post 5 Day Split Workout Routines for Building Muscle & Strength

5 Day Split Workout Routines for Building Muscle & Strength

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: January 31, 2024
Our content is meticulously researched and reviewed by an expert team of fact checkers and medical professionals. They ensure accuracy, relevance, and timeliness using the latest reputable sources, which are cited within the text and listed at the end of the article. Before publication and upon significant updates, we confirm factual accuracy, committed to providing readers with well-informed content. Learn more.

If you want to level up your hypertrophy game by increasing the total workout volume in a week, then this post about 5-day splits is a must-read.

After 30 hours of research and based on my experience as a certified personal trainer, I pulled the best 5-day body part split workout that will help you achieve strength and hypertrophy goals.

There are many types of split workouts, and depending on your goals, you must choose accordingly since not all of them produce the same results.

After reading the article, you will learn about workout splits, their main types, their effectiveness, how to use and program them, and more.

Quick Summary

  • The best 5-day split workout routine consists of 5 workouts hitting back on day 1, cheesy abs on day 2, legs on day 3, shoulders and abs on day 4, and arms on day 5.
  • Different splits include bro splits, upper-lower-push-pull-legs splits, upper body emphasis splits, and core and cardio splits.
  • Research from PubMed shows that choosing exercises such as traditional barbell back squats will enable you to build incredible leg strength quickly.
  • 5-day splits are extremely effective when programming for hypertrophy since they target all major and small muscles during a week, and there is enough time between the workouts to rest and recover.

5 Day Body Part Split Workout

A person in the gym doing deadlift workouts

I tested all exercises from the list below and my fitness team to ensure you were not injured.

A 5-day split workout routine can be tough if you are not an advanced lifter, so I suggest sticking with the full-body workout routine if you are still a beginner.

Follow instructions regarding programming values such as reps, sets, rest intervals, and similar to avoid unnecessary injuries and produce the best results.

Below, you can find the best 5-day split workout routine for developing strength, which is a hypertrophy program simultaneously.

"Whether your goal is to build muscle and burn fat, get stronger, or become more athletic, you need to know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. And an essential step in formulating a thoughtful training plan is choosing the right workout split."

- Ben Pollack, Certified Personal Trainer

Monday: Back Workout

A person lifting weights in the gym for back workouts

On day one, we will focus on training the major back muscles, such as latissimus dorsi, trapezius, and some smaller muscles, such as posterior deltoid fibers.

All these muscles will be hit through the pull movement pattern, either vertical or horizontal part [1].

Here is the entire workout for day 1:

  • Deadlift: Perform 6 reps for 4 sets and rest for 3 minutes between each set.
  • Lat pulldown: Complete 8–12 reps for 4 sets and rest for 2 minutes in between.
  • Dumbbell row: Perform 8–12 reps for 4 sets and rest for 2–3 minutes between each set.
  • Hammer strength machine row: Complete 10 reps for 4 sets and rest for 2 minutes between each set.
  • One arm cable row: Perform 12 reps for 3 sets and rest for 90 seconds between each set.
  • Straight arm cable pulldown: Complete 15 reps for 2 sets and rest for as little as possible between the sets.

Tuesday: Chest & Abs Workout

On day 2, we will target all major chest and abs muscles such as pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, receipts abdominis, and similar.

Generally, this is done through various vertical push movements, which is excellent for holistically developing the whole body and avoiding muscle imbalances [2].

Here is the entire day 2 workout:

  • Incline bench press: Perform 6 reps for 4 sets and rest for 3 minutes between each set.
  • Decline bench press: Complete 8–12 reps for 4 sets and rest for 2–3 minutes between the sets.
  • Machine bench press: Perform 6–12 reps for 3 sets and rest for 2–3 minutes between the sets.
  • Machine fly: Complete 12–15 reps for 3 sets and rest for 2 minutes between the sets.
  • Push-ups: Perform push-ups until failure for 3 sets and rest as much as you need to recover.
  • Machine crunch: Complete 15 reps for 3 sets and rest for as little as possible between the sets.
  • Hanging leg raise: Perform 12–15 reps for 3 sets and rest for as little as possible between the sets.

