5-Day Workout Splits For Maximum Results

5-Day Workout Splits For Maximum Results

When it comes to your weekly workout split in the gym, there are several ways to do it. It’s not a one-size-fits-all for everyone.

Some people choose to work out 2-3 days per week due to their busy schedules, but some people work out 6-7 days per week. Plus, someone who trains every day probably does very different workouts from someone going 3 times a week.

This is because no one wants to overtrain their body, and it takes time to recover. If you work out 2 times a week, you most likely target your whole body both times. If you train 7 times a week, and you do full body training every time … You'd continuously break your body down with no time to recover.

Rest and recovery are something you need to factor into your training split if you want to avoid an injury. That's why different training splits exist! But they also exist to accomplish different goals.

If you’re confused by the term “training split” or “workout split” don’t worry. Most people don’t know what they mean when they first hear it.

What Is A Workout Split?

A training split/workout split is the way you “split” up your workouts every week. These workouts are normally split up by the muscle groups you'll train on any given day. If you plan your split well, it gives each muscle group enough rest between workouts. That way, you can truly maximize the results you see.

Here’s an example...

Let’s say you train your chest on Monday. In order to let your muscles recover, you won’t train your chest again for at least a couple of days.

So, maybe you target your legs on Tuesday, and then your back muscles on Wednesday. Those 2 days give your chest some recovery time. 

Now, you could choose to train your chest again on Thursday, Friday, or even next week depending on your goals. 

That’s just a hypothetical scenario to give you an idea of what I mean. I haven’t really jumped into the actual training splits that people utilize yet.

A lot of people wonder what the most effective workout splits are. On top of that, there are those who argue over what they believe is the best workout split. In my opinion, anybody who tells you there is a best way is lying, because the "best" option for you largely depends on your specific goals and lifestyle.

The truth is, we live in a world where there are many ways to accomplish the same thing. So, take that into consideration. At the end of the day, the best workout split is the one you like and can adhere to consistently over time.

If you're here, I'd imagine it's because you work out 5 days a week. Either that or maybe you plan to work out 5 days a week. At the very least, you're curious about 5-day workout splits.

Personally, these are my favorite, because I shoot to train 5 days and rest 2 days every week.

Now that you’ve got some background info on what workout splits are though, let’s get a bit more specific. We'll get into common 5-day workout splits shortly ... but first, I'll show you how to design a training split.

How to Design Your Own Training Split

This is the fun part for me! I really enjoy thinking through all the variables to make an enjoyable and effective training split.

When you are designing a training split there are a few things to think about.

What Is Your Goal?

The first factor I think about is my actual fitness goal. If your goal is to build muscle like a bodybuilder, your training split will look different than if you’re training for maximum fat loss.

You’d still want to resistance train for both goals, but the workouts might be a bit different. For instance, you’ll likely split up body parts more when trying to build your body than when focused on fat loss.

To build muscle, you need to train each muscle group with enough volume, and that can require a bit more rest. 

When it comes to fat loss, the key is all in burning calories. Don’t get me wrong, you could do the same plan as the bodybuilder and see great results in fat loss. You could also do more full-body training with less volume each workout.

If your goal is to build a bunch of strength, you'd likely split your workouts based on the exercises you train. There are many ways to go about it, but you must know your goal before planning your training split.

That's because certain workouts can help you make better progress toward your specific goals.

Plan For Rest & Recovery Between Workouts

I already mentioned this, but it’s important to factor in how much rest your muscles need. The main variable affecting how much rest you need is how intense the workout is.

This was actually looked at in a study. Basically, people who train closer to failure need more time to recover afterward (1).

If your main goal is to build muscle or strength, you’ll need to push yourself to failure more. In that case, you'll want to plan accordingly.

If you’re training at, or close to, failure ... Then I would recommend 48-72 hours between training the same muscle group. That also depends on how much work you do as well.

If you only do 1 set close to failure, then you’ll recover a lot faster than if you are doing 10-20 sets. Building muscle requires more sets, so you’ll likely want to take 48-72 hours between in that case.

If you’re doing full body routines, that’s less volume on each muscle. In that case, you may not need a full 72 hours between each workout.

However you do it though, just pay attention to how hard you push yourself and how much volume you put out.

How Many Days A Week Will You Be Working Out?

We’re about to go through a 5-day training split, so that part is taken care of. You never know if your schedule will change though.

If all of a sudden you can only make it to the gym 4 days per week, your training split will need to change.

The more days per week you can train, the more flexibility you have. You can split up every muscle group more easily that way.

But, when you train less days, you have to pair things together more. You may even have to just train your full body every session.

If you can only make it 3 days per week, I would make it a full-body routine. Once you can work out 4 times a week, I would recommend doing upper and lower-body workouts.

When you get to 5, 6, or 7 workouts per week, you can get a little more creative with it.

With that out of the way, let's get into some common 5-day workout splits!

Common 5-Day Workout Splits

When it comes to a good workout split, the 5-day split works very well for many people. We all share the same 5 weekdays and get 2 days every weekend.

This makes it perfect to plan out your weekly workouts and gives you two days to rest and recover with your family on the weekends. Sure, you can play around and make the weekend days your training days too. There's nothing wrong with that either.

That's what makes the 5-day training split so advantageous ... it’s flexible!

So what are some good 5-day workout splits? I’ll give you some good ones that I see often.

5-Day Workout Split Option #1 - Upper Body Focus

Monday Chest & Triceps
Tuesday Back & Biceps
Wednesday Legs & Core
Thursday Shoulders
Friday Arms & Core
Saturday Rest or Active Rest (Walking/Cardio)
Sunday Rest or Active Rest (Walking/Cardio)

In this split, there is only 1 day per week where you are training legs. If you like the size of your leg muscles or are more focused on the upper body, this would be a go-to split. 

