The Ultimate 7-Day Split Workout Routine That Can Help Build Strength

Understanding this workout routine can help you target and build muscles in all areas of your body to help you achieve your fitness goals.

leg press vs. squat - an example split workout routine

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A split workout is an exercise routine where you divide your training sessions into separate muscle groups or body parts, focusing on specific areas on different days.

Instead of targeting the entire body in a single workout session, you split your training regimen to allow for greater intensity and focus on specific muscles during each session.

Split Workout Routines: What To Know and Example Workout Programs

split workout routines

The purpose of a split workout routine is to allow for more focused training on specific muscles, which can lead to enhanced muscle development, strength gains, and better balance and symmetry.

It also provides ample time for recovery and reduces the risk of overtraining.

Related: 7-Day Strength Training Workout Program For A Leaner And Fitter Body

Basics of a Split Workout

The basics of a split workout program are to divide your training sessions into different muscle groups or body parts.

Below are some key elements to consider when designing a split workout regimen

  • Determine your split
    Choose the type of split that aligns with your goals and preferences.
    As explained below, that could be an upper/lower split, push/pull split, body part split, or any other variation that suits your needs.
  • Frequency
    Decide how many days per week you will be working out. Split workouts usually run for 3-6 days, depending on your schedule and recovery ability.
  • Exercise selection
    Select exercises that target the specific muscle groups or body parts you intend to target during each session.
    Include compound exercises that work on multiple muscles and isolation exercises that target specific muscles.
  • Set and rep schemes
    Determine the number of sets and repetitions you’ll perform for each exercise.
    That can vary based on your goals. A common approach is 3-5 sets of 8-12 repetitions for hypertrophy or muscle growth and 3-6 sets of 4-6 repetitions for strength.
  • Rest periods
    Determine the rest periods between sets and exercises. Rest periods can vary depending on the intensity of your workouts and the weight you’re lifting. Generally, rest for 1-2 minutes between sets and 2-3 minutes between exercises.
  • Progression
    Focus on progressive overload, gradually increasing the weight, reps, or difficulty of your exercises over time to challenge your muscles and stimulate growth.
  • Balance and recovery
    Ensure that your split workout routine provides enough balance between muscle groups and allows for adequate recovery.
    Avoid overtraining. Give each muscle group at least 48 hours of rest before targeting it again.
  • Warm-up and cool-down
    Prioritize warm-up exercises and stretches to prepare your body for the workout and reduce the risk of injury.
    Incorporate cool-down stretches to promote flexibility and aid in recovery.

Split Workout Benefits

example split workout routine - strength building with a medicine ball

Split workouts offer several benefits for exercisers looking to enhance their fitness and achieve specific goals.

  • Targeted Muscle Development
    Split workouts allow you to focus on specific muscles or body parts during each session.
    The targeted approach can help build the muscles more effectively. That can lead to improved muscle definition, size, and strength.
  • Increased Intensity
    Concentrating on specific muscles makes it possible to dedicate more time, energy, and effort to each area.
    The approach can lead to higher training intensity, as you can push yourself harder and perform more volumes of exercises for the targeted muscles.
  • Enhanced Recovery
    Splitting your workouts allow for adequate rest and recovery for specific muscles.
    It reduces the risk of overtraining because of not training every muscle group intensely every day. That gives your body sufficient time to repair and rebuild muscles.
  • Prevent Plateaus
    Splitting your workouts can help overcome training plateaus by introducing variety and new challenges.
    Changing exercises, intensity, and focus continuously allow you to keep your muscles stimulated and progress toward your goals.
  • Improved Focus and Form
    Split workouts allow you to concentrate on a few exercises and muscles during each session.
    That allows for greater focus on proper form, technique, and mind-muscle connection, leading to more effective and safer workouts.
  • Time Efficiency
    Split workouts can be time-efficient, benefitting exercisers with you have limited training time for each session.
    You can divide your training into shorter sessions instead of targeting the entire body in one workout. That lets you focus on specific muscle groups and helps you to maximize your time and effort.
  • Customization and Flexibility
    Split workouts offer the flexibility to tailor your routines based on your goals, preferences, and fitness level.
    You can choose a split that aligns with your needs and adjust exercises, volume, and intensity as required.

