The Jay Cutler Training Split | The Ultimate Guide!


Jay Cutler is one of the most popular bodybuilders in the world. He won the Mr. Olympia competition 4 times and he even beat the legendary bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman in competition.

Jay Cutler trains using a unique bodybuilding bro-split. If you want to learn about Jay Cutler’s training split then this article is for you!

Introduction

  • Part 1: The Jay Cutler Training Split
  • Part 2: Jay Cutler’s Bodybuilding Workouts

In this comprehensive guide I will teach you the exact training split that Jay Cutler used throughout his professional bodybuilding career.

Jay Cutler trains 5 days per week using a traditional bodybuilding bro split. He trains each muscle group on its own separate training day using a ton of volume.

For some body parts like shoulders Jay will perform 6-8 exercises per workout! Check it out:

“I’m a high volume trainer where I‘ll do 20 sets per body part. This is almost unheard of but for me it’s the way to go.

I always trained more for the pump and the sets and not going to failure every single rep.

Sometimes it’s good to throw in the shock training but for me it’s all about training for the pump.”

Here is the exact training split that Jay Cutler used during his bodybuilding career:

The Jay Cutler Training Split

  • Day 1: Chest
  • Day 2: Arms
  • Day 3: Back
  • Day 4: Off
  • Day 5: Shoulders
  • Day 6: Legs
  • Day 7: Off

Jay likes this split because it gives him a day of rest after his hardest workouts: back day and leg day. He says this is what worked best for him but everyone has to listen to their body and figure out what works best for them.

“You can’t do what other guys do. I know what works for my body. To figure out what works best for me I’m not going to chase anybody.”

Jay Cutler likes to train each muscle group on its own day because that is the only way he can perform his high-volume workouts. Jay likes to perform about 5-8 exercises per muscle group. His arm day alone could easily be 12 exercises!

Training muscle groups on their own day is the only way to get this done. Jay says he got his best results training in the 8-12 rep range.

Sometimes he would go as high as 15 or even 20 reps depending on the body part.

“I want to use a weight where I struggle around 10, maybe I can get 12 out of it. But sometimes I may do 15 reps, sometimes on a leg press I may do 20 reps or squat 20 reps, it really depends on the day.

What we’re trying to do in bodybuilding is really just try and build muscle and get that pump, I always work towards the pump in the gym, not necessarily weight records.”

Now let’s look at some of Jay Cutler’s actual workouts. Here is a chest workout he performed while preparing for the Mr. Olympia competition. Check it out:

Chest Workout #1

  • Exercise #1: 30 degree incline DB press, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #2: Hammer strength decline press, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #3: Flat bench press, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #4: Smith machine flat bench press, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #4: 30 degree incline DB fly, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #5: Cable crossover (high pulley), 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Here is the training video:

This is a very normal looking Jay Cutler chest workout. He picks 6 different exercises and really tries to get in as many high-quality sets as possible.

Here is Jay talking about how he approaches his incline dumbbell presses:

“What we’re trying to really do is stimulate the chest. Really just try and get a contraction which works the overall chest.

Obviously we’re targeting the upper chest but we’re going to hit more across than the incline bench.

This is not a super high angle so we’re getting a little more of the fullness of the chest, hitting the upper chest and where it ties into the shoulder.”

In this workout Jay attacks his chest form many different angles. He even uses some decline movements like the hammer strength decline press.

Jay says that this exercise is great for developing the upper outer chest and getting a great contraction in your chest. Check it out:

“This is going to give us the stretch in the outer chest and a good contraction in the lower chest. I look at this almost like a decline fly movement.

Some exercises I’m switching the reps where I might go a little higher but we’ll keep this one a little lower because it’s more of a stretching exercise.”

Here is another high-volume chest workout that Jay performed during his professional bodybuilding career. Check ti out:

Jay Cutler Chest Workout #2

  • Exercise #1: 30 degree incline bench press, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #2: 30 degree incline dumbbell press, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #3: Machine pec dec, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #4: Flat DB fly, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #5: Flat bench press, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #6: Cable crossover, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #7: Lying dumbbell pullover, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

Jay Cutler says that he doesn’t plan his workouts ahead of time. Instead he walks in the gym and decides what he wants to do that day.

“I like to alternate around every week. It’s different, something new. At this point you know, I need to get the most out of every workout.”

Sometimes Jay will alternate back and forth between compound and isolation exercises throughout his workout.

For example in this chest workout Jay uses the flat bench press towards the end of his workout after he has performed different isolation exercises. This might look a little strange but Jay loves to mix things up like this in his chest workouts.

He also says the flat bench press is one of his absolute favorite chest exercises. Check it out:

“The flat bench is the exercise I feel is the most beneficial for my chest and my structure.

I’m going to focus on really squeezing the chest and getting a lot of fullness in there and a lot of blood flow.”

