6 Day Workout Routine – Comprehensive Guide For Beginners!

When I first thought about using a 6 day split, I thought of the legendary bodybuilding routines. I had been using a 4 day split, and wanted to go full bore.

A 6 day split was the next step. I had time; I wasn’t working as many hours. I decided to commit to a 6 day workout split.

Do you have time and want the ultimate split routine? You can make the switch too!

What Is A 6 Day Workout Split?

A 6 day workout split allows you to work every body part twice a week. That leaves only one rest day. Does it sound intense? It is. That’s why it’s best used by advanced lifters. It’s also a good routine for anyone that does not have a physically demanding job. That’s because a demanding job limits recovery.

There’s no room to move things around with this routine. The only movable day is your rest day. Therefore, make sure you can commit to 6 days a week before you begin. 

Popular 6 Day Workout Splits

Here are three common 6 day workout splits. 

The Push/Pull/Legs Split

This is the push/pull/legs 3 day workout split done twice in one week. 

Example Push/Pull/Legs Routine

You can easily do this classic workout in your home gym. You can change it to fit the equipment you have. 

Day 1 & 4: Pull 

Deadlifts – Same as bench press

Bent Rows: 2 sets x 8 reps

Pull Ups: 1 set x as many as possible

Alternate Exercise: 

Lat Pulldowns – Do this if pull ups are too difficult : 2 sets x 8 reps

EZ Curls: 2 sets x 8 reps

Hammer Curls: 1 set x 8 reps

Wrist Curl: 2 sets x 8-10 reps

Hanging Leg Raise: 1 set x 10 reps

Crunch: 2 sets x 15 reps

Day 2 & 5: Push

Bench Press

Warm up over 3 sets:

  • Bar x 15 reps
  • 20% RM x 10 reps
  • 40% RM x 8 reps

3  sets x 8 reps

Incline Press: 2 sets x 8 reps

Overhead Press: 3 sets x 8 reps

Close Grip Bench Press: 3 sets x 8 reps

Crunch: 2 sets x 15 reps

Days 3 & 6: Legs

Squats – Same as bench presses

Lying Leg Curls: 2 sets x 8 reps

Standing Calf Raises : 2 sets x 10-12 reps

Seated Calf Raises : 2 set x 10-12 reps

Crunch : 2 sets x 15 reps

Day 7: Off

Performance Notes

You can move your day off if you like. A common variation is to train 3 days, take a day off, then train 3 more days. 

You can replace any of the exercises. If your goal is size and strength, stick with the ones listed. Otherwise, as noted, you can change exercises to suit your equipment or goals.

Focus on using the correct exercise form. Lift the weight under complete control. Keep momentum out of it, let your muscles do all the work. Emphasis the negative portion of the rep. Take 2-3 seconds to lift, 4-6 seconds to return to the beginning of the exercise. 

Generally, do not train to failure. The last 1-2 reps should be difficult to complete. Yet, if mass and strength are your goals, you can train to failure. You can add techniques such as rest-pause. The most common rest-pause technique works like this: train to failure, then rack the weight for a 10 count. Unrack the weight and do as many reps as you can. Re-rack the weight, count to 10, unrack it and knock out a few more reps. 

Rest only 60 seconds between sets.

When you can do your reps easily, add 10% more weight. You should add weight every other workout. Add it to as many exercises as possible. If you have trouble with more weight, add 1-2 more reps.  

The Classic 6 Day Split

This is another popular 6 day workout split routine. It’s a more comprehensive workout. Still, you should be able to do this workout with any exercise equipment you have. 

Classic 6 Day Split Example

Day 1 & 4: Chest, Back, Abs

Bench Press

Warm up over 2 sets:

  • 20% RM x 30 reps
  • 40% RM x 12 reps

3 Working sets x 10, 8, 6 reps

Incline Bench Press: 4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6 reps

Dumbbell Flyes superset with Dumbbell Pullovers – Done as one set. : 4 supersets x 12, 10, 8, 6 reps

Wide Grip Chins: 4 sets x to failure

Bent Rows

Warm up over 2 sets

  • 20% RM x 30 reps
  • 40% RM x 12 reps

3 Working sets x 10, 8, 6 reps

Two Dumbbell Row: 4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6 reps

Hanging Leg Raises: 5 sets x 25 reps

Day 2 & 5: Shoulders, Arms, Abs

Clean and Press

Warm up over 2 sets:

  • 20% RM x 30 reps
  • 40% RM x 12 reps

4 Working sets x 12, 10, 8, 6 reps

Dumbbell Side Laterals: 4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6, reps

EZ Bar Curls: 4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6  reps

Seated Dumbbell Curls: 4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6  reps

