5 day split. Pro or con?

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    5 day split. Pro or con?


    I have been doing a 3 day split 4 days a week (monday repeated on friday) for quite a while and have hit a plateau on some of my lifts that I feel is recovery related so I've decided to go to a 5 day split routine m-f with sat and sun off. Also, my workouts are running close to 1 1/2 hours which is a little longer than I'd like.

    Day 1: Legs (possibly abs too): squat, lunges, leg extensions, leg curls (abs would include decl weighted situps, leg raises, plank, etc...)

    Day 2: Arms: ez bar/straight bar curls, dumbell curls (standing, concentration, incline bench), skullcrushers, back leaning dips, overhead tricep extensions

    Day 3: Chest (possible ab day): barbell bench, dumbell bench, flys, forward leaning dips

    Day 4: Back: deadlift, goodmorning, pullups, chins, barbell rows, dumbell rows

    Day 5: Shoulders: seated overhead press, trap rows, shrugs, lateral raises, reverse flys, front raises

    I usually do compounds with 1 warmup, 3 heavy working sets 8 reps or fail. Then I do isolation for that group 3 sets to 12 reps or fail and 1-2 drop sets to failure. I switch this up occasionally, but thats the pattern I seem to like a lot.

    Few questions.

    1) How does this split look?
    2) 5 days in a row the 2 days off ok? I don't have time to w/o on the weekends.
    3) would this be better for full muscle group recovery even though I'd be going 5 days straight?
    4) any advice or criticism is welcomed!

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    1)i dont like splits and IMO you can drive yourself mad trying to perfect a bodypart split. so i dont really much have much to say on that.
    2)if you feel your issue is lack of recovery why are you trying to workout more? if anything i would drop down to 3 days a week, using your 3 day split.
    3)i dont think so. maybe if you did your 3 day split 3 days a week and threw in 2 days of conditioning then you could eventually handle more work and be golden.
    you can call me "ozzie" for short.
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    The lack of recovery I'm referring to is specific to each individual muscle group, not cns or energy level as a whole. With my current program each group gets 4-5 days to recover, with the new program they would get 7 days which should offer fuller recovery.

    The other thing I'm taking into consideration is that my workouts are getting to be about 90 mins of lifting unless I do a lot of supersetting plus warm up and cool down, stretching, etc... The amount of time spent is getting to be excessive. I figure that on the new program my workouts will be more around 40-50 minutes which will allow me better intensity and less fatigue all the way to the last lift which should help me push weight more effectively.

    I do some HIT after lifting for some amount of cardio conditioning but am not a fan of long duration cardio other than a very occasional jog for a couple miles.

    I appreciate the input!

    What does your program look like, if I could ask? Maybe there's some stuff in there I could pull from.
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    skull crushers the day before chest? rows before shoulders? I guess pros: you can isolate the muscle by doing the 5 day split, cons: one group per day means you'll fatigue tris, for example, right before your chest day. I personally like 2 groups /day: chest/tris, bis/shoulder, legs/back, off
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    i think 4 day splits are the most convienent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hvactech View Post
    i think 4 day splits are the most convienent.

    What's your split look like hvactech?
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyChemist View Post
    skull crushers the day before chest? rows before shoulders? I guess pros: you can isolate the muscle by doing the 5 day split, cons: one group per day means you'll fatigue tris, for example, right before your chest day. I personally like 2 groups /day: chest/tris, bis/shoulder, legs/back, off
    That is almost exactly the split I've been doing the last 8-9 months. I hit a great stride with it and then tapered off in the last month or so, so I want to switch it up. We'll see hw this goes for a few weeks at least and if it doesn't seem to work out I can always drop back to my 3 day split or design a 4 day split even.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cswalczakny View Post
    That is almost exactly the split I've been doing the last 8-9 months. I hit a great stride with it and then tapered off in the last month or so, so I want to switch it up. We'll see hw this goes for a few weeks at least and if it doesn't seem to work out I can always drop back to my 3 day split or design a 4 day split even.
    I know personally if I did tris before chest I'd have a hard time getting a good chest workout in. I'd try this: 1) Legs, 2) Bis/abs, 3) Chest/tris, 4) back, 5) shoulders
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyChemist View Post
    I know personally if I did tris before chest I'd have a hard time getting a good chest workout in. I'd try this: 1) Legs, 2) Bis/abs, 3) Chest/tris, 4) back, 5) shoulders
    I could give that a shot. It does seem to solve the issue of tri's before chest and bi's before back.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyChemist View Post
    What's your split look like hvactech?
    mon-back
    tues-chest
    wed-off
    thur-delts
    fri-legs
    sat and sun off

    this is current but will change next month to a 3 day full body routine
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    well, the one thing I would suggest changing if strength gains is your focus is
    1 warmup, 3 heavy working sets 8 reps or fail. Then I do isolation for that group 3 sets to 12 reps or fail and 1-2 drop sets to failure
    i'd switch off at least for a few weeks to a 5 rep scheme on both compounds and isolation. That would be the easier way to break the plateau
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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyEJL View Post
    well, the one thing I would suggest changing if strength gains is your focus is

    i'd switch off at least for a few weeks to a 5 rep scheme on both compounds and isolation. That would be the easier way to break the plateau
    I'll give that a shot too, I had been considering changing up my set/rep scheme a bit. I could go 5x5 on compounds for a while to gain some strength then work back up to my 3x8.
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    IMO, your upper body work is out of proportion to your lower body volume. Ditch the arm day, incorporate bis and tris into your other 3 upper body days, and give yourself two lower body days. Something like:

    Heavy Legs (low reps)
    Chest/Tris
    Rest
    Back/Bis
    Volume Legs (high reps)
    Shouders and whatever you feel is lagging

    - I used a split very similar to this for several years and enjoyed it immensely.

