Use this 5-day workout plan to boost fitness, increase conditioning and build strong, functional muscle.
New to workout splits?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
In this split training 101 guide, we pull the lid off the most effective strategies for building top-level athlete strength. You’ll use a 5-day workout plan designed by our elite level coaches and trainers to enhance every aspect of your physique.
This workout plan is a natural progression for any lifter who’s been using a full body training program or a 3-day push-pull-legs split and needs a muscle-building kickstarter program.
It won’t be easy… but the results will be frightening.
|Goal:||Strength, muscle build|
|Aimed at:||Intermediate lifters new to 5-day splits|
|Program duration:||4-8 weeks|
|Workout duration:||45-60 minutes|
|Equipment needed:||Barbell, dumbbell, resistance machines|
The 5-day split workout routine
This isn’t a program for beginners. It’s for experienced lifters who are new to 5-day splits.
You’ve been using a full-body system for a while now and the results have been great. Over the last few months you’ve shed your newbie status and built respectable levels of strength and muscle mass. People are starting to take notice of your athletic frame and athletic conditioning.
Now you’re after a new challenge.
One that takes your physique to a whole new level.
It’s time for a 5-day split routine that annihilates individual muscle, forcing it to grow new slabs of functionally-strong, impressive muscle mass.
The 5-day split workout routine to build muscle
Full-body workouts are great for developing hypertrophy (muscle growth). Research has shown that in those training 2-3 times per week, it’s a superior method of carving out mass.
A natural progression from a full-body program is the upper-lower body split. It requires 4 workouts per week for optimal results, but if you’ve got the time it’s a fantastically-simple schedule that guarantees strength and mass.
But what about those training 5 times per week?
That’s where muscle-specific split training comes in.
You can’t follow a full-body approach over 5 days – that’s far too frequent to allow recovery when you’re hitting the same muscles more or less all week. And while a lower-upper split might work, it’s not optimal.
Single-muscle split training suits guys that’re willing to work hard for their gains. Targeting one specific muscle per workout allows you to target superior levels of volume – the key determinant of muscle growth.
5-day split routine workouts provide a number of other important benefits too:
- Greater levels of overload for extended periods of time under tension per workout
- Longer transit time of growth factors in the muscle
- More focused workouts
- Hit muscles from different angles by varying exercise selection
- Workouts are shorter and more intense than full-body programs
- Targets weak points, lagging muscles and lack of symmetry
Successful 5-day training splits aren’t a random mix of muscle groups thrown into your diary without planning. Instead, splits are all about optimizing results through careful planning of variables.
In this plan, we’ve thrown in the toughest workouts early in the week when you’re feeling fresh. It’s crucial to put the more difficult sessions earlier in the week when productivity is high and fatigue is low.
We don’t want you training 5-days in a row as the residual fatigue and soreness you carry over from one session to the next will reduce how hard you can work. We’ve placed 2 specific rest days on days 4 and 6 to inhibit excess burnout and keep your workouts as brutal as possible.
Day 1: Chest
|Barbell incline bench press||6-10||3-4||3-5 minutes|
|Decline dumbbell press||8-15||3-4||1-3 minutes|
|Dumbbell flyes||8-15||3-4||1-3 minutes|
|Dumbbell pullover||8-15||3-4||1-3 minutes|
AMRAP = As many reps as possible.
You should be familiar with most of these exercises at this stage of your lifting career. However, from all of the exercises in day 1’s plan, the dumbbell pullover might be the least well known. For that reason, we’ve added a video of how to perform it with optimal technique below…
Day 2: Legs
|Barbell front squat||6-10||3-4||3-5 minutes|
|Leg press||8-15||3-4||1-3 minutes|
|Lying leg curls||8-15||3-4||1-3 minutes|
|Bulgarian split squat||8-15 (each side)||3-4||1-3 minutes|
|Leg extension||8-15||3-4||1-3 minutes|
Leg day is by far the toughest day of the week. You’ll need to really fuel up before you visit the iron. This workout is a high-load, high-volume lower body attack – it won’t be pleasant… but the results will be awesome.
