Best 5 Day Split Workout Routine And 6 Exercises To Build Muscle

So you are interested in finding the best 5 day split workout routine to build large amounts of muscle?

This article will not only deliver on that promise, but it will help you get into the best shape of your life.

What you will learn in this article is fully backed by science, and should not be overlooked if you are serious about making continuous gains in the gym.

I have designed a full training program that has proven to work time after time, and year after year.

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What Is A Bro Split

A typical bro split will have you dividing all the major muscle groups up, and training each muscle once a week on its own day.

Let’s take a look at a typical weekly plan

MondayChest

TuesdayBack

WednesdayShoulders

ThursdayLegs

Friday – Arms (Triceps and Biceps)

Saturday – Day Off

Sunday – Day Off

However, not everyone has 5 or 6 days free to train each week, so the bro split is often adapted.  Check out our 4-day workout split and push/pull/legs articles to see how.

Below is a typical 4 day a week bro split:

Monday – Chest/Biceps

Tuesday – Legs

Wednesday – Day Off

Thursday – Shoulders

Friday – Back/Triceps

Saturday – Day Off

Sunday – Day Off

Although we have had to group biceps and triceps with another muscle group, you will notice there is still a common theme.

That is, that each muscle group is still only being trained once a week, and this is exactly what defines the bro split.


What Is High-Frequency Training

There are many variations of high-frequency training, but the underlining concept is exactly the same.  High-frequency training means you are working a muscle group more than once a week.

Here are a few ways in which you can set up a high-frequency program:

Option 1 – Train the entire body in one session and repeat the session again 2 or 3 times more during the week

Option 2 – Train only one or two muscle groups a session, but repeat these sessions again during the week.

Option 3 – Train just one muscle group multiple times but everything else just once.  This third option is actually a mixture of both the bro split and high-frequency training and is an excellent short term method for bringing up weaker body parts.  Check out the 3 programs below to see how this method works


Bro Split Vs High-Frequency Training

Female athlete getting ready to deadlift.

It seems like in the modern era of training, more and more gym-goers lean towards high-frequency training.

Is this because it’s easier to make the program look all fancy with bells and whistles, therefore making it easier to sell or because someones favourite new aged Instagram model trying to sell them something is insisting that’s how he or she trains.

Truth be told I’m not sure.

Now please don’t get me wrong, a high-frequency training plan that is programmed properly can be very effective, however, you can probably guess from my tone that I’m not an advocate.

In my opinion and years of experience, a well-structured bro split will yield far greater results when it comes to building muscle

However, this isn’t just my opinion, it’s heavily back by science.

This study looks at the relationship between training volume, training intensity and training frequency when it comes to building muscle.

It shows that the level of intensity and amount of volume in a training session is far more important than the frequency in which you train a muscle group.

Research has shown time after time that unless you are a complete beginner, following a well put together bro split will give much greater results as it allows your muscles to experience proper overload with adequate recovery time.

So if the science heavily backs training a muscle group just once a week, why are so many new and advanced lifters taking up the high-frequency approach?

Related: The Ultimate Full Body Dumbbell Workout


Bro Split Common Mistakes

Male doing a bicep concentration curl

The issue has nothing to do with the actual workout split itself.  The issue lies in how badly so many people actually program it.

And the reason so many supposed fitness experts, Instagram models and magazine sponsored bodybuilders give such crappy bro split programs to their clients and fans is because simple isn’t sexy.

Let’s take a look at all the crappy things you might find programmed into a bro split.

  • Most of these poorly designed programs include advanced overload technique.  This isn’t the issue and they actually have their place, however, the programs don’t just include them, they litter them all throughout the program without a single thought as to actually why they are including them.  Overusing these overload techniques can quickly lead to overtraining and wiping out your nervous system.
  • Next on the list is the sheer volume of reps included in these programs.  I’m talking 100s and 100s of reps in a single session.  Your body can seriously only take so much.
  • The final mistake made when programing a bro split is the overuse of isolation exercises. The main reason for this is because it’s much easier to achieve the famous pump feeling using isolation exercises then it is with compound exercises.