Limitations or disadvantages of a split workout

Split workouts have benefits. They have limitations and potential disadvantages as well.

  • Time Commitment
    Split workouts often require extra time commitment compared to full-body sessions.
    Fitting in multiple training sessions for different muscles may be challenging for exercisers with
    a busy schedule or limited time for exercise.
  • Training Frequency
    Split workouts typically involve training each muscle group once or twice per week. This lower frequency may not be optimal for beginners or individuals seeking to build a foundation of overall strength and conditioning.
  • Possible Imbalances
    Poorly designing the split workout regimen without balance can lead to the underdevelopment of some muscles.
    Such a situation can lead to overemphasizing some muscles and neglect of others. That can cause strength and posture imbalances. It can also increase the risk of injuries and impact performance.
  • Challenges to Recovery
    Split workouts allow for targeted muscle recovery but can also lead to extended recovery times for some muscle groups.
    That may be an issue for exercisers with limited recovery capacity or consistently high training intensity.
  • Plateauing Progress
    While split workouts can help overcome training plateaus, they can also contribute to them if not varied. Your progress may stagnate if the routine becomes too repetitive or lacks exercise diversity.
  • Development of Skills and Techniques
    Split workout programs might not be ideal for exercisers who want to improve specific skills or movements, such as Olympic weightlifting or gymnastics.
    These activities require more frequent practice and full-body training to develop the technique, coordination, and power.
  • Mental Fatigue
    Split workouts may lead to mental fatigue or boredom due to the repetitive exercises within each training session.
    Some exercisers may find it more enjoyable to vary their workouts or engage in activities that encompass multiple muscles simultaneously.

Common split workouts

Upper/Lower Split

It involves dividing your workouts into upper-body (chest, back, shoulders, arms) and lower-body (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves) exercises.

Push/Pull Split

The split focuses on exercises that involve pushing (chest, shoulders, triceps) and pulling (back, biceps) movements.
It allows you to target opposing muscle groups and avoid overtraining.

Body Part Split

The split dedicates separate workout sessions to different muscles.
For example, you might have a day dedicated to the chest, another day for the back, another for the legs, and so on.

Three-Day Split

That is where you divide your workouts into three different days, focusing on the upper body, lower body, and a combination of both.

Possible Split Workout Routine Options

man training with a barbell - example split workout routine

Upper/Lower Split:

  • Day 1: Upper Body (Chest, Back, Shoulders, Arms)
  • Day 2: Lower Body (Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves)
  • Day 3: Rest or Cardio
  • Day 4: Upper Body (Chest, Back, Shoulders, Arms)
  • Day 5: Lower Body (Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves)
  • Day 6: Rest or Cardio
  • Day 7: Rest

Push/Pull Split:

  • Day 1: Push (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps)
  • Day 2: Pull (Back, Biceps)
  • Day 3: Legs (Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves)
  • Day 4: Rest or Cardio
  • Day 5: Push (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps)
  • Day 6: Pull (Back, Biceps)
  • Day 7: Rest or Cardio

Body Part Split:

  • Day 1: Chest
  • Day 2: Back
  • Day 3: Shoulders
  • Day 4: Legs
  • Day 5: Arms (Biceps, Triceps)
  • Day 6: Rest or Cardio
  • Day 7: Rest

An Example 3-Day Split Workout

  • Day 1: Upper Body
  • Day 2: Lower Body
  • Day 3: Full Body
  • Day 4: Rest or Cardio
  • Day 5: Upper Body
  • Day 6: Lower Body
  • Day 7: Rest or Cardio

These are just a few examples, and you can customize or modify them based on your preferences, fitness level, and goals.