    Another option I like to point out in threads like this is Layne Nortons Power-building Split. It's a 5-day split that many guys have had great success with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resolve View Post
    IMO, your upper body work is out of proportion to your lower body volume. Ditch the arm day, incorporate bis and tris into your other 3 upper body days, and give yourself two lower body days. Something like:

    Heavy Legs (low reps)
    Chest/Tris
    Rest
    Back/Bis
    Volume Legs (high reps)
    Shouders and whatever you feel is lagging

    - I used a split very similar to this for several years and enjoyed it immensely.

    Another option I like to point out in threads like this is Layne Nortons Power-building Split. It's a 5-day split that many guys have had great success with.
    Thanks, I'll look into that!
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    Quote Originally Posted by cswalczakny View Post
    The lack of recovery I'm referring to is specific to each individual muscle group, not cns or energy level as a whole. With my current program each group gets 4-5 days to recover, with the new program they would get 7 days which should offer fuller recovery.
    my point of recovery was for systemic recovery. i think people forget about that one. that is why i am a fan of deload weeks.

    Quote Originally Posted by cswalczakny View Post
    What does your program look like, if I could ask? Maybe there's some stuff in there I could pull from.
    my current focus is on powerlifting but sure, here goes. i do a 4 day split but only lift 3 days a week. i also throw once a week for highland games events and will do an additional day of mobility work while i am training my girlfriend. this is my current accumulation phase and its goal is increasing work capacity, general strength and muscle mass increase. it lasts between 4-8 weeks.

    ME lower:
    do a squat variation i suck at, all about setting a new 3-5RM
    5/3/1 deads
    rep work - total 36 reps (6-12 per set) for 1 exercise, use whatever lifts will improve my deadlift:snatch grip deads, stiff legged deads, power cleans, front squats, unilateral deads, etc
    rep work - total 36 reps (6-12 per set) for each exercise. i choose 1 exercise for each movement/part:low back, quads
    kroc rows & facepulls
    KB swings, 10x10, each set i take 1 minute to do t hen start on the next set. so if i get done quick i get more rest. push to hard i cant recover well enough between sets.
    20+ rep work for upper body as active recovery as needed
    ab work - i rotate between a different focus each day. day 1 - anti extension and hip flexion, day 2 anti-rotation, day 3 anti-lateral flexion

    ME upper:
    do a pressing variation i suck at, all about setting a new 3-5RM
    5/3/1 bench
    5/3/1 row
    rep work - total 36 reps (6-12 per set) for each exercise. i choose 1 exercise for each movement/part:triceps, biceps, i will do shoulders if i did not do an incline press
    loaded carries
    20+ rep work for lower body as active recovery as needed
    ab work

    DE lower:
    box squats, 15-20 sets of 2 at 45-60% of my max, i try and beat the time each week even though i up the weight each week
    5/3/1 squats
    rep work - total 50 reps (8-15 per set) for 1 exercise, use whatever lifts will improve my squat:cambered bar squats, safety bar squats, split squats, step ups, lunges, goodmornings, etc.
    facepulls
    prowler work
    20+ rep work for upper body as active recovery as needed
    ab work

    DE upper:
    bench, 12-20 sets of 3 at 50-70% of my max, i try and beat the time each week even though i up the weight each week
    5/3/1 shoulders
    rep work - total 50 reps (8-15 per set) for 1 exercise each, use whatever lifts will improve my bench: triceps, biceps, shoulders
    loaded carries
    20+ rep work for lower body as active recovery as needed
    ab work

    during the intensification phase i aim for 1RM maxes on ME day. on DE day i use 65-80% of my max and aim for 8-12 sets of 2 for lower body and 3 for upper. i will add in chains, bands, or anything else to increase intensity. i drop secondary lifts and all RE work is less total reps with higher percentages and focused on hitting what i suck at. this phases goal is to translate my accumulation phase into getting better numbers under the bar. it lasts 2-4 weeks and is followed by a deload then right back into the next accumulation phase.
    you can call me "ozzie" for short.
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    That's quite a program. I do like the combo of PL and BB set/rep ranges to keep things fresh. The 12-20 sets of 2-3 for some of the compounds is interesting, that's something I haven't tried. I might cycle that in occasionally to mix it up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cswalczakny View Post
    That's quite a program. I do like the combo of PL and BB set/rep ranges to keep things fresh. The 12-20 sets of 2-3 for some of the compounds is interesting, that's something I haven't tried. I might cycle that in occasionally to mix it up.
    the high sets of 2-3 reps are done explosively. i try to move the bar fast enough to launch it in the air. there are times when doing box squats that way that i have lost the bar off my back and thank god for having a power cage, lol.

    when you do them the first 305 sets will suck ass. the next 5 are usually my fastest. and when i am trying to beat the time each workout i will cut the rest down to 20-45 seconds. i dont actually time it. i just go again as soon as i can. on the intensification phase i will rest up to 1 minute.

    and yes, this is a westside program with block periodization. IMO westside uses block periodization. they just dont talk much about it. now i have never met any of those guys or talked to any of them. its just my opinion.
    you can call me "ozzie" for short.
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