Close-Grip Bench Press: 4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6  reps

EZ Bar Triceps Extensions: 4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6  reps

Reverse Crunch : 4 sets x 25 reps

Crunch : 4 Sets x 25 reps

Lower Body: Days 3 & 6

Squats

Warm up over 3 sets:

  • Bar x 15 reps
  • 20% RM x 10 reps
  • 40% RM x 8 reps

4 Working sets x 12, 10, 8, 6  reps

Lunges: 4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6  reps

Leg Curls: 4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6  reps

Standing Calf Raises: 4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6  reps

Crunch: 5 Sets x 25 reps

Performance Notes

There’s much more to this routine. That’s partly because Arnold’s early 6 day splits inspired it. If you need to, you can change exercises. Also, you may find this is too much work. If that’s the case, you can reduce your sets. 

Another option is to spread it out over 8 days. The additional day would be a rest day.

As noted, use proper form. Make sure you’re performing each exercise under complete control. The Clean and Press can be a hard exercise. Make sure your form on this is perfect. If you aren’t sure how to do it, use the Overhead Press instead.

Rest 45-60 seconds between all exercises. Try to add weight every other week. 

The Heavy-Light 6 Day Split

This is another popular 6 day workout split. Here, we’re doing heavy days followed by light days. We’re also dividing our back into a “width” day and a “thickness” day.

This routine uses a pyramid approach to reps. This means you’re adding weight and reducing your reps on every set. 

Example Heavy-Light Split

Day 1: Chest (Heavy), Shoulders (Heavy), Abs

Bench Press

Warm up over 2 sets:

  • 20% RM x 15 reps
  • 40% RM x 12 reps

4 Working sets x 10,8,6,4 reps.

Military Press: 4 sets x 10,8,6,4 reps

Incline Barbell Press: 3 sets x 8,6,6 reps

Incline Dumbbell Flye: 3 sets x 10,8,8, reps

Arnold Dumbbell Press: 3 sets x 10,8,6, reps

Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise: 3  sets x 12,10,8 reps

Front Dumbbell Raise: 3  sets x 12,10,8 reps

Crunch: 4 sets x 25 reps

Day 2: Legs, Triceps, Calves

Squats

Warm up over 3 sets:

  • Bar x 15 reps
  • 20% RM x 10 reps
  • 40% RM x 8 reps

3 Working sets x 8,6,6 sets

Box Squat: 3 sets x 10,8, 6 reps

Hack Squat: 3 sets x 10,8,8 reps

Lying Leg Curls: 3 sets x 8 reps

Triceps Pushdown: 3 sets x 10,8, 6 reps

Reverse Grip Triceps Pushdown: 3 sets x 10,8,8 reps

Seated Calf Raise: 3 sets x 10,8,6 reps

Standing Calf Raise: 3 sets x 10,8,6 reps

Day 3: Back (Width), Abs 

Wide-Grip Front Lat Pulldown

Warm up over 2 sets:

  • 20% RM x 10 reps
  • 40% RM x 8 reps

3 Working sets x 8,6,6 sets

Lat Pulldown – Regular Grip: 3 sets x 10,8,6  reps

Rope Straight-Arm Pulldown: 3 sets x 10,8,6 reps

Barbell Shrugs: 3 sets x 10,8,6 reps 

Day 4: Arms (Heavy Biceps, Light Triceps), Calves 

EZ-bar Curl

Warm up over 2 sets

  • 20% RM x 10 reps
  • 40% RM x 8 reps

3 Working sets x 8,6,4 sets

Close Grip Bench Press

Warm up over 3 sets:

  • Bar x 15 reps
  • 20% RM x 10 reps
  • 40% RM x 8 reps

3 Working sets x 8,6,6 sets

Hammer Curls: 3 sets x 10,8,6 reps

Wide-Grip Barbell Curl: 3  sets x 10,8,6 reps 

Concentration Curls  : 3 sets x 10,8,6 reps 

Seated Triceps Extension: 3 sets x 10,8,6 reps 

Seated Calf Raises: 4 sets x 15,12,10,10 reps

Standing Calf Raises: 3 sets x 12,10,8,6 reps

Day 5: Chest (Light), Shoulders (Light), Abs

Bench Press

Warm up over 3 sets:

  • Bar x 15 reps
  • 20% RM x 10 reps
  • 40% RM x 8 reps

3 Working sets x 8,8,6 sets

Military Press

Warm up over 3 sets:

