2 Day Upper / Lower Splits: The Ultimate Guide!


2 day upper lower split

The upper body / lower body split is one of the best training splits of all time. The idea is simple: you train your upper body on one day and your lower body on another day.

The 2 days per week upper / lower split has been used by some of the world’s strongest athletes and is an incredible way to train. If you want to get freaky strong training 2 days per week then this article is for you!

Introduction

  • Part 1: The Lilliebridge Method
  • Part 2: Westside Barbell 2 Days Per Week
  • Part 3: Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 Program
  • Part 4: Powerbuilding

In this comprehensive guide I will teach you everything you need to know about how to build muscle mass and strength using the 2 days per week upper / lower split.

The idea behind the 2 day upper / lower split is simple: you have 2 workouts per week. You train your entire upper body on one day and your entire lower body on another day. For example:

  • Tuesday: Upper Body
  • Friday: Lower Body

The 2 days per week upper / lower split is a low-frequency training split that works extremely well for many trainees. Some of the strongest athletes in the world including Stan Efferding and Eric Lilliebridge have used the 2 day per week upper / lower split to set powerlifting world records.

The biggest advantage of this split is that you have several rest days in between each workout.

Some trainees find they have a hard time recovering from multiple workouts per week. It is just too demanding on their muscular system and central nervous system. Once they use a “minimalist” training schedule like the 2 day upper / lower split their progress shoots through the roof!

In my experience the 2 day upper / lower split works best for 2 types of people:

  • Extremely strong individuals
  • Hardgainers

Some advanced athletes like Eric Lilliebridge and Stan Efferding are so strong that they have a hard time recovering from 3-5 workouts per week. Keep in mind these guys are squatting and deadlift 800+ pounds per week when preparing for their powerlifting competitions!

Just take a look at the weights these 2 mutants are squatting in the Animal Cage at the Arnold Fitness Expo:

Talk about incredible! Their workouts are so hard that they need LOTS of rest during the week to properly recover. Many highly advanced athletes find the 2 day per week upper / lower split is just what they need to recover.

The other type of individuals that make AWESOME progress training 2 days per week is “hardgainers.” When I say hardgainers I am talking about people with below-average recovery ability who have a difficult time recovering from normal training programs.

Hardgainers do exist and they often make screaming fast progress training 2 days per week. I would know – I have personally worked with plenty of hardgainers who made rapid progress with this kind of workout schedule.

In this comprehensive guide I will be covering 4 of the best programs to use with a 2 day per week upper / lower split:

  • Part 1: The Lilliebridge Method
  • Part 2: Westside Barbell 2 Days Per Week
  • Part 3: Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 Program
  • Part 4: Powerbuilding

All 4 of these programs can be used if you are extremely strong / advanced OR if you are a hardgainer.

I want to warn you right now that if your goal is to become the next Mr. Olympia then the 2 day per week upper / lower split is not for you. At the end of the day it’s not optimal for maximum muscle growth.

However, if you want to become FREAKY strong and build an impressive physique then this split can work incredibly well.

Note: if you have any trouble reading the routines presented here then check out this article on how to read a training program. Now let’s get down to business…

Part 1: The Lilliebridge Method

The Lilliebridge method was invented by the world-class powerlifter Eric Lilliebridge and his family. It is a 2 days per week powerlifting training program designed to peak you for your next powerlifting meet.

When Eric Lilliebridge first started powerlifting he trained about 4 days per week just like everyone else. However, by the time he was squatting and deadlifting over 500 pounds he was struggling to recover from his workouts.

He started using a 2 days per week upper / lower split and his progress shot through the roof! Here is what Eric’s weekly training schedule looks like now:

Eric Lilliebridge’s Training Split

  • Wednesday: Bench Press
  • Saturday: Squat / Deadlift

That’s it! On Wednesday Eric trains the bench press and performs his upper body accessory work. Then on Saturday Eric performs his squat and deadlift training followed by his lower body assistance work.

