Can You Train Legs And Arms On The Same Day?

training arms an legs in the same workout

While your arms and legs may seem like two different body parts that should be trained by themselves, you may wonder if they can be effectively trained together in the same workout. 

Can you train legs and arms on the same day?  Yes, you can absolutely train your arms and your legs in the same workout. Combining arms and legs is commonly done among those training full-body splits or individuals who need to get more done in a single workout because of time constraints.  

However, whether you train arms or legs first, and which exercises you select, will depend on your overall training goals and priorities.   

So before you go mashing your arm and leg days together, I have a few guidelines you can follow to structure a successful arms and legs day.

Is Training Arms And Legs On The Same Day Safe?

I’ve yet to come across any research or personal experience that says training arms and legs together is inherently unsafe. 

What you should consider when it comes to your safety are any current injuries in your arms or legs, and how those might affect you training more of your body in a single workout. If you find your injuries inhibit your ability to train arms, legs, or both, consult a physician or professional before making any changes. 

With that said, injuries will likely dictate the movement pattern and exercises you do on a specific workout, not necessarily the split itself (like training arms and legs together).

So you can train arms and legs together with full confidence knowing you aren’t taking on any more inherent risks than training them alone.

Is Training Arms And Legs On The Same Day Effective?

The effectiveness of training arms and legs together is demonstrated in the success of any good full-body split

The effectiveness of training arms and legs together is demonstrated in the success of any good full-body split. A full-body training split is a great approach to get more done in a single workout, which saves you time each week. 

The result is that either you can spend less total number of days working out in the gym, which is a benefit if you can only train 2-3 day per week, or you can use that extra time to add an additional legs and arms day within the same week. 

Training your muscles more than once per week has been proven to improve your gains versus training them just once per week, even when you do the same amount of sets and reps. 

Beyond just saving time, you can make these arms/legs workouts even more effective by prioritizing your goals. 

Here’s how: 

Additional research showed superior strength gains in athletes that trained for maximal strength lifts earlier in their workout. 

For example, by hitting squats, bench press, deadlift, overhead press, or other lifts intended to show maximal strength early in their workout (just after warming up), lifters showed better results than those who didn’t. 

So if you care more about your squat than your biceps growth, structure your arms/legs workout so that you train squats first, then move on to training arms later. 

If you don’t care either way, you can build your workout any way you like, but personally speaking, I know I like to switch my priorities throughout the course of the year according to lagging body parts. 

Other resources to check out: 

3 Benefits Of Working Out Arms And Legs Together

3 benefits of working out arms and legs together

Three major benefits come from training arms and legs on the same day:

  • Save Time
  • Train More Frequently
  • Improve Work Capacity

Save Time

By combining arms and legs, you can save time by reducing your total workouts each week, as well as reducing the time you spend on each workout. 

When you train two body parts in the same workout, you can train your full body in fewer workouts throughout the week. With that extra time, you can either focus on other priorities, or maximize your gains by training those same body parts a second time in the same week.

Secondly, you can reduce the time you spend on each workout by incorporating supersets, or alternating between two exercises with little or no rest in between. 

For example, you can perform a set of leg press reps, then immediately pick up some dumbbells and perform a set of biceps curls. 

While your legs rest and recover from their set, your biceps go to work. When you hop back on the leg press, your biceps get a chance to rest before the next set. 

With supersets, you can reduce or remove the amount of time you would have spent sitting doing nothing while you wait to recover between sets. With less rest time in your workout, you can get in and out of the gym much faster. 

Train More Frequently

Training frequency is a differentiating factor in seeing the best possible gains. 

Training your arms and legs together reduces the total number of workouts you need each week, as we pointed out above. And while you could just kick back and enjoy the spare time, the committed lifter will use this opportunity to train more frequently, hitting those muscles again before calling it a successful week. 

By structuring your week this way, you can also open up the opportunity to train your muscles a little differently in the first and second workouts. 

For example: 

  • Your first arms/legs day might focus on heavy, compound lifts like squats for legs and pressing movements for arms, trying to hit a lower rep range, like 5-8 reps per set. 
  • Your second arms/legs day might change things up and incorporate more isolated exercises with cables, machines, and dumbbells targeted at lighter weights for 10-15 reps per set. 

This is called a Daily Undulating Periodization approach, which you can read more about in my other article here.  

However you decide to structure it, you’ll have a better advantage training arms and legs twice each week with this approach.

Improve Work Capacity

The definition of work capacity is just your body’s ability to put in the work without getting too fatigued. 

A lifter with well developed work capacity will be able to perform a workout with ease, while a new lifter would need several breaks and rest periods to complete the same workout. 

When you train two muscle groups in the same workout, you can specifically improve work capacity by leveraging the supersets we talked about before. Not only does the reduction in rest time between sets reduce the time you spend in the gym, it improves your body’s endurance. 

Although the muscles you are training get to rest while you work another muscle in a superset, you’re still training your body to continually move and exert energy, which is tiring. The more you do this, the better your body gets and sustaining it, making you a better athlete, more capable of hard, intense training. 

While work capacity can absolutely be developed by training a single body part in a single workout, supersets are a possibility when training arms and legs together. 

Other resources to check out: 

What Should You Consider When Training Arms and Legs Together?

what should you consider when training arms and legs together

If you’re thinking about combining arms and legs into a single workout, consider a few of these points before you do:

Where Can You Improve?

