Best 5-Day Split Workout

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Is your basic workout routine getting stale and boring?

Don’t give up just yet and take a look at my article that shows you a workout routine that can take your body to the next level.

After spending more time at the gym, I started to find that my normal routine was not cutting it for me anymore. To be frank, it was boring.

Yeah, the exercises got the job done. However, I stopped feeling that burn that kept me coming back to the gym.

So, I knew I needed to find something to shake up my workout routine before I lost my motivation altogether.

That’s when I discovered the idea of splitting up my routine over the course of 5-days.

What Are the Basics of a 5-Day Workout Routine?

woman doing plank

General fitness practices usually stick to splitting sessions between upper and lower body. This is usually more than enough for beginners.

But more experienced trainers may need a routine that is more advanced and concentrated.

This is where the 5-day workout routine comes in.

A 5-day workout split routine refers to focusing your training on specific regions and muscles in your body.

It usually happens over the course of a week with high-intensity workouts for each muscle group per session.

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What Are the Benefits of a 5-Day Workout Split?

Increased Volume & Intensity

The point behind a 5-day workout routine is that each major muscle group gets a day to themselves.

man doing preacher curls

This is a huge difference to a full-body workout and 3-day split workout routine, which only allows 1-4 exercises per muscle group.

With a five-day workout, each muscle group has an entire session dedicated to it.

This means that you can actually perform 6-8 exercises for each muscle group rather than 1-4 exercises for larger muscle units.

The higher volume and intensity of exercises increases the stimulation of muscle tissue growth.

This is why people enjoy this type of workout because you really tackle large muscles and small, stubborn muscles alike.

More Variation

5-day workouts do not require pairing muscle groups. Granted, pairing muscle groups has its own advantages.

woman doing kettlebell swing

But pairing muscle groups together or working out the full-body also means that you typically have to stick with the same 3 or 4 exercises.

This is definitely an okay thing to do.

When I started out, I found that I needed the repetitive exercises to simply build up my strength first.

With a 5-day workout split, you have a greater range of exercises to try.

Because you can workout 6-8 exercises, you have room to try out unusual and different exercises.

This could help make your workout more thorough and well-rounded. Even better, it can make training fresher and more exciting.

More Focus

On the note of making your workout fresher and more interesting, a 5-day workout routine maintains your focus.

Because you only focus on one muscle, your brain is not trying to multitask. You don’t have to think about when you are going to do cardio.

Instead, you are wholly focused on developing your muscles and in the most effective way possible.

Greater Recovery Time

The first time I heard about a 5-day workout routine I was certain it was going to be an exhaustive plan.

man doing pull ups

I definitely thought it was going overboard.

That is until I found out that 5-day routines actually allow more recovery time than paired muscle workout routines.

With paired muscle routines, the muscle group you work on in the second half of your workout won’t get as much exercise as the first muscle group because fatigue has likely set in.

Like multitasking, it is kind of impossible to really focus an equal amount of attention on every muscle.

Your energy will naturally be lower somewhere.

With a 5-day workout split, you work an entire muscle group in one day and then have a week to rest.

This means that you can really push yourself during each session and allow your muscles to rest and grow stronger before the next session.

What Are the Best Muscles to Work Together In 5-Day Routine?

woman doing dumbbell press while man spots her

Plot twist: There are no perfect muscle combinations to workout in a 5-day period. Why?

Because, as we have mentioned before, a 5-day workout routine focuses on working individual muscle groups or areas.

Typically, you would not work more than one muscle group in a day or session.

The five major muscle groups a 5-day routine usually trains are as follows:

  • Legs
  • Back
  • Chest
  • Shoulder
  • Arms

Now, the trick does not lie in trying to pair these muscles for workouts. The trick lies in the order in which you work out these different muscles.

Because even though we are only focusing on individual muscles, if you exercise certain muscles the day before another muscle, they are secondary to, you might find that recovery is difficult.

What do I mean by this?

For example, you would not want to work out your arms before a chest workout. If you work out your arms before chest day, you might find your triceps are too tired to give you the best chest workout.