Eric actually alternates back and forth between two different training weeks. On week 1 he goes heavy on the bench press and squat. Then on week #2 he goes heavy on the deadlift. For example:

  • Week #1
    • Wednesday: Heavy bench press
    • Saturday: Heavy squat
  • Week #2
    • Wednesday: Light bench press
    • Saturday: Heavy deadlift

The Lilliebridge Method is basically a 10-week peaking program. During the 10-week program you are going to perform 5 heavy bench press workouts, 5 heavy squat workouts and 5 heavy deadlift workouts. The heavy workouts are all based on training percentages that are planned out in advance.

Here is what the bench press training percentages look like:

Lilliebridge Method Bench Press Training:

  • Week 1: 87% x 1 rep
  • Week 2: 70% x AMRAP**
  • Week 3: 90% x 1 rep
  • Week 4: 70% x AMRAP**
  • Week 5: 93% x 1 rep
  • Week 6: 70% x AMRAP**
  • Week 7: 96% x 1 rep
  • Week 8: 70% x AMRAP**
  • Week 9: Work up to planned opener x 1
  • Week 10: Competition day!

And here are what the squat / deadlift training percentages look like:

Lilliebridge Method Squat / Deadlift Training:

  • Week 1: Squat = 85% x 5 reps
  • Week 2: Deadlift = 85% x 5 reps
  • Week 3: Squat = 90% x 3 reps
  • Week 4: Deadlift = 90% x 3 reps
  • Week 5: Squat = 92% x 2 reps
  • Week 6: Deadlift = 92% x 2 reps
  • Week 7: Squat = 95% x 1 rep
  • Week 8: Deadlift = 95% x 1 rep
  • Week 9 Squat = deload at 50% of max x 3-5 reps
  • Week 10: Competition day!

You have the option of performing some speed sets on your squat / deadlift day if you want. Early in his career Eric would perform speed deadlifts after his heavy squat work and speed squats after his heavy deadlift work. He would perform 3 singles at 50-60% of his 1-rep max.

These speed sets gave him another chance to practice his technique and reinforce proper motor patterns in the competition lift.

Later in his career Eric dropped these speed sets altogether because he felt like they weren’t helping anymore.

Eric Lilliebridge recommends you perform some supplementary and accessory exercises after your heavy sets of bench presses, squats and deadlifts. You can perform any exercises that you want as long as they improve your competition lifts.

Here are some of Eric’s favourite bench press accessory exercises:

  • Slingshot bench press
  • 2-board bench press
  • Close grip bench press
  • Incline bench press
  • Dumbbell presses (all angles)
  • Tricep extensions (all angles)

And here are some of Eric’s favourite squat / deadlift accessory exercises:

  • Leg curls
  • Leg presses
  • Lunges
  • Back extensions
  • Lat pulldowns
  • Barbell rows

Some people like to use TONS of accessory work while others just do the bare minimum after their heavy sets. It’s totally up to you and your recovery ability.

Stan Efferding was famous for doing almost zero accessory work when he broke multiple powerlifting world records so don’t feel like you have to do a ton of assistance exercises. If you are more of a hardgainer then you will probably get your best results keeping the accessory work to a minimum.

Here are some sample Lilliebridge Method workouts that you may want to try. Check it out:

Lilliebridge Method Heavy Bench Day

  • A1: Bench press (competition grip), 1 x 5, 1/1/X/1, 120 seconds rest
  • B1: Slingshot bench press (competition grip), 1 x 2, 1/0/X/1, 120 seconds rest
  • C1: Bench press (shoulder-width grip), 2 x (8, 20), 1/0/X/1, 120 seconds rest
  • D1: 30 degree incline DB press, 2 x 8-12, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • E1: Cable rope pushdowns, 2 x 12-15, 2/0/X/0, 60 seconds rest
  • F1: Pec dec machine, 2 x 12-15, 2/0/1/0, 60 seconds rest

Here is a great video of Eric Lilliebridge performing this workout:

Lilliebridge Method Light Bench Day

  • A1: Bench press (shoulder-width grip), 1 x 7-9, 1/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • B1: 30 degree incline bench press, 2 x 8-12, 2/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • C1: Seated DB overhead press, 2 x 12-15, 2/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • D1: Cable rope pushdowns, 2 x 12-15, 2/0/X/0, 60 seconds rest
  • E1: Pec dec machine, 2 x 12-15, 2/0/1/0, 60 seconds rest

