Bodybuilding.com Information Motivation Supplementation
in:
Brandan Fokken
wnaskor

What Is The Best 5-Day Workout Split?

What Is The Best 5-Day Workout Split?

What is the best 5-day workout split? Our forum members share complete 5-day split training routines, how effective they are compared to a 3-day split, who would benefit, and more.
Q

What Is The Best 5-Day Workout Split?

You often hear that 3-5 days per week in the gym will help you achieve any of your goals. Well, with time on your hands and goals to achieve it's time for a 5-day split.

What is the best 5-day workout split? Be specific.

Are 5-day splits better for training muscles once per week or twice?

Are 5-day splits more or less effective than 3-day splits?

Who would benefit the most by using this type of training? The least?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners

  1. 1st Place: -J-Dawg
  2. 2nd Place: MattyH7688

1st Place -J-Dawg

Five day splits are among one of the most common splits used among bodybuilders these days. Not only does it allow for proper recovery in each muscle group, it allows the trainee to work at a much higher intensity since each muscle group is only trained once a week.

A typical split would be like this:

What Is The Best 5-Day Workout Split? Be Specific

"For most trainees, training the lower body is probably the most taxing for their bodies."

Note: The reasons for prescribing those muscle groups in that order are as follow: For most trainees, training the lower body is probably the most taxing for their bodies. Therefore it is crucial to train it first in the beginning of each week to ensure that the workout is done while the body is still fresh.

Instead of training five days in a row, it is also beneficial to rest in between training days to allow the CNS to get proper recovery. This is especially important for new trainees because their bodies are not primed to be able to work at a high intensity five days in a row yet.

Lastly, it's more optimal to space shoulder and arm days as far as possible from chest day to allow the joints and triceps to recover properly.

For each day, trainees should use 4-5 exercises with two main exercises and 2-3 accessory exercises. An example would be like this:

Week 1

Legs
Superset
In this example, rest-pause is used on the main exercise. Make it a habit to switch either the exercise or technique every 2-3 weeks when the body adapts to the stress exhibited.


Things to keep in mind during the workout:

  1. Lift each rep as fast as possible otherwise noted.
  2. Recovery should be set at 60s-90s between exercises.
  3. Because 5-day splits can fatigue a muscle group relatively quick, consume BCAA's and recovery shakes to replenish the body's glycogen supply during mid-workout.
  4. It's best to lift a load that is lighter and you can handle than to cheat. "Leave your ego in the locker room."
  5. Make sure is rep is done with full ROM unless stated.

An example of something that I have been working on lately looks like this:

Week 1-3

Legs
Superset
In this example, rest-pause is used on the main exercise. Make it a habit to switch either the exercise or technique every 2-3 weeks when the body adapts to the stress exhibited.


Day 2: Chest
Superset


Day 3: Back
Superset


Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Shoulder
Superset


Day 6: Arms
Superset
*Bicep exercise has been chosen instead of tricep as the main lift because the triceps were used during chest days, therefore having it as a main lift isn't as important as the bicep. However, this is completely optional. If a trainee will like he/she is lacking on tricep, then feel free to substitute it with a tricep exercise.


Day 7: Rest

Abdominal Workout

XXX

While there are many ways to target the abs, I find that a mixture of heavy and light lifts yield the best result. Doing nothing but a high volume of crunches and side bends to lose fat around the abdominal region is a common mistake that many trainees make. Diet and proper nutrition are the key to a solid 6-pack.

Abs
Superset


After every three weeks, switch either the main exercise or technique (or both). For example, instead of using rest-pause for squat, you can choose to do heavy eccentrics, where you set the weight of the bar at roughly 110% 1RM and lower it over a certain period of time.

As for the other exercises, you can also choose different exercises, increase the volume and/or vary the set/rep but keep the same number of total reps. For example, if you choose to do 3x8 for Leg Press (24 reps total), you can switch it up by increasing the volume to 4x10 or switching the set/rep to 4x6 (still 24 reps total).

