The Best 6-Day Workout Split To Gain Muscle

Are you looking for a 6-day workout split for gaining muscle?

If so, there’s something you should know…

Working out 6 days a week can be a good idea for some, but a terrible idea for others.

In this guide, I’ll explain the pros and cons, tell you who it’s going to work best for, who should definitely avoid it, and then show you the only 6-day splits I ever recommend.

They are:

  1. The 6-Day Push/Pull/Legs Split
  2. The 5-6 Day Push/Pull/Legs Split
  3. The 6-Day Upper/Lower Split

Let’s get started.

What Is A 6-Day Workout Split?

6-day workout split is any schedule for your weight training workouts that involves training 6 days per week and having just 1 day off.

The Benefits Of 6 Workouts Per Week

  • It allows for a higher training frequency.
    Frequency – which is the number of times you train each muscle group per week – is an important factor to consider when creating an effective workout routine. And while a 6-day split can allow for any frequency (once per week, twice per week, three times per week, or more), it’s especially ideal for someone who wants to use a higher training frequency.
  • It allows for more total weekly volume.
    Volume – which is the amount of sets, reps, and exercises you do for each muscle group per week – is another extremely important part of an effective workout routine. And with 6 sessions per week, and the potential for using a higher frequency, it becomes significantly easier to do higher amounts of volume. This is especially useful for advanced trainees, as they’re the ones most likely to benefit from higher volume training.
  • It’s enjoyable (assuming you enjoy training).
    Some people hate working out, and are more than happy to do the least amount needed to see the results they want. But others love it and want to spend as much time in the gym as possible. If you’re that kind of person, a 6-day split will make that dream come true. This is probably the most common reason why people ask me for a 6-day routine.

The Problems With 6 Workouts Per Week

  • Increased risk of recovery issues.
    6 workouts per week with only 1 day off? That’s a lot of weight training per week, and the reality is that most people aren’t going to be able to handle that from a recovery standpoint. I’m not even talking about recovery of individual muscle groups (which can potentially be an issue as well), but more so the overall CNS (central nervous system) fatigue that comes with training 6 days per week (and on consecutive days). For the majority of people, training this much is going to hinder their progress more than it will help it.
  • Increased risk of overuse injuries.
    While there can be benefits to training more often (as mentioned earlier), one of the downsides is that you’re at a higher risk of developing overuse injuries, which are already quite common among people doing any form of weight training. Tendon and joint injuries already happen all the time for people training just 3-4 days per week. When training 6 days, that risk goes up.
  • It’s hard to fit into your schedule.
    People with jobs, families, school, social lives, etc., already struggle to find the time to fit 3-4 workouts into their week. A 6-day split would be impossible for them.
  • It’s hard to sustain consistently.
    Even when people find a way to fit 6 workouts into their schedule, many eventually start missing workouts and realize that consistently getting 6 workouts done per week, every week, simply isn’t sustainable for them.

Who Is A 6-Day Split Best For?

Honest answer?

Not many people, which is why I don’t recommend 6-day routines often.

But when I DO recommend it, it’s usually to people fitting this description:

Advanced trainees who 1) are in a caloric surplus for building muscle, 2) are more likely to recover well from 6 workouts per week (i.e. good genetics, younger, low stress levels, sufficient sleep, etc.), and 3) have the flexible schedule needed to consistently get 6 workouts done every week.

Let me clarify 3 things about this.

First, most of the people who think they’re “advanced” are not even close to being advanced.

Here’s how I’d define advanced. You need to meet ALL of these requirements…

  1. You’ve been weight training consistently for 4+ years.
  2. You’ve gained a very significant amount of muscle and strength.
  3. At this point, you’ve now gained most of the muscle and strength your body is naturally capable of gaining, and there isn’t a ton of progress left to make.

If you can say yes to ALL of those, you’re advanced.

If not, you’re not.

Second, advanced trainees DO NOT need to work out 6 days per week.

Advanced trainees may still run into all of the problems we covered earlier just the same as anyone else would. This is why I recommend 4-5 day routines to them more often than 6.

My point here is that someone who’s advanced is simply more likely than a beginner or intermediate trainee to benefit from a 6-day split, because someone advanced is more likely to benefit from the additional frequency and/or volume it can provide.

Third, some intermediate trainees will do well with a 6-day split. Most won’t, but some will.