Here is a great video of Eric Lilliebridge demonstrating his light bench press workout:

Lilliebridge Method Heavy Squat Day

  • A1: Back squat (competition stance), 1 x 1-5, 1/0/X/1, rest as needed
  • B1: Speed deadlifts (competition stance), 3 x 1**, X/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • C1: Lying leg curl (feet dorsiflexed / neutral), 3 x 8-12, 2/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • D1: Barbell bent over row, 3 x 8-12, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

**Performed at 50-60% of your estimated 1-rep max

Here is a great video of Eric Lilliebridge performing a heavy squat workout.

Lilliebridge Method Heavy Deadlift Day

  • A1: Deadlift (competition stance), 1 x 1-5, X2/X/0, rest as needed
  • B1: Speed squats (competition stance), 3 x 1**, X/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • C1: Lying leg curl (feet dorsiflexed / neutral), 3 x 8-12, 2/0/X/0, rest as needed
  • D1: 45 degree leg press, 3 x 8-12, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • E1: Lat pulldown (wide / overhand grip), 3 x 8-12, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

**Performed at 50-60% of your estimated 1-rep max

Here is a great video of Eric Lilliebridge performing one of his heavy deadlift workout.

I hope you found this overview of the Lilliebridge Method helpful. If you want to learn more about this superior training program then check out the following article:

The Lilliebridge Method: The Ultimate Guide!

While you’re at it you can also check out my guide on Stan Efferding’s training program. Stan trained using something very similar to the Lilliebridge Method during the peak of his powerlifting career so I am sure you will find his powerlifting-style workouts helpful.

The Lilliebridge Method is probably the most famous 2 days per week upper / lower split program but it is not the only one. Let’s take a look at some of the other ways to use the 2 days upper / lower split.

Part 2: Westside Barbell 2 Days Per Week

The Westside Barbell training program is a powerlifting program invented by Louie Simmons. Westside uses the following 4 day per week upper body / lower body split:

  • Sunday: Speed bench press
  • Monday: Heavy squat / deadlift
  • Wednesday: Heavy bench press
  • Friday: Speed squat / deadlift

The Westside Barbell powerlifting program works incredibly well for many powerlifters. You get to train each body part twice per week using 2 completely different types of workouts.

There’s just one problem: a lot of powerlifters can’t recover from 4 intense workouts per week. You really need to have above-average recovery ability to recover from the traditional Westside training program.

If you want to get freaky strong but have a hard time recovering from 4 workouts per week then you have to try a 2 days per week Westside Barbell program!

Here is what a 2 days per week Westside Barbell training schedule looks like:

  • Tuesday: Heavy bench press workout
  • Friday: Heavy squat / deadlift workout

I have to give credit where credit is due: I first learned about this 2 days per week Westside Barbell program from the late Wesley Silveira. Wesley was the founder and owner of Ironaddicts.com, an old bodybuilding / powerlifting training forum.

Wesley was a gifted strength coach. He excelled at finding ways to tweak training programs to make them work for people with average genetics and recovery ability. The world famous bodybuilding coach Dante Trudel held Wesley in the highest regard.

Here are some sample 2 days per week Westside Barbell workouts. These workouts were designed by Wesley Silveira as part of his 2 days per week Westside Barbell program. Check it out:

Week #1: Upper Body

  • A1: Pull-down abs, 3 x 10, 2/0/1/0, 60 seconds rest
  • B1: 2-board bench press (medium grip), 3 x 1**, 1/1/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • C1: Lying ez-bar extensions (to forehead), 3 x 8, 2/0/1/0, 120 seconds rest
  • D1: Flat DB press, 4 x 8, 3/2/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • E1: Seated DB lateral raise, 4 x 8, 2/0/1/0, 60 seconds rest

Week #2: Upper Body

  • A1: Pull-down abs, 3 x 10, 2/0/1/0, 60 seconds rest
  • B1: Band bench press, 3 x 1**, 2/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • C1: Lying ez-bar extensions (to forehead), 3 x 8, 2/0/1/0, 120 seconds rest
  • D1: Flat DB press, 4 x 8, 3/2/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • E1: Seated DB lateral raise, 4 x 8, 2/0/1/0, 60 seconds rest

