Clicky

HomeFitness5 Day Split Workout -The Ultimate Routine For Bodybuilding?

5 Day Split Workout -The Ultimate Routine For Bodybuilding?

The 5 Day Split Workout

There’s hundreds of different styles of workout regimes in existence, it comes to me as no surprise that the majority of newcomers give up before they even do their first workout – with magazines, websites, books and trainers all preaching and recommending completely different workout styles for the same end goal.

To build muscle mass and increase their strength.

The 5 day split is the style of workout regime I find myself going back to the most often.

From experimenting with push, pull, legs style workouts, 3 day splits, 4 day splits and many variations in between the simple 5 day split always ends up being my regime of choice.
There are just as many haters of the 5 day split as there are advocates, with claims following a 5 day split workout is ineffective, overtraining or just a downright bad idea.

Here’s the thing.

Any workout regime can be inefficient.

Any workout regime can make you subject to overtraining.

The 5 day split is a style of workout, the specific exercises and scheduling of these exercises and workout days determine whether you’ve got a regime built for results or an ineffective mess.

5 Reasons Why The 5 Day Split Works Well

You’re probably thinking “SJ, isn’t the 3 or 4 day split better? Or what about push/pull/legs?”

As we’ve established, there’s many, many options out there – the biggest issue with the 3 and 4 day splits as well as the push/pull/legs regime is that you’re training multiple muscle groups each workout. When you’re hitting multiple muscle groups per workout you’ll likely be cutting yourself short.

If you perform a 3 day split workout you might be bundling up your arm and leg exercises on the same day – there’s no way you’re going to be able to give it your all on your biceps and triceps exercises after you’ve exerted all of your energy on the barbell back squat and leg press!

The 5 day split doesn’t suffer from that problem.

Here’s a look at the 5 big reasons why I love the 5 day split workout style.

1 – It’s Manageable

The 5 day split workout is extremely manageable, you hit the gym 5 days a week and focus on an individual muscle group each workout. No need to schedule pushing and pulling exercises or anything else that often confuses and overwhelms newcomers.

The occasional missed workout can easily be resolved as grouping two muscle groups together (at a slightly lower volume) will allow you to stack on track with your training and rest days.

2 – It Allows Sufficient Recovery

Training muscle groups 2 or 3 times per week is not necessarily beneficial for the beginner…

It’s quite the opposite actually.

Newcomers take longer to recover between workouts, their bodies haven’t quite adapted yet – the seasoned gym-goer can train a muscle group and hit the same muscle group 48 hours after initially training it, the newcomer cannot.

The newcomer will therefore benefit from smashing each muscle group HARD once per week, forming the 5 day split.

The typical 5 day split looks something like this:

  • Monday – Chest
  • Tuesday – Back
  • Wednesday – Shoulders
  • Thursday – Arms
  • Friday – Legs

The 5 day split will work for both the beginner and advanced gym-goer, however the advanced gym-goer can get away with increasing the number of times each muscle group is trained per week.

3 – It Provides Fantastic Progression

Eat well, train hard (apply progressive overload each workout) and the 5 day split will serve you well for many years.

As I mentioned, one of the biggest gym misconceptions is volume and frequency of training – you can absolutely build a physique that resembles a Greek god by hitting each muscle group once per week.

The 5 day split workout regime you follow should be based around the major compound movement for the particular body part you’re training, continue to add weight and reps each and every workout and size and strength will never be a concern of yours again.

4 – It’s Highly Customizable

Training specificity is key.
If your goal is to build freakishly massive legs you’re not going to be reaching success in your eyes if you’re only squatting once per week.

The 5 day split gives us more than enough wiggle room to fit in additional volume for certain body parts or exercises based on your goals.

Want to throw in some gymnastics work to increase your bodyweight strength? No problems.

Want to squat twice per week? No problems.

Once you’ve defined your end-state goal the 5 day split can easily be shaped around it.

5 – It Allows You To Focus

One workout, one muscle group.

There’s no need to get caught up overthinking during your workout or conserving energy.

When you’re following the 5 day split you know you’ve got one target to annihilate each day you step in the gym, that’s the allocated muscle group.

When we’re able to drill down and focus like this we enter the flow state. When we enter the flow state we’re able to put in proper hard work.

5 Mistakes Most Guys Make With Their 5 Day Split Workout

Are you making these mistakes with your workout regime?

