T Nation

Phill's First 5 Day Split


OK just a warning post this is going to be long.

Hello Al,l Here we go I took the Jump. I was holding off posting opinions on this Well cause It was just a program and they all look good in theory if design well. I wanted to put it to practice first. Now in week four I can already say I am Making Great progress in this early stage and I am LOVING it.

What brought this about was that I was thinking. Over all my training years I had NEVER done a we?ll call it a traditional bodybuilding split. A five day split that breaks down body parts, legs chest back arms shoulders.

Yup NEVER and I have done push pull, legs, tons of Upper lower, and full body stuff but never something like this and YES I was guilty of I admit saying these are not effective. That was short sighted I realize and Like to TRY thing before I put them UP or down. Im open and it was time for this step Hell it just may work and it IS!!!! Even the arm day MY God I have never done that but just the first week had me BEGGING for an arm day after a killer leg, arm, and back day. It is NEEDED that and food and rest of course.

So here is the kicker of course it is not totally a traditional 5 day Body part split. I found after searching through TONs of them a split I thought looked to have promise and put a twist to it. The things from the coaches here etc that I have found work for ME. So its kind of a Flex meets T-Nation Program. A high volume body part split with some Dan John, Staley, CW etc thrown in in parts of there work I enjoy and find works for me. So this is how "Phills HVT 5 Day Split" Came to fruition. OOOHHHH Big words.

OK lets get right to the guts of this.

5 days
Day 1= Legs
Day 2= Chest
Day 3= Back
Day 4= arms
Day 5= shoulders.

OK to pull from Dan J, Staley, and CW to an extent I changed the start. From Dan I pulled the "eat the Big Toad, from the bucket of Frogs" Get the BIG hard thing done first and all else is Icing. Staley for this portion brings a PR zone of sorts this first part of each day has a set time, 20 mins for all days except arms which is 30 mins due to the Antagonist pair. CW this is a reach but slightly influenced by the Heavy loads he prescribes often and lower reps higher sets. That and "Lift the Damn Weight" Move it Fast and effective.

The rest is 4 sets from 6-8 of each exercise with strict one minute rest periods. Even some forced reps thrown in if the 8 reps is not able to be met.

Progression. Simple. On the PR "Eat the Frog" zone I go through 3-4 lighter warm up sets and them move to a higher load initially about 80-90% once able to get the warm up Plus 7 sets of Doubles I raise the weight. and start it again aiming to get those reps.

On all the other stuff. Well I aim to get 6-8 reps in all the four sets at 60 seconds rest. Once I am able to get those next w/o I raise the weight.

You do however have to Note that if you give that FROG your all and progress you may not progress on the others. But all except One exercise on One days has been progressing in either or strength or reps for 3+ weeks Now NICE

I also came to the quick realization at starting this that my Anabolic Endurance was CRAP. I could move OK weight from all the emphasis on rest, heavy, low reps high sets. Those short rest and 6-8 reps with some forced reps etc was KILLER and is forcing some Great gains. That and if I KILL a Body part it takes that week to heal right and go back again and Progress.

Oh time. The first w/o took a bit longer but once it is routine I am done in right about 1 hour. Good stuff. Just get in GO. No BSing etc. Just hitting the iron.

OK here are the exact days and then I will give an example of this weeks leg w/o I did Monday.

Day 1 legs

A=20 Min PR
Back Squat and Decline Weight crunch ( sets of three on these as an antagonist)

B= Safety Squat (Close Stance, Heels on board, ATG) 4x6-8

C= Single leg extension (left then right then rest that?s a set both must hit 4 8s to progress) 4 x 6-8

D=Lying Leg Curl 4x 6-8

E= Stiff leg DL 4x6-8

F= Cable Ab Crunch 4 x Aim to hit 15 then progress.

Day 2 Chest

A=20 Min PR
BB Bench Press

B= DB Incline Press 4x6-8

C= DB Flyes 4x6-8

D=Decline BB Bench Press 4x6-8

E= Stiff Arm Pullover 4x6-8

F= Lying Incline Leg raise 4 x Aim to hit 15 then progress.

