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6 Day Split Workout – The Complete Guide (2022)

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A 6 day split is a training approach where you perform six weekly training sessions and only rest for one day. The high-frequency program offers numerous benefits and works well for trainees looking to build strength and muscle more quickly. But, given its demanding nature, a 6 day split comes with some drawbacks, and anyone interested in working out six times per week needs to be aware of the potential problems.

One notable benefit of a 6 day split is that you can organize your training in multiple ways, including through the principles of a push/pull/legs routine. Having more frequent workouts allows you to spread your weekly training volume more evenly, resulting in shorter and less demanding sessions. 

Unfortunately, working out six days each week might not be sustainable for most people, especially those with a busy schedule or people new to weight training. Such individuals might benefit from a less demanding approach, like a 4-day split.

What are the Benefits of the 6 Day Split?

A notable benefit of the 6 day split is that you can train all major muscle groups the recommended two times per week (1). Regardless of your approach, working out six times provides plenty of opportunities to stimulate your muscles adequately and promote growth. 

Another benefit of the approach is that you can do plenty of exercises and sets without spending that much time in the gym during each session. For example, people interested in doing more volume for their chest muscles (say, 20 sets per week) can split that work across two sessions and finish quicker. The same applies to all muscle groups because more workouts mean you can do more sets and promote better muscle growth. Keep track of your sets and progress with the Hevy Workout Tracker.

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Similarly, having six weekly workouts means each one is less demanding. For instance, people who cannot commit to more than three weekly workouts have to do more sets and exercises per session, leading to more fatigue and significant muscle soreness. In contrast, people training six days per week accumulate enough volume within 40 to 60 minutes, experience smaller drops in performance, and keep soreness at bay.

The third notable advantage of a 6 day split is that it works great for strength gains. You have more opportunities to train the primary lifts (bench press, squat, etc.), and you don’t have to push yourself as hard during each session (2). As a result, you maintain your performance across all sets, get quality practice done, and are less likely to become overtrained or experience technique breakdown due to fatigue. You can include some assistance and isolation work alongside the primary compound lifts and stimulate hypertrophy while improving your strength numbers.

Is the 6 Day Split An Effective Workout? 

A 6 day split can be effective if you understand how to set it up correctly. For one, it’s easy to train all major muscle groups two to three times per week. Second, you can accumulate the necessary training volume for optimal growth without spending over an hour at the gym each time (3). 

The third notable benefit is that each workout is less demanding, and you don’t feel as tired when you’re done. You also experience less significant muscle soreness because you’re training your muscles more frequently. 

On top of that, working out six times per week means you can practice the core lifts (squats, bench press, deadlift, etc.) more frequently, leading to quicker and more predictable strength gains (2). For instance, you can perform the squat, bench press, and deadlift twice per week, starting each workout with one of the three movements. You can pair these core lifts with assistance and isolation work and finish in 40 to 45 minutes.

man standing full front squat barbell

Many people wonder if a 6 day split would help them make quicker strength and muscle gains. To determine that, we have to answer a couple of questions:

1. Can you train six days every week? 
You might be motivated to level up your training and make real progress but ask yourself if you can stick with six weekly workouts. Trainees often believe they can, but life obligations tend to get in the way and ruin our gym momentum.

2. How experienced are you?
Beginners are often eager to jump on a demanding training program and make fast gym progress. The problem is that six weekly workouts can be physically and mentally draining, especially for people unaccustomed to structured exercise. It would be best to start with a more moderate approach unless you have years of experience and have experimented with a 5-day split.

A 6 day split is most suited for younger people with enough free time and plenty of training experience. The 6 day approach is also best used during bulking periods, where you consume more calories than you burn, aiming to gain weight and increase your muscle mass. Hitting the gym six times while dieting to lose fat will quickly lead to recovery issues. Plus, you don’t need that much training volume to maintain your muscle, and a simple upper/lower split might work better then. 

Is it Okay to Workout 6 Days a Week?

While most people focus solely on the training side of the equation, proper recovery is equally as crucial for muscle growth. Training stresses your muscles, joints, bones, connective tissues, and central nervous system, causing you to leave the gym in a weaker and more compromised state. But, given the time to recover, your body adapts to the stress by getting stronger. 

The most practical way to ensure better recovery is to introduce rest days between workouts. For instance, when following the 5×5 program, you train three times per week and have four recovery days. Doing so allows you to cause a growth stimulus and gives you ample time to repair muscle damage and adapt, leading to steady progress.

