The Best 7 Day Split Workout Plan & Routine
As far as bodybuilding and resistance training is concerned, no doubt you will have heard people, countless times, talking about the sheer importance of not overtraining and of getting enough time to rest and recover following extensive workouts.
When it comes to bodybuilding and making muscle and strength gains, rest and recovery is a critical component of any training regime, but that isn’t to say that spells of extensive physical exercise with less rest and recovery time, can’t be beneficial as well.
Most bodybuilders typically follow a five day split, in which they train one body part per day, I.E Chest on Monday, Back on Tuesday, etc… Like all things in life, there are upsides to following a five day split, and there are downsides to following a five day split.
If you’ve been following a five day split and have noticed your gains and improvements becoming less and less impressive as time has gone by, this could be an indication that you have reached a natural plateau, and it could be your body telling you to make some changes.
Most people when they come across natural plateaus in their training, will take some time off from the gym, or will train less frequently, as they think that perhaps they are overtraining.
Some experts however, actually increasing your training frequency, and training even MORE, by following a 7 day split workout instead.
Why follow a 7 day split workout routine?
If you were to talk to the average Joe, who happens to have a limited pool of knowledge regarding health and fitness, if you were to tell them that you were training 7 days per week, they would gasp in horror and tell you that you are overtraining and that you should stop immediately, before the entire world ends!
Ok, that last part was pretty dramatic, but they would tell you to stop immediately and would talk about the importance of rest and recovery. Rest and recovery are indeed both vital components of any training regime, but, providing you are getting enough good quality sleep each night, if you were to follow a 7 day split for a limited amount of time, you would see some pretty fantastic results.
By training 7 days a week, your body doesn’t know whether it is coming or going, and so it will begin to overcompensate by generating more energy by burning more calories, which means you not only have more energy, you also burn more fat as well.
It is also a great way of shocking the muscles into new growth as it really helps to stimulate muscle hypertrophy, which is exactly what you want when it comes to making new gains.
Things to know about this 7-day split
Before going any further, it is worth clearing up the fact that this type of training is not sustainable as it is only designed to help you to break natural plateaus and to help you bring up lagging muscle groups, or to perhaps help burn off stubborn and unsightly body fat that you can’t seem to shift otherwise.
Ideally, follow this program for no longer than 6 weeks, and then take an entire week off from training altogether, to help your body to reset itself.
Now that we know the basics about this program, let’s look at the actual program itself.
Day 1 – Chest
Flat bench barbell press – 4 sets of 8 – 12 reps
Incline dumbbell press – 4 sets of 8 – 12 reps
Incline dumbbell flyes – 3 sets of 10 reps
Cable crossovers – 3 sets of 15 reps
Push-ups – 4 sets of 20 reps
Day 2 – Shoulders
Seated dumbbell shoulder press – 4 sets of 12 reps
Standing barbell military press – 4 sets of 10 -12 reps
Dumbbell lateral raises – 4 sets of 12 reps
Rear deltoid flyes – 3 sets of 15 reps
EZ bar upright rows – 4 sets of 15 reps
Dumbbell front raises – 4 sets of 12 reps
Day 3 – Legs
Barbell squats – 4 sets of 8 – 10 reps
Hack squats – 4 sets of 10 reps
Leg press machine – 3 sets of 10 reps
Leg extension machine – 3 sets of 10 reps
Hamstring curls – 3 sets of 10 reps
Calf raises – 3 sets of 20 reps
Day 4 – Back and Abs
Chin-ups – 4 sets of 10 reps
Wide grip lat pull-downs – 4 sets of 12 reps
Close grip lat pull-downs – 4 sets of 12 reps
Barbell bent over rows – 4 sets of 8 reps
Dumbbell rows – 4 sets of 8 – 10 reps per arm
Hyperextensions – 4 sets to failure
And also include an abs workout – see our abs exercises section here.
Day 5 – Arms (biceps, triceps)
Double arm dumbbell curls = 4 sets 10 – 12 reps
EZ bar curls – 4 sets 10 reps
Preacher curl machine – 4 sets of 12 reps
Triceps rope pushdowns – 4 sets of 15 reps
Overhead triceps rope extensions – 4 sets of 15 reps
Skull crushers – 4 sets of 10 reps
Days 6 and 7
Here is where things get interesting, because in reality, there is no right or wrong exercise or muscle group for you to train on days 6 and 7, which is one of the reasons why these types of splits are considered so fun and so enjoyable.
Basically, when you follow a 7 day split, you use your two additional training days, to bring up lagging body parts and muscle groups, or to help you reach your goals much quicker. So, if for example, you feel that your chest is lagging in comparison to the rest of your body, you would train your chest on day 6 perhaps, repeating the same chest workout from day 1.
Remember however, you will be training chest again on day 1, so never train chest on day 7, as it will still need additional time to recover.
Some people choose to use their additional training days, to train lagging body parts on day 6, and will then use day 7 to perform cardio to help them burn calories and to help them get their body fat percentages under control.
So, as an example, their training schedule, may look something like:
Day 6 – Repeat chest workout from day 1
Day 7 – 60 minutes of steady state cardio.
Put simply: use your additional training days to help you make improvements where you feel they are needed the most.
If your strength is lacking, lower the reps and increase the weights that you use, if your back is lacking, blitz your back again, and so on…
Ben Stone is the brains behind many of the articles on this site.