Poor Scheduling Of Muscle Groups

The typical training schedule of my 5 day split workout regime looks something like this:

  • Chest
  • Back
  • Shoulder
  • Arms
  • Legs

This isn’t because chest is my favourite muscle group and legs is my least favourite (actually far from it!) this schedule is optimized to ensure the muscle group we’re training on any given day has the most recovery time possible. Many guys overthink their workout regime and re-arrange days for no particular reason, resulting in poor recovery between workouts.

A prime example of this is training arms the day before your chest workout – when your triceps are still extremely fatigued from the arm workout you performed the previous day your chest workout isn’t going to be particularly great, as triceps are the secondary muscle group when we’re performing our heavy chest pressing movements.

Performing a shoulder workout the day after training chest is the second most common scheduling mistake I see being made, with excessive stress and tension being placed on the shoulders two days in a row (you’ll find that chest dips and incline dumbbell/barbell presses stress the shoulders) this can result in rotator cuff inpingement and niggling injuries over time following this schedule.

Leaving Weak Points ‘Till Late In The Week

Regardless of whether you’re following a 5 day split workout regime, a push/pull/legs regime or a 3 day split workout your weak points should be prioritized.
A jaw dropping physique isn’t necessarily huge, it’s proportionate and symmetrical – without bringing your lagging muscle groups and weak points up to scratch with priority training you’re not going to achieve this.

Train your weak points early in the week while both your willpower and energy are at their highest.

If your chest is your strongest muscle group and your legs are lagging far behind your first workout of the week should undoubtedly be legs.

Here’s an example of the 5 day split workout schedule I mentioned above optimized for weak point leg training:

  • Legs
  • Chest
  • Back
  • Shoulder
  • Arms

As you can see there’s still sufficient gaps between chest/shoulders/arms to ensure we’re still able to be as recovered as possible for these workouts.

Neglecting Rest At The End Of Your Cycle

After 5 day of training have at least 1 full rest day.

I used to dismiss rest days, going from Monday to Friday with my 5 day split workout, then immediately restarting the cycle again on Saturday.

Ensure you’re getting at least 1 rest day at the end of your cycle.

Unable to train on the weekends?

Take 2 rest days at the end of the week.

Want to train on Sunday?

Have 1 rest day mid-week and 1 rest day on the weekend.

The 5 day split regime is highly customizable to fit your schedule.

Example:

  • Monday – Chest
  • Tuesday – Back
  • Wednesday – Rest
  • Thursday – Shoulders
  • Friday – Arms
  • Saturday – Legs
  • Sunday – Rest

Keeping Volume Too High & Intensity Too Low

If you’re able to hit 25 sets per body part per workout you’re not lifting heavy enough and you’re not pushing yourself hard enough.

Each workout should consist of roughly 12 sets, with the majority of your lifts being performed in the single digit rep range.

4 – 6 reps.

3 – 4 sets.

3 – 4 exercises per body part.

The 5 day split should not be a high volume ‘pump up’ style workout regime.

If you want size and strength focus on your compound movements and focus on applying progressive overload with heavy weight.

Each workout should start with the corresponding mass mover exercise for that body part:

  • Chest – Barbell Bench Press
  • Back – Weighted Pull-Ups
  • Shoulders – Military Press
  • Arms – Barbell Curls/Triceps Dips
  • Legs – Barbell Squats

Inconsistency

As discussed above I highly recommend customizing your rest days and workout days to suit your schedule to ensure you’re consistent.

If you train hard but you’re inconsistent you won’t see the progress you’re after.

If you train inconsistently you won’t see anything.

Set your 5 day split workout and follow it for at least 12 weeks before making any adjustments.

Follow the regime, gauge your results and make the necessary pivots, if you’re chopping and changing exercises, scheduling and workouts all the time you’re not going to be able to gauge what is actually working and what isn’t.

Don’t fall victim to shiny object syndrome.

5 Day Split Workout Examples

Below are three 5 day split workout routines that WILL have you stacking on both size and strength regardless of whether you’re a newcomer or a seasoned gym-goer.