An Example 7-day split workout program

barbell sumo squat - example split workout training program

Day 1: Chest

Day 2: Back

Day 3: Legs

  • Squats: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Leg Press: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Lunges: 3 sets of 10-12 reps per leg
  • Leg Curls: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Calf Raises: 4 sets of 12-15 reps

Day 4: Shoulders

  • Barbell Shoulder Press: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raises: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Arnold Press: 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Upright Rows: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Rear Delt Flyes: 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Day 5: Arms

  • Barbell Bicep Curls: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Hammer Curls: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Tricep Dips: 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Skull Crushers: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Cable Bicep Curls: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Cable Tricep Pushdowns: 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Day 6: Rest or Active Recovery

  • E.g., light cardio, stretching, yoga

Day 7: Full Body

  • Squats: 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Deadlifts: 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Barbell Bench Press: 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Pull-ups: 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Overhead Press: 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Lunges: 3 sets of 10-12 reps per leg


  • Warm up before starting your working sets and cool down with some stretching afterward on each training day.
  • Adjust the weights and repetitions based on your fitness level and gradually increase them to promote progress.

Pros and cons of the Upper/Lower Split workout


  • Frequency and Recovery
    With an upper/lower split, you can train each muscle group twice a week. That provides a higher training frequency.
    The increased frequency can promote muscle growth and strength gains while allowing for sufficient recovery time.
  • Balanced Muscle Development
    The upper/lower split targets the upper and lower body in separate workouts. That ensures a balanced approach to training as it targets both the upper and lower body separately.
    That can help prevent muscle imbalances and promote symmetry.
  • Time Efficiency
    Upper/lower splits can be time-efficient because they usually involve shorter training sessions focused on specific muscles.
    That can benefit exercisers with limited time for each workout.
  • Variety and Exercise Selection
    The upper/lower split allows for several exercise options for each muscle.
    You can incorporate compound movements, isolation exercises, and variations to spice up your workouts and avoid monotony.


  • Limited Focus on Specific Muscles
    Unlike body part splits, where you dedicate entire sessions to individual muscle groups, the upper/lower split might not provide as much volume and focus on specific muscles.
    That may make it challenging to target specific muscle groups or areas you want to prioritize.
  • Intensity and Volume
    It might be challenging to perform a high volume of exercises for each muscle due to the need to train multiple muscle groups in each session.
    Exercisers requiring or preferring higher volume workouts or having specific strength or hypertrophy goals may need different split routines.
  • Recovery Challenges
    While the upper/lower split allows for sufficient recovery time, it may still pose challenges if you have limited recovery capacity or find it difficult to recover from higher-frequency workouts. Monitoring your recovery and adjusting the intensity and volume is crucial.
  • Individual Preference
    The upper/lower split may not suit everyone’s preferences. Some individuals might prefer the focus and specialization of body part splits or the variety and division of other split routines.
    Ensure you choose a split workout that aligns with your goals and personal preferences.

Pros and cons of the Push/Pull Split workout


  • Balanced Training
    The Push/Pull Split ensures a balanced approach to training by dividing exercises into pushing and pulling movements (back, biceps).
    That can help promote muscle symmetry and reduce the risk of muscle imbalances.
  • Efficient Use of Time
    The Push/Pull Split allows you to work multiple muscle groups in each session. That can make your workouts more time-efficient.
    Grouping exercises based on their movement patterns allows you to train complimentary muscle groups in the same workout.
  • Recovery and Frequency
    The Push/Pull Split allows sufficient recovery time for the targeted muscles.
    Alternating between pushing and pulling movements allows you to train more frequently while giving the muscles adequate time to rest and recover.
  • Exercise Variation
    The Push/Pull Split offers several exercise options for pushing and pulling movements.
    The variety can help keep your workouts engaging and prevent boredom, as you can incorporate different exercises and variations to target the muscles from various angles.


  • Limited Focus on Individual Muscles
    The Push/Pull Split ensures balanced training, but it may not provide the same level of focus and volume on individual muscles as body part splits do.
  • Potential Overlapping
    Some exercises, such as compound movements like bench presses or rows, involve pushing and pulling elements.
    It can be challenging to categorize these exercises strictly as a push or a pull, which might confuse exercise selection.
  • Fatigue Accumulation
    Fatigue can accumulate over time if the intensity and volume of your Push/Pull Split workouts are too high or if your recovery capacity is limited. It is best to monitor your body’s response, adjust the intensity, and ensure proper recovery to avoid overtraining.
  • Individual Preference
    The Push/Pull Split might not suit everyone’s preferences.
    Some exercisers might prefer the specialization of body part splits or the division of other split routines.
    Choose a split workout that aligns with your goals, preferences, and specific needs.