Jay Cutler likes to train arms the day after his chest workouts. He performs 4-6 exercises for his biceps and then another 4-6 exercises for his triceps. Check it out:

Arm Workout #1

Biceps Routine

  • Exercise #1: Machine preacher curls, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Standing alternating DB curl (hammer grip), 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: 90 degree preacher barbell curl (supinated grip), 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Kneeling DB concentration curl, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: Standing barbell curl (supinated grip), 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #6: Standing DB curl (supinating grip), 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps

Triceps Routine

  • Exercise #7: Cable pushdown (rope handle), 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #8: Cable pushdown (straight bar / pronated grip), 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #9: V-bar dips (upright torso), 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #10: Ez-bar skull crusher (to forehead), 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #11: One-arm cable pushdown (supinated grip), 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps

Here is the training video:

Jay Cutler likes to use slightly higher rep ranges when he trains arms. He says he gets a better mind-muscle connection and always made faster progress when he bumped up the rep ranges.

“For most body parts I stick with the 8-12 rep range. Arms is an exception – I like to do 10-15 reps for biceps and triceps.

The arms are one of those body parts that just responds better to a slightly higher rep range.”

Here is another one of Jay Cutler’s go-to arm workouts. Check it out:

Arm Workout #2

Triceps Routine

  • Exercise #1: Rope triceps pushdown, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Bench press (shoulder-width grip), 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: Straight bar triceps pushdown, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Dip machine, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: One-arm DB french press, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #6: One-arm underhand grip triceps pushdown, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps

Biceps Routine

  • Exercise #7: Standing barbell curls, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #8: Standing alternating pinwheel curls, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #9: One-arm machine preacher curls, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #10: Standing alternating DB curls (supinating grip), 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps

Here is the training video for this workout

Jay Cutler has some exercises that he almost always performs in his arm workouts. One of those is the close grip bench press.

Jay says that the close grip bench press is probably his favorite overall exercise for thickening up the triceps. Check it out:

“The close grip bench press is one of my favorite movements. It thickens up the bar. It gives it a little push so it’s not so thin. What I’m really trying to do is focus solely on the triceps.

It’s impossible not to use the chest, but what you are trying to do is get a nice squeeze, get a good stretch at the bottom and power up with the triceps so you take the chest out of the movement to get that nice pump.”

Now let’s look at some of Jay Cutler’s back workouts. Here is a mega high volume back workout featuring 9 different exercises! Check it out:

Back Workout #1

  • Exercise #1: Lat pulldown (supinated grip), 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #2: Hammer strength pulldown, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #3: Seated cable row (V-handle), 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #4: Barbell bent over row, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #5: T-bar row, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #6: One-arm DB row, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #7: Bent over DB row, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #8: Machine low row, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #9: Standing cable pullover (rope handle), 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Here is the training video:

Talk about a high-volume back workout! Jay Cutler likes to focus more on rowing movements to thicken up his back over pulldown variations.

He usually starts his workout with some pulldowns and then goes right into his rows. Check it out:

“I do one exercise for back width and then go straight into the rowing movements full tilt. I pick all of my exercises by feel. It all depends on how I feel and what equipment is open in the gym.”

Jay says that he likes to pace himself during these high-volume workouts. He sometimes goes to failure but usually he keeps a rep or two in the tank on each set.

He wants to pace himself so he can continue to get in quality sets for the entire workout.

“I go for the pump, I go for what fills the muscle. And a lot of these movements that I do, I’m targeting different parts of the back with each exercise.

It’s not an uncommon thing to see me do 30-40 sets for back in one workout session. For me it’s just routine. I’ve been doing the same thing sense I was a kid.”

Here is another one of Jay Cutler’s high-volume back workouts. Check it out:

Back Workout #2

  • Exercise #1: Machine pulldown (wide / pronated grip), 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #2: T-bar row, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #3: Lat pulldown (V-handle), 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #4: 30 degree prone DB row, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #5: Lying DB pullover, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #6: Seated cable row (V-handle), 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #7: Conventional deadlift, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Here is the training video:

Jay Cutler is following his usual gameplan. He gets in the gym, performs some high-quality sets on 6-8 different back exercises and then calls it a day.

During the workout Jay gives some great insights into how he approached bodybuilding – not just from a competitive standpoint, but in terms of it being a vehicle for him to reach his lifestyle goals.

“You know, just always trying to get better, not only in bodybuilding but establish a life which has been my ultimate goal from the beginning.

It’s not about winning titles for me, it’s more opportunity to build a lifestyle that involves health and personal well-being.

That;s why I started – I wanted to be better. I wanted to look better, be healthier.

You learn a lot. Bodybuilding’s taught me a lot. How to be a business man too, which is great. You can handle things better in life.”

Jay Cutler takes a day off after his back workouts and then gets right back into things with a high-volume shoulder workout.