  • Bar x 15 reps
  • 20% RM x 10 reps
  • 40% RM x 8 reps

3 Working sets x 8,8,6 sets

Incline Dumbbell Flyes: 3 sets x 12,10,8 reps

Dumbbell Flyes: 3 sets x 12,10,8 reps

Side Laterals to Front Raise (Superset): 3 sets x 12,10,8 reps

Crunch: 3 sets x 25 reps

Reverse Crunch: 3 seat x 25 reps

Day 6: Rest 

Young muscular man resting after gym workout

Day 7: Back (Thickness), Abs 

Deadlift

Warm up over 3 sets:

  • Bar x 15 reps
  • 20% RM x 10 reps
  • 40% RM x 8 reps

3 Working sets x 8,6,6 sets

Seated Cable Rows: 3 sets x 8,8,6 reps

Bent-Over Barbell Row: 3 sets x  10,8,6,6 reps

One-Arm Dumbbell Row: 3 sets x 8,6,6 reps

Reverse Crunch: 4 sets x 25 reps

Performance Notes

This routine adds a lot of work. It’s for advanced lifters only. It will also burn a lot of calories. If fat loss is your goal, this routine will help. If muscle size is your goal, make sure you’re eating enough. 

Follow the information presented with the other routines regarding form. Also, use the same rep tempo. On heavy days, rest 60-90 seconds between sets. On light days, rest for only 60 seconds. Add weight as discussed. 

What About Warming Up?

In all the 6 day workouts, you’re warming up on the first exercise. With the Heavy-Light 6 day workout split, you’re pyramiding. With this approach, by the time you reach your heaviest sets, you’re completely warmed up. Still, you may want to do additional warm ups. Dynamic warmups are a good option.

A dynamic warmup is a series of movements that increase body temperature and stimulate your nervous system. It also warms up your joints. Finally, it helps increase your range of motion. This is important for injury prevention.

Here’s an example of a dynamic warmup routine. Anyone can do this warm up.

Jump Rope x 20

Jumping Jacks x 20

Bodyweight Squats x 15

Bent Torso Twists x 10

Shoulder Circles x 10

Adding Cardio

Adding cardio will depend on your goals. Do you want to lose excess body fat? Then you’ll want to add several cardio sessions to your week. Cardio can be done after your workout. Also, you could do cardio when you wake up. In that case, drink a small protein shake 15-20 minutes before your session. 

Equipment

You can use whatever exercise equipment you have in your home gym. Here are common examples of home gym equipment:

  • Bodyweight – You can do a 6 day workout split using only your bodyweight. This approach is portable, you can train anywhere. If you have access to a pullup bar that’s even better. 
  • Resistance Band Sets – There are several good home gyms based on resistance bands. They should have a bar and other handle attachments, such as D-handles. Many include a platform that the bands attach to. 
  • Dumbbells – Dumbbells allow a better range of motion than a barbell. You should also have an adjustable bench.
  • Total Gym – Any model of this popular home gym works well with any of these routines. Some exercises may have to be changed. 
  • Bowflex – Any Bowflex model can be used with any of these routines. You may have to change a few exercises depending on the model.
  • Single Stack Home Gym – This type of home gym offers fewer exercises than some of the other home gyms. It will help if you have a pair of dumbbells. There are also multi-station, multi-stack home gyms. You can do anything with one of these. 
  • Smith Cage – The best Smith cages also have the option to do free weight work. Usually, you can do it off the front of the cage. They come with a high/low pulley system and an adjustable bench. There may also be a preacher pad, pec deck option, and a leg unit. 
  • Power Rack With Free Weights – This is as pure of a bodybuilding or powerlifting home gym as it gets. Do you have a chin bar on the power rack? What about a lat machine, bench, and other attachments? You can do any of the 6 day workout splits listed. 

What Are The Benefits Of Doing A 6 Day Split Workout?

Here are the benefits of a 4 day workout split:

Promotes Greater Gains

The 6 day split adds more workout days and more exercises. This helps stimulate muscle growth. That’s because the change is a shock your muscles have to adapt to. It’s also because it stimulates protein synthesis.

With this split, recovery is critical. On your off day, make sure you eat well, rest, and recover. During the week, get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. 

Burns More Calories

As mentioned, a routine like this burns more calories. If your primary goal is fat loss, this routine will help. Of course, watch your diet, and add cardio. 

Is A 6 Day Split For Me?

There’s no doubt this is an advanced routine. That means a 6 day split is for you if you’ve been training at least 2 years. Otherwise, use a 3 or 4 day split. There’s no rush to move up to a 6 day workout split. What’s important is the effort and dedication you put into your workouts.

How Long Should I Follow A 6 Day Split To See Results?

To see noticeable results, follow this routine for 8-12 weeks. Then, you can reduce poundages and train easier for a week. After that, start back up on the routine of your choice. Always try to be progressive. If you can’t add weight, add a couple of reps. Another option is to reduce rest time. 