Wednesday: Legs Workout

A person doing leg workouts with barbells in the gym

On day 3, we focus on developing leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, and adductors.

Research from PubMed shows that choosing exercises such as traditional barbell back squats will enable you to build incredible leg strength quickly [3].

Here is the entire day 3 workout routine:

  • Barbell back squat: Perform 6 reps for 5 sets and rest for up to 5 minutes between the sets to fully recover.
  • Romanian deadlift: Complete 8–12 reps for 4 sets and rest for 3 minutes between the sets.
  • Leg press: Perform 10–15 reps for 3 sets and rest for 2 minutes between the sets.
  • Leg curl: Complete 12–15 reps for 3 sets and rest for 2 minutes between the sets.
  • Walking lunge: Perform 15 lunges on each leg for 3 sets and rest for as much as needed before starting the following set.
  • Smith machine calf raises: Complete 20 reps for 4 sets and rest for as little as possible between the sets.

Thursday: Shoulders & Abs Workout

On day 4, we are focusing on targeting our shoulder and ab muscles, such as anterior, lateral, and posterior deltoids and rectus abdominis.

Here is the entire workout for day 4:

  • Military press: Perform 6 reps for 4 sets and rest for up to 5 minutes between the sets.
  • Lateral raise: Complete 8–12 reps for 4 sets and rest for 2 to 3 minutes between each set.
  • Reverse machine fly: Perform 8–12 reps for 4 sets and rest for 2 to 3 minutes between the sets.
  • Machine shoulder press: Complete 6–10 reps for 3 sets and rest for 2 minutes between the sets.
  • Barbell shrugs: Perform 15 reps for 4 sets and rest for 90 seconds between the sets.
  • Decline sit-up: Complete 15 reps for 3 sets and rest for as little as possible between the sets.
  • Barbell roll-out: Perform 12 reps for 3 sets and rest for as little as possible between the sets.

Friday: Arms Workout

A person lifting up a bar for workout

On day 5, we will focus on exercising the arm muscles, such as biceps brachii and triceps brachii.

These will be mainly achieved through isolation exercises. According to a study from the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, single-joint movements are just as effective as multi-joint movements when done correctly [4].

Here is the entire workout for day 5:

  • EZ bar curl: Perform 812 reps for 4 sets and rest for 3 minutes between the sets.
  • EZ bar skull crushers: Complete 812 reps for 4 sets and rest for 3 minutes between the sets.
  • Spider curls: Perform 812 reps for 4 sets and rest for 2 minutes between the sets.
  • Tricep dips: Complete 812 reps for 4 sets and rest for 2 minutes between each set.
  • Cable hammer curls: Perform 812 reps for 4 sets and rest for 90 seconds between each set.
  • Cable overhead tricep extension: Complete 812 reps for 4 sets and rest for 90 seconds between the sets.

What Is a 5 Day Workout Split?

A 5-day workout split routine is a type of routine consisting of 5 workouts separated on different days in a single week.

5-day split workouts have increasingly become more popular for hypertrophy training, requiring you to target all muscles in your body with the right programming, intensity, and volume throughout the week [5].

A 5-day workout split is most commonly used among bodybuilders since they can separate workouts based on body parts and large muscle groups to achieve superior results.

5 Day Body Part Split Workout

A person in the gym doing 5 day body workouts with weights

There are different ways to structure 5-day workout splits; all are better for achieving slightly different goals.

For example, If I seek to lose weight fast, I would choose a workout split with an emphasis on weight loss cardio exercises since that will help me initially, along with lifting weights to target major muscle groups.

Here are some ways to structure your split workouts.

5-Day Split Example #1 (Bro Split)

The bro split, also known as the body part split, allows you to keep the cardio and core separate from the strength training workouts.

This is ideal for someone who wants to avoid spending extra time on cardio and core after workouts.

