5-Day Strength Training Program – Introduction
What is the best 5-day strength training program?
Many people think that if they train hard, they’ll get the results they want.
And while hard work IS part and parcel of effective exercise, you also need to train smart.
Training smart means managing the other variables that determine your results, such as exercise selection, load allocation, intensity, volume, and recovery.
You can’t just wander into the gym and perform whatever exercises you like and expect the best results, even if you DO train to failure.
Instead, you need to follow a consistent workout plan.
There are lots of different ways to organize your workout week, and these “training frameworks” are often referred to as split routines.
Almost every split routine can work, but your success depends on your ability to stick to your chosen plan.
This article examines the 5-day workout routine, explaining what it is, the advantages and disadvantages of training five days a week, and the various ways you can implement this training framework.
Plus, there are several five-day split workout examples for you to try.
What Is A 5-Day Workout Split Routine?
A split routine spreads your workout volume (exercises and sets) across the training week.
You can work out anywhere from two to six (or more) times a week, depending on your available time, energy, and fitness goals.
A five-day split involves training five days a week, often Monday to Friday, and leaving the weekends free.
Five-day splits are popular with bodybuilders as they provide an excellent framework for building muscle.
However, recreational exercisers can also follow a five-day split – even for general fitness, weight loss, or fat loss.
However, training five days a week will only work if you also pay attention to your need for adequate rest periods, recovery time, and nutrition.
Frequent workouts take a lot out of your body.
There is no single “official” five-day split routine, and this approach to workout planning is open to interpretation.
Instead, a five-day split simply refers to dividing your weekly training into five separate workouts.
Benefits of Training with A Five-Day Split
Not sure if a five-day split is right for you?
Consider these benefits and then decide!
More time for each muscle group
Most five-day split routines divide your body down into one or two different muscle groups per workout.
This means you’ve got enough time to train each muscle group using several different exercises.
This approach is useful for hypertrophy or muscle building.
More exercise variety
With an entire workout session dedicated to one or two muscle groups, you should be able to use a wide range of exercises and train those muscles from a variety of angles with a range of different movements.
Exercise variety may be useful for enhancing hypertrophy and also helpful for warding off boredom.
Increased caloric expenditure
Training five days a week can potentially burn more calories than fewer workouts.
The more active you are, the more calories you’ll burn, and assuming you are following a calorie-controlled diet, the faster you’ll lose weight and burn fat.
Ideal for weekday exercisers
Many people like to relax on the weekend and skip the gym.
The five-day workout split is ideal because you can train Monday to Friday and leave your weekends free.
A weekend away from the gym will also ensure you are well-rested when it’s time for Monday’s workout.
5-Day Split Drawbacks
While following a five-day workout split can work very well for some people, it’s not ideal for everyone.
Consider these drawbacks before trying it out for yourself.
You need to be committed
Training every weekday requires motivation, determination, and commitment.
You’ll need to fit your workouts around your home life and job and may even need to turn down other obligations so that you can complete all your planned workouts.
One missed workout will unbalance your entire training week
Most five-day split routines train each particular muscle group once per week.
If you miss a workout, that muscle group won’t be trained for another week, which could affect development.
Could lead to overtraining
Dedicating an entire training session to just a couple of muscle groups could lead to doing too many exercises and sets and accumulating “junk volume.”
Excessive volume can impact negatively on your progress simply because your muscles may not be able to recover from it.
Requires careful planning
Writing your own five-day workout split can be tricky.
For example, you must be careful not to train similar muscle groups on consecutive days.
You need to avoid doing consecutive “push” days, such as chest followed by shoulders, or pull days, such as biceps followed by back.
Avoid overlapping closely related muscle groups to allow for adequate recovery, especially if you are training with moderate to high volume.
Sample 5-Day Split Workouts
There are many ways to utilize a five-day split, and they can all be effective.
In general, select 2-3 compound movements and 1-2 isolation exercises per muscle group listed to create a program you can complete in 60-90 minutes.
