Best 5 Day Bodybuilding Workout Routine – A 12 Week Customized Plan

The key to building muscle mass with constantly improving results is a continuous increase in net protein intake, calorie intake, and an increasing level of difficulty in your workout scheme throughout the entire period. Besides this, it’s important to follow the best 5-day bodybuilding workout routine or bodybuilding split.

This type of exercise program is recommended for both intermediate and advanced athletes. In this article, you will learn how you can make significant muscle gain with a 12-week 5-day bodybuilding routine.

What Makes the Best 5-day Bodybuilding Split?

A good 5-day split workout takes into account your individual strengths and weaknesses. There are a few ways to tailor a workout scheme to your needs. For example, if your most lagging muscle group is back, you should train back after a rest day.

That way you would be rested, and full of energy, thus you would be able to prioritize it. If your legs are underdeveloped, you should put two rest days before training legs and start the week with them.

If you don’t have enough time for this exercise program, there are some great 3-day bodybuilding routines (3-day split workout routines) that are also very effective.

How to Adjust Split Workout to Your Needs?

Before starting, make sure you write down your goals. Do you want a broader back? Bigger arms? All of that has to be adjusted in your regimen before you start.

You can choose whether you should perform synergist exercises for biceps and triceps, paired with back and chest, or to do them on a separate day. If you are ambitious you can do both, and emphasize on the muscle growth of your arms.

If you are going to use two days for arm growth, be advised to train chest and triceps on the same day, as well as biceps and back. That way, you won’t suffer on your back day from a sore biceps.

How to Properly Distribute Rest Days?

Rest days are more important than most people think. You might have heard that your muscles grow when they rest. Well, it’s mostly true, if you give them enough fuel.

If you’ve been training for a couple of years already, you should have a good idea of which muscles are lagging in your body. Place those after rest days, and you’ll see immediate progress.

Each muscle has to rest at least 48 hours before being focused on in an isolating exercise. Thus, place triceps and biceps at least one day apart from Arms day, as well as shoulders should be separated from the chest.

If you are on vacation or don’t have a full home gym set up, you can still maintain muscle mass at home. For help on this, I supply step-by-step instructions at Best Body Weight Workout Routines at Home.

5 Day Bodybuilding Workout Routine - Barbell in a home gym

What Equipment Do You Need for a 5 Day Bodybuilding Workout Routine?

Many of you will workout in a commercial gym. However, there has been a trend towards basement and garage home gyms. The best gym equipment for the home doesn’t require as many pieces of gym equipment as you may think. In fact, just some minor small home gym equipment can suffice.

This includes at least one adjustable dumbbell (adjustable kettlebell is available) or dumbbell set, an exercise resistance band set, and a doorway pull-up bar at bar minimum.

However, this 5 day split routine is best used with a barbell set with weight plates, a squat rack or power rack, an adjustable weight bench, and a few smaller items such as a skipping rope, and a chronometer (your phone or watch). For more on this, see my review on What To Buy For The Home Gym.

Exemplary five day bodybuilding split

Day of week Muscle groups
Day 1 / Monday Legs
Day 2 / Tuesday Chest and triceps
Day 3 / Wednesday Back and biceps
Day 4 / Thursday Shoulders
Day 5 / Friday Arms
Day 6 / Saturday Rest
Day 7 / Sunday Rest

This is one of my favorite body building workouts since I work during the week and I love spending the weekends with other people. Moreover, working out on 5 consecutive training days has serious positive effects on your mental health and willpower.

Of course, feel free to adjust these any way you like while still meeting the requirements that we discussed earlier.

Exercises, Rep Range and Increasing Difficulty

In order to get the best bodybuilding workouts for men or women, it’s important to write down your results after each set. This will help to guarantee the best results. You could make a google spreadsheet, at least that works great for me.

The rep range in parenthesis is the recommended rep range for optimal results for each exercise. Perform each exercise to failure with the exception of Squats, flat bench press, deadlift and shoulder press.

These exercises perform until you are certain you can do just one more rep and stop. The reason for that is to prevent injury since you most likely do not have a spotter at home or at the garage.

