T Nation

Classic 5-Day Split Worthwhile?

alright guys,

Just a quick question really, I wouldnt class myself as a beginner but in terms of the experiecne of a lot of people on this site I am no where near bodybuilders in terms of size or strength, however I am stronger than the average person outside of the gym environment. I normally do 3 full body workouts a week but in the last couple of weeks I have identified and commenced a 5 day split as to cut a long story short Im suffering depression and working out in the gym helps. All I wanted to know is are 5 day splits outdated now and will it compromise my growth in comparison to 3 full body’s a week? On a positive note I have now started squatting and am enjoying it-I have cfaught the squatting bug as in previous times I avoided it.

Many thanks

Yes, a 5 way split is a tried and true still applicable method.

if you’re doing your squats and deadlifts, and eating adequately, it probably doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things what else you do.

cheers for the useful replies, even if vague haha. Its just I constantly see numerous routines in articles on this site, most of which look good. However when I watch pumping iron on youtube they all look pretty huge and 5day splits were all the rage in that day. I just don’t want it to slow down results, although slow n steady wouldnt be the end of the world I guess if I get more leg and back work involved.

Definitly did not slow down my progress mate! I think you should embrace the five day split. I really love it although I am planning on trying somthing new come this spring. I feel a five day split would be better then three full body training sessions a week. The five day split allows for much more volume per muscle group and I would hope for you more growth so long as your eating and sleeping well.

Anyways best of luck to you. Hope you feel better. I’ve been in a similar spot and its the worst thing ever. Honestly had no idea how painfull it could be until I personally went through it. It is the hardest thing to try to explain to people too. I don’t know if you have noticed that but I certainly did. Unless someone has gone through it they really have no idea although they presume they do because we all get sad. I must agree with you, the gym is the most therapeutic environment to find release in.

Sorry to hear about your depression. If lifting keeps you happy then train as often as you want.

Perhaps you could give an idea what your 5 day program looks like and goals and we’ll try to help.

Thanks for the replies, my new 5 day split (although it is open to change as I will begin monitoring it more consistently in New year-just testing the waters now) is as follows:

T-Back (includes deadlift)
W-rest/skipping in garden
T-Shoulders and traps
S-Arms (Includes strength work for db bench)

I’m open to criticism, My rep ranges have fell into a pattern of sets of 8x5, then 3x12 on most things although the back session is just maximum effort on pull ups followed by lat pull down, with reverse flys and deadlifts.

I think the most important thing for a beginner (after consistency of course) is to build workouts around compound lifts and focus on getting a solid base in all the main lifts (squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, pull-ups, rows). There’s no reason a beginner can’t make that happen and progress at a happy rate only training 3 days/week. There’s also no reason it can’t be done in 5 days; however, there’s greater potential for burnout for inexperienced lifters training 5 days/week, especially when you try to do the same volume each workout.

Personally, I think 3 days/week is perfect for a new lifter until they learn how their body responds and recovers, and you have the discipline and self-knowledge to split things up effectively over 5 training days. If it’s about getting into the gym a few extra days for the pick-me-up, you can always go to the gym and do some bike intervals, play basketball, racquetball, etc…Throw your routine aside and just have fun!

Oh, and you should definitely hit your legs more than once a week, ESPECIALLY as a newbie.

Instead of taking 2 days off every 7…maybe take 2 days off every 5.

Do Charles Poliquin’s favorite split.

Day 1- Chest/Back
Day 2-Legs
Day 3-Off-wtf is “skipping in the garden” Hahaha.
Day 4-Arms/Shoulders
Day 5-off

The only downside is that it doesn’t follow the 7 day calendar…so you can’t track days as easily as saying “Monday is Chest, Tuesday is back”, etc…