If you have been given a bro split routine including any of the above, then you will be severely impacting your bodies ability to build muscle.

So my tip to you is please don’t give up on the bro split just because of poor programming.

A well structured and thought out bro split having you focus on big compound movements and progressive overload along with the right amount of sets and reps, will 100% give you better gains in muscle than any other training split over the long term.


How To Program A Successful Bro Split

The training principles I am going to share with you now, I have shared on so many other articles.  Why?  Because these training principles work.

If you’re serious about building muscle using a 5 day split workout routine, then follow the guidelines below.

These are back by science and year of applying them to my client’s programs.

  1. For optimal results train 5 days a week
  2. A training session should last no longer than an hour, but ideally, be closer to the 45-minute mark.
  3. Train only one large muscle group per session.  For example, do not train legs and chest on the same day.
  4. It’s okay to train a smaller muscle group with a large one.  For example, Chest and Biceps.
  5. 90% of your program should be made up using large compound exercises.
  6. Train mostly in the 4 to 6 rep range.  There will be some exceptions where you will be training in the 8 to 10 rep range.
  7. You will complete just 9 to 12 sets per training session.
  8. Rest between 2 to 5 minutes between sets
  9. Take one full week away from weight training every 8 to 10 weeks.

The 6 Best Compound Exercises For Building Muscle

These 6 exercises below will create by far the most amount of overload on your muscles.  Basically, if you want to build muscle mass more efficiently, then include them in your program.

Deadlifts

How to deadlift properly

Squats

How to squat properly

Bench Press

How to bench press properly

Military Press

How to military press properly

Bent-Over Row

How to do barbell bent over rows

Pull-Ups

How to do pull ups properly

Your 5 Day Split Training Program

Below is how you are going to split the muscle groups up over the week

Monday – Shoulders

Tuesday – Back

Wednesday – Chest

Thursday – Legs/Calves

Friday – Arms

Saturday – Day Off

Sunday – Day Off


Monday – Shoulders

Exercise 1 – Military Barbell Press (standing)

  • Warm-Up (BFG Muscle Style)
  • Number of Sets – 2
  • Number of Reps – 4 to 6 (Aim to select a weight you can achieve at least 4 reps with on your first set but no more than 6 reps.  If you achieve 6 reps then you need to move the weight up by the smallest amount possible).
  • Rest – 2 to 5 minutes between each set

Exercise 2 – Seated Dumbbell Press

  • Number of Sets – 2
  • Number of Reps – 4 to 6 (Aim to select a weight you can achieve at least 4 reps with on your first set but no more than 6 reps.  If you achieve 6 reps then you need to move the weight up by the smallest amount possible).
  • Rest – 2 to 5 minutes between each set

Exercise 3 – Barbell Upright Row

  • Number of Sets – 2
  • Number of Reps – 4 to 6 (Aim to select a weight you can achieve at least 4 reps with on your first set but no more than 6 reps.  If you achieve 6 reps then you need to move the weight up by the smallest amount possible).
  • Rest – 2 to 5 minutes between each set

Exercise 4 – Bench Rear Delt flyes

  • Number of Sets – 3
  • Number of Reps – 8 to 10 (Aim to select a weight you can achieve at least 8 reps with on your first set but no more than 10 reps.  If you achieve 10 reps then you need to move the weight up by the smallest amount possible).
  • Rest – 2 to 3 minutes between each set

how to do dumbbell rear dealt flys

Tuesday – Back

Exercise 1 – Deadlifts

  • Warm-Up (BFG Muscle Style)
  • Number of Sets – 2
  • Number of Reps – 4 to 6 (Aim to select a weight you can achieve at least 4 reps with on your first set but no more than 6 reps.  If you achieve 6 reps then you need to move the weight up by the smallest amount possible).
  • Rest – 2 to 5 minutes between each set