Increase Weight or Decrease Rest Time

Perform the 5-day split routine for up to 12 weeks. Each second week increases the weight by 5%, meaning if you have benched 200 lbs 12 times in the last couple of weeks, this time you would need to bench 210 lbs in the designated rep range.

If you fail to do so, you should decrease rest time to challenge muscles, therefore pushing you over the hump. When you fail to meet your strength goals, try the strategy of decreased rest time by 5 seconds for the exercise until the end of the 12th week.

  Legs & Core Chest & Triceps Back & Biceps Shoulders & Core Arms Rest between sets
1 Rope Skipping warm up 2 sets of 3 minutes Push ups – 2 sets until failure Pull Ups –  3 sets until failure Shoulder push ups – 2 sets until failure Rope Skipping Warm up 2 sets 60 sec
2 Barbell Squats 5 x (12 – 15) Flat Bench Press 5 x (8 -10) Deadlift 5 x (10 – 12) Dumbbell Shoulder Press 5 x (8 – 10) Barbell Triceps Skull Crushers 4 x (10 – 12) 90 sec
3 Barbell or Dumbbell Lunges 3 x 20 Incline Bench Press 3 x (10 – 12) Weighted chin ups 3 x (10 – 12) Dumbbell Shoulder Side raises 3 x (10 – 12) Barbell Triceps Close grip Bench press 3 x (10 – 12) 60 sec
4 Bulgarian split squat 3 x (10 – 12) Dumbbell Flyes 5 x (10 -12) Barbell rows 4 x (12 – 15) Dumbbell shoulder front raise 3 x (10 – 12) Weighted Triceps bench dips 3 x (15 – 20) 60 sec
5 Dumbbell Calf raises 3 x (20 – 25) Close grip Triceps Bench Press 5 x (8 – 10) Barbell Biceps Curls 4 x (8 – 10) Dumbbell Bent over raise 3 x (12 – 15) Dumbbell Biceps Curls 5 x (8 – 10) 60 sec
6 ABS Crunches 3 x (20 – 25) Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension 3 x (10 – 12) Dumbbell Hammer curls 3 x (10 – 12) ABS Leg raises 3 x (20 – 25) Concentric curls 4 x (10 – 12) 60 sec

Best 5 Day Bodybuilding Workout Routine

Here is my best 5 day bodybuilding workout routine for you to try. When your aim is to build muscle mass, regardless of the muscle group, it is a good idea to focus on compound bilateral exercises throughout your workouts.

The compound bilateral exercise is simply a strength and conditioning program that uses several body parts in one lift. At the same time, using both limbs together evenly to move the weight.

what is a squat exercise - woman doing front squats

Legs and Core

Focus on Squats

This is one is vital to any five-day bodybuilding routine. So we will include some of the best leg workout exercises for stronger legs. Start the day by warming up and stretching. Proceed with rope skipping to completely make sure you are warmed up enough to do a few squats.

No good exercise routine exists without squats. All your focus should be on performing squats without cheating and with proper form. If you do not have a barbell, you could use heavy dumbbells or resistance bands on both feet.

In order for the legs to grow, they need more reps than other muscles, the same goes for calves and back. The abs crunches, in the end, are not mandatory but are recommended for those who want to achieve an optimal physique.

For your body to have more room to grow, you need a solid foundation – your legs. Without squats, it will be difficult to have strong legs and achieve muscle growth throughout the entire body. Learn more about the importance of squats with “What Is A Squat Exercise“.

5 Day Bodybuilding Workout Routine - man doing bench press

Chest and Triceps

Push-Ups

Start the day with two sets of push-ups to failure to warm-up your joints beforehand. When I feel pumped up, I even do one set until failure. For example 60 reps, and the next one I aim to do 150% of that – 90. You must be wondering how at this point. Rest on your arms without lifting yourself up between reps, perform as many as you can.

Bench Press

The benchpress is your compound movement here, perform it without cheating and with proper form. The same goes for the incline bench press. If you lack a barbell, you can always use dumbbells for this movement.

Dumbbell Flyes

This is one of my favorite chest exercises, and hands down the most effective unilateral exercise there is. It stretches your muscle fibers to the limit. If performed correctly, this results in huge pecs. Make sure to never lock your elbows and keep them slightly bent throughout the whole movement.

