3 Day Beginner Upper Body/Lower Body Split Routine

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By Alex
Last updated on

This 3 day beginner upper body/lower body split routine is designed for provide the novice lifter with a good variety of exercise choices and extra recovery time to ensure proper recovery. It will develop a solid foundation of strength and build muscle, while teaching good form on basic lifts.

Generally, a quality full body workout routine for beginners (e.g. MYx8, Rippetoe's Starting Strength) is the optimal choice for most beginners. However, there are times when a upper body/lower body split can be more beneficial.

For instance, some beginners may have difficulty recovering between when training each muscle group 3x/week on a full body routine.

A 3 day upper/lower split routine can be perfect for this type of beginner, since it reduces training frequency by half (you hit each body part 1.5x/week, on average).

This routine can also work for beginners who want to perform a greater variety of exercises and do more training volume per workout, than what is possible with full body training.

Beginner Upper Body/Lower Body Split Routine - Template

Week 1Workout A
(Lower Body)
Workout B
(Upper Body)
Workout A
(Lower Body)
Week 2Workout B
(Upper Body)
Workout A
(Lower Body)
Workout B
(Upper Body)

Workout AWorkout B
Squat - 3 x 5Barbell Bench Press - 3 x 5
Step Up - 3 x 5Barbell Bent Over Row - 3 x 5
Deadlift - 3 x 5Barbell Overhead Press - 3 x 5
Barbell Glute Bridge - 3 x 8(Weighted) Pull Up - 3 x 8
Weighted Crunches - 2 x 12Weighted Hyperextensions - 2 x 12

Beginner Upper Body/Lower Body Split Routine - Guidelines

Adhere to these guidelines to maximize your training performance and results:

Warm Up

Perform this warm up routine before every workout. As a beginner, you shouldn't need to do any more than 3 warm up sets for your first exercise. For each exercise after that, you should only need to perform 1-2 warm up sets.

Rest Time Between Sets

Rest no more than 2-3 minutes between sets. That should be enough time to recovery and feel ready do to the next set.

Weight & Progression

The weight should be the same for each set of each exercise. Use the same weight for each work set. The last set should be very difficult to complete, and it’s okay to fail.

Add as much weight as you can per workout as possible, without sacrificing form. You should be able to add about 5 lbs (sometimes 10 lbs) to each major lift, per workout, for at least a couple of months (unless you're having a bad day).

Eventually, your progress will slow and you'll have to add weight every other workout, or every third workout, etc.

Alex from King of the Gym
Hey! My name is Alex and I'm the founder and author of King of the Gym. I've been lifting weights seriously since 2005 in high school when I started a home gym in my parents' basement. I started writing about fitness in 2009. Then, in 2014, I got into writing home gym equipment reviews and I haven't looked back. My current home gym is in my own house and it's constantly growing and evolving. My goal is to help you build the home gym of your dreams! Read more about me here.

2 thoughts on “3 Day Beginner Upper Body/Lower Body Split Routine”

  1. What kind of loading for squats and deads? I do front front squats. Is 80% 1RM a safe load for each one while doing on the same day, would I have to worry about over training? Thanks! I like the simplicity of the program.

    • Hi Kyle, Great question. Yes, 80% of 1RM for 3 sets of 5 should work well. Some people might be able to get away with 85%, but I always err on the side of being more conservative — especially because the idea is to increase the weight over the coming weeks.


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