Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program REVIEW

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About The Author

Mike Dewar

Mike Dewar

Mike holds a Master’s in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), USA Weightlifting Advanced Coach, and has over 10+ years of experience working with collegiate athletes, national level lifters, and beginners alike. Mike is Founder of J2FIT Strength and Conditioning, a growing global training company with gyms in New York City, Cincinnati, and online offering personal training, online custom coaching programs.

Mike has published over 500+ articles on premiere online media outlets like BarBend, BreakingMuscle, Men’s Health, and FitBob, covering his expertise of strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, fitness, and sports nutrition.  In Mike’s spare time, he enjoys the outdoors, traveling the world, coaching, whiskey and craft beer, and spending time with his family and friends.

Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program.jpg

Hybrid training approaches exist today to offer lifters an effective way to increase strength and build muscle at the same time.

One such program is the UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program by Jeff Nippard, which I’m going to review for you today.

Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program offers intermediate and advanced lifters a way to increase muscle size and strength using wave progressions, compound barbell lifts, and advanced techniques like accentuated eccentric, isometric pauses, and supersets.

Like all of Jeff Nippard’s online training guides, Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program is very informative at explaining the rationale behind the exercise programming and exercise selections. It also offers a wide variety of movements, substitutions, and exercise demonstration videos to further enhance the lifter’s experience and results.

That said, I did find some flaws in Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program that are worth discussing more in-depth.

Why This May Not Be The Best Program For You…

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Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program is a well thought out training program that includes sound programming based on scientific principles of progressive overload, exercise variation, and linear progression. That said, this program does have some flaws that some lifters need to be aware of prior to beginning the program.

NOT BEGINNER FRIENDLY

Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program, like most of his programs, is not geared for beginners or individuals who have been training for two years or less (which Jeff clearly states in the beginning of the program).

The workout program is high in volume and frequency, and also requires a firm understanding of the barbell compound lifts under heavier loads (relative to one’s max).

Lastly, this program requires you to have an understanding of what your one-rep or projected one-rep maximums are for the main barbell lifts (squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press, incline bench press), which can limit the application of this program with beginners.

If you’re a beginner lifter with less than two years of strength training experience), then I recommend starting with the Fitbod app (click to get 3 free workouts), which will base your workouts on your performance in the gym. The app takes into consideration several data points that learn how you should be progressing based on your logged training history.

NOT IDEAL FOR ADVANCED LIFTERS LOOKING TO REALLY PUSH STRENGTH

Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program is a great program to build muscle and maintain or slightly improve overall strength. However, if you are an advanced lifter who is looking to increase strength, especially your 1-rep maxes, this program may be lifting too light for you to develop the adequate neurological adaptations that must take place for you to express raw strength.

While Jeff does state this program is for muscle hypertrophy and strength, I do feel that more advanced lifters could train at slightly higher intensities and find just as much muscle growth with greater strength improvements if the overall training volumes and frequency were dropped some, or if the relative training intensity for the main compound lifts was between 80-90% across the board (rather than between 70-80% of maximums).

If you fall into this category, I would recommend checking out the Fitbod app, where you can get workouts that may better suit your needs as a more advanced lifter looking to build top end strength, and muscle.

REQUIRES YOU TO TRAIN SIX DAYS A WEEK

Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program trains most muscle groups three times per week, which means you will train six days in the gym. For most people, working out six days a week, for 60-90min each session, is not the most feasible thing in the world.

That said, most individuals who are serious about their training programs enough to want to add serious muscle mass know that it will take a lifestyle commitment to that pursuit, so committing nine weeks might not be too much of a stretch.

It is important to note that Jeff does state you can train five days (train lower twice per week and upper three times) and have good results.

If you are someone who is looking to have success on a program that is less than five days per week, you should check out the Fitbod app. With the Fitbod training app, you can choose the training frequency that meets your needs and find an effective workout regimen that will help you reach your goals.

