6-Day Workout Routine for Muscle Mass (Push Your Limits)

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers | Senior Coach
Last updated: January 27, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
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The 6-day workout split is an intense training program that breaks down your weekly training into individual sessions over six days.

As a coach with over a decade of experience, I've curated a comprehensive 6-day gym workout schedule featuring top-rated exercises to ensure that you’re working all your major muscle groups throughout the week.

Quick Summary

  • The 6-day workout routine focuses on muscle mass increase by incorporating a push/pull/legs split, targeting each major muscle group twice a week.
  • This routine is structured to improve overall physical strength, muscle growth, and cardiovascular health, while also contributing to weight loss.
  • Research published in Diabetes Spectrum, indicating that exercising for a longer duration, beyond the recommended 150 minutes per week, has been shown to be more effective in achieving weight loss goals.
  • In my opinion, the 6-day workout routine offers a balanced and efficient approach to fitness that can lead to significant gains in muscle growth and overall well-being.

6-Day Training Program

Gym partners performing a training program

In my years of coaching, I've found the push/pull/legs split to be incredibly effective for balanced muscle development.

By targeting your chest, shoulders, and triceps during push sessions, your back and biceps during pull sessions, and all your lower body muscles during legs, you ensure each muscle group gets the proper attention it needs.

Research has shown that incorporating this method can lead to better muscle mass compared to training a single muscle group daily.

Day 1: Push

  • Dumbbell bench press - 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Arnold press - 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Skull crusher - 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Lateral raise - 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Pec deck - 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Day 2: Pull

Performing cable lat pulldown
  • T-bar row - 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Lat pulldown - 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Bicep curl - 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Face Pull - 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps

Day 3: Legs

  • Dumbbell squat - 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Romanian deadlift - 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Leg extension - 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Standing calf raise - 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps

Day 4: Rest

You must take the whole day off from weight training or any other form of strength training to increase muscle mass and prevent the risk of injury [1].

This is particularly important if you commit to the 6-workout split, as you only have one day to allow your muscle fibers to heal and grow stronger.

“If you don't allow sufficient time off to replenish your glycogen stores and give your muscles time to recover from damage, performance will be compromised. Further disregard of replenishment can lead to sustained muscle soreness and pain.”

- Elizabeth Quinn, Exercise Physiologist

Day 5: Push

Performing cable flys
  • Seated overhead press - 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Cable chest flys - 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Skullcrusher - 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Plate front raise - 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps

Day 6: Pull

  • Assisted pull-ups - 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Seated cable row - 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Bent-over row - 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
  • Seated wrist curl - 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps

“There are plentiful benefits to a push, pull, legs training split. But, crucially, that doesn't mean it's a one-size-fits-all training plan. Instead, those looking to train using the PPL split should first take a beat to figure out what their schedule, equipment access, and individual fitness level allows for.”

- Edward Cooper, Fitness Editor

What Are the Benefits of the 6-Day Workout Split?

Lifting two dumbbells

Through my coaching experience, I've seen clients achieve significant muscle growth, improved cardiovascular health, and weight loss with the 6-day split.

Many fitness enthusiasts believe that following the best workout routine to build muscle can amplify these benefits even further.

1. Enhanced Muscle Growth

The 6-day workout split is an effective way to build muscle mass more quickly as you train all major muscle groups twice a week, according to the study published in PubMed [2].

This training frequency ensures the ideal number of sets for increasing muscle hypertrophy is performed [3].

2. Increases Strength

Lifting a single dumbbell

The 6-day workout split allows for more frequent practice of the main lifts (such as the squat, bench press, and deadlift), which are essential for building muscle and strength [4,5].

You can also include isolation exercises, stimulating significant strength gains and creating a well-rounded workout routine, according to the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine [6].

Additionally, this workout schedule allows you to distribute your training sessions throughout the week, reducing the risk of overtraining and muscle soreness.

This means that you are more likely to maintain performance consistently across all sets and avoid experiencing fatigue toward the end of your sets.

3. Different Training Strategies

The 6-day gym workout schedule allows you to structure your resistance training in various ways based on your specific goals and preferences:

  • The push/pull/legs (PPL) split - Divides your workout based on the primary movement patterns involved. While pull exercises target your back and biceps, push day sessions target your chest, shoulders, and triceps. Leg exercises target muscles in your lower body (the quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes).
  • The upper/lower split - Divides your workout based on the lower and upper body, allowing you to work each muscle group with more significant frequency while having ample time for recovery between workouts of each major muscle group.
  • The bro split - This method is convenient primarily for individuals looking to improve specific areas of their bodies. It involves dedicating one day to each muscle group.
  • The Power Hypertrophy Upper Lower (PHUL) - Combines isolation and compound exercises to maximize muscle growth and strength.

4. Weight loss

Woman with weight loss

The 6-day workout routine is also suitable for weight loss and improving body composition.

Research published in Diabetes Spectrum has proven that performing exercise for a longer duration than the recommended 150 minutes per week can be more effective at helping you achieve your weight loss goals [7].

“More vigorous forms of exercise, such as strength training, can help you build muscle. As your strength and endurance improves, you're able to put more work into your workouts, increasing the calorie burn as the intensity goes up.”

- Gabby Landsverk, Nutrition & Fitness Reporter

5. Improve Your Quality of Life

Establishing a 6-day workout split is an effective way to get into the habit of working out regularly.