5 Day Split Workout Example 1

Chest

  • Barbell Bench Press – 4 x 6 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Press – 4 x 6 reps
  • Chest Dips – 4 x failure
  • Incline Dumbbell Fly – 4 x 6 reps

Back

  • Deadlifts – 4 x 6 reps
  • Pull-Ups – 4 x 6 reps
  • Pendlay Row – 4 x 6 reps
  • One Arm Dumbbell Row – 4 x 6 reps

Shoulders

  • Barbell Military Press -4 x 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 4 x 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Side Laterals – 4 x 6 reps
  • Plate Front Raises – 3 x 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly – 3 x 6 reps

Arms

  • Barbell Biceps Curl – 3 x 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Hammer Curl – 3 x 6 reps
  • Weighted Chin-Ups – 3 x 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Concentration Curls – 3 x 6 reps
  • Weighted Triceps Dips – 4 x 6 reps
  • Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension – 4 x 6 reps
  • Close Grip Bench Press – 4 x 6 reps
  • Rope Pushdown – 2 x 10 reps

Legs

  • Barbell Squats – 3 x 6 reps
  • Leg Press – 3 x 6 reps
  • Walking Lunges – 3 x 12 reps
  • Leg Curls – 3 x 12 reps
  • Leg Extensions – 3 x 12 reps

5 Day Split Workout Example 2

Shoulders

  • Barbell Military Press -4 x 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 4 x 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Side Laterals – 4 x 6 reps
  • Plate Front Raises – 3 x 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly – 3 x 6 reps

Legs

  • Barbell Squats – 3 x 6 reps
  • Leg Press – 3 x 6 reps
  • Walking Lunges – 3 x 12 reps
  • Leg Curls – 3 x 12 reps
  • Leg Extensions – 3 x 12 reps

Back

  • Deadlifts – 4 x 6 reps
  • Pull-Ups – 4 x 6 reps
  • Pendlay Row – 4 x 6 reps
  • One Arm Dumbbell Row – 4 x 6 reps

Chest

  • Barbell Bench Press – 4 x 6 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Press – 4 x 6 reps
  • Chest Dips – 4 x failure
  • Incline Dumbbell Fly – 4 x 6 reps

Arms

  • Barbell Biceps Curl – 3 x 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Hammer Curl – 3 x 6 reps
  • Weighted Chin-Ups – 3 x 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Concentration Curls – 3 x 6 reps
  • Weighted Triceps Dips – 4 x 6 reps
  • Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension – 4 x 6 reps
  • Close Grip Bench Press – 4 x 6 reps
  • Rope Pushdown – 2 x 10 reps

5 Day Split Workout Example 3

Chest & Triceps

  • Barbell Bench Press – 4 x 6 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Press – 4 x 6 reps
  • Chest Dips – 4 x failure
  • Incline Dumbbell Fly – 4 x 6 reps
  • Weighted Triceps Dips – 4 x 6 reps
  • Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension – 4 x 6 reps
  • Close Grip Bench Press – 4 x 6 reps
  • Rope Pushdown – 2 x 10 reps

Back & Biceps

  • Deadlifts – 4 x 6 reps
  • Pull-Ups – 4 x 6 reps
  • Pendlay Row – 4 x 6 reps
  • One Arm Dumbbell Row – 4 x 6 reps
  • Barbell Biceps Curl – 3 x 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Hammer Curl – 3 x 6 reps
  • Weighted Chin-Ups – 3 x 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Concentration Curls – 3 x 6 reps

Legs

  • Barbell Squats – 3 x 6 reps
  • Leg Press – 3 x 6 reps
  • Walking Lunges – 3 x 12 reps
  • Leg Curls – 3 x 12 reps
  • Leg Extensions – 3 x 12 reps

Shoulders

  • Barbell Military Press -4 x 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 4 x 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Side Laterals – 4 x 6 reps
  • Plate Front Raises – 3 x 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly – 3 x 6 reps

Arms

  • Weighted Triceps Dips – 4 x 6 reps
  • Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension – 4 x 6 reps
  • Close Grip Bench Press – 4 x 6 reps
  • Rope Pushdown – 2 x 10 reps
  • Barbell Biceps Curl – 3 x 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Hammer Curl – 3 x 6 reps
  • Weighted Chin-Ups – 3 x 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Concentration Curls – 3 x 6 reps

What’s Your Take On The 5 Day Split Workout? Let Me Know Below!

Scott J.
Scott J.https://ignorelimits.com
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

Stay in Touch

To follow the best weight loss journeys, success stories and inspirational interviews with the industry's top coaches and specialists. Start changing your life today!

Related Articles