Cardio

Although I'm not a strong advocate of doing cardio during bulking phase (mainly because I have a hard time gaining weight), I still believe it can be useful.

For those who choose to do cardio, perform it two times a week - a 30min jog or a couple interval runs at the track will help with recovery as well as trimming off some excess calories. If you play sports such as basketball, soccer, football, etc. I'd use those as cardio instead of doing additional ones.

As you can see, there are a lot of options to choose from when doing a 5-day split. Use different technique and exercise from time to time and try new things. When you find one that works, stick to it. When it stops working, search for a new one.

"Although I'm not a strong advocate of doing cardio during bulking phase (mainly because I have a hard time gaining weight), I still believe it can be useful."

Are 5-Day Splits Better For Training Muscles Once Per Week Or Twice?

Generally, 5-day splits are used to train a muscle group once a week. The purpose is to train a muscle group extremely hard once a week and thus allowing it to have a long period of recovery before hitting it again the next week. This is important because it is during the recovery period that muscles grow.

Additionally, training a muscle group once a week allows the trainee to use high volume training and not worry about having not enough time for recovery. Training a muscle group twice a week during a 5-day split is possible, but I would not recommend it because it leaves little room for recovery. Without a doubt, training muscles once a week during 5-day splits are better than training it twice a week.

Are 5-Day Splits More Or Less Effective Than 3-Day Splits?

This will depend on the trainee. For some, training 5 days a week is too much while for others it's too little. But for most people whose goal is to increase mass, 5-day splits are far superior.

3-day splits are mainly used for strength training, where the trainee wants to be able to have plenty of recovery time to fully recover their muscle and nervous system because their workout consists of lifting heavy reps and high intensity training.

5-day splits, on the other hand, allow trainees to consistently work on their muscles and exert stress; therefore stimulating more muscle growth. In addition, working out five days per week will burn more calories than three days a week.

On the other hand, 3-day splits can be beneficial to someone who is new to weight training. However, that can only be made possible if those three days consist of light and total body training. That will prime the new trainee's muscle and nervous system for harder workouts. A new trainee can still benefit from 5-day splits as well. Working out 5 days per week will keep the new trainee motivated and teach them the proper dedication bodybuilding requires.

Who Would Benefit The Most By Using This Type Of Training? The Least?

Almost all trainees whose goal is to gain mass can benefit from using this type of training. However, the 5-day splits will probably benefit a more experienced trainee than one who just started because an experienced lifter is more primed to handle the amount of workload 5-day splits impose upon the body.

Trainees who will benefit the least from this kind of training will be those whose aim is only to gain strength, such as the power lifters. Working out five days a week is calling out for overtraining for power lifters since they will not have enough time for recovery.

For those whose goal is fat loss, 5-day splits are definitely a good choice. By training five days a week (along with cardio), trainees will lose a lot calories and thus priming for fat loss.

The 5-day splits can be used for both mass gaining and fat loss training. As you can see, it is versatile as it allows many different training techniques and exercises to be chosen from. Try it out and see how it goes!

"The 5-day splits can be used for both mass gaining and fat loss training."

2nd Place MattyH7688

What Is The Best 5-Day Workout Split? Be Specific

I have often done many 5-day workout splits and have found this split to be the best in terms of recovery/strength/size. I am a huge fan of both deadlifts and squats and both are very important to me. I try to spread my back and leg day apart as much as I can so I can have complete recovery for both exercises.

On every lift the sets are 3-4. On power movements (Squat, Deadlift, Presses), I keep the reps low and usually do 4x6, 3x8, or 10,8,6. Every other lift vary the sets from 12,10,8 to 3x12 to 3x8. I like to total around 15-18 total sets per body part.

It is key to switch up the rep scheme to keep your body guessing and to avoid plateaus and overtraining.

Day 1: Chest


Day 2: Back


Day 3: Off
Day 4: Shoulders


Day 5: Legs


Day 6: Arms


Are 5-Day Splits Better For Training Muscles Once Per Week Or Twice?