Day 3 Back

A=20 Min PR
Lat P down/Chins

B= Sumo DL 4x6-8

C= Wide Grip Lat Pdown 4x6-8

D=Underhand Bent Over Row 4x6-8

E= High Cross Pullover left then right then rest that?s a set both must hit 4 8s to progress) 4 x 6-8

F= Cable Side Crunch 4 x Aim to hit 15 then progress.

G= Reverse Flyes 4 x 6-8

Day 4 Arms

A=30 Min PR
BB Curls & BB VERY close grip bench (lowered to just under Chin).

B= Preacher curl 4x6-8

C= Over Head Pulley Curls 4x6-8 each arm

D=Triceps Rope Pressdown 4x6-8

E= One Arm Cable kickbacks 4 x 6-8

F= Maybe finish off with some drop set hammer curls Depends on time.

Day 5 Shoulders

A=20 Min PR
Standing Overhead BB press. (Clean and strict press)

B= DB Shoulder Press 4x6-8

C= Lat Raise 4x6-8

D=BB Shrugs 4x6-8

E= Standing Calf Raise Off a block with Pause at bottom 4x6-8

F= Seated calf raise. (alternate right left no rest aim to get 20 reps on four consecutive sets, then raise weight)

G= finger curls & Overhand forearm curls. 4x6-8

Other two days eat and rest. That's it

OK here is a sample day my leg w/o from Monday. It took just over an hour. Was brutal but Fing awesome. This was the first day I actually went down a few reps on one exercise, the single leg extension, but only after some good progress on both the barbell and ATG close stance safety squats. Assisted or cheat reps are shone like this example 5+3 meaning 5 clean reps and 3 assisted or cheated reps. On single limbed movements it will be L/R like 5/4 unless they both get the same reps then just a single 8.

Day 1 legs 12/19

A=20 Min PR
Back Squat = 135x8, 225x8, 315x5, 381.5x2,2,2,2,2,2,2
Decline Weight crunch 10 x 4 load 45lbs

B= Safety Squat (Close Stance, Heels on board, ATG) 245 x 8, 8, 6+2, 5+3

C= Single leg extension 60.5 x 8, 7, 7/6, 5/6

D=Lying Leg Curl 100 x 8, 8, 8, 5

E= Stiff leg DL 269 x 8, 8, 8, 8

F= Cable Ab Crunch 88lbs x 15, 13, 11, 10

that?s it also have had a GREAT progression in my weakest point the bench this week and doing back today.

Just thought someone might find this interesting. I figure Ill run it a few more weeks maybe a total of 6 then change a few exercises etc and go again. Or hell do something different and come back to this.

Let me hear what you all think.



You're typing from your gym do you? You can't possibly get out alife walking home after this w/o :wink:

Sounds really demanding. 5 Day Split wouldn't be my choice of training but if you feel great and it works why change it? If you're into HVT be sure to read CTs OVT and his additions with DaFreak but you surely know that already...


LOL. What you quoted above was just the foundationg that FROG the biggest toad Dan John talks about. That is the first twenty minutes. The opart that I can pick and choose and usually go for that HEAVY weight. Well Heavy for me and I am advancing fast. Im digging it.

I should also mention I am, lucky enough to w/o at home and have my own Nice Power rack various bars, including safety squat bar etc. so that speends things up. but in general theese take just over an hour. were talking mkinutes over 5 or ten.

Oh Yes I lone OVT have dabbled in it done a fw weeks a couple times and LOVED it. May have o rervis it sometime as well. It was simply time to create something NEW ive been following lots OF CW programs, Stalets EDT, etc. for a few years now. Following them to a T for the most part. Just addding something new and working with what I found works for me.

Thanks fopr the input though.


Well...um...yeah. :wink:

I'm sure you know your stuff.

If you should've made a terrible programm design error Cosgrove and Danny John will surely beat the crap out of you at the Test-Fest :wink:


Phil, I believe such a body part split does have its place in a routine built for size as the primary goal. I have done pure Body part splits in the past succesfully.