To recap, this is why I feel you should go with the Fitbod training app instead of Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program:

  • Allows for greater flexibility in your training schedule

  • Provides you with numerous programs to help drive your top end strength

  • Provides you with in-app videos on proper lifting technique and form

  • Modifies your workouts daily to adjust to your individual performance week to week, to allow for better recovery and progress

Now, let’s dive into the full review of Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program.

Program Review – Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size And Strength Program

Below you will find my full program review of Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program.

ABOUT THE CREATOR – JEFF NIPPARD

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Jeff Nippard is a popular Youtuber and Instagram bodybuilder known for his highly informational and scientifically-driven content.

Jeff has a strong education background with a degree in biochemistry and extensive self-research and experience in exercise principles, programming, and nutrition.

Jeff is also a drug-free bodybuilder and powerlifter, with best lifts of:

  • Squat: 502 pounds

  • Bench Press: 336 pounds

  • Deadlift: 518 pounds

WHAT IS JEFF NIPPARD’S UPPER LOWER SIZE AND STRENGTH PROGRAM

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Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program is a nine-week strength and hypertrophy program designed to help intermediate and advanced lifters build size and gain strength.

The UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program uses linear periodization, progressing every four weeks in a wave-like manner (wave one is weeks 1-3, wave two is week 4-6, and wave 3 is weeks 7-9).

Each week of each wave the lifter will perform one more rep or set than the previous week, with the same load, for each of the big compound strength lifts (squat, bench press, deadlift, overhead press, and incline bench press).

Waves start at a moderate intensity, progressing in difficulty over the course of three weeks, resetting slightly higher each time in the successive waves (the first week of the second wave is slightly harder than the first week of wave one, but still easier than weeks two and three of the first wave).

Related Article: Jeff Nippard Legs Push Pull Program REVIEW

WHAT IS JEFF NIPPARD’S UPPER LOWER SIZE AND STRENGTH PROGRAM

Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program is delivered to you in a robust 87-page ebook, that walks you through everything you need to know about the program, exercises, and the principles on which it was developed.

The program itself is broken down into three, three-week waves (blocks), each designed to prepare you for increased strength and muscle growth as the weeks progress.

In the below sections, we will discuss the key training variables that every lifter should be aware of when looking to gain muscle and strength, and how Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program addresses each one.

Periodization

Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program is split up into three training blocks, each three weeks in length.

All three training blocks follow a linear progression model, meaning that every week the lifter will either increase one variable (in this case, it is adding one more set or reps than last week), working with the same loading for the main lifts for three weeks consecutively before increasing weight in the next wave.

For example, in week one you will perform three sets of four reps of the back squat at 75% of your maximum. Week two has you performing three sets of five reps (one more rep than last week) at the same load as week one (75% of your max).

This style of progression week to week does have it benefits for beginners and intermediate lifters.  However, it does have its limitations for more advanced lifters who may find relative training intensities to be too low if the goal is more strength centric.

In the program, relative training intensity across the program for most lifts is 70-80%, with the exception of the deadlift (80-85%). If strength was more of a focus (and still could attack muscle growth), relative intensities could potentially be higher (75-85 or even 90%) for the main lift with accessory exercises driving hypertrophy.

Training Split 

Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program follows a six-day training split. The one rest day of the week comes on the last day of the training week (Day 7).

This program is designed to be completed in the following order:

  • Day 1 is lower (back squat)

  • Day 2 is upper (barbell bench press)

  • Day 3 is lower (deadlift).

  • Day 4 is upper (incline bench press).

  • Day 5 is lower (back squat)

  • Day 6 is upper (overhead press)

  • Day 7 is rest

Specificity

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Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program places high emphasis on the development of technical proficiency of the main barbells strength lifts (back squat, deadlift, bench press, incline bench press, overhead press).

While this program does have you training them once a week (back squat is trained twice), it is not as specific to the barbell big strength lifts as some of his other programs (for example his PUSH PULL LEGS program), which trains the squat, bench press, and deadlift two to three times a week, each.

Outside of the main barbell strength lifts, this program offers a wide variety of movements done with standard gym equipment and machines to also keep things fresh and interesting.