Exercise 2 – Pull-UP (overhand grip)

  • Number of Sets – 3
  • Number of Reps – 4 to 6 (Aim to select a weight you can achieve at least 4 reps with on your first set but no more than 6 reps.  If you achieve 6 reps then you need to move the weight up by the smallest amount possible) (done using a weighted chain around your waist)
  • Rest – 2 to 5 minutes between each set

Exercise 3 – Bent Over Barbell Row

  • Number of Sets – 2
  • Number ofReps – 4 to 6 (Aim to select a weight you can achieve at least 4 reps with on your first set but no more than 6 reps.  If you achieve 6 reps then you need to move the weight up by the smallest amount possible).
  • Rest – 2 to 5 minutes between each set

Exercise 4 – Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

  • Number of Sets – 2 per arm
  • Number of Reps – 4 to 6 (Aim to select a weight you can achieve at least 4 reps with on your first set but no more than 6 reps.  If you achieve 6 reps then you need to move the weight up by the smallest amount possible).
  • Rest – 2 to 3 minutes between each set

Wednesday – Chest

Exercise 1 – Flat Barbell Bench Press

  • Warm-Up (BFG Muscle Style)
  • Number of Sets – 3
  • Number of Reps – 4 to 6 (Aim to select a weight you can achieve at least 4 reps with on your first set but no more than 6 reps.  If you achieve 6 reps then you need to move the weight up by the smallest amount possible).
  • Rest – 2 to 5 minutes between each set

Exercise 2 – Incline Barbell Bench Press

  • Number of Sets – 3
  • Number of Reps – 4 to 6 (Aim to select a weight you can achieve at least 4 reps with on your first set but no more than 6 reps.  If you achieve 6 reps then you need to move the weight up by the smallest amount possible).
  • Rest – 2 to 5 minutes between each set

Exercise 3 – Incline Dumbbell Press

  • Number of Sets – 3
  • Number of Reps – 4 to 6 (Aim to select a weight you can achieve at least 4 reps with on your first set but no more than 6 reps.  If you achieve 6 reps then you need to move the weight up by the smallest amount possible).
  • Rest – 2 to 5 minutes between each set

Thursday – Legs

Exercise 1 – Squats

  • Warm-Up (BFG Muscle Style)
  • Number of Sets – 2
  • Number of Reps – 4 to 6 (Unless you have a spotter or the arms set up in the perfect place inside a power rack, you do not need to go to failure on this exercise.  Due to the number of muscles involved, you will get a massive anabolic response creating a huge amount of overload just from getting close to failure.  Pick a weight you could probably get 1 or 2 more reps with if you carried on)
  • Rest – 2 to 5 minutes between each set

Exercise 2 – 45 Degree Leg Press

  • Number of Sets – 2
  • Number of Reps – 4 to 6 (Aim to select a weight you can achieve at least 4 reps with on your first set but no more than 6 reps.  If you achieve 6 reps then you need to move the weight up by the smallest amount possible)
  • Rest – 2 to 5 minutes between each set

Exercise 3 – Power Lunges

  • Number of Sets – 2
  • Number of Reps – 8 to 10 per leg (Aim to select a weight you can achieve at least 8 reps with on your first set but no more than 10 reps.  If you achieve 10 reps then you need to move the weight up by the smallest amount possible).
  • Rest – 2 to 5 minutes between each set

Exercise 4 – Romanian Deadlifts

  • Number of Sets – 3
  • Number of Reps – 4 to 6 (Aim to select a weight you can achieve at least 4 reps with on your first set but no more than 6 reps.  If you achieve 6 reps then you need to move the weight up by the smallest amount possible).
  • Rest – 2 to 3 minutes between each set