Pros and Cons of the Body Part Split Workout


  • Targeted Muscle Development
    The Body Part Split allows you to dedicate entire workout sessions to specific muscles.
    The focused approach can benefit exercisers wanting to prioritize the development of individual muscles or address specific weaknesses.
  • Volume and Intensity
    You can perform several exercises within a single session for each muscle with the Body Part Split.
    That can lead to higher metabolic stress and muscle damage, which may contribute to muscle growth and strength gains.
  • Exercise Variation
    The Body Part Split allows several exercise options and variations to target specific muscles. The variety can help keep your workouts engaging, prevent plateaus, and introduce new challenges to help stimulate muscle growth.
  • Specialization and Weak Point Training
    The Body Part Split allows you to tailor your training to help target specific muscles you want to bring up to par or weak areas you intend to address.


  • Lower Training Frequency
    A drawback of the Body Part Split is its lower training frequency.
    You usually train each muscle group only once a week.
    That may not be optimal for beginners or athletes who want more frequent stimuli to promote muscle growth.
  • Longer Workout Sessions
    Since each workout session focuses on a specific muscle group, the duration of the sessions can be longer compared to other split routines.
    That can be challenging if you have limited time for each workout or prefer shorter, more frequent training sessions.
  • Potential Muscle Imbalances
    Not balancing the body part split workout or neglecting some muscles can lead to muscle imbalances.
    Aim to design a well-rounded program that includes exercises for all major muscle groups to maintain symmetry and functional strength.
  • Challenges with Recovery
    Intense workouts targeting specific muscles can place more stress on those muscles.
    Adequate recovery and rest are crucial for muscle repair and growth.
    Insufficient or limited recovery capacity can lead to overtraining or increased risk of injury.
  • Plateauing Progress
    Unlike split routines, the Body Part Split may have a higher risk of plateauing progress.
    Focusing on specific muscles in each session can make it challenging to progress. It can also impede muscle growth, especially if your training stagnates or lacks variety.

Pros and Cons of the Three-Day Split Workout


  • Balanced Training
    The Three-Day Split allows you to balance your training by incorporating upper-body, lower-body, and full-body sessions.
    The approach ensures you target different muscles and movement patterns, helping to promote muscle development and symmetry.
  • Training Frequency
    You train each muscle group at least once a week with the Three-Day Split.
    This frequency can benefit beginners or exercisers who prefer a lower training frequency while providing sufficient stimulus for muscle growth and strength gains.
  • Recovery and Adaptation
    The Three-Day Split allows for adequate recovery time between sessions.
    That allows your body to repair and adapt to the training stimulus, promoting muscle growth, strength gains, and improved performance.
  • Flexibility and Customization
    The Three-Day Split offers flexibility to customize the workouts based on individual goals and preferences. You can choose exercises, volume, and intensity levels that suit your needs and adjust the program as you progress.


  • Limited Training Volume
    Unlike other split routines, the Three-Day Split may provide a lower overall training volume for each muscle group.
    That may be a disadvantage for exercisers seeking high-volume training or advanced athletes targeting specific muscles for hypertrophy.
  • Longer Workout Sessions
    The duration of the workouts can be longer since each session targets multiple muscles, compared to other split routines.
    Exercisers with limited time for each session or prefer shorter, more focused workouts may find that challenging.
  • Potential Fatigue and Recovery Challenges
    Training multiple muscle groups within each session can accumulate fatigue over time, especially if the intensity and volume are high. Monitoring recovery and adjusting the program to give you adequate rest and recovery is crucial to prevent overtraining and optimize results.
  • Exercise Selection and Variety
    You have fewer workout sessions with a Three-Day Split.
    That means you may need to choose exercises strategically. That will ensure you target all major muscle groups adequately. Include compound exercises and variations for a well-rounded program.
  • Limited Specialization
    The Three-Day Split may not be the best choice for exercisers who want to specialize in specific muscles or address particular weaknesses.
    Unlike the body part splits that dedicate separate sessions to individual muscle groups, it offers less specialization.