Jay is known to perform as many as 6-8 different exercises for his delts! Check it out:

Shoulders Workout #1

  • Exercise #1: Seated dumbbell lateral raise, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #2: Seated dumbbell overhead press, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #3: Standing cable lateral raise, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #4: Alternating dumbbell front raise, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #5: Reverse pec dec, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #6: Bent over rear delt fly, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

Jay Cutler likes to start almost all of his shoulder workouts with an isolation exercise for his side delts. He says this lets him pre-exhaust his side delts before moving onto his primary overhead pressing exercise.

In the video Jay says he really likes the cable lateral raise for adding width to his delts. Check it out:

“(Side lateral cable) This really, really adds to the width of the shoulders. But the key is on these, not to stand directly in line with the cable.

You want to turn so your body is at an angle so you get a full contraction in the shoulders.”

Here is another one of Jay Cutler’s Mr. Olympia shoulder workouts. Check it out:

Shoulders #2

  • Exercise #1: Seated DB lateral raise, 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #2: Standing barbell overhead press, 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #3: One-arm cable lateral raise, 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #4: Barbell upright row, 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #5: Two-arm cable rear delt fly, 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #6: Reverse pec dec, 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #7: Hammer strength shrug, 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #8: Barbell upright row, 4 sets of 8-12 reps

Here is the training video:

Once again Jay Cutler pre-exhausts his side delts with dumbbell lateral raises before moving onto his primary overhead pressing exercise.

For this workout Jay Cutler uses the standing barbell overhead press. He says he likes to use this exercise leading up to his bodybuilding competitions because it helps him burn more calories.

“I like to do standing presses, it uses a little more of the core and burns more calories but also hits the upper traps with the pressure from the bar.

I use this almost to build up my back up a little bit too along with the shoulders.”

Jay finishes his training week with a high-volume leg workout. Jay trains his quads and hamstrings together on the same training day.

He usually performs 5-6 exercises for quads and then another 5-6 exercises for his hamstrings. Check it out:

Legs Workout #1

  • Exercise #1: Machine leg extension, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Back squats, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: 45 degree leg press, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Alternating DB lunges, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: Machine hack squats, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #6: Machine leg extensions, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #7: Seated leg curls, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #8: Lying leg curl, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #9: 45 degree leg press, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #10: Stiff-legged deadlift, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #11: Kneeling leg curl, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #12: Hip adduction machine, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #13: 45 degree back extension, 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps

Here is the training video:

Talk about a high-volume leg workout! For this workout Jay Cutler performs a total of 13 different leg exercises. That is enough to send most trainees to the hospital but it worked like magic for Jay Cutler during his career.

Jay says that he likes to use slightly higher rep ranges for his leg workouts. He normally sticks with the 8-12 rep range but for quads he uses more sets in the 10-20 range. Check it out:

“I want to use a weight where I struggle around 10, maybe I can get 12 out of it. But sometimes I may do 15 reps, sometimes on a leg press I may do 20 reps or squat 20 reps, it really depends on the day.”

Here is another one of Jay Cutler’s leg workouts. Check it out:

Legs Workout #2

  • Exercise #1: Machine leg extension, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #2: Leg press, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #3: Machine hack squat, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #4: Barbell lunges, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #5: Machine front squats, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #6: Machine leg extension, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #7: Seated leg curl, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #8: Lying leg curl, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #9: Romanian deadlift, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #10: Kneeling leg curl, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

Once again Jay starts his leg workout with leg extensions before moving onto more compound quad exercises. Many other bodybuilding champions including Dorian Yates and Branch Warren also liked to use this strategy.

During the workout Jay is focused on one thing: building a huge pump in his quads and hamstrings. He doesn’t care about how much weight he is lifting as long as he gets the massive pump that he wants.

“What we’re trying to do in bodybuilding is really just try and build muscle and get that pump, I always work towards the pump in the gym, not necessarily weight records.”

Earlier in his career Jay focused more on lifting heavy to build muscle.

Towards the end of his career he started to focus more on the quality of his sets and using his superior mind-muscle connection to keep the gains coming.

Conclusion

Jay Cutler will go down as one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time. He beat the legendary bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman in 2007 to win his 1st Mr. Olympia title and continues to give back and promote the sport of bodybuilding.

Jay Cutler’s high-volume training style probably isn’t for everyone. Most people can’t handle 5-7 hard exercises per workout for a single muscle group. However, there is a lot that you can learn from Jay’s workouts.

I especially like how he sequences his exercises for his triceps and quadriceps workouts and how he uses plenty of “body-oomph” on his back exercises to eccentrically overload his muscles.

If you enjoyed this content then make sure you check out my article “The Jay Cutler Training Program!

“I had a goal to be the best since day one.”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!

 

Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT

What's going on! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen, I'm the creator of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to take your training to the next level, then you've come to the right place... My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world!

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