If you’ve progressed to a 6 day split, you’ve no doubt made good progress. A routine like this etches in details and development you won’t get from the other routines. This is because some of the 6 day splits are more intensive. There are exercises and techniques unique to these splits. 

Should I Be Taking Supplements For My 6 Day Split Workout?

Definitely! There are some key supplements you should be using.

These include:

Protein Powder

Protein is the most important macronutrient. That’s true no matter if your goal is mass or fat loss. The advantage of protein powder is that it’s quick and easy. You need a shaker, some powder, and the beverage of your choice. That’s it. Drink it when you first get up. You can have a shake between meals. Take some with you and have a shake at work or school. It doesn’t get any easier. (1)

Multivitamin

A multivitamin is like a “health insurance” policy. It guarantees you’re getting the micronutrients your body needs. Don’t overlook basic good health for more flashy supplements. Build a good health foundation with a multi.

Pre-Workout

There are different types of pre-workouts. Some are high stim, some are stim-free. They provide good energy and elevated focus. They also increase endurance and improve performance.

Creatine

Creatine is one of the better supplements you should use. It’s been tested and proven effective countless times. Creatine improves endurance through the ATP system of energy. It also promotes cell volume, or “water-based pumps”. Finally, it supports muscle growth through protein synthesis stimulation. (2)

BCAAs/EAAs

Adding a BCAA/EAA formula is important. Amino acids are components or building blocks of protein. Some are non-essential amino acids. The body makes these. Others are essential amino acids (EAAs). Your body can not make them. They need to come from your diet and supplements. There are nine EAAs in all. Three of them are the BCAAs. These aminos stimulate protein synthesis. BCAAs are a direct trigger for muscle growth. (3)

If your goal is to lose body fat, you should also use a:

Thermogenic Fat Burner

To lose fat, make sensible changes to your diet. Things like cutting excess sugar, sodium and total carbs. Reducing processed foods. These changes need to be combined with a more active lifestyle. A thermogenic fat burner speeds your metabolism so you burn fat calories. It also gives you more energy. (4)

Tips & Common Mistakes

Here are some good tips:

  • Use A Training And Diet Journal – A journal lets you track everything that contributes to progress. A journal is how you track your exercises and weight used. It also tracks actual reps performed. A journal gives you goals to shoot for next time. It also tells you how long your workout took. You can include how you feel and how you slept. 
  • Make Sure You’re Recovering – A 6 day workout split only leaves one day for complete recovery. As noted, getting enough sleep is crucial. If you’re a light sleeper, invest in a noise machine. Many of them have tranquil sound options that help you sleep. They also block unwanted noise. 

Common Mistakes

Avoid making these common mistakes:

  • Using A 6 Day Workout Split When You’re A Beginner – If you’re a beginner, you should use a simple full body routine. You should focus on learning the correct form. Jumping into a 6 day split will lead to over-training. Many beginners don’t want to wait. They think the more they train, the faster they will grow. That leads them to train every single day. Sometimes for two hours at a time. Don’t make that mistake. You’ll burn out. 
  • Not Following A Healthy Diet – There’s no question that diet is a key to your success. You can’t eat a high junk and processed food diet. You won’t make good progress. Eat based on your goals. Your diet should consist of healthy, clean foods. Think high protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. 

Conclusion

Do you want to make the move to a 6 day workout split? This is a hard routine. Yet if you apply yourself, eat well and recover, you’ll make great progress. Let’s go train!

References:

  1. Tarnopolsky, M. A., MacDougall, J. D., & Atkinson, S. A. (1988). Influence of protein intake and training status on nitrogen balance and lean body mass. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 64(1), 187–193. https://doi.org/10.1152/jappl.1988.64.1.187
  2. Häussinger, D., Roth, E., Lang, F., & Gerok, W. (1993). Cellular hydration state: an important determinant of protein catabolism in health and disease. Lancet (London, England), 341(8856), 1330–1332. https://doi.org/10.1016/0140-6736(93)90828-5
  3. Jackman, S. R., Witard, O. C., Philp, A., Wallis, G. A., Baar, K., & Tipton, K. D. (2017). Branched-Chain Amino Acid Ingestion Stimulates Muscle Myofibrillar Protein Synthesis following Resistance Exercise in Humans. Frontiers in physiology, 8, 390. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2017.00390
  4. Astrup, A., Toubro, S., Cannon, S., Hein, P., Breum, L., & Madsen, J. (1990). Caffeine: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of its thermogenic, metabolic, and cardiovascular effects in healthy volunteers. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 51(5), 759–767. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/51.5.759
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