Use the set and rep scheme that best matches your specific goals, i.e.:
- Strength – 3-5 reps @ 85% or above your 1RM aka one rep max
- Hypertrophy – 6-12 reps @ 60-85% of your 1RM
- Endurance – 15-20 reps @ 50-60% of your 1RM
However, it’s generally best to use heavier weights for multijoint compound exercises and lighter weights for isolation/single-joint exercises.
Stick with your chosen routine and exercises for 4-8 weeks.
Then, make changes to maintain your progress and avoid training plateaus.
See this article: One Rep Maximum for more details on how to determine your 1 Rep Max.
Example 1 – Body part split
This is arguably the simplest way to do a 5-day strength training program split.
Simply divide your body parts down into five muscle groups and train each one once per week.
- Monday – Chest day
- Tuesday – Back
- Wednesday – Leg day
- Thursday – Shoulders
- Friday – Arms
Example 2 – Agonist and synergist split
With this split, you train a large muscle group with a smaller one.
This allows for more training volume and variety, and your arms get two workouts per week.
The legs have also been divided into two lower-body compartments.
On the downside, each workout will be somewhat longer.
- Monday – Chest & triceps
- Tuesday – Back & biceps
- Wednesday – Quadriceps & calves
- Thursday – Shoulders & arms
- Friday – Hamstrings & glutes
Example 3 – Push/pull/legs/upper/lower
This five-day training split means you can train all major muscle groups twice per week.
This is often considered to be better for muscle growth than once-a-week training.
However, your workouts will probably be lengthy and tiring, so you’ll need to do fewer exercises per muscle group and prioritize your diet and recovery.
- Monday – Push (chest, shoulders, triceps)
- Tuesday – Pull (back, traps, biceps)
- Wednesday – Legs (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves)
- Thursday – Upper (chest, back, shoulders, arms)
- Friday – Lower (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves)
Example 4 – High-frequency push-pull-legs
With this variation, you train your entire body five days in a row.
While this might sound excessive, it’s important to understand that you will only be doing a couple of sets of one exercise per movement pattern.
This is a very conservative and sustainable training approach.
Such a low volume of training per day is easy to recover from.
However, you still accumulate an impressive amount of weekly volume.
- Monday – Push-ups, incline rows, lunges
- Tuesday – Dips, pull-ups, squats
- Wednesday – Deficit push-ups, bent-over rows, Bulgarian split squats
- Thursday – Bench press, chin-ups, trap bar deadlift
- Friday – Ring push-ups, single-arm rows, squat jumps
Example 5 – Upper/lower/upper/lower/full body
Training frequency and volume are essential in building muscle strength and size.
Working a specific muscle group once a week may not be enough for optimal progress.
With this split program, you train each muscle group three times per week, spread over five days.
- Monday – Upper body (chest, back, shoulders, arms)
- Tuesday – Lower body (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves)
- Wednesday – Upper (chest, back, shoulders, arms)
- Thursday – Lower (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves)
- Friday – Full body (push-pull-legs)
Friday’s workout should focus on one main push, pull, and leg exercise, e.g., bench presses, pull-ups, and leg presses.
Example 6 – Strength and cardio
If you want to build strength and improve your fitness, it’s probably best to separate your gym workouts from your cardio exercise so you can put maximum effort into both training disciplines.
Depending on your primary goal, you could do three strength workouts and two cardio or three cardio and two strength workouts.
Or, you could alternate across two weeks to do both types of workouts equally.
- Monday – Full-body strength
- Tuesday – Cardio
- Wednesday – Full-body strength
- Thursday – Cardio
- Friday – Full-body-strength
The Best 5-Day Strength Training Program – Wrapping Up
While there is no single best 5-day strength training program, exercising five days a week offers plenty of advantages and benefits.
Training most days of the week will burn more calories, build muscle, increase your strength, and manage your stress levels.
It also means you can vary your workouts and use a wide range of exercises to ensure your training is always fun and interesting.
On the downside, working out five days a week requires a significant commitment of a lot of time and energy, and that may be too much for you.
One missed workout can derail your entire training week.
Busy people will probably do better on a less frequent training split, such as a three or four-day split workout program.
But, if you can stick with it, the five-day workout split can definitely work. Create your own or follow one of our example variations.
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