Here’s how the front squat should look if you’ve not seen it before…
Day 3: Back
|Barbell bent over row||6-10||3-4||3-5 minutes|
|Wide grip pulldown||8-15||3-4||1-3 minutes|
|Single arm dumbbell row||8-15 (each side)||3-4||1-3 minutes|
|Inverted row||8-15||3-4||1-3 minutes|
|Dumbbell reverse fly||8-15||3-4||1-2 minutes|
Back day is a great opportunity to balance your physique, build imposing traps and develop wings that widen your frame and blot out the sun. The sign of an expert lifter is a well-developed back.
This video shows one of the best back exercises out there – the bent over row. Look closely at form and technique, and replicate it when you hit the iron for day 3.
|Barbell military press||6-10||3-4||3-5 minutes|
|Dumbbell lateral raise||8-15||3-4||1-3 minutes|
|Dumbbell front raise||8-15||3-4||1-3 minutes|
|Cable single arm lateral raise||8-15 (each side)||3-4||1-2 minutes|
|Wide grip upright row||8-15||3-4||1-3 minutes|
As the sessions pass, fatigue builds up. At this stage of the week, it makes sense to target smaller muscle groups with a focus on isolation movements. It’s time to crank up the heat on the deltoids.
Your deltoids facilitate a number of different movement patterns, and it’s important when training them to cover all bases. That way you know you’ll develop a well-rounded, strong pair of shoulders.
Check out this video on cable lateral raises.
|EZ bar curl||6-10||3-4||3-5 minutes|
|EZ bar skullcrusher||6-10||3-4||3-5 minutes|
|Barbell drag curl||8-15||3-4||1-3 minutes|
|Rope triceps extension||8-15 (each side)||3-4||1-3 minutes|
|Seated incline dumbbell curl to dumbbell overhead extension superset||8-15 of each exercise||3-4||1-3 minutes|
Some would call this the most important workout of the week… arm day.
Having a shirt-bursting pair of biceps tells everyone you train hard. Match that with solid shoe-horse triceps and people all of a sudden take you seriously.
You’ll be going high-volume in this workout and attacking your arms from a variety of angles.
Check out this EZ bar skullcrusher – one of the most important weapons in your arm-day arsenal.
#1. Assess your schedule
If you plan on committing to a 5-day workout plan you need to make sure you can make each workout consistently.
If you find that you’re only managing to get to the gym 2-3 times each week and skipping sessions, you’ll soon find that your physique becomes imbalanced.
It’s all about lifestyle.
If you can truly hit your 5-a-week workouts without issue, this split training program is THE best workout for you.
But if you can’t get those sessions in the locker, try a full-body workout plan or even a push-pull-legs approach instead.
#2. Monitor recovery
Recoverability is a big factor when you’re hitting the gym 5-days per week. While you’re hitting different muscles each workout, you can still accumulate fatigue as the days pass.
Listen to your body.
If you’re feeling exhausted and your mood is shot, or your strength seems to have completely disappeared you might be overtraining and need to ease off the gas.
Even things like late nights, stress and working too hard can negatively impact your workouts.
A well-planned workout schedule takes into account recovery and deload just as much as it does the program itself.
#3. Support your workouts with the right nutrition
In order to fuel your body through frequent, intense and high-volume workouts, you need the right nutrition plan.
Here are just a few things to support your muscle building goals:
- Eat in a small surplus to promote muscle growth
- Aim for 1.3-1.8 grams of high biological value protein each day
- Focus on vegetables and unprocessed grains
- Beans and legumes are great sources of protein for vegans and vegetarians
- Treat yourself to junk food occasionally, but only every now and then
Check out our bodybuilding diet: eating for muscle mass guide for more information on how to use food to build a better body.
The bottom line
With this muscle-building 5-day workout plan you’ve got the best opportunity yet to craft out a stronger, leaner physique that’s both athletic and aesthetic.