As such, when you are building your 5-day workout routine, be mindful of which muscles affect one another so you can split them apart and give them ample time to train and recover.

What Is the Best 5-Day Split Workout?

man flexing pecs and biceps

Here is our take on an optimized 5-day workout routine:

  • Day 1- Chest
    • Incline dumbbell press – 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps
    • Incline dumbbell flyes – 4 sets of 12 reps
    • Flat bench barbells – 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps
    • Cable Crossovers – 3 sets of 15 reps
    • Pec Deck – 3 sets of 15 reps
    • Decline hammer strength machine – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • Push-ups – 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps.
  • Day 2: Back
    • Wide grip pull-ups – 4 sets of 10 reps
    • Barbell bent-over rows – 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps
    • Close grip lat pulldown machine – 4 sets of 12 reps
    • T-bar rows – 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps
    • Dumbbell rows – 3 sets of 10 reps per arm
    • Hyperextensions – 3 sets of 15 reps
    • Reverse grip pulldowns -3 sets of 15 reps
  • Day 3: Shoulders
    • Dumbbell lateral raises – 4 sets of 12 to 15 reps
    • Seated dumbbell shoulder press – 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps
    • Standing military barbell press – 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps
    • Dumbbell front raises – 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps per arm
    • Dumbbell shrug – 3 sets of 15 reps
    • Rear delt flyes – 4 sets of 12 to 15 reps
  • Day 4: Arms
    • Standing hammer curls – 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps
    • Preacher curl machine – 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps
    • EZ bar curls – 4 sets of 12 to 15 reps
    • Seated dumbbell curls – 4 sets of 10 reps
    • Triceps rope pushdown: 4 sets of 15 reps
    • Triceps overhead extensions – 4 sets of 15 to 20 reps
    • Skull crushers – 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps
  • Day 5: Legs
    • Leg press – 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps
    • Barbell squats – 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps
    • Leg extension – 3 sets of 15 reps
    • Hack Squat – 4 sets of 10 reps
    • Hamstring curls – 3 sets of 15 reps
    • Calf raises – 3 sets of 20 reps

Adjust Them If Required

man putting weight plate on barbell

The key thing to remember about 5-day workouts is that they can be adjusted to your needs and abilities.

The program we mentioned above might not be for you. Perhaps you are more concerned about your leg strength than your upper body strength.

If that’s the case, you can re-order your program so leg day comes first. In this way, you can deal with your problem areas head-on.

In fact, try to schedule your 5-day workout routine where you start with your weakest points. If you start the week with your weakest points, you are starting when your energy and willpower are at their highest, so you won’t lag on any exercises.

Finally, don’t forget to incorporate your rest days. Scheduling your rest days can be done in a number of ways depending on your schedule.

Some people take a rest day after three days of working out. Others work for five days straight before taking two days off.

I highly suggest taking the time to construct your workout regime according to your circumstances.

I once made the mistake of forcing myself to do a schedule that threw off all my other routines rather than finding a way that accommodated my lifestyle.

Things to Keep in Mind During the Workout

fit woman looking down

The 5-day split allows for a great amount of intensity. In that sense, there are precautions and things to keep in mind to make sure you don’t hurt yourself and get the most value out of your work out.

Always Warm-Up or Stretch

Interestingly, I found that some programs or routines will list resting days, but not factor in warm-up times.

Before you start any work-outs, especially something as intense as a 5-day workout, warm-ups help prepare your muscles for whatever you are throwing at them.

They help stretch your muscles, get your blood flowing and help with flexibility.

Don’t make the mistake of jumping straight into an intense workout without warming up.

You might find, as I did, that the soreness hits your early and your recovery period might need to be longer.

Stay Hydrated

You’ve probably heard it before, but you’re about to hear it again. Water is your best friend.

Make sure you start drinking water long before you work out and keep drinking water throughout your workout.

Dehydration is the last hurdle you want to overcome during an intense workout.

Maintain Short Recovery Times

Resting between sets is important to avoid straining your muscles.