Triceps Exercises

Since we are training triceps two times each week, we can afford to switch up the exercises to our liking. What is important is to keep track of the number of reps and the weights used.

5 Day Bodybuilding Workout Routine - man with muscular back

Back and Biceps

Pull-Ups

As part of your workout bodybuilding plan, back exercises are also a necessity. Pull ups to failure for starters, means your body is going to get a whole lot of blood in the right places. If possible, always stretch or go for a jog before performing heavy exercises like deadlift. Pull ups will wake your body up for the action that’s waiting ahead.

Deadlift

This is one of the few hardest exercises along with squats. It takes immense willpower to perform deadlifts each week. You should weigh in your mind which exercise you hate more – deadlift or squats and perform them the day after a rest day. Many people also like to place their rest days before back and before legs. Always perform with proper form for the sake of your physical health.

Performing deadlifts not only develops a thick and wide back, but it also serves bodybuilders as a natural testosterone booster. Performing heavy compound movements like deadlift and squats allow you to grow way more than isolating movements like cable rows.

Biceps Exercises

Much like triceps, we have decided to train biceps twice a week, thus you can rotate the exercises from one day to another to spice things up.

5 Day Bodybuilding Workout Routine - shoulder press gif

Shoulders and Core

In order to fit everything in one table, I’ve omitted traps here, but if you wish you can add an exercise of Dumbbell shoulder shrugs with 3 or 4 sets of between 12 and 15 reps, so this day you should focus on the press.

Shoulder Press

Shoulder press not only builds muscle up for you to get broad and round shoulders, but it also strengthens your posture and back. Synergist muscles from your entire back, traps, and triceps play a crucial role in holding the heavy dumbbells over your head.

Side and Front Raises

I personally prefer to perform these in a super set with no rest in between. This pumps up my delts even further and saves up some time if you want to add more abs exercises later on at the end of the workout day.

Dumbbell Bent Over Raise

Dumbbell bent over raises are important since many people out there forget to develop their rear shoulders. If you happen to get disproportionate shoulders, you might end up putting unnecessary stress on some nerves, joints and tendons. The same goes for traps.

Best Exercise Equipment for the Home - man using dumbbells for home gym

Arms Day

Most people enjoy arms day, and this is why it lies at the end of the workout week like a sweet reward. Focus on the movements you haven’t done throughout the week, and if you feel like you’ve missed something you can add it to this day.

All exercises can be performed with either dumbbells or barbell and we start the day with the bigger muscle group – the triceps. If you need new dumbbells, check out my review on the Best Dumbbell Sets For A Home Gym.

Triceps

If you feel like it, the triceps is one of the few muscles that work wonders and can grow quickly if you choose to perform supersets. You can pair tricep push-ups with both exercises that are written down on the table, and rest between these sets, in order to spike the volume even further.

Biceps

If you want to emphasize on the growth of your biceps, make sure to have proper form on all exercises, which means to not simply lift up the weight and drop it down. Ensure that you apply resistance and lower the weights slowly, so that your bicep fibers stretch completely with each rep.

Rest Days

You can allocate your rest days however you see fit. If you are not the type of person that can go all day without doing sports, it is acceptable to play active sports such as martial arts, soccer, or basketball on one of these days. You can also go for a jog, hike, or home gym cardio workout.


Make sure to maintain proper nutrition and to rest at least seven or more hours per night. Also follow your protein consumption, in order to not waste on that precious workout week.

5 Day Bodybuilding Workout Routine - woman loading barbell

5 Day Bodybuilding Workout RoutineConclusion

Everything is adjustable in this “best 5-day split workout routine”. The key takeaway is to increase the weight every two weeks by 5 percent on every exercise, and if you fail to deliver, make sure to decrease the amount of rest time between the sets.

This will help muscles learn to grow and adust to bring better results in terms of strength and muscle mass. All of the best online bodybuilding workout programs recommend challenging yourself like this.

To get the most out of this exercise, get started 30 minutes before by taking a strong pre workout supplement and most importantly, the best protein powder for muscle gain for better muscle recovery and to grow muscles larger.

If you have any questions or comments on this 5 day bodybuilding workout schedule, please leave a message below and I will respond.

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