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Build total-body strength by splitting your workouts into upper-body and lower-body sessions

One of the simplest and most effective ways to increase your strength is to train using an upper-body and lower-body split, which means you devote one session entirely to upper-body moves and focus another on lower-body exercises. It’s easy to follow and allows you to select moves that complement each other because it makes sense to train antagonistic (opposing) muscle groups such as quads and hamstrings. We’ve also included a full-body session to balance out your training. Do each session once a week for four weeks, leaving at least 48 hours between workouts, and aim to increase the load you lift slightly each week.



Follow the sets, reps and rest as shown. The workout starts with a straight set exercise followed by a superset (two moves with minimal rest in between), followed by a final straight set move.

1 Overhead press

Sets 4

Reps 6-8

Rest 30sec

With your feet shoulder-width apart, position a bar on your upper chest, gripping it with hands just wider than shoulder-width apart. Brace your abs, glutes and quads as you press the bar straight upwards. Pause at the top, then lower. You might find you can lift more weight by wrapping your thumbs around the same side as your fingers, because it keeps your forearms in a better position.

2A Bent-over row

Sets 4

Reps 6-8

Rest 30sec

Hold the bar with a shoulder-width grip, bending your knees slightly. Lean forwards, hinging at the hips, until your torso is at roughly a 45° angle to the floor. Pull the bar up to touch your sternum and then lower under control. If you need to move your upper body to shift the bar, the weight’s too heavy.

2B Bench press

Sets 4

Reps 6-8

Rest 90sec

Grip the bar with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and squeeze your lats together to create a pressing platform before you take the bar out of the rack. Watch the ceiling to ensure you’re pressing in the same line each time. Lower the bar to your chest, aiming to brush your T-shirt without bouncing. Press up powerfully, pause at the top, and then go into your next rep.

3 Barbell roll-out

Sets 3

Reps 8-10

Rest 60sec

Start on your knees gripping the barbell, with your shoulders above the bar and your arms straight. Contract your abs, then roll the bar out in front of you. Go as far as you can, then roll the bar back to the start.

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