Your shoulders and arms will get extra work each week on the other training days in this split. 

This is because your chest exercises will recruit your shoulders and triceps too. Your back exercises will work your biceps and rear shoulders. Then you have a day made just for shoulders and one for arms.

This next one will be a little more lower-body-focused.

5-Day Workout Split Option 2: Lower Body Focus

Monday Quads, Calves & Core
Tuesday Hamstrings & Glutes
Wednesday Chest, Triceps & Shoulders
Thursday Back, Biceps & Traps
Friday Legs (Full)
Saturday Rest or Active Rest (Walking/Cardio)
Sunday Rest or Active Rest (Walking/Cardio)

This program puts a lot more volume on your legs to help them grow. For this reason, it's a great program for anyone who wants to focus on building their legs.

Doing this much volume on your legs each week will also be good for cardio if you do it right. Compound leg exercises will get your heart pumping and leave you catching your breath!

The next program will incorporate a little bit more cardiovascular training each week.

5-Day Workout Split Option 3: Balanced Focus with Cardio

Monday Upper Body
Tuesday Lower Body
Wednesday Cardio & Core
Thursday Upper Body
Friday Lower Body
Saturday Rest or Active Rest (Walking/Cardio)
Sunday Rest or Active Rest (Walking/Cardio)

This program is good for keeping things more balanced. 

Training half the body at a time puts a little less volume and focus on each muscle during your workout. This keeps the amount of damage lower and allows for faster recovery.

The faster recovery is a big plus because if you want to add in more days on the weekend you can easily do that! You don’t have to, but it’s easier to do when you’re less sore from the lower volume on each muscle.

Now that we’ve got some great common 5-day workout splits, let’s look into some of the exercises for each muscle group. This is not an all-encompassing list, but it’s a good place to start!

Exercises For Your 5-Day Workout Splits

I made sure to break these up into muscle groups. That way you can easily find and plug in your favorite exercises! Obviously, there are a ton of exercises out there. These just happen to be some that are my favorite, and I consider to be effective.

Chest Exercises

• Flat / Incline / Decline Bench Press
• Dumbbell Chest Fly / Machine Pec Deck
• Push-Ups
• Cable Crossover
• Dumbbell Pullover
• Front Raises

Back Exercises

• Pull-Ups / Lat Pulldown
• Bent Over Rows 
• Cable Low Rows
• Straight Arm Pulldown
• Face Pulls
• Dumbbell Pullover
• Deadlifts

Leg & Glute Exercises

• Back Squats / Front Squats
• Deadlifts
• Romanian Deadlifts
• Lunges / Lateral Lunges
• Hip Bridges
• Calf Raises
• Leg Extensions
• Leg Curls
• Lateral Band Walks

Shoulder Exercises

• Dumbbell Shoulder Press
• Military Press
• Dumbbell Lateral Raises
• Front Raises
• Reverse Dumbbell Fly
• Shrugs
• IYTA Raises

Triceps Isolation Exercises

While many chest exercises also use the triceps, these are triceps focused exercises.

• Triceps Pressdowns
• Close Grip Bench Press
• Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extensions
• Diamond Push-ups
• Skull Crushers
• Close Grip Dips

Biceps Isolation Exercises

Similar to your triceps, your biceps get work in other back exercises, but these are biceps focused exercises. I’m also throwing in forearms and some supporting muscles to the biceps too.

• Bicep Curls with Dumbbell / Barbell / Cables
• Barbell Reverse Curls
• Hammer Curls
• Chin-Ups
• Dumbbell Spider Curls
• Zottman Curls
• Wrist Curls / Wrist Extensions

Core Exercises

• Sit-Ups
• Planks / Side Planks
• Scissor Kick Leg Raises
• Hanging Leg Raises
• Penguin Crunches
• V-Ups
• Cable Crunches
• Bicycle Crunches

Reaching Your Goals With a 5-Day Workout Split

When it comes to a good workout split, there are many ways to do it. There is no one best way to do it. As long as you push yourself, recover well, and eat correctly you’ll see results!

You can mix and match the exercises listed into those days, and have fun with it. Just make sure you’re not overworking any muscles along the way.

I understand not everyone wants to plan their own workouts. Some people prefer to have it written for them so they don’t have to think about it. That's not to mention how tough programming your nutrition can be. That's where most of us struggle.

The good news is, we can help in both areas! In fact, our mission at 1st Phorm is to help real people like you and me earn real and long-term results.

That's also why we developed the ultimate all-in-one fitness app to help: The 1st Phorm App. Not only will you get full workout programs, including 5-day workout splits, for your goals ... But also so much more!

Inside the app, you'll get access to:

• A certified personal trainer and nutrition coach (sometimes a dietitian) to coach you every day in the app

• A custom nutrition plan and an easy way to log your food to stay on track

• 5x per week live streams about nutrition, training, and supplementation

• Activity and step-counting software

• Progress tracking and body metrics to make sure you get the results you're after

Check out the 1st Phorm App here, and I promise you won’t regret it!

If you have any questions or need help in the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out! We have a full team of NASM Certified Personal Trainers and Nutrition Coaches right here in St. Louis, Missouri. Just give us a call at 1-800-409-9732 or send us an email at CustomerService@1stPhorm.com any day from 6 AM to 10 PM Central.

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(1) Morán-Navarro R, Pérez CE, Mora-Rodríguez R, de la Cruz-Sánchez E, González-Badillo JJ, Sánchez-Medina L, Pallarés JG. Time course of recovery following resistance training leading or not to failure. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2017 Dec;117(12):2387-2399. doi: 10.1007/s00421-017-3725-7. Epub 2017 Sep 30. PMID: 28965198.


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