My only thought would be that I would turn it into a 4 day split an nix the shoulder work. You could add in overhead presses on your chest day, as well as isolation work on chest/back day for the various aspects of the shoulder used.

Of course, this is just my opinion. If you are getting success with what you are doing, keep at it until it stops working!


As a follow up thought, another way to use this would be as part of a pendulum as CT describes. Myself, I am considering do something like the following starting in 06:

Week 1: Upper/Lower or Full Body, functional focus, Clusters, heavy singles, 2-5 rep range

Week 2: Chest/Back/Legs/Arms 8-12 with forced reps, drop sets, etc.

Week 3: Specilization (3-4 weekly workouts on a muscle group that is lagging, maintenance for the rest)

Week 4: Back off. 3 full body workouts in the 20-25 rep range for recovery.


Good luck with your efforts!


You bugger, you jumped the gun on me... I can't start this type of thing until the schedule changes happen next year!


I'm glad it's working so well for you but I'll be damned if you don't stagnate from overtraining within the next couple weeks. I know I would. Too much volume!!


The only critique I might have is that your triceps come into play quite a bit in the shoulder press and if that is your main shoulder exercise and your shoulder day comes after your tricep day...... you get what I'm saying. I wouldn't be surprised if your PRs in that exercise don't go up at the same rate as the others.


I thought that as well but as of yet they sem to be doing good and really couldnt figure abnother good place. I mean I could swap arm and shoulder day but while still demending it is not near the demand of the other days so the arm day is almost a break.

Seems to be working so far. It mat be hampering the Overhead press some BUT the chest day earleir in ther week hits the shouldwer heavy as well. So??

Thanks however for the input.


I dont see it. Sure I am SORE as hell from the work outs. Well not I cant walk sore etc but have some DOMS.

BUT eating BIG and quality food, rest, as well as this being the first time I have ever done a program where I have 7 days between working that body part again. Legs for instance. They are full on healed after all that thime off. Being used to frequency work I think made a difference.

One other great thing I have noticed is something I have talked about beforew that is going to failure or near it and making the goal reps. That 6-8 range 4 sets minimal rest. Aftre doing a LOT of 10x3 etc. going to the 4 sets 6-8 which still has yuou moving prety good weight. and going to get eight every rep fail or not.

That really does a # on you adapting both mentally and physically. It had been to long you really remember how to GRIND out those reps. Remember what REAL failure is.

It coming after the heavy work seems top be good and gleading to improvement all around both in maximal strength and anabolic endurance.

But yes Ill keep an eye on it and if I feel ran down I will simply back down a bit.

Thanks for your thoughts.


Man vroom. Give this stuff a try. It is really a nice change IMO. Very tough but I feel I am gaining a LOT from it.

Let me know what you end up doing.



Keep going as long as you can on it. I've done similar routines before as a change and they are enjoyable and you can definately notice a change in your physique rather quickly...not so much strength but visual...more full/tight/bigger muscles etc.

I can only last 4-6 weeks before it becomes too much for me but it also has a lot to do with nutrition so keep eating and enjoy!


Oh I agree and dont figure it will last forever. Im just going to ride this Doggie a bit futher and reep the benefit then change and come back to it some other time.

Thanks for the info/opinion though.


If this were a true bodybuilder's workout, you'd dedicate day 6 to training your serratus.


I did something similar to this about a year ago, and when it came to arm day, I just felt ridiculous. I don't care how many bi and tri exercises I did, I don't think I would have felt like I had earned even half a serving of Surge afterwards. I went back to full-body the next week.

I trained traditional muscle-rag style for about 10 years though, and have accomplished much more in the 5 since I abandoned it, so I may just be bitter.

I imagine the change of pace would be good for the mind as well as the body. Exercise seems to be one of those rare areas where change for the sake of change can be a good thing. Ironic that an excellent program performed constantly would be less efficacious than an excellent program performed usually, and occasionally interrupted by a substandard program.