to do reps of 10-15 for you big lifts rather than reps of 5-8. You may also want to try different accessory exercises. The most important thing is that you take a week or two off to let your body fully recover from the training cycle and to avoid overtraining. You should be doing this every 8-12 weeks, year round.
You can structure a 6 day bodyweight split exactly like the above splits. You will just be doing bodyweight exercises.
For bodyweight training, you likely need to do high reps to work your muscles to near failure. You will also need to focus on progressive overload methods like decreasing rest time and increasing volume more. But overall, you should see great results with a 6 day bodyweight split. You won’t get massive, but you can get into fantastic shape, building a lean and mean athletic body.
Here are the best bodyweight exercises to focus on:
The list goes on, but the above all are musts in our opinion.
Have questions about 6 day workout splits? Feel free to reach out to us by email or leave a comment below.
Other Training Splits:
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