Five-day splits are primarily done to work one muscle group per week. This allows you to break down the muscle to the fullest and allowing a full seven days before working that muscle again to fully recover. Recovery is key in bodybuilding. This will help prevent overtraining, from working a muscle to much in one week.

Are 5-Day Splits More Or Less Effective Than 3-Day Splits?

I believe 5-day splits are more effective than 3-day splits. I have gotten my best results from 5-day splits. This allows me to focus on one muscle group per workout and to work it to its fullest.

3-day splits are great for someone who is newer to weight training, but to the more experienced lifter who knows his recovery and body much better will benefit more from a 5-day split. 5-day splits allow one day each week to fully break down the muscle tissue with complete intensity then having a full week to recover.

Who Would Benefit The Most By Using This Type Of Training? The Least?

More advanced bodybuilders would benefit from this type of training. Their bodies are accustomed to weight training and this allows them to work one muscle group to the fullest creating awesome growth.

Someone who would not benefit from this type of training are people new to weight lifting and people who do not have a lot of time. This workout is intense and hard on the body. Someone who is new to lifting may not be ready for it and risks overtraining. Also, someone who doesn't have a lot of time cannot spend five days at the gym a week so may have to opt for a 3-day split.

Recommended For You

8 Workouts From BodySpace's Best

BodySpace is home to an incredible array of athletes, fitness models, and ripped weekend warriors. Here are 8 workouts from some of BodySpace's most popular users!

Calum Von Moger's Back Workout: Build A Massive Back

Looking to build a broad, thick, brick-wall back? Take on Calum von Moger's bomber back attack and implement his pro tips!

High Reps, Low Reps? Which Rep Scheme Is Best?

A lot of people get stuck in middle ground training in which they neither gain the muscle size nor the strength they want. There's a fix for that.

Related Articles

About The Author

Bodybuilding.com Forums - Workout Of The Week.

RATE THIS ARTICLE
POOR
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
EXCELLENT
OVERALL RATING
4.3

Out of 10
Average
13 Ratings

11

Comments

Showing 1 - 11 of 11 Comments

(5 characters minimum)

      • notify me when users reply to my comment
jjziner1997

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
jjziner1997

no mention of lower back??

Jan 15, 2012 4:30pm | report
 
VitoLeo24

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
VitoLeo24

deadlifts

Jun 12, 2012 8:54am | report
kibe69

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
kibe69

How about almost every exercise? But deadlifts, squats, rows hit it hard.

Mar 30, 2013 8:25am | report
T11F

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
T11F

So for the first routine are b1 and b2 always supersets, on both days?

Feb 22, 2012 6:39pm | report
 
Storm88

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Storm88

Great write up from both contributors

Jul 8, 2012 9:35am | report
 
Slickback786

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Slickback786

these dont target all the important muscle groups...

Oct 2, 2012 7:20am | report
 
staticbro

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
staticbro

j-dawg...why are calve raises on day 6 also?

Jan 9, 2013 12:59am | report
 
jfelix1

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
jfelix1

Should be a mistake.

Feb 15, 2013 5:33pm | report
jfelix1

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
jfelix1

I will give this a try since I can not stay longer in the gym to hit two muscles group each day.

Feb 15, 2013 5:34pm | report
 
Drew1900

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Drew1900

how do i read how many reps x sets
5x3,2,1? explain this for me please!

Feb 18, 2013 8:27am | report
 
Miami95

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
Miami95

Only 2 days rest on abs?
Thought muscle needed 3 days to fully recover

Jul 20, 2013 6:47am | report
 
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 5'10"
  • wt: 169.76 lbs
  • bf: 14.0%
Showing 1 - 11 of 11 Comments

Featured Product

Give Us Feedback:
Report A Problem
Site Feedback
Follow Us:
Twitter
Facebook
RSS Feeds
Bodybuilding.com Newsletter

Receive exciting features,
news & special offers from Bodybuilding.com