An issue with 6 day splits is that you only have one recovery day for every six workouts, making you more likely to run into recovery issues.

As discussed in the previous point, a 6 day split would best suit young people with enough free time and plenty of training experience. Folks doing such a demanding split should also maintain a calorie surplus to support growth and recovery (4).

Another helpful tactic for limiting fatigue and reducing the risk of overtraining is keeping your workouts shorter. Even if you hit the gym daily, you won’t get as tired, and sticking with workouts won’t feel that demanding. For instance, if your workouts last around 75 minutes when training four times per week, you can add it up and divide by six to determine how long they should be on a 6 day split. 

75 * 4 = 300 minutes (five hours)
300 minutes / 6 = 50 minutes per session on a 6 day split

You would be working out more frequently but keeping your overall training length the same.

Essential for Proper Recovery: 

  • Calorie surplus: eat more calories than you burn, aiming for steady weight gain each month. Doing so is essential for providing your body with the energy it needs for optimal recovery (4).
  • Protein intake: consume 0.7 to 1 grams of protein per pound of body weight (5). The nutrient supplies your body with the building blocks (amino acids) it needs to repair muscle and develop individual muscle fibers.
  • Sleep: get at least seven hours of sleep per night to promote muscle protein synthesis, maintain good health, and recover better after demanding workouts (6).
  • Limit workout duration: avoid doing incredibly long workouts, especially when you first start doing a 6 day split. Keep workout length in check by following our instructions from above.

Workout recovery on a 6 day split can be tricky, and the approach is certainly not for everyone. Our tactics from above will put you in the best possible position for high-frequency training, good recovery, and steady progress.

6 Day Split: Pros and Cons 

Now that we’ve covered some of the major points related to 6 day splits, it’s time to outline the most notable pros and cons you can expect. Read these to determine if a 6 day program would work or if you’d be better off with something else.

Pros

  • You get to train all major muscle groups two to three times per week, depending on how you choose to schedule your sessions (1)
  • The approach is excellent for strength gains because you can practice the core lifts two, three, or even four times per week (2)
  • A 6 day split workout allows you to spread out your weekly sets, resulting in shorter and less demanding sessions
  • Having six workouts ensures that you’re doing the optimal number of sets for optimizing muscle hypertrophy (3)
  • You can schedule a 6 day split by leveraging the principles behind push/pull/legs, upper/lower, bro (body part) splits, and more
  • Following a 6 day split makes it easier to establish working out as a habit and something that’s part of your days

Cons

  • Committing to six weekly workouts can turn into a considerable burden, and not everyone has the necessary discipline to hit the gym daily
  • Working out six days per week might not be sustainable for people with busy schedules and those who often travel for work 
  • Training six times per week means you only get one recovery day, making you more likely to burn out or become overtrained
  • Your programming must be perfect to ensure good recovery
  • You’re more likely to get injured down the line simply because you’re placing more stress on your joints and connective tissues
  • Peaking (gradually increasing intensity to ensure optimal performance on a specific day) and tapering (lowering training volumes before competitions) are more challenging to pull off when training six days per week

What to Consider when Choosing your Workout Plan?

Choosing the right workout plan can be challenging. You must consider many variables, take your lifestyle into account, and be honest about what you can sustain in the long run.

Considerations:

  • Schedule. You must look at your life and determine what training program you can do. Many people would love to train five or six times per week, but working a job, raising children, traveling for work, and other obligations might get in the way.
  • Fitness level. A beginner simply doesn’t need to train six days per week to make optimal progress. Intermediate-level trainees can also benefit from a lower-frequency approach. The only people who should consider a 6 day split are advanced and elite-level trainees.
  • Life stress. Stress impacts your recovery, energy levels, and motivation. Adding too much extra tension in the form of a 6 day split can lead to burnout. Be honest and determine if you can handle the significant responsibility.
  • Training goals. Do you want to lose some fat, build muscle, get stronger, or improve your fitness? A 6 day approach is useful for advanced people who want to make steady muscle and strength gains.
  • Nutrition. Are you currently in a calorie surplus and gaining weight steadily? If not, do you plan on eating more while training six days per week?
  • Recoverability. How would you rate your overall ability to recover from training? Can you honestly return to the gym day after day, or do you often need a day of recovery after a demanding training session?

