Many people have had to compromise their muscle-building aspirations because their local gyms have closed or they had to resort to training at home. They love training so much that doing three or four-day workout splits doesn’t scratch the training itch enough. If only they could do a traditional “bro-split” at home but still feel like they did serious work.
If any of that applied to you, then keep reading because M&S once again has you covered. This 5 day program will take you through five days (two days of rest will be good for you) of serious training that you can do in the gym or at home if you have the equipment.
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You should be able to complete all the workouts with this basic equipment. If there is anything on this list that you don’t have, go check out the M&S Exercise section to find substitutions that you can work with. Here is what you will need for this routine:
- Barbell and plates
- Squat rack
- Adjustable bench
- Your body
Because you’re training at home and may not have the same access to things you would normally use at the gym, some exercises will be a little creative. You may have to do the same to make the most out of your sets. Here are a few ways that you can make the sets more meaningful so you can get the most out of your workouts. We will throw more in as we go through each body part, but these are the main ones to keep in mind.
If you can’t go heavier, go slower. Perform negatives of these exercises for as long as five or even ten seconds. This can make the weight you do have more challenging because you have to control it for longer.
Cut the Rest Time
Shave down your rest periods to 30 seconds if possible. If that is too short, go for 45 instead and try to work your way down to 30. Aside from making the workout more challenging, you can shave minutes off of your workout if you have a busy day.
Flex the Muscles in Between Sets
Don’t go into a full posedown, but take a few seconds to contract and squeeze the muscles you’re working with. This can play a factor in how the workout goes as you come down the home stretch.
You can work this five-day split in a number of ways. You can go five in a row before taking two off. I actually suggest going with a day off in the middle. A split like this would be a great way to program your week.
- Day 1 - Chest
- Day 2 - Back
- Day 3 - Arms
- Day 4 - Rest
- Day 5 - Shoulders
- Day 6 - Legs
- Day 7 - Rest
Incline Barbell Bench Press - If you can add weight to each set, then do that. You should build up to a top weight and be able to execute at least the lowest of the rep range. If you can’t add weight, do slower negatives with the same weight each set. This can make the next set harder without making it heavier.
Dumbbell Floor Press - Doing these on the floor will stop you from a full stretch, which can save your shoulders. If you have limited dumbbells, take a band and wrap it around your back while holding the ends in your hands. Holding the bands and dumbbells will make you work harder as the weight is pressed up. Pause when your upper arms touch the floor before pressing again.
Banded Fly - If you have two bands, wrap one end of each around the rack or solid object while holding the other, and perform flyes like you would on a pec-deck. If you only have one, wrap it around yourself and hold the ends, and do flys standing. If you don’t have bands, use dumbbells.
Push Ups - Do these on the floor until you reach failure. Stand up and put your hands on an elevated surface. Now do more pushups until you reach failure again. This is similar to a drop set because you don’t have to push up as much of your body weight.
Bent Over Row - You can use a barbell or dumbbells for these. Focus on squeezing the back muscles as hard as you can at the top before lowering the weight back down. If you can go heavier, do it. If not, hold the contraction for longer periods each set.
Dumbbell Pullover - When you do these, lie across your bench instead of directly on it. Also, hold the stretch at the bottom of the movement for a count of three before performing the next rep. Hold the final stretch for 10 seconds.
Banded Row - Wrap the band around a rack or solid object so you can hold both ends in your hands. Perform rows as if you were on a row machine in the gym. You can do these standing or seated, as long as you have a good range of motion.
Shrugs - Whatever you have to use, use them and go to failure three times. When it burns to the point that your form is compromised, you’re done.
Barbell Curl - Perform half of the reps with a closer grip to target the outer biceps and the other half with a wider grip for the inner portion. This will kickstart your arm day in a hurry.
Hammer Curl - Obviously dumbbells are the way to go here. Instead of doing them in the normal fashion, go across the body to hit more of the forearms as well as the brachioradialis.
Band Curl - Hold the last rep of each set for up to 15 seconds. By the time you get to the third set, your biceps will be done.
Dumbbell Kickback - Focus on your speed with these. Momentum will be tempting, but contract the muscle instead of focusing on the weight. This will help make the exercise more effective.
Close Grip Push Up - Keep the hands shoulder-width apart. Go until you can’t go anymore. The lockout is important since we’re focusing on the triceps.
Arnold Press - The traditional method calls for you to use both dumbbells at the same time. Try alternating arms or do all the reps on one side before repeating with the other.
Lateral Raise - If you can’t go with heavier weight, hold your reps at the top for a count of somewhere between three and five before lowering the weight. This will add a new twist to a classic move.
Band Pull Apart - The pulling of the band will increase tension. If you keep your arms straight in front of you and pull the band apart, it will light up your rear delts. Perform the negative slowly before repeating.
Squats - If you need to compromise due to lack of weight, pause at the bottom of the squat for a couple of seconds before going up as quickly as you can. If you can add the weight, go heavier as long as you can maintain form.
Stiff-Leg Deadlift - Either the barbell or dumbbell version will work here. If you have the dumbbells, go as low as you safely can. Barbell users, stand on a platform so you can maximize the range of motion.
Walking Lunges - Hold dumbbells, wear a weighted vest, hold a plate, do whatever you got to do to add resistance to this if your body weight isn’t enough.
Standing Calf Raise - It is going to be really tempting to fly through these. Don’t do it. Feel that stretch at the bottom and rise high at the top to flex the calves really well.
Day 1: Chest
|Incline Barbell Bench Press||4||8-12|
|Dumbbell Floor Press||3||10-12|
|Push Ups||3||12, 12, Drop Set|
Day 2: Back
|Bent Over Row||4||8-12|
Day 3: Arms
|Overhead Tricep Extension||4||12|
|Close Grip Push Up||4||Failure|
Day 4: Shoulders
|Band Pull Apart||3||12, 12, Drop Set|
Day 5: Legs
|Standing Calf Raise||3||Failure|
As for abs, this is where you can make the workout your own. Find the one that you think would be beneficial for you and add it where you see fit in your new five-day routine. Here are a few we recommend:
- Core Destroyer: 8 Week At Home Ab Workout
- 8 Pack Abs Workout: How To Get The Ultimate 8 Pack
- 12 Week Ab Workout for Ab Definition & Core Strength
There are a few different ways you can progress with this program. You can cut rest times a small bit to see if you can handle the same volume in less time. You can also pair up exercises to perform as supersets. For example, do hammer curls and band curls back-to-back without rest. Of course, if you have access to more weight, you can go heavier as well.
Training at home or with limited options is about making the most out of the options you have. The only thing you shouldn’t do is give up. As long as you’re committed and putting in work, you can see positive results that will last long after you can return to the gym.