5 Day Push, Pull, Legs Workout Program Cycle

Ditch the set 7 day weekly split and start cycling your workouts during the week with this workout. You'll train each muscle more frequently & gain more mass.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Split
Intermediate
8 weeks
5
45-60 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Male & Female
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Workout Description

Our lives are ruled by constant 7 days cycles; this arrangement between Monday to Sunday is the structure on which we build all planning, livelihood and free time.

Fitness and health planning also are created to this structure too and this fits with a lot of what goes on around us whether it’s our jobs, hobbies, social life etc.

But is this always the best for our training and workouts?

The majority of fitness programs found on the internet are based around the 7-day cycle with a selection of training days and typically 1 to 2 days of rest or light training interspersed somewhere in there.

The thing is, the body doesn’t need 7 days to recover from lifting sessions for any body part.

Forget the age old 7-day weekly split. If you want to increase strength and size, then you need to hit muscles more frequently to really trigger more muscle in less time.

Try the 5-day revolving cycle - with the 6th day being a repeat of the new cycle. It looks something like this:

The 5 Day Push, Pull, Legs Cycle

  • Day 1: Chest, Deltoids, and Triceps
  • Day 2: Cardio
  • Day 3: Back, Rear Delts, and Biceps
  • Day 4: Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, and Calves
  • Day 5: Off

This design still allows you to hit major movements (press, pull, squat etc) or major muscle groups (quads, pecs etc) every 5 days. Cardio activity or rest are planned within the 5-day time frame but may be added or taken away depending on that individual person's training goals or availability.

Day 1: Push Workout - Chest, Deltoids, and Triceps

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Bench Press 4 6-8
2. Incline Dumbbell Press* 4 8-10
3. Cable Fly** 3 10-12
4. Lying Dumbbell Tricep Extension 3 10-12
5. Close Grip Push Up 3 Failure

*Perform 1.5 reps by performing an additional half rep on the bottom portion of the movement.
**Pause at the bottom and top part of the exercise for a 1-2 second count.

  • The session starts with the heaviest exercise for lower reps, we’re looking for a big strength stimulus.
  • The exercises then focus less on the weight lifted but more on contracting the muscle as much as possible each rep
  • Keep everything controlled with around 3 seconds lowering before explosively lifting the weight.

Day 2: Cardio

Work Rest Rounds
1. 10 Secs 10 Secs 12
2. 15 Secs 15 Secs 10
3. 20 Secs 20 Secs 8
4. 30 Secs 30 Secs 6

Cardio sessions can be completed in any method such as biking, running, rowing etc. Hit it hard in the work intervals and try to recover as much as possible in the rest time so you can really push it again.

Day 3: Pull Workout - Back, Rear Delts, and Biceps

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Weighted Pull Up 4 5
2. Chest Down Pause Row 4 8-10
3. Wide Grip Lat Pull Down 4 10-12
4. Dumbbell Hammer Curl 3 12
5. EZ Bar Curl 3 12
  • Keep form tight with controlled reps, jerking the weight can cause injury to the shoulders long term. Squeeze the muscles, don’t force them.
  • 1-2 seconds pauses at the full squeeze position will increase time under tension for the back musculature.

Day 4: Leg Workout - Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, and Calves

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Barbell Back Squat 4 6
2. Romanian Deadlift 4 6-8
3. Front Foot Elevated Split Squat 3 10 Each
4. Hamstring Curl 4 8
5. Cable Pull Through 3 10
6. Leg Press Calf Raise 3 15-20
  • Keep everything controlled with around 3 seconds lowering before explosively lifting the weight.
  • For this session make sure you rest more than the upper body sessions, this is due to the amount of weight lifted is greater as well as protecting the lower back from excessive fatigue.

Why Use this Program?

So, what are the benefits of the 5 day cycle and how does it differ from a standard 7 day weekly cycle.

  1. If you miss a day or two within the 7 then you either must suffer the defeat of not having those sessions in the week or alter the weekly schedule which defeats the purpose of fitting it to the typical Monday-Sunday.
  2. The body doesn’t require 7 days to recover from stress and to adapt. Look at large muscle groups like the chest, quads and spinal extensors - after around 3 days of training the muscle growth period stops and we are missing opportunity to train them again.
  3. Flexibility - When condensed to 5 days any order of the sessions can be performed within the cycle which allows for flexibility. If you miss a day then you can simply use that as a rest day or use it as a cardio day.
  4. This cycle allows for you to stress muscles more frequently. So you’re able to increase calorie expenditure more often than you would if training each body part once per week.
  5. Time invested in training- due to the frequency of each session, volume should be lower, and you’ll notice you’ll likely spend less time in the gym overall.

9 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Tue, 03/05/2019 - 06:21
AKM

Hey Lewis,
Thanks for sharing this information, great understanding. My height is 175cm and I weigh 220lbs - my target weight is 175lbs in 5 months time. I am going to try the below routine, and wanted your advise/thoughts on the same.

Starting with a 8 min warm up on the stationary bicycle, workout, and end with 12 min walk on Treadmill on incline. Workout schedule is below -
Monday - Pull
Tuesday - Push
Wednesday - Legs
Thursday - Pull
Friday - Push

Thanks man! I appreciate your support and feedback.
-AKM

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Posted Tue, 10/02/2018 - 02:25
Son

Hi Lewis,
At Day 1, exercise: Incline Dumbbell Press*. To be clear, should I have an additional half rep for each rep in every set or just a last set?

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Posted Sat, 08/18/2018 - 03:25
James

If I were to up the weight and down the reps for all exercises to like 5x3-5 would it benefit me more for increasing strenght and less so for muscle growth.

I am looking to join the military and I am in more need of quality of muscle over quanitity?

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Posted Mon, 11/12/2018 - 05:54
chira

then you should increase the amount of reps and you got to do the reps faster as you can.. which will make your muscles cut rather than bulk..

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Posted Tue, 08/14/2018 - 15:02
Tony

Where is the direct delt work?

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Posted Mon, 08/20/2018 - 02:14
Sam

Retweet. looks to be little to no shoulder volume?!

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Posted Mon, 08/20/2018 - 08:22
Ryan

Agreed. Can shoulder work be added? If so how can this be added?

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Posted Thu, 10/18/2018 - 21:57
Dawn

Front delts are going to be taxed heavily on push day. If anything, consider adding face pulls for rear delts towards end of pull workout, and 3 sets of lower cable lat raises for side delts at end of push workout. If you go a bit lighter, with strict form, to failure, you'll get the results you want.

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Posted Fri, 08/24/2018 - 17:58
Ryan

Because this program looks great and flexible, I just don't want to have lagging delts