Week #3: Upper Body

  • A1: Pull-down abs, 3 x 10, 2/0/1/0, 60 seconds rest
  • B1: Flat DB press, 2 x 6, 2/2/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • C1: Lying ez-bar extensions (to forehead), 3 x 8, 2/0/1/0, 120 seconds rest
  • D1: Standing rope tricep pushdown, 2 x 10, 2/0/1/0, 120 seconds rest
  • E1: Seated DB lateral raise, 4 x 15, 2/0/1/0, 60 seconds rest

Week #1: Lower Body

  • A1: Weighted abs, 2 x 10, 2/0/1/0, 60 seconds rest
  • B1: Parallel box squat (medium stance / heels flat), 3 x 1**, 2/1/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • C1: Stiff-legged deadlift, 1 x 8, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • D1: Cable pull throughs, 3 x 8, 2/0/1/0, 120 seconds rest
  • E1: Bent-over barbell row, 4 x 8, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

Week #2: Lower Body

  • A1: Weighted abs, 2 x 10, 2/0/1/0, 60 seconds rest
  • B1: Standing barbell good mornings, 3 x 1**, 2/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • C1: Parallel box squat (medium stance / heels flat), 1 x 8, 2/1/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • D1: Cable pull throughs, 3 x 8, 2/0/1/0, 120 seconds rest
  • E1: Bent-over barbell row, 4 x 8, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

Week #3: Lower Body

  • A1: Weighted abs, 2 x 10, 2/0/1/0, 60 seconds rest
  • B1: Deadlift (competition stance), 3 x 1**, X/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • C1: Stiff-legged deadlift, 2 x 10****, 2/0/1/0, 120 seconds rest
  • D1: Glute-ham raise (holding DB at chest), 3 x 8, 2/0/1/0, 120 seconds rest
  • E1: Standing barbell row (supinated grip), 4 x 8, 1/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

For these workouts Wesley rotated the max effort exercise every week but kept the assistance work mostly the same. This strategy tends to work well for a large percentage of the training populace.

If you like the idea of the Westside Barbell program but have a hard time recovering from 4 intense workouts per week then I strongly recommend you give the 2 days per week upper / lower split a shot. It works extremely well for hard gainers and some advanced powerlifters.

If you want to learn more about the Westside Barbell training program then check out the following article:

The Westside Barbell Training Program!

It has all the information you need to design your own Westside style workouts. It also has a sample 16-week Westside Barbell peaking program that you can use to prepare for your next powerlifting meet.

Part 3: Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 Program

Jim Wendler was a world-class powerlifter who trained with Louie Simmons at the Westside Barbell powerlifting club in Columbus, Ohio. Jim put up some incredible lifts during his career including a 1,000 pound squat! Check it out:

Talk about impressive!

After retiring from powerlifting Jim invented the world-famous 5/3/1 training program.

Jim describes his 5/3/1 program as the world’s simplest training program for improving your bench press, overhead press, squat and deadlift. You work hard on the “big 4” lifts, perform some assistance work as needed and get incredibly strong over time.

The 5/3/1 program lets you train 4, 3, or 2 days per week depending on your recovery ability and time restrictions. Jim found that he actually got his absolute best results training just 2 days per week. For example:

Week #1

  • Tuesday: Bench press, upper body assistance work
  • Friday: Squat, lower body assistance work

Week #2

  • Tuesday: Overhead press, upper body assistance work
  • Friday: Deadlift, lower body assistance work

Normally Jim recommends that you perform a deload workout every 4th workout for each exercise. For example on your 4th bench press workout you would perform a deload workout.

However, Jim found that he didn’t really need to deload if he was only training twice per week because he had so much time to recover during the week.

Here is how Jim periodizes his workouts over time:

  • Workout #1: 1 x 5 @ 75%, 1 x 5 @ 80%, 1 x 5** @ 85%
  • Workout #2: 1 x 3 @ 80%, 1 x 3 @ 85%, 1 x 3** @ 90%
  • Workout #3: 1 x 5 @ 85%, 1 x 3 @ 90%, 1 x 1** @ 95%
  • Workout #4: Repeat!