Here is how you may structure a 5-day bro split workout:

  • Day 1: Hitting chest muscles such as the pectoralis major, minor, and anterior deltoid.
  • Day 2: Hitting leg muscles such as quadriceps, hip flexors, hamstrings, and glutes.
  • Day 3: Hitting back muscles such as latissimus dorsi, trapezius, and posterior deltoid.
  • Day 4: Hitting shoulder and arm muscles such as anterior, lateral, and posterior deltoid, triceps, and biceps brachii.
  • Day 5: Hitting cardio and core

Pros and Cons of the 5-Day Bro Split

Pros
  • Very straightforward
  • Good for recovery
  • Improves mind-muscle connection
  • Features shorter workouts
  • Add the necessary intensity
  • Focus on lagging muscles
Cons
  • Need for consistency
  • Increased frequency
  • Requires initial strength
  • Volume may be too high
  • Delayed onset muscle soreness

5 Day Split Example #2 (ULPPL)

A person in the gym lifting dumbbells for workout

The 5-day upper-lower-push-pull-legs split workout routine is designed to build muscles and strength in all planes of motion.

In addition, these workouts are excellent for increasing calorie burn more than the bro split workouts.

Here is how this split workout may look like during a week:

  • Day 1: Hitting upper body muscles such as pectoralis major, deltoideus, latissimus dorsi, trapezius, triceps, and biceps.
  • Day 2: Hitting lower body muscles such as quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, flexors, and adductors.
  • Day 3: This is a rest day.
  • Day 4: Doing pushing exercises that target muscles such as the pectoral, shoulder, and triceps.
  • Day 5: Doing pulling exercises that target muscles such as latissimus dorsi, trapezius, and biceps.
  • Day 6: Hitting leg muscles like the quadriceps, hams, and glutes.
  • Day 7: This is a rest day.

Pros and Cons of the 5-Day ULPPL Split

Pros
  • Hitting muscles more frequently
  • Great for supersets
  • Less delayed onset muscle soreness
  • You can miss a workout
  • Excellent for strength and hypertrophy
Cons
  • It might be complicated for someone
  • It isn't the best for recovery
  • The less focused training program

5 Day Split Example #3 (Upper Body Emphasis)

A person doing a 5 day split workout for the upper body

An upper body emphasis split workout is excellent for building strength and hypertrophy.

Because you will focus on specific body parts, you can isolate those movements and achieve greater hypertrophy and strength effects.

Here is what the workout routine might look like:

  • Day 1: Hitting triceps, chest, and shoulder muscles such as pectoralis major, minor, anterior, lateral, and posterior deltoid.
  • Day 2: Hitting biceps, core, and back muscles such as latissimus dorsi, trapezius, and posterior deltoid.
  • Day 3: Hitting leg muscles such as quadriceps, glutes, hams, adductors, and hip flexors.
  • Day 4: Hitting the same muscles from the first day of the week, but with slightly different exercises.
  • Day 5: Hitting the same muscles from day 2, but with slightly different exercises.
  • Day 6 & 7: These days are meant to serve as recovery to come back prepared for the following week.

Pros and Cons of the 5-Day UBE Split

Pros
  • Excellent for developing upper body strength and hypertrophy
  • Ability to focus and isolate specific muscle groups
  • Fast results due to focus work
Cons
  • Hard for beginners
  • Delayed onset muscle soreness
  • It might be hard for certain people to recover

5 Day Split Example #4 (Core & Cardio Emphasis)

A person in the gym doing 5 day split workouts focusing on the core and cardio

The last split type on our list focuses on exercises to develop core strength and cardiorespiratory conditioning.

This is an excellent split if you are solely looking to lose fat.

However, I would still advise not skipping the lifting sessions since building muscles will expand our daily energy expenditure and burn more calories throughout the day.

