3 Day Upper Lower Split for Strength & Mass (w/PDF)

Split workout allows training the upper and lower body on alternate days so you can train your entire body effectively and build muscle.

I used to follow this program when I started lifting weights, and it helped me achieve noticeable gains in the first few months.

This inspired me to design an ultimate 3 day upper lower split routine for beginners based on my experience and knowledge.

I’ve created a straightforward, easy-to-follow, and effective workout plan that can help you build foundational strength, increase lean mass, and improve body composition.

Whether you’re a male or female, you can follow this program to enhance your overall fitness.

Exercising with a nutritious diet will help you achieve decent results quickly.

3 Day Upper Lower Split for Beginners to Build Strength and Mass

Workout Routine Summary

  • Sessions/week: 3
  • Duration/session: 45 minutes
  • Suggested Program Duration: 8-12 weeks
  • Workout Level: Beginner
  • Target Gender: Male and Female
  • Plan to follow next: 4-day Upper Lower Split Bodybuilding

Terms used in the program:

  • AMRAP: As many reps as possible
  • RPE: Rate of perceived exertion. It is a way of measuring how hard you push yourself to perform reps. It is a scale of 1-10, with 6-7 being a warm-up, eight meaning 2-4 reps left in the tank before failure, 9 meaning one rep left in the tank, and ten being your one rep max (the maximum weight you can lift in one rep).
  • SM: Smith Machine
  • DB: Dumbbell

Program Schedule

  • Day 1 – Upper Body (Chest, Shoulder, and Triceps)
  • Day 2 – Lower Body (Legs and Glutes)
  • Day 3 – Upper Body (Back, Shoulder, and Biceps)
  • Alternate Day OFF
3 Day Upper Lower Split Bodybuilding
3 Day Upper/Lower Split Example

Core Workout: I’ve not included specific abs and oblique exercises in this workout routine. However, if you want to bolster your core, you can perform some exercises on the upper or lower body day.

Day 1 – Upper Body (Chest, Shoulder, and Triceps)

Warm-up

  1. Ankle Hops: 15 seconds
  2. Jumping Jacks: 15 seconds
  3. Mountain Climber: 15 seconds
  4. Back and Forth Leg Swings: 15-sec/leg
  5. Treadmill: 2-3 min at your desired pace

Strength Training

ExerciseRepsSetsRestRPE
SM Flat Bench press10-1232-min8
Incline DB Bench Press10-1232-min9
Pec Deck Machine Fly12-15290-sec9
DB Lateral Raise10-12290-sec8
Rope Pushdown12-1522-min9

Cool Down Stretching

  • Cobra Pose: 15-sec x 2
  • Child Pose: 15-sec x 2
  • Knee to Chest Stretch: 15-sec/side

Day 2 – Lower Body (Legs and Glutes)

Warm-up

  1. Ankle Hops: 15 seconds x 2
  2. Jumping Jacks: 15 seconds x 2
  3. Mountain Climber: 15 seconds x 2
  4. Knee Pushups: 10 reps x 2
  5. Treadmill: 2-3 min at your desired pace

Strength Training

ExerciseRepsSetsRestRPE
Dumbbell Front Squat10-1232-min8
Machine Leg Press10-1232-min9
DB Front Lunges8-1022-min9
Machine Leg Curl12-1522-min8
Calf Raises12-15290-sec9

Cool Down Exercise:

  • Stationary Bicycling: 3-5 min

Day 3 – Upper Body (Back, Shoulder, and Biceps)

Warm-up

  • Jumping Jacks: 15 seconds
  • Mountain Climber: 15 seconds
  • Squat Thrust: 10 reps
  • Back and Forth Leg Swings: 15-sec/leg
  • Treadmill: 2-3 min at your desired pace

Strength Training

ExerciseRepsSetsRestRPE
Front Lat Pulldown10-1232-min9
Seated Cable Rowing10-1232-min9
One-arm Dumbbell Row8-1022-min9
Reverse Pec Deck Fly12-1532-min9
Barbell Curl12-15390-sec8

Cool Down Stretching

Is A 3 day split enough to Build muscle?

Following a three-day split isn’t enough to build muscle in experienced lifters. However, if you’re a newbie, it can help you gain muscle mass and improve your body composition.

A study published by Einstein Journal has shown doing resistance training twice or four times per week have similar effects on strength and hypertrophy if you perform an equal number of reps and sets during the week.

For example, if I perform 16 sets of chest exercises in a week by a following 5-day split workout and you perform the equal sets in a week by following a three-day upper/lower split, you’ll achieve the same results as I will.

Overall, the upper and lower body 3 day split is an excellent workout routine for beginners to build foundational strength and lean mass.

Follow the routine consistently and feed your muscles the proper diet; you’ll see noticeable changes in the first couple of months.

Download 3 Day Upper/Lower Split PDF

Alternate Routines: 

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Author
Murshid Akram
I'm an online personal trainer, fitness blogger, and fitness enthusiast. I love researching and writing about exercise and nutrition. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.
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