There are many training approaches, and you don’t ‘have to’ follow a 6 day split if you think it isn’t for you. Other fantastic options include the 5×5 program, bro split, upper/lower, and push/pull/legs program.

6 Day Split workouts: Structures  

Push Pull Legs Workout – 6 Day Split

A 6 day push/pull/legs split is one where you do each workout two times per week. Train your chest, shoulders, and triceps on push sessions, back and biceps on pull sessions, and all lower body muscles during legs.

Level: Advanced

Day 1: PushDay 2: PullDay 3: Legs 
Bench Press (Dumbbell)
3 sets of 8 to 10 reps
Arnold Press (Dumbbell)
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps
Triceps Rope Pushdown
3 sets of 12 to 15 reps
Lateral Raise (Dumbbell)
2-3 sets of 12 to 20 reps
Butterfly (Pec Deck)
2-3 sets of 15 to 20 reps
Bent Over Row (Barbell)
3 sets of 8 to 10 reps
Lat Pulldown (Cable)
3 sets of 10 to 15 reps
Bicep Curl (Machine)
2-3 sets of 12 to 15 reps
Face Pull
2-3 sets of 15 to 25 reps
Squat (Barbell)
3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Romanian Deadlift (Dumbbell)
3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
Leg Extension (Machine)
3 sets of 12 to 20 reps
Standing Calf Raise (Machine)
2-3 sets of 15 to 20 reps 
Day 4: PushDay 5: PullDay 6: Legs 
Seated Overhead Press (Barbell)
3 sets of 8 to 10 reps
Chest Dip
3 sets of 5 to 15 reps
Skullcrusher (Dumbbell)
2-3 sets of 10 to 15 reps
Front Raise (Cable)
2-3 sets of 12 to 20 reps
Inverted Row
3 sets of 5 to 15 reps
Seated Cable Row
3 sets of 10 to 15 reps
Dumbbell Row
2-3 sets of 10 to 15 reps
Plate Curl
2-3 sets of 12 to 15 reps
Hip Thrust (Barbell)
3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Lunge (Dumbbell)
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps (per leg)
Lying Leg Curl (Machine)
3 sets of 12 to 15 reps
Seated Calf Raise
2-3 sets of 10 to 12 reps 

Schedule:
Monday – Push
Tuesday – Pull
Wednesday – Legs
Thursday – Push
Friday – Pull
Saturday – Legs
Sunday – Off (Rest Day)

Arnold Schwarzenegger Workout Routines – 6 Day Split

The following is an advanced training split Arnold Schwarzenegger followed during his pro bodybuilding days.

Level: Advanced

Day 1: Chest & BackDay 2: Shoulders & ArmsDay 3: Legs & Lower Back
Bench Press
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps 
Incline Bench Press
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Dumbbell Pullovers
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Chin Up
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Bent Over Row
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Deadlift
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Crunches
5 sets of up to 25 reps
Barbell Clean and Press
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Dumbbell Lateral Raise
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Upright Row
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Military Press
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Standing Barbell Curl
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Seated Dumbbell Curl
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Close Grip Bench Press
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Standing Barbell Tricep Extension
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Wrist Curls
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Reverse Wrist Curls
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Reverse Crunch
5 sets of up to 25 reps
Squat
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Lunge
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Leg Curl
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Stiff Leg Deadlift
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Good Mornings
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Standing Calf Raise
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Crunches
5 sets of up to 25 reps
Day 4: Chest and BackDay 5: Shoulders and ArmsDay 6: Legs and Lower Back
Bench Press
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps 
Incline Bench Press
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Dumbbell Pullovers
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Chin Up
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Bent Over Row
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Deadlift
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Crunches
5 sets of up to 25 reps
Barbell Clean and Press
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Dumbbell Lateral Raise
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Upright Row
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Military Press
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Standing Barbell Curl
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Seated Dumbbell Curl
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Close Grip Bench Press
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Standing Barbell Tricep Extension 3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Wrist Curls
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Reverse Wrist Curls
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Reverse Crunch
5 sets of up to 25 reps
Squat
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Lunge
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Leg Curl
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Stiff Leg Deadlift
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Good Mornings
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Standing Calf Raise
3-4 sets of up to 10 reps
Crunches
5 sets of up to 25 reps

Schedule:
Monday – Chest & Back
Tuesday – Shoulders & Arms
Wednesday – Legs &Lower Back
Thursday – Chest & Back
Friday – Shoulders & Arms
Saturday – Legs & Lower Back
Sunday – Off (Rest day)

Upper/Lower – 6 Day Split

A 6 day upper/lower split is one where you perform three upper and three lower-body workouts. 