However, you want to make sure the resting time is short in order to preserve your energy and maintain high intensity.

For paired workouts, recovery can be as little as 10-30 seconds.

However, with more comprehensive and focused workouts like a 5-day workout routine, you should keep your recovery period from 60 – 90 seconds long.

Remember, 5-day workouts put all the energy and work on one set of muscles. Fatigue can set in quickly so give your muscles time to reset between sets.

Underestimate Your Strength

Yes. You heard me correctly.

I know that the point of these workout routines is to build muscles. Logic says heavier weights equal more muscle.

However, lifting loads heavier than your body is prepared for is likely to only result in strain and injury.

On top of that, just because you can lift heavy weights does not mean you can lift them well.

That being said, humble yourself to lift lighter weights where you can master the correct form and technique.

Think of it as establishing that strong foundation to lift heavier later on.


man at the dumbbell rack

A 5-day workout routine definitely saved my attitude about the gym.

Splitting up my workouts across five days and taking time to focus on each of my muscles demanded a new kind of motivation.

The great thing is that this type of routine can be applied to anyone’s fitness plan or lifestyle. It is a great use of your energy and attention and achieves a well-rounded physique in an efficient way.

Granted, if you do not have the time to spare 5 days for workout sessions, it might not be for you.

But, if you are searching for something advanced for your fitness plans, this is definitely worth a try.

I hope this workout plan idea was helpful to you. If you have comments or questions, please share them with us.

12 thoughts on “Best 5-Day Split Workout”

  1. Hi, I wonder if I need to increase weight after one set during one exercise?
    Or just after every week?

    • I recommend increasing weight each week or when you feel you can do each set easily – increase weight to make it harder and get that pump.

  2. I already following paired muscle workout(e.g.chest and biceps).After seeing your routine I get started to follow this. comparitively single muscle workout is less effective when compared to paired muscle workout(according to my experience).what should I do? Give me your suggestion to my further move.

    • I recommend doing what works best for you. If you’re getting better results with paired then continue doing that routine but maybe mix things up so you’re shocking your muscles, that way you won’t hit that plateau where you feel nothing is working.

      • That’s what Arnold would say “Shocking the muscles”. It is true though. Mix up your exercises every week, or at least every month. Switch up 1 or 2 for each muscle group.
        And to prevent hitting a plateau, Viper, I say it’s is necessairy that you pick the right weights. For example, if your last rep of your set is hard or really asks your body to push that last one, than you know you got the right weights. If you can easily do 12 reps with a certain weight, than you need to up that weight slightly. Try and find your ideal weight so that you push every last rep of your set.

    • Hi there.
      Check day 4 of the plan:
      Standing hammer curls – 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps
      Preacher curl machine – 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps
      EZ bar curls – 4 sets of 12 to 15 reps
      Seated dumbbell curls – 4 sets of 10 reps
      Triceps rope pushdown: 4 sets of 15 reps
      Triceps overhead extensions – 4 sets of 15 to 20 reps
      Skull crushers – 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps

  3. Hi , about how many sets per workout should I be aiming for? For big muscle groups and smaller ones…

    Alsi, how many exerices per muscle group? Both the sets and number of exercises vary so I’m not sure how to create my own routone… Thanks

    • Healthy wise, I would suggest 3-4 sets for smaller muscles and 4 sets is doable for bigger muscle groups. To gain weight, it is necassairy to do lower reps but higher weight. This means that your last rep of your set, must be harder than the others. If that happens, you got the right weight and you can easily do 12, 10 and 8 reps without stressing the muscle or without it being TOO easy.
      For smaller muscle groups I suggest 3-4 exercises at max, don’t stress the muscle or over-do it.
      For the bigger ones such as your Chest, i strongly suggest 5 till 6 exercises at max.
      Your chest for example is a big muscle group and has different ways to be trained like the upper and the lower part. Therefor you can easily mix up many exercises to hit both parts with 2-3 exercises each. But if you would only do about 3 exercises for your entire chest part, you won’t train it as effectively as if you did 4-6 exercises.
      That’s my opinion and knowledge ofcourse.

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