Exercise 4 – Standing Calf Raises

  • Number of Sets – 3
  • Number of Reps – 4 to 6 (Aim to select a weight you can achieve at least 4 reps with on your first set but no more than 6 reps.  If you achieve 6 reps then you need to move the weight up by the smallest amount possible).
  • Rest – 2 to 3 minutes between each set

Friday – Arms

Exercise 1a – Barbell Bicep Curls

  • Warm-Up (BFG Muscle Style)
  • Number of Sets – 3
  • Number of Reps – 8 to 10 (Aim to select a weight you can achieve at least 8 reps with on your first set but no more than 10 reps.  If you achieve 10 reps then you need to move the weight up by the smallest amount possible).
  • Rest – 2 to 5 minutes between each set

Superset With

Exercise 1b – Lying Overhead Extensions

  • Number of Sets – 3
  • Number of Reps – 8 to 10 (Aim to select a weight you can achieve at least 8 reps with on your first set but no more than 10 reps.  If you achieve 10 reps then you need to move the weight up by the smallest amount possible).
  • Rest – 2 to 5 minutes between each set

SuperSet With

Exercise  – Dumbbell Twist Curls

  • Number of Sets – 3
  • Number of Reps – 8 to 10 per leg (Aim to select a weight you can achieve at least 8 reps with on your first set but no more than 10 reps.  If you achieve 10 reps then you need to move the weight up by the smallest amount possible).
  • Rest – 2 to 5 minutes between each set

Exercise 4 – Cable Push Downs

  • Number of Sets – 3
  • Number of Reps – 8 to 10 per leg (Aim to select a weight you can achieve at least 8 reps with on your first set but no more than 10 reps.  If you achieve 10 reps then you need to move the weight up by the smallest amount possible).
  • Rest – 2 to 3 minutes between each set

Using Progressive Overload

When it comes to making continuous gains in the gym, progressive overload is the most important factor.  If progressive overload is not present, you will stop seeing improvements in both muscle size and strength very quickly.

The reason, the training principles we use here at BFG Muscle work so well is because they naturally enforce progressive overload.

Using our principles, you know you have to move the weight up as soon as you hit the top end of the rep range.  This is exactly what progressive overload is.

It’s also important to mention that hitting plateaus are inevitable.  However, there are ways to help minimise them.

Every 4 to 6 weeks make just a small change to the program.

  • You could swap the order of exercises around in a training session
  • Swap just one exercise out for a new one
  • Change the order of muscle groups across the week

Best 5 Day Split Workout Routine Key Takeaways

  1. Listen to the research when it comes to training frequency.  Intensity and volume are much more important than the frequency in which you train a muscle group.
  2. There is no split more effective than the bro split (if programmed properly) when it comes to building muscle.
  3. Focus 90% of your training on heavy compound movements like the deadlift, squats, bench press and military press.
  4. Limit the number of isolation exercises and high rep training.



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Best 5 day split workout routine and 6 best compound exercises.


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2 thoughts on “Best 5 Day Split Workout Routine And 6 Exercises To Build Muscle”

  1. Hey David, Im so glad I came across your website! I’ve been lifting for almost 20 years. I’ve tried getting into the high frequency programs but I burn out in a month due to recovery from hitting each muscle so frequently. I just dont last long on these splits, but I want to continue to build muscle so I continue to do them, knowing a bro split would fit my needs. I feel like I recover better, Im excitied to do each workout and I can focus on that one muscle vs 3… But its so frowned upon as they are”Not optimal” or a waste of time… I dont get it! If progressive overload and recovery are important factors for a muscle to grow, then why is the bro split not accepted?

    The only thing is Im 40, have arthritis in my kness and I cant lift in the 4-6 rep range anymore because it hurts, and I feel more safe keeping it 8 reps and above. Maybe 6 reps on some exercises but I wanted your advice on this?

    So far Im really enjoying your articles and Im sure Ill have some folllow up questions for you if you have time.

    Thank you

    Reply

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