Split Routine Samples

Cardio or Weights: Which Comes First?

There are a multitude of ways to work out in the gym. Some go to the gym and only do cardio machines, some mix a full body circuit in the weight room with cardio machines, and many do split routines on consecutive days where they split the body into upper / lower or push muscles and pull muscles. Some will just work a muscle group a day.

Regardless of how you train, if you are getting in daily activity — good for you. Here are some sample split routines that we like to do.  These are the Upper body on Day 1 and Lower body on Day 2 split routine. Depending on your goals you can make Day 3 a cardio only day as a recovery day from lifting hard, or go back to an upper body day on Day 3.

Split routines are basically used so you can get to the gym on back-to-back days without having to work the same muscle groups on consecutive days.

Moderate Level of Fitness

Day 1 - GYM – Upper

Warmup with short 5-10 minute walk, jog, or bike, elliptical.

Repeat 5 times
Jumping jacks 10
Pushups 5-10
Crunches 20

Repeat 3 times
Bench press 10
Pullups - max
Pulldowns 10,10 (wide, regular grip)
Plank pose 1 min
Bench dips 10
DB rows 10/arm

Lightweight Shoulders:
100 calorie burnout (fast) on bike or elliptical - time____? (maximize resitance / speed and see how quickly you can burn 100 calories

Cardio option:
Walk, jog/walk, run, swim, bike, elliptical, row, stair stepper - pick 1 for a total of 10 -15 minutes of cardio (or longer if you prefer)

Day 2 – legs

Warmup with
Squat / run pyramid – run 25m – 1 squat, run 25m 2 squats, run 25m 3 squats – do up to 10. Use dynamic stretches during the 25m distances too.

Cardio mix:
Run/walk mix 20 min
(every 5 minutes - stop and do 20 squats)


Elliptical or Bike
20 min pyramid
- Make each minute harder than previous min by 1 level of resistance (every 5 minutes - stop and do 20 squats)


Walk 20 min - make each minute harder than previous minutes by increasing speed or incline (treadmill) - build up to a jog? (every 5 minutes - stop and do 20 squats)

More advanced Split Routine

Day 3

Reverse Pyramid: run 25m in between each set of 3 exercises for 20-11.

Pushups, situps, arm haulers

Max Dips / Pullups

Pullups, Pushups, Situps

100 flutterkicks (non stop)

Pullups, Bench Press, Push press (50%/ up to BW)

Run 1 mile or bike 10 min

5,4,3,2,1 = 15 reps in one set: pullups, push press, mutli-joint dumbbell exercises (or KB clean and press)

Cardio- cooldown 10-15 minutes

Day 4

Run 1 mile warmup / stretch

Run hills, steps, bleachers, sand etc for 30 minutes

Run 1 mile cool down

Swim 500m without fins

Swim 1000m – anyway you wish:
10 x 100 or 5 x 200…etc.

So when you hear the term SPLIT ROUTINE – now you have an idea of what it means and one of the many ways to "split" the body into multiple groups for training several days a week in a row.

Related Topics

Workouts General Fitness Stew Smith

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Stew Smith works as a presenter and editorial board member with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He has also written hundreds of articles on Military.com's Fitness Center that focus on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

Latest Fitness Books: Navy SEAL Weight Training and Tactical Fitness