Joe Weider’s Advanced Split Routine

It’s been a while since I posted an old-school workout on this website. This was unintentional and driven, largely, by my own interest in stories as opposed to sets. Nevertheless it is good to return to the well every know and then and where better to go than the Trainer of Champions himself, Joe Weider.

Joe, and his brother Ben, were the kingmakers in bodybuilding during the twentieth-century. They founded the premiere bodybuilding organization, the IFBB, created the Mr. Olympia show in 1965, and were the masterminds behind a huge magazine and book empire. Joe presented himself as a man who could spot the next bodybuilding star with ease, as an individual who had a sixth sense for how to pose the body and, most importantly, as someone who understood muscle growth.


Here we’re looking at his split body routine, published in the 1988 edition of Joe Weider’s Bodybuilding System. It’s a four-day split between upper and lower body and has some interesting quirks to it. Most notable are sets of 9 reps, a lot of supersets and some high-volume ab-training. Deadlifting right after squatting is not my favourite thing in the world but plenty do it. Likewise, I prefer lower reps on the compound exercises and more volume for legs etc. but honestly, it’s not the worst thing I’ve seen and makes for a fun workout.


Broader advice on embarking on this system was to use progressive training (i.e. use heavier weights over time), to use proper form unless instructed otherwise and to maintain good sleep/rest throughout. Enjoy!


Monday (Upper Body)


Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 3 9
Incline Flyes 3 9
Military Presses (superset w/Lateral Raises) 3 9
Lateral Raises 3 9
Upright Rows 3 9
Bent-Over Rows 3 9
Barbell Curls (superset with lying triceps extensions) 3 9
Lying Triceps Extensions 3 9
Incline Dumbbell Curls 3 9
Side Bends (superset with crunches) 3 30-50
Crunches 3 30-50


Tuesday (Lower Body)

Exercise Sets Reps
Squats 3 9
Deadlifts 3 9
Shrugs 3 9
Standing Calf Raises 3 9
Leg Extensions (superset with leg curls) 3 9
Leg Curls 3 9
Leg Raises 3 25
Forward Wrist Curls (superset with reverse wrist curls) 3 15
Reverse Wrist Curls 3 15


Thursday (Upper Body)

Exercise Sets Reps
Close Grip Bench Press 3 9
Incline Presses 3 9
Pullovers 3 9
Behind the Neck Presses (superset with bent over lateral raises) 3 9
Bent Over Lateral Raises 3 9
Barbell Rows 3 9
Seated Dumbbell Curls 3 9
Concentration Curls (superset with Triceps extensions) 3 9
Triceps Extensions 3 9
Side Bends (superset with crunches) 3 30-50
Sit Ups 3 30-50


Friday (Lower Body)

Exercise Sets Reps
Squats 3 9
Leg Extensions 3 9
Leg Curls (superset with lunges) 3 9
Lunges 3 9
Deadlifts 3 9
Shrugs (superset with one arm rows) 3 9
One arm rows 3 9
Walking Calf Raises 3 15
Reverse Curls 3 15
Twisting Sit-Ups (superset with Knee Ups) 3 30-50
Knee Ups 3 30-50


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