**Perform an AMRAP set if you are feeling good. AMRAP stands for “as many reps as possible.” Shoot for as many reps as you can get with good form and without going all the way to failure. Your last rep should go up without you screwing up your technique.

All of these percentages are based on your estimated 1-rep max. Jim actually recommends that you use 90% of your 1-rep max as your “training max” that you base your percentages off of. For example if you can bench press 330 pounds for 1 rep then you would use 300 pounds as your training max.

Starting on workout #4 you would repeat this entire process all over again using a higher training max. Jim recommends that you increase your training max by 5 pounds for upper body lifts and 10 pounds for lower body lifts.

Here is what your bench press workouts would look like if you had a training max of 300 pounds:

  • Workout #1: 1 x 5 @ 225, 1 x 5 @ 240, 1 x 5** @ 255
  • Workout #2: 1 x 3 @ 240, 1 x 3 @ 255, 1 x 3** @ 270
  • Workout #3: 1 x 5 @ 255, 1 x 3 @ 270, 1 x 1** @ 285
  • Workout #4: 1 x 5 @ 230, 1 x 5 @ 245, 1 x 5** @ 260
  • Workout #5: 1 x 3 @ 245, 1 x 3 @ 260, 1 x 3** @ 275
  • Workout #6: 1 x 5 @ 260, 1 x 3 @ 275, 1 x 1** @ 290

And so on….

After your heavy sets you can perform some accessory work for your upper or lower body. When Jim trained twice per week he always used his “Triumvirate” template where he focused on 2 key assistance exercises per workout.

Here were some of Jim’s favourite assistance lifts for each major exercise:

  • Bench press day: chin ups and dips
  • Squat day: leg curls and leg presses
  • Overhead press day: chin ups and dips
  • Deadlift day: good mornings and hanging leg raise

You can perform any assistance exercises you want but Jim Wendler’s “triumvirate” template is a good place to start.

Here are some sample 5/3/1 workouts that you may want to try. Check it out:

Sample 5/3/1 Bench Press Day

  • A1: Bench press (competition grip), 3 x 1-5**, 2/1/X/1, 120 seconds rest
  • B1: Pull ups (wide / overhand grip), 3-5 x 6-12, 2/0/X/0, 60 seconds rest
  • B2: V-bar dips (forward leaning torso), 3-5 x 6-12, 2/0/X/0, 60 seconds rest

**Perform an AMRAP (as many reps as possible) set if you are feeling good on that particular day. If possible try to hit an all-time rep PR with that particular weight.

You can click right here to see Jim Wendler bench press 370 pounds x 7 reps on his 5/3/1/ program.

Sample 5/3/1 Squat Day

  • A1: Back squat (competition stance), 3 x 1-5**, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • B1: Bilateral lying leg curl (feet dorsiflexed / neutral), 3-5 x 6-12, 2/0/X/0, 60 seconds rest
  • B2: 45 degree leg press, 3-5 x 8-15, 2/0/X/0, 60 seconds rest

**Perform an AMRAP (as many reps as possible) set if you are feeling good on that particular day. If possible try to hit an all-time rep PR with that particular weight.

You can click right here to see Jim Wendler squatting 540 pounds x 7 reps on the 5/3/1 program.

Sample 5/3/1 Overhead Press Day

  • A1: Bench press (competition grip), 3 x 1-5**, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • B1: Pull ups (wide / overhand grip), 3-5 x 6-12, 2/0/X/0, 60 seconds rest
  • B2: V-bar dips (forward leaning torso), 3-5 x 6-12, 2/0/X/0, 60 seconds rest

**Perform an AMRAP (as many reps as possible) set if you are feeling good on that particular day. If possible try to hit an all-time rep PR with that particular weight.

You can click right here to see Jim Wendler military pressing 240 pounds x 6 reps on the 5/3/1 program.

