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Poliquin's training split for athletes

Does anyone know if Poliquin uses his 5-day training split for his athlete clients? This is the split I’m referring to:

Day 1 - Chest/Back
Day 2 - Legs/Abs
Day 3 - Rest
Day 4 - Arms/Shoulders
Day 5 - Rest

I seem to recall hearing that he does use this split with athletes, but I’m not quite sure.


That is the split he often expounds, but I’m not absolutely certain that’s what he uses with his athletes. I would think that in their case he would treat their training more like a ‘whole body’ experience.

I know in this month’s highlight on Ethan Brooks, they said that he worked out 18 times a month, for about an hour a session.

I know during a 3 month span, his power clean supposedly went from 315 to ~400lbs, which is absolutely insane.

If this wasn’t achieved via ‘assistance’, then Poliquin sure knows something we all don’t, because that’s incredible.

I believe that generally it is broken up into 2 strength based workouts(one upper body and one lower body) and 2 power workouts. The split you posted is the one he uses for most “bodybuilding” oriented programs, like most readers of t-mag want.


Ike - you could be right. I remember being surprised when someone said that CP used the bodypart split with David Boston. Can anyone who went to the David Boston seminar confirm this? Not trying to get a freebie - I’d love to go to a CP seminar but I live in the UK so it’s a bit unrealistic.

maddogg - That looks like a Christian Thibaudeau split, not a CP split. I’ve never heard of CP splitting strength and power work like that. In fact, I’ve heard him say that power work doesn’t need to be done at a lot of points in the training cycle. I’ve also seen him recommend leg workouts like this:

  1. Power Snatch
  2. Front Squat
  3. Dumbell Lunge
  4. Glute-ham Raise

Looks like power and strength work are done in the same session here.

Poliquin doesn’t advocate just one split. He advocates different splits based on recovery rate, stress, and other factors.

option A- 3 day per week whole body workouts
This is for hardgainers or people with no time to train, about 20% popluation

option B-4 day per week Mon/Thur lower body Tues/Fri upper body
this is for people with time to train, and a decent rate of recovery…most recreational workout buffs about 60% population

option C-5 day revolving split
he uses many different variations, but the most popular is the day1 C/B day 2 Legs/abs day 3 rest day 4 arms day 5 rest
this constitutes about 20% of the population who have good rates of recovery, or who lead low stress lives and have plenty of time for supplementation, rest, and training.

Poliquin has stated that no split is any superior to any other. Everyone will respond differently to different splits and some splits will work for people better at different times in their training cycles or training age.

perrogrande: No shoulders in option 3?

Perro, hope you don’t mind if I take that last one for you, bro.

Loopy, nope, Poliquin often didn’t advocate any direct shoulder work in his 5-day splits. If you look in some of the back issues, you’ll see just that. He may have some side delt work thrown in (i.e. lateral raises) but nothing for the front or rear.

That’s just for the split, though. It’s not like he didn’t advocate shoulder work for those with poor shoulder development. He’s got some good recs in The Poliquin Principles.

Thanks Timbo, you da man!

Poliquin advocates maybe some side lateral or DB pressing/BTN BB pressing to work medial delts, and some ext rot work, as well as rope rowing to the neck.

To be honest, I’ve never done a lot of shoulder work on Poliquin’s routines, except for low ext rotation and shoulder horn raises, which I do religiously. I just started adding in some rev flys and inc lat raises to get a little more width, but I haven’t done front raises in about 4 years, b/c of Poliquin, and my front delts still look too big b/c of competition PL’ing done for 4 years in high school.