Designing a Split Workout that Works for You

example split workout routine

Consider the following factors when designing a split workout that works for you.

  • Your Fitness Goals
    Clearly define your fitness goals.
    That could be building muscle, increasing strength, improving endurance, or enhancing overall fitness.
    Your goals will influence the emphasis and focus of your split workout routines.
  • Training Experience and Fitness Level
    Consider your training experience and current fitness level.
    Novices may benefit from a simple split routine, focusing on foundational movements and conditioning, while more advanced athletes might require higher training volume and intensity.
  • Available Time
    Assess the amount of time you can dedicate to your workouts.
    Split workout routines can vary in duration, with some requiring more time than others.
    Choose a split workout program that fits your schedule and allows you to commit to the training.
  • Training Frequency
    Determine how frequently you want to train each muscle group or movement pattern.
    Options range from training muscle groups once to multiple times per week.
    Consider your recovery capacity, goals, and personal preferences when deciding on the training frequency.
  • Exercise Selection
    Select exercises that target different muscles and movement patterns.
    Include compound exercises that engage multiple muscle groups and isolation exercises to target specific muscles.
    Ensure your exercise selection aligns with your goals and addresses any specific weaknesses or imbalances.
  • Balance and Symmetry
    Strive for a balanced split routine that targets all major muscle groups and movement patterns. Avoid overemphasizing some muscles while neglecting others.
    The balance promotes symmetry, reduces the risk of muscle imbalances, and supports overall functional fitness.
  • Recovery and Rest Days
    Allow sufficient time for rest and recovery between workouts. You may have specific rest days or active recovery days.
    Adequate recovery is crucial for muscle repair, growth, and injury prevention.
  • Progression and Variation
    Incorporate progression and exercise variation into your split workout program.
    Gradually increase the intensity, volume, or resistance to challenge your muscles and stimulate progress.
    Regularly modify exercises, rep ranges, and training techniques to avoid plateaus and keep your workouts engaging.
  • Individual Preferences and Enjoyment
    Choose a split workout routine that aligns with your personal preferences and enjoyment.
    You are more likely to stay consistent and motivated if you enjoy the exercises and the structure of your routine.
  • Seek Professional Guidance
    Consider consulting a fitness professional or trainer if you are not unsure about designing a split workout on your own.

Final words from LiveLIfe

A well-designed split workout program should be a detailed strength training routine that helps you target muscles in all areas of your body.

The best split workout routine that works for you is the one that allows you to target the intended muscles to help you achieve your fitness goals.

Remember that designing a split workout is a dynamic process that requires adjustments over time.

Listen to your body, track your progress, and be open to modifying your split workout routine as needed to ensure continued success and optimal results.

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  2. Kerksick CM, Wilborn CD, Campbell BI, et al. Early-Phase Adaptations to a Split-Body, Linear Periodization Resistance Training Program in College-Aged and Middle-Aged Men. J Strength Cond Res. 2009;23(3):962-997. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181a00baf
  3. Bartolomei S, Nigro F, Malagoli Lanzoni I, Masina F, Di Michele R, Hoffman JR. A Comparison Between Total Body and Split Routine Resistance Training Programs in Trained Men. J Strength Cond Res. 2021;35(6):1520-1526. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000003573
  4. Schoenfeld BJ, Grgic J, Krieger J. How many times per week should a muscle be trained to maximize muscle hypertrophy? A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies examining the effects of resistance training frequency. J Sports Sci. 2019;37(11):1286-1295. doi:10.1080/02640414.2018.1555906
  5. Krzysztofik M, Wilk M, Wojdała G, Gołaś A. Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019;16(24):4897. doi:10.3390/ijerph16244897

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