Sample 5/3/1 Deadlift Day

  • A1: Deadlift (competition stance), 3 x 1-5**, 10/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • B1: Standing barbell good morning, 3-5 x 8-15, 2/0/X/0, 60 seconds rest
  • B2: Hanging leg raise, 3-5 x 8-15, 2/0/X/0, 60 seconds rest

**Perform an AMRAP (as many reps as possible) set if you are feeling good on that particular day. If possible try to hit an all-time rep PR with that particular weight.

You can click right here to see Jim Wendler deadlifting 600 pounds x 5 reps on the 5/3/1 program.

I believe that Jim Wendler is correct when he says that the 5/3/1 program is one of the simplest and most effective ways to train. This is especially true for his 2 days per week version of the program.

Jim Wendler himself got some of his best gains combining his 5/3/1 program and a 2 days per week upper body / lower body split so you know it’s the real deal.

If you want to learn more about the 5/3/1 program then check out Jim’s personal website. All of his 5/3/1 books are available for purchase there.

Part 4: Powerbuilding

Powerbuilding programs are designed to help you build muscle mass and strength at the same time. They are great for guys who want to get super strong but also want to build an impressive physique.

When I think of “powerbuilding” I think of Ronnie Coleman. Ronnie trained with a combination of ultra-heavy weights and higher-rep pump work to become the greatest bodybuilder ever AND freaky strong.

Here is Ronnie Coleman talk about his training philosophy:

“It’s called bodybuilding! The only way you can build muscle is through repetition – heavy weight, as heavy as possible and as many repetitions as possible.” That’s what powerbuilding is all about – lifting heavy weight for reps with good technique!

Here is what a 2 days per week powerbuilding split might look like:

2 Days Per Week Powerbuilding Split

  • Wednesday: Upper Body
  • Saturday: Lower Body

It is also possible to perform this split with some cardio / GPP work thrown in on your off days. For example:

2 Days Per Week Powerbuilding Split With Extra Cardio Work

  • Wednesday: Upper Body
  • Thursday: Cardio / GPP
  • Saturday: Lower Body
  • Sunday: Cardio / GPP

I first learned about 2 days per week powerbuilding programs through the writings of Wesley Silveira, the founder of Ironaddicts.com. He trained a lot of his “hardgainer” clients this way but he also had some extremely advanced clients who prospered on this kind of training schedule.

If you are a hardgainer and want to build an impressive physique then a 2 days per week powerbuilding routine may be just what you need. Here is a sample training routine you may want to try. Check it out:

Sample Hardgainer Upper Body Workout

  • A1: 30 degree incline bench press, 3 x 6, 3/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • B1: Narrow supinated grip chin ups, 3 x 6, 3/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • C1: Flat DB press, 2 x 8-10, 2/1/1/0, 90 seconds rest
  • D1: T-bar row, 2 x 10-12, 2/0/X/0, 90 seconds rest
  • E1: Seated DB zottman curl, 2 x 6-8, 5/0/1/0, 60 seconds rest
  • F1: Overhead rope cable triceps extensions, 2 x 10-12, 2/1/1/0, 60 seconds rest

Sample Hardgainer Lower Body Workout

  • A1: Unilateral kneeling leg curl (Poliquin method / feet pointed out)**, 3 x 6-8, 4/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • B1: Front squat (heels flat / medium stance), 3 x 6, 2/1/X/1, 120 seconds rest
  • C1: 45 degree leg press, 2 x 10-12, 2/0/X/0, 60 seconds rest
  • D1: Romanian deadlift, 2 x 10-12, 3/0/1/0, 60 seconds rest

**Dorsiflex your ankles (point your toes towards your shins) on the concentric range and plantarflex your ankles (point your toes away from your shins) on the eccentric range. This technique will help you to eccentrically overload your hamstrings.

This type of program works AWESOME for hardgainers who are still in the beginner to intermediate stage of training. As a general rule of thumb hardgainers make good progress using moderate rep ranges and a lower number of sets per body part.

This type of routine could be run for 3-6 weeks before moving onto a different type of routine with different exercise, rep ranges, tempos etc. You would still use the same 2 days per week upper / lower training split but everything else would change to keep you progressing.