Think about your weaknesses and the areas you want to improve. It could be simply “squat XYZ lbs by ABC date,” or it could be “quit skipping leg day.” With a clear picture of what you want to do better, you can structure an arms/legs day to reach that goal. 

If a specific squat PR is your goal, plan to spend the first part of your workout warming up for and performing heavy squats. Add variations and accessory movements to grow each muscle incorporated in the squat, and then get your arm work in afterward. 

However you build your arms/legs day, put your weaknesses and goals first and build from there.  

Are Your Exercises Compound or Isolation?

As a quick guide, you should know the differences between compound exercises and isolation exercises and how to use them in your workout. 

As a general differentiator, compound exercises rely on several muscles or muscle groups working together to perform the motion, while an isolated exercise relies on a single muscle to perform a motion. 

  • Examples of compound lifts are deadlifts (quads, glutes, lower back, upper back, hamstrings, forearms, abs), bench presses (chest, triceps, shoulders, back, abs), and squats (quads, glutes, lower back, hamstrings, upper back).  
  • Examples of isolated lifts are curls (biceps), kickbacks (triceps), seated leg extensions (quads), leg curls (hamstrings), and lateral raises (shoulders).

Because compound lifts are more technical, require more attention to accurate form, and are typically done with heavier loads for fewer reps, these exercises should be done first in the workout, after warming up. They are most useful for developing strength and training large portions of the body at once, all together, but can still be programmed for hypertrophy goals. 

Isolation lifts can then be performed as you move through the workout, as there is a lower risk of injury performing isolated muscle movements when you’re fatigued from the start of the workout. 

These isolated lifts can be performed for high reps so you can completely exhaust your muscle in a set, without risking serious injury like you would performing squats to complete failure with hundreds of pounds on your back. Therefore, they are most effective for hypertrophy goals in conjunction with other movements for strength training. 

While you may find a few exceptions to this guide in practice, if you follow this guide, you’ll have a well-structured workout.

How Much Time Do You Have?

For lifters with lots of time on their hands, you might consider just training heavy, compound lifts, taking lots of rest time between sets to put in maximal effort and intensity on each set. For lifters with little time, supersets may be a great way to make an arms/legs day quick and efficient.

A combined arms/legs day can be effective for both lifters who have lots of time, and those who have little time to train. Just recognize which one you are and plan your workouts accordingly.

How Often Can You Get to the Gym?

Will you only be able to train arms and legs once a week, or will you have time to train them twice in the same week?

If you have the ability to train more than once per week, think about how you can make the most of those two workouts. 

  • Can you train for strength one day, and then train for size and endurance on the second day? 
  • Can you do one day with supersets and another day with planned rest between sets?

If you only have one day a week to train arms and legs together, make the most of that time by focusing on compound lifts that use as many of your arms and legs muscles as you can recruit! 

Focus on squats, bench press, deadlifts, overhead presses, and others to burn the most calories, work the most muscles, and move the most weight. 

You could also consider supersets to get more done in the same amount of time. 

How Should You Program Your Arms And Legs Workouts? (3 Ways)

3 ways you program your arms and legs workouts

Think of training arms and legs in three ways – arms focus, legs focus, and balanced focus.

Arms Focus – Train Arms First

This workout will prioritize arms, and then incorporate legs. 

  • Standing Overhead Press – 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Barbell Bench Press – 4 sets of 6 reps
  • Barbell Biceps Curl – 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Superset – Skull Crushers and Leg Press – 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Superset – Dumbbell Curls and Seated Leg Extensions – 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Superset – Plate Front Raise and Goblet Squats – 4 sets of 10 reps

Legs Focus – Train Legs First

This workout will prioritize your legs, then add arm work as a secondary focus.

  • Barbell Squats – 5 sets of 5
  • Leg Press – 4 sets of 8
  • Barbell Deadlift – 4 sets of 8
  • Superset – DB Overhead Press – Single Leg Extension – 4 sets of 10
  • Superset – Cable EZ Bar Curls and Goblet Squats – 4 sets of 10
  • Superset – Cable EZ Bar Pushdowns and Bulgarian Split Squat  – 4 sets of 10

Balanced Arms/Legs – Alternate Both

If you want to take the balanced approach, you can either alternate training one exercise per muscle group, or perform all of the arm/leg work before moving on to the other. 

Both methods are acceptable and effective, it just depends on your preference. 

Alternating Workout

  • Barbell Deadlift – 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Barbell Overhead Press – 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Stiff Leg Deadlift – 5 sets of 8
  • Barbell Biceps Curls – 4 sets of 10
  • Front Squat – 4 sets of 8
  • EZ Bar French Press – 4 sets of 8
  • Leg Press – 4 sets of 10
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise – 4 sets of 10

Sequential Workout

  • Barbell Deadlift – 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Stiff Leg Deadlift – 5 sets of 8
  • Front Squat – 4 sets of 8
  • Leg Press – 4 sets of 10
  • Barbell Overhead Press – 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Barbell Biceps Curl – 4 sets of 10
  • EZ Bar French Press – 4 sets of 8
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise – 4 sets of 10

Other Workout Splits

Check out my articles discussing other workout splits:

About The Author

Adam Gardner

Adam Gardner is a proud resident of Utah, where he lives with his wife and two kids. He has been competing in powerlifting since 2016 in both the USPA and the APF. For the past three years, he and his wife, Merrili, have coached beginning lifters to learn the fundamentals of powerlifting and compete in their first powerlifting competitions.