Women can truly benefit from the increased training frequency that upper/lower workout programs provide.
A lot of this has to do with the fact that women must, often times, use lighter weight than men when training, and can recover a lot quicker than men can from their workouts1.
While full body workouts tend to be more beneficial for women, upper/lower programs have their place in women’s specific programming as well.
For those women who are strong and can put up significant amounts of weight, it can allow them more time to recover from their workouts. So, think of it as a more advanced approach to women’s specific weight training.
It can also be beneficial for intermediate-advanced women looking to break the monotony of full body workouts by performing training sessions with slightly higher volume to target their muscle groups.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to perform an upper/lower split, the one listed below is an excellent option to base your workout template around.
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10 Week Upper/Lower Workout Routine for Women Overview
Below you will find a weekly breakdown of the exercises you’ll perform for the next 10 weeks.
The program will consist of 4 weight training days. Two days a week will be upper body training days focused on building the muscles of the upper body. Two days a week will be lower body training days focused on building the muscles of the lower body.
Each training day will include some variation of glute training as many women have a difficult time activating their glutes (and want to build a better butt which involves frequent gluteal activation).
Keep rest periods relatively short, resting 2-3 minutes on strength based lifts and rep ranges and 30-45 seconds on accessory based lifts and rep ranges.
Weight progression will be highly individualized. Your goal, however, should be to increase the total amount of weight moved in each training session each week. This weight increase doesn’t have to be much, even 1lb weekly increases over time will add up the longer you perform a weight training program.
Monday: Upper (Strength Focused)
|1. Dumbbell Bench Press||4||6|
|2. Dumbbell Row||4||6|
|3. Standing Overhead Press||4||6|
|4. Chin Up||4||6|
|5. Plank||4||20 Secs|
|6. Hyperextensions (glute focused)||3||12-15|
Tuesday: Lower (Strength Focused)
|1. Barbell Squat||4||6|
|3. Reverse Lunges||4||6|
|4. Leg Press||4||6|
|5. Barbell Hip Thrust||4||6|
Thursday: Upper (Hypertrophy Focused)
|1. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press||3||12|
|2. Seated Cable Row||3||12|
|3. Seated Dumbbell Press||3||12|
|4. Lat Pull Down||3||12|
|5. Dumbbell Bicep Curl||2||12|
|6. Tricep Extensions||2||12|
|7. Single Leg Bodyweight Glute Bridge||3||12-15 Each|
Friday: Lower (Hypertrophy Focused)
|1. Goblet Squat||3||12|
|2. Romanian Deadlift||3||12|
|3. Bulgarian Split Squat||3||12 Each|
|4. Hack Squat||3||12|
|5. Barbell Glute Bridge||3||12|
Q. I’m a beginner, can I perform this upper/lower workout routine?
As previously mentioned, this workout was written with intermediate-advanced women trainees in mind.
If you are a true beginner, or even a causal lifter, you might be better off with a full body training routine like this one.
Q. How should I eat while performing this workout program?
Calorie intake and dietary recommendations will always vary from person to person making it nearly impossible to recommend a specific diet program for you to follow.
That being said, building muscle and losing fat all comes down to an energy balance equation at the end of the day. Start off by finding your calorie needs using our bmr calculator.
It’d be more ideal to perform this particular program in a calorie surplus – as you’ll be lifting heavier weight than you are normal used to. So, you would create a surplus by gradually adding in 100 calories to your bmr at a time (think 3-4 week periods) until you’ve reached your goal.
That’s not to say you can’t use this program to lose weight, it’s simply not as ideal. If fat loss is your goal, subtract 100 calories from your bmr at a time (3-4 week periods) until you’ve reached your goal.
These recommendations are of course highly generalized, but it is a good starting point to find your calorie needs and create a deficit or surplus without relying on drastic caloric changes.
Q. Can I substitute an exercise?
Yes, absolutely! However, you should keep these things in mind when doing so:
- It has to work the same target muscle group as the exercise you are subbing out.
- And ideally, it’d work that muscle group in a similar plane of motion as the one being subbed.
Q. What program should I do once the 10 weeks is up?
I always recommend people take a full week to deload after completing a workout program. This deload will help you with your recovery, allow you to reestablish some life balance, and map out your future goals.
Once you’ve figured out what your goals are, you can begin the search for a new program, return to the ideal full body style training, or come back to this program.
Q. How can I incorporate cardio into this workout routine?
I always recommend low intensity cardio with weight training. HIIT is often over glorified and low impact cardio, like walking, is often overlooked.
Walking is a fundamental movement most people don’t do enough of. And it’s the perfect sidekick to weight training as it is low impact by nature and can aid in muscle recovery.
So, feel free to add cardio to this program how you see fit, but my recommendation would be to walk/hike on your rest days.
Final Thoughts on the Upper/Lower Program for Women
This 10 week upper/lower workout program was designed for intermediate-advanced women trainees. It has a great balance of upper training days and lower training days to help them push more weight than they are normally used to.
Try it out for yourself and let us know how you like it and what results you obtain in the comments section below!
And, if you have any questions or would like specific exercise substitution recommendations, please feel free to leave us a comment in the comments section below!