Beyond physical benefits, exercise can boost your mental health by reducing negative mood and improving cognitive function, according to the Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry [8].

Is the 6-Day Workout Routine Efficient?

Man flexing muscles

Through my coaching career, I've seen firsthand how the 6-day routine efficiently maximizes intensity and training volume, offering faster results.

With this weekly workout schedule, you can target all major muscle groups the recommended two times per week, as mentioned above, all while saving time at the gym [9].

This approach splits workouts into shorter sessions, ideal for focused, high-volume training of specific muscle groups, especially for those with time constraints.

It helps maintain optimal performance and minimizes the risk of muscle soreness and burnout.

“A 6-day workout split that involves training each muscle group about once a week would be something a more novice lifter could manage as it allows for enough recovery time based on each muscle group. However, the general consensus is that the most effective 6 day split will be one that trains each muscle group at least twice a week.”

- Garett Reid, Fitness Editor

Related: Best 4-Day Workout Split

Is It Okay to Workout 6 Days a Week?

Performing Push and Pull workout

In my experience, training 6 days a week is beneficial, provided that proper rest and nutrition are maintained, as I've advised my clients. There are a few things to keep in check to maximize your results and avoid injury.

First, as this is an advanced training schedule, you should maintain a calorie surplus and consume sufficient protein to optimize muscle growth and recovery, according to the Frontiers in Nutrition [10].

Additionally, at least seven hours of sleep promotes muscle protein synthesis and recovery after intense workouts [11].

Maximizing your 6-day workout plan involves incorporating a rest day for recovery and to prevent burnout. Also, begin each session with a warm-up to reduce injury risk and enhance circulation, as highlighted in Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation [12].

Completing a cool-down after workouts can be an essential part of your exercise routine.

It should last between five to allow your heart rate to gradually decrease and to relax your muscles. By completing this, you help your body recover faster from the intensity of your workout.

You can use different ways to achieve a cool down exercises, such as walking, jogging, practicing yoga, or stretching [13].

According to research published in PubMed, cooldowns can decrease any delayed onset muscle soreness and aid in increasing circulation and removing waste in the muscle tissues [14].

Varying targeted muscle groups in each session enhances recovery and reduces injury risk. For instance, alternate between leg and upper body workouts. Regularly changing exercises also helps in overcoming plateaus and keeps workouts engaging.

Incorporating days for cardio, HIIT, or yoga into the 6-day routine not only aids in muscle recovery but also ensures a balanced approach to fitness, enhancing overall health and flexibility.

“To continue making gains, variation is key. Switching things up with cross-training workouts — i.e. doing something like cycling, swimming, dancing, TRX, running, walking or other exercise that's varied from your norm — adds balance to your week and keeps things interesting”.

- Geoff Tripp, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist

What to Consider When Choosing Your Training Split?

Struggling to perform a workout

From what I've seen in my training sessions, when choosing your training split, you should consider factors such as your fitness goals, availability, age, recovery needs, and personal preferences.

A 6-day workout routine can effectively boost muscle gain, provided you maintain consistency and motivation.

However, it's essential to tailor the plan according to your schedule, lifestyle, and fitness level.

Beginners may achieve progress with just two to three total-body strength sessions per week, making it unnecessary to start with a six-day regimen.

Intermediate-level gym-goers can also benefit from a lower-frequency workout routine (three to five days a week). 

Suited for intermediate to advanced fitness enthusiasts, the 6-day workout schedule aims for significant strength and muscle gains.

It's important to consider your ability to recover and manage stress before starting this intensive routine to avoid burnout. Tailor your workout plan to your individual needs for sustainable, long-term progress.

Emphasizing the crucial role of adequate sleep, aiming for 8-9 hours per night, and proper recovery techniques are paramount for muscle growth and overall health, making them an essential component of any muscle-building routine.

FAQs

Is Working Out Six Days a Week Good for Muscle Mass?

Yes, working out six days a week is good for muscle mass and overall fitness, allowing you to incorporate more exercises for each muscle group.

Is 6-Day a Week in the Gym Too Much For a Beginner?

Yes, a 6-day gym workout plan is too much for a beginner. Two to three days of strength training per week is recommended for beginners, with two to three rest days in between sessions to optimize muscle recovery, avoid injury, and help the body gradually adapt to the new exercise demands.

What Muscle Groups Should I Target Together for 6 Days?

You should target the chest and triceps on one day, your back and biceps on another, and your leg muscles and shoulders together. This way, you can optimize your workout routine and avoid overtraining.


References:

  1. https://www.verywellfit.com/the-benefits-of-rest-and-recovery-after-exercise-3120575
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27102172/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6303131/
  4. https://medcraveonline.com/MOJYPT/the-health-and-performance-benefits-of-the-squat-deadlift-and-bench-press.html
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6081873/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4592763/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5556592/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27102172/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6710320/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7785053/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5833972/
  13. https://www.verywellfit.com/what-is-a-cool-down-3495457
  14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17535144/
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About The Author

Senior Coach
Tyler Sellers is a trained athlete and author with contributions to publications like Men’s Health, The Healthy, Fox Business, NerdWallet, Weight Watchers, and MSN. His unique approach extends beyond physical techniques, emphasizing the significance of mental techniques like the flow state and mind-muscle connection.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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