Training Volume

Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program is moderate to high in training volume, which can be expected when training muscles three per week and resting only one full day per week.

With that said, most intermediate and advanced lifters should have no issues with recovery if they adhere to proper training intensities (which would explain the low relative training intensity for the main barbell strength lifts throughout this program).

Make sure they are eating enough food to support training and recovery, are getting sleep, and use proper form and range of motion instead of comprising those two things to allow for heavier loads.

Overload 

Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program progressively overloads throughout the integrity of this program.

The main strength lifts (squat, bench, deadlift, overhead press, and incline bench press) are progressed in a linear fashion week to week.

The first three weeks progress via adding a set or an additional repetition each week (rather than adding more weight).

The second wave (three-week increment) increases the intensity (% of maximum) and progresses again by adding either more sets or reps, keeping loading constant. The weight on the barbell will only be increased every three weeks.

The accessory movements are also progressed weekly, however, it is up to the individual to monitor those progressions and know when it is time to add more weight (Jeff discussed this in more detail in the FAQ section of the book).

Fatigue Management

Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program is a challenging program in terms of recovery, however, it is laid out in a way that should allow for adequate recovery if the individual understands how important sleep, nutrition, and setting realistic maximums (for % based work during the program) is.

If you are having issues recovering from training a muscle group three times a week, you can always decrease your training frequency to five days a week instead of six days. Jeff suggests you omit day five, and reorder the training days as he described in the program notes.

Individual Differences

Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program is a templated program that is geared towards populations that want to build muscle and get stronger in the squat, deadlift, and bench press.

Individual concerns like previous injuries, access to equipment, and training schedules can be an issue for some, but this would be the case for most templated training programs that allow for only one rest day a week.

I feel that Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program offers greater flexibility in terms of exercise swaps when compared to other templated training programs, however not as much when compared to working remotely or using a more personalized training app program like the Fitbod app.

4 BENEFITS OF JEFF NIPPARD’S UPPER LOWER SIZE AND STRENGTH PROGRAM

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Below are four benefits of Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program.

1. Good Combination of Strength Progressions and High Volume Training

Just as the name implies, Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program offers lifters a way to increase strength and train with enough volume to increase muscle growth as well.

While this hybrid program does have its benefits, it can fall short if someone is looking to prioritize more strength development and have some muscle growth. For most lifters (outside of more advanced lifters), this will be a great program to do both, however, more advanced and stronger individuals may need to have a more specific training program if they are looking to peak strength in the main lifts.

2. Extremely Educational

Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program parallels the level of education found in most other programs created by Jeff Nippard.

This program offers a robust explanation of the programming concepts, principles, and functional anatomy to help lifters fully comprehend the level of thought and understanding of scientific training principles that went into the development of this nine-week program.

3. Emphasizes Strength in 5 Main Lifts

Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program addresses strength development in five barbell compound movements.

While some of his other programs attack squat, bench press, and deadlift in higher frequencies (training each movement 2-3 times a week), this program trains those three lifts as well as the incline barbell bench press and the overhead barbell press; offering greater variety and exposure to compound movements.

With that said, the overall training frequency of the main lifts is less (each only trained once per week with the exception of the back squat).

4. Offers Exercise Technique Videos and Alternatives for All Movements

Similar to Jeff Nippard’s other training program (Intermediate-Advanced Push Pull Legs Program and High Frequency FullBody Program), this program offers a wide range of exercise swaps and alternatives you can do if you do not have access to certain equipment or cannot train a movements for any particular reason.

One of my favorite swaps is for those who cannot back squat, they can perform leg press or hack squat super-setted with back extensions.

2 NEGATIVES OF JEFF NIPPARD’S UPPER LOWER SIZE AND STRENGTH PROGRAM

Below are two negatives of Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program.

1. Lacks True Strength Progressions

While Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program does state it is out to develop both strength and size, I personally feel that intermediate and advanced lifters (to whom this program is geared for) will find the program to underdeliver on the strength development promise.