Level: Advanced

Day 1: UpperDay 2: LowerDay 3: Upper
Bench Press (Dumbbell)
3 sets of 8 to 10 reps
Seated Overhead Press (Barbell)
3 sets of 8 to 10 reps
Inverted Row
3 sets of 5 to 15 reps
Triceps Rope Pushdown
3 sets of 12 to 15 reps
Lat Pulldown (Cable)
3 sets of 10 to 15 reps
Plate Curl
2-3 sets of 12 to 15 reps
Squat (Barbell)
3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Romanian Deadlift (Dumbbell)
3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
Standing Calf Raise (Machine)
2-3 sets of 15 to 20 reps 
Arnold Press (Dumbbell)
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps
Chest Dip
3 sets of 5 to 15 reps
Seated Cable Row
3 sets of 10 to 15 reps
Lateral Raise (Dumbbell)
2-3 sets of 12 to 20 reps
Bicep Curl (Machine)
2-3 sets of 12 to 15 reps
Day 4: LowerDay 5: UpperDay 6: Lower
Hip Thrust (Barbell)
3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Leg Extension (Machine)
3 sets of 12 to 20 reps
Glute Ham Raise
2-3 sets of 10 to 15 reps
Bent Over Row (Barbell)
3 sets of 8 to 10 reps
Butterfly (Pec Deck)
2-3 sets of 15 to 20 reps
Dumbbell Row
2-3 sets of 10 to 15 reps
Skullcrusher (Dumbbell)
2-3 sets of 10 to 15 reps
Front Raise (Cable)
2-3 sets of 12 to 20 reps
Face Pull
2-3 sets of 15 to 25 reps
Lunge (Dumbbell)
3 sets of 10 to 12 reps (per leg)
Lying Leg Curl (Machine)
3 sets of 12 to 15 reps
Seated Calf Raise
2-3 sets of 10 to 12 reps 

Schedule:
Monday – Upper
Tuesday – Lower
Wednesday – Upper
Thursday – Lower
Friday – Upper
Saturday – Lower
Sunday – Off (Rest day)

Combining Muscles Groups for the 6 Day Split

An advantage of 6 day splits is that you can program your training in various ways and combine synergist muscle groups. One notable example is putting together the chest, shoulders, and triceps in the same workout. These three muscle groups work together on all pressing movements and develop evenly. 

The back and biceps are another excellent option for pairing muscle groups. Both contribute during ‘pull’ exercises and develop well as a result. You can do a few back-specific exercises and finish your sessions with bicep isolation movements.

A push/pull/legs workout routine is by no means the only way to program your training, but it closely adheres to the rules of synergist muscle groups and makes it easy to put together good workouts.

Final Thoughts on the 6 Day Workout Split 

A 6 day split is one of many training approaches people can use to build muscle, get stronger, and improve their fitness. As its name suggests, such a split is designed to have you train six times per week, offering numerous benefits. Try the Hevy App to log your workouts and keep you on track with the 6 day split.

Hevy – Workout Tracker

Create your own 6 day split with Hevy, and track your progress – for free

One notable benefit of 6 day splits is that you can spread your weekly training across more sessions, making each less challenging. Doing so is also beneficial for performing better on each set and keeping muscle soreness at bay. A 6 day split is also great for gaining momentum and making regular training a part of your everyday life.

But, just as the split offers benefits, it also has drawbacks. One notable example is that committing to six weekly workouts can be physically and mentally draining, especially for people who aren’t used to structured training. Recovery days are necessary for your body to repair the training-related damage and adapt positively.

A 6 day split is best suited for younger athletes with plenty of training experience. Training daily can make it challenging to recover, so eating enough calories, getting your daily protein, sleeping well, and managing stress is essential. Still, you should always listen to your body and adjust if you notice that you’re running into recovery issues.

Six-day splits are excellent because they provide enough opportunities to train all major muscle groups and accumulate volume (sets and reps) for optimal hypertrophy and strength gain. Plus, workouts feel less demanding, making it somewhat easier to recover for each new session.

Other Split Workouts Guides 

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