The ones that will are typically young (teens or 20s) and/or have above-average genetics (or aren’t natural). Since most people don’t fit this description, I prefer to keep things extra simple and recommend that intermediate trainees stick with a 3, 4, or 5-day routine instead.

Who Should NOT Use A 6-Day Split?

Pretty much everyone else.

If you don’t fit that description of being an advanced trainee, in a caloric surplus, who recovers well, and has a flexible schedule, I wouldn’t recommend trying a 6-day workout routine.

You’ll be much better off going with a 3-day split, 4-day split, or 5-day split instead.

On the other hand…

If you ARE someone who can make a 6-day routine work, and it fits your preferences, let’s take a look at the best splits for making it happen…

1. The 6-Day Push/Pull/Legs Split

  1. Monday: Push
  2. Tuesday: Pull
  3. Wednesday: Legs
  4. Thursday: Push
  5. Friday: Pull
  6. Saturday: Legs
  7. Sunday: off

The push/pull/legs split is one of my favorites to use when designing 5-day workouts.

It turns out it’s one of the best options for 6-day workouts, too.

Reason being:

  • Grouping overlapping muscle groups together (chest, shoulders, and triceps on ‘push’ day, back and biceps on ‘pull’ day, quads, hamstrings, and glutes on ‘leg’ day) helps lower the risk of overuse injuries.
  • The push and pull workouts will end up shorter than something like an upper body or full body workout. When you’re training this many days per week, keeping the individual workouts shorter can help with recovery.

One important note though.

There are actually two different ways to schedule a 6-day push/pull/legs split.

The one I’ve outlined above is the true “6-day” version of it, where you have 6 workouts per week every week, with just one day off.

Personally? I don’t like this version. I prefer this next one instead…

2. The 5-6 Day Push/Pull/Legs Split

Week 1

  1. Monday: Push
  2. Tuesday: Pull
  3. Wednesday: Legs
  4. Thursday: off
  5. Friday: Push
  6. Saturday: Pull
  7. Sunday: Legs

Week 2

  1. Monday: off
  2. Tuesday: Push
  3. Wednesday: Pull
  4. Thursday: Legs
  5. Friday: off
  6. Saturday: Push
  7. Sunday: Pull

Week 3

  1. Monday: Legs
  2. Tuesday: off
  3. Wednesday: Push
  4. Thursday: Pull
  5. Friday: Legs
  6. Saturday: off
  7. Sunday: Push

And it continues on and on in this same format where it’s three consecutive workouts followed by a day off (and then repeat). So it’s push/pull/legs/off and then push/pull/legs/off and then push/pull/legs/off, etc. etc. etc.

This is my favorite split to use for 6-day routines.

Of course, it’s not truly a “6-day split” like the previous option (or the next option we’re covering below).

Rather, this is a schedule where you end up with 5 workouts some weeks, and 6 workouts other weeks. Sort of a hybrid 5-6 day split.

And while some people may not like that it’s not 6 days every single week, the big benefit is that there’s an extra rest day which breaks things up into 3-day blocks (rather than 6 consecutive workouts like before).

This is a small change, but it has very positive effects on the recovery and injury issues we talked about earlier.

I consider this to be the best way to work out 6 days a week. Which is why it’s the split I use for the advanced workout from my 10 New Workouts.

3. The 6-Day Upper/Lower Split

  1. Monday: Upper Body
  2. Tuesday: Lower Body
  3. Wednesday: Upper Body
  4. Thursday: Lower Body
  5. Friday: Upper Body
  6. Saturday: Lower Body
  7. Sunday: off

I recommend the 3-day and 4-day version of the upper/lower split all the time. In fact, if you’re past the beginner stage and are working out 3-4 days per week, it’s my favorite split.

This 6-day version of it is one that I don’t recommend nearly as often, but if you’re going to be training 6 days per week, it’s another good option to consider.

Why?

  • If you prefer a higher training frequency, this one gives you a well-balanced way of easily training each muscle group 3 times per week.
  • Training the entire upper body together and the entire lower body together minimizes the kind of overlap commonly seen in other splits.

Summing It Up

A 6-day workout split isn’t right for everyone.

I’d actually say it’s not right for most people. Most people should use a 3, 4, or 5-day program instead.

But if working out 6 days a week is right for you, these are the 3 best options for doing it. And option #2 is the one I think is best.

What’s Next?

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