The relative training intensity for the main barbell compound lifts (squat, deadlift, bench press) fall between 70-80% of maximum (deadlift is slightly higher), which is lower than normal strength centric ranges of 80-90%. This is not to say a lifter will not gain strength during this program, however, I do feel that manipulating the relative intensities to be within the low to mid 80 percent ranges could lend better strength development over time, while still not contributing to excessive amounts of fatigue.

2. Little to No Flexibility of Training Schedule

Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program is a serious training program that requires you to train six days a week (however you can do one less day and make it five days per week).

With each session lasting 60-90 minutes in length (sometimes not including warm ups), you may find this program to be very time consuming and lacking flexibility in the event you need to readjust your training style or go through some weeks where you are more busy and cannot make all the training sessions fit.

If you are someone who is hesitant about being able to devote six days a week to workout, for nine week straight, it may be more feasible for you to select a program that allows you to tain 4-5 days instead (which can still yield just as good of results, sometimes even better since you are unable to maximize recovery).

WHO IS JEFF NIPPARD’S UPPER LOWER SIZE AND STRENGTH PROGRAM FOR?

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Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program is a solid option for advanced and highly skilled intermediate lifters who are looking for a hybrid training program that will specifically attack strength development lifts (back squat, bench press, deadlift, overhead press, incline bench press, etc) and progress you in a way that will build muscle and optimize strength over time.

But, before you jump on the program, make sure you consider the drawbacks listed above. My main concerns for the program is:

(1) that Jeff Nippard’s UPPER LOWER Size and Strength Program lacks flexibility in the training program, and requires 6 full training sessions a week, with little wiggle room if you miss a workout or two over the course of the nine weeks

(2) it may be a bit misleading and underwhelming for more advanced lifters or individuals who are hoping to develop strength more than size, as the relative training intensity are slightly lower than typical strength development ranges (I would like to see the relative training intensities between 80-85%, or even 80-90% for most lifts, rather than 70-80%).

JEFF NIPPARD’S JEFF NIPPARD’S UPPER LOWER SIZE AND STRENGTH PROGRAM – FINAL RECOMMENDATION

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This program is a sound training program for serious lifters who are ready to attack strength and size in a hybrid training approach. While it does require a great amount of time to train 6-9 hours a week on this program, the wave progressions and accessory exercise that accompany the barbell compound lifts make a great painting for muscular development.

While it is true that I feel this program may under-deliver strength progress for more advanced lifters (mainly due to lower than optimal strength training intensities), I do feel it will at least help maintain or slightly increase strength while allowing for muscle growth and size to occur while staying within recoverable training volumes.

Final Program Review Score…

9.2 out of 10

For those reasons, I really think this is a great program, maybe even my favorite program put out by Jeff Nippard thus far. The wave progressions are something that has great backing in the development of strength, and his application of such principles in a more intermediate style training program is well-received.

It is important to note that for most other individuals though, who may not be able to live in a gym or have that mindset 24/7, I recommend you check out the Fitbod App, as it allows you to choose programs based on your level, training schedules, and goals, and customizes your workouts weekly to adapt to your previous performances to improve your results every week.

Additionally, for individuals who are looking for a more strength-centric training program that also supports muscle growth (rather than the other way around), I recommend you check out the Fitbod App, as it allows you to browse various training programs specific to maximal strength development and customizes your workouts based on your previous performance and results, every week.

Check Out Our Other Program Reviews


About The Author

Mike Dewar

Mike Dewar

Mike holds a Master’s in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), USA Weightlifting Advanced Coach, and has over 10+ years of experience working with collegiate athletes, national level lifters, and beginners alike. Mike is Founder of J2FIT Strength and Conditioning, a growing global training company with gyms in New York City, Cincinnati, and online offering personal training, online custom coaching programs.

Mike has published over 500+ articles on premiere online media outlets like BarBend, BreakingMuscle, Men’s Health, and FitBob, covering his expertise of strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, fitness, and sports nutrition.  In Mike’s spare time, he enjoys the outdoors, traveling the world, coaching, whiskey and craft beer, and spending time with his family and friends.