Upgrading The Classic 5 Day BodyPart Split

The Classic 5 Day Training Split is Wrong – And The Answer Is 6
Every and any excellent coach uses a primary creative framework for program design purposes. An overall shell that he or she then chisels, shapes and molds according to the instructions read by assessing the clients needs and goals. Which one have I used for the longest time? The oldest split in the book. The five day classic bodybuilding split.

But is the Chest, Back, Shoulders, Legs and Arms split the best way to visualize how the body can be divided and trained?

No. It is not.  Nor is any other sequence of the five way body division metaphor any better.

Why?

Because it ignores the lower posterior chain. The gluteals, the hams and the calves. And what is not there, is your day six.

So the modern eras updated version would look like this:

Chest
Back
Gluteals/Hams
Shoulders
Arms
Quads

This is the better split. But why have I concluded this after 5 years of studying metaphor?

  • The glutes can handle a tremendous amount of high intensity work on their own. Pairing them with quads is like training chest and back together; it would never allow the maximal amount or intensity of work that COULD be done for either to BE done.
  • The Glute/hams when trained separately can handle more volume, which is always going to be better for aesthetic development and calorie expenditure (operating at a greater and higher energy input/output allows for more exercise benefits to manifest)
  • Psychologically MUCH less taxing if program design is correctly done (just like training chest and back together would be more taxing due to higher total workload not only before training, but during, training quads with hams is as well – and its time we fixed that)

Whether you choose to run it over the course of 7 days or 6, the choice is yours. But give the lower body it’s due. And make body part training (when all done on one day per week I call it concentration training) energetically demanding enough to be worthy of inclusion into anyone’s game plan.

What about the abs/core?
I view the abs/core as a force conductor group/unit first and a “muscle group” to be target trained, second; because the abs/core connects and fires to micro-manages the smooth working of other body parts. So if target-trained, the abs/core complex can be made to “fit” in anywhere on any of the six days, depending on program design. But that’s another topic for another design post.

Do I believe that one body part trained every 7 days is optimal? No. I’ve designed programs where each body part is trained up to 6 times per week. 6 exercises each day, one for each “part”. My point is not about trying to find what is optimal, but rather to have a core metaphor for program design. A primary axiom.

Because the one I’ve used for too long, is wrong.

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