Every once in a while Wesley had an extremely advanced trainee who responded best to 2 days per week powerbuilding routines. Wesley usually trained these guys with more volume and intensity than his hardgainer clients even if they were using the 2 days per week split.

The strongest trainee that Wesley ever trained went by the name “2Scoot” online. In his prime 2Scoot bench pressed over 600 pounds and was a national level strongman competitor.

Here is one of the exact 2 days per week powerbuilding routines that 2Scoot used while working with Wesley. Check it out:

2Scoot’s Upper Body Workout

  • A1: Bench press (shoulder-width grip), 2 x (1, 8), 2/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • B1: V-bar dips (forward leaning torso), 2 x 6, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • C1: Seated overhead DB press, 2 x 8-10**, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • D1: Lateral raise, 2 x 12-15**, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • E1: Decline DB extension, 2 x 8-10, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest

**Perform both sets as rest-pause sets. Train to failure in the target rep range (8-10 or 12-15), rest 20-30 seconds, train to failure a 2nd time with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, train to failure a 3rd time with the same weight, done!

2Scoot’s Lower Body Workout

  • A1: Back squat (medium stance / heels flat), 2 x 10, 2/0/X/1, 240 seconds rest
  • B1: Conventional Deadlift, 1 x 10, 1/1/X/0, 240 seconds rest
  • C1: Lat pulldown (wide / overhand grip), 2 x 8-12, 3/1/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • D1: Seated hammer strength row 2 x 8-12**, 2/0/X/1, 120 seconds rest
  • E1: Seated DB hammer curls, 2 x 8-12**, 3/0/1/0, 120 seconds rest
  • F1: Preacher ez-bar curl (narrow / supinated), 2 x 8-12, 2/0/2/0, 120 seconds rest
  • F1: Hanging leg raise, 2 x 8-12, 2/0/1/0, 120 seconds rest

**Perform both sets as rest-pause sets. Train to failure in the target rep range (8-12), rest 20-30 seconds, train to failure a 2nd time with the same weight, rest 20-30 seconds, train to failure a 3rd time with the same weight, done!

As you can see there is a fair amount of volume on both training days!

This routine uses a combination of straight sets and rest-pause sets to build muscle mass and strength at an extremely rapid pace. If you are a relatively advanced trainee and are looking for a good 2 days per week powerbuilding routine then this routine may be just what you need!

Once again I recommend you perform this routine for 3-6 weeks straight. After 3-6 weeks you should change up your workouts by changing the exercises, sets and reps, tempos etc. to keep the gains coming.

If you are interested in learning more about the “powerbuilding” training style then check out the following articles:

DC Training and Dorian Yates’ “Blood And Guts” program are probably 2 of the most effective powerbuilding programs ever invented. Both of these programs will help you build size and strength at a ridiculous pace.

Just be careful – both of these programs have you train more than 2 days per week. If you get your best results using a 2 days per week upper body / lower body split then these programs are not for you.

Conclusion

2 day upper lower split

The 2 days per week upper body / lower body split works incredibly well for a lot of trainees. You have a ton of time to recover between your upper body and lower body workouts so you can really “blow your brains out” while you are in the gym.

In my experience the 2 days per week upper / lower split works best for 2 types of trainees:

  • Extremely strong / advanced lifters
  • Hardgainers

If you fit one of these categories then you might want to try training 2 days per week. Personally I really like the following programs performed 2 days per week:

If you are more of a powerlifter then give The Lilliebridge Method or Westside Barbell a shot. On the other hand if you just want to get freaky strong and build an impressive physique then give Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program or one of my powerbuilding programs a shot.

The 2 days per week upper body / lower body split isn’t for everyone. In fact I believe it is optimal for less than 10% of the training population.

However, for some people absolutely nothing works better. If Eric Lilliebridge and Stan Efferding get their best results training this way then there’s a chance that you will too!

“I believe there’s an inner power that makes winners or losers. And the winners are the ones who really listen to the truth of their hearts.”

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

Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT

Thanks for checking out my site! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen and I'm the founder of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to reach your size and strength goals faster then you've come to the right place. My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world. So grab a seat, kick back and relax. There's never been a better time to lift weights or to learn the art and science of strength training program design.

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