Here is what the core and cardio emphasis split workout routine may look like:

  • Day 1: Hitting tricep, chest, and shoulder muscles such as the anterior deltoid, pectoralis major, and minor.
  • Day 2: Focusing on core exercises from various movement patterns and light cardio exercises.
  • Day 3: Hitting biceps and all major back muscles such as latissimus dorsi, trapezius, and posterior deltoid.
  • Day 4: Focusing on developing core strength through various exercises and performing steady-state cardio.
  • Day 5: Hitting all the major leg muscles, such as the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors, and adductors.
  • Day 6 & 7: These two days are meant for recovery and to prepare for the following week.

Pros and Cons of the 5-Day CCE Split

Pros
  • Excellent for developing cardiovascular fitness
  • Great for developing core strength
  • It is excellent for people looking to lose fat
Cons
  • It isn't the best option for hypertrophy due to cardio sessions
  • It may be hard to recover between different workout sessions
  • Building strength with this split is slower compared to the other ones

Are 5 Day Workout Splits Effective?

A person in the gym doing bicep curls

Yes, 5-day workout splits are effective. A 5-day workout split is excellent for targeting exercises at a particular muscle group in each training session in a single week.

Splits allow you to target muscle groups separately through increased training volume and training intensity.

This workout arrangement across the week is the best way to gain muscle and experience the strength and muscle growth for each muscle group.

A comprehensive split workout program will induce the most significant muscle hypertrophy for all minor and major muscle groups and build muscle in the long run.

Bodybuilders use this training style since it is one of the best for increasing muscle mass for their upcoming competitions.

However, having enough rest days in a week is also important since that is when muscle growth occurs.

"Building a lean, muscular physique complete with peaked biceps and a ripped midsection isn’t as easy as those 1970s movie training montages make it seem — it takes a lot of time, steadfast dedication, and sacrifice."

- Anthony O'Reilly, Certified Personal Trainer

Who Is a 5-Day Bro Split Good For?

A 5-day bro split is good for experienced lifters seeking better strength and hypertrophy gains.

Splitting your routine into multiple workouts across the week is an excellent strategy to hit all major and smaller muscle groups and achieve superior muscle-building effects.

If you are still a beginner lifter or inexperienced and have bad fitness, I suggest a full-body workout for some time.

However, intermediate and advanced lifters can also do full-body workouts as long as they hit their set and rep volume [6].

Other Workout Splits You Might Like:

FAQs

Is a 5 or 6 Day Split Better?

It depends on your goal if a 5 or 6-day split is better. For a hypertrophy-focused workout plan, having more workouts throughout the week is better, and fewer workouts are generally better to allow more time to recover.

What Split Do Most Bodybuilders Do?

Most bodybuilders do the push/pull/leg splits. This means training your pushing muscles (chest, shoulders, triceps), pulling muscles (back, biceps, shoulders), and legs (squat and deadlift patterns).

Is a 5 Day Split Good for Building Muscle?

Yes, a 5-day split is good for building muscle. Targeting a major muscle group more often a week when you have up to 5 workout sessions is easy.

You can target smaller muscle groups too, and the hypertrophy is much easier and more effective.

Is a 5 Day Split Good for Weight Loss?

Yes, a 5-day split is good for weight loss. You can lose weight much faster due to the training frequency of 5-day split offers.

However, split workouts aren’t the best options for inexperienced lifters or beginners.

Is a 5 Day Split Good for Beginners?

No, a 5-day split isn’t good for beginners. Beginners may get injured or unable to complete the full 5-day split workout problem due to their inexperience, level of fitness, motivation, etc.

However, beginners can still opt for a full-body workout until they become more experienced and transition to split workouts.

What Is the Best Supplement for 5-Day Splits?

The best supplement for 5-day splits is whey protein powder.

Whey protein powder is an essential supplement you must use after each workout to ensure maximum recovery and performance increase.

It helps regenerate muscle fibers by entering the bloodstream faster after ingestion than other protein types.

I suggest reading our articles on protein powders to pick the products that will support your 5-day split workout routine the best:

Let me know your favorite way to program your 5-day splits and why.


References:

  1. www.researchgate.net/publication/331402880
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3625793/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26439782/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4592763/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6950543/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8372753/
Was this article helpful?
YesNo

About The Author

You May Also Like

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *