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5 Day Workout Split For Women

In the fitness industry, we often get asked what the best workout split for women is. The answer you get will depend on the person you ask. And there’s a lot of people out there to ask these days.

The truth of the matter is that there is no perfect workout split, there’s only what works best for you, your goals, and your abilities. The best workout plan is the one that you will actually stick to.

That said, there are certainly more optimal ways to train than others. I have spent years trying to figure out what works best for my body and I can tell you that this has changed pretty drastically as I’ve aged.

These days, I stick to a 5-day workout split. In this article, I’m sharing the 5-day workout routine for women that I program inside our fitness app, FHM Active each month. These are the exact workouts that I myself do along with hundreds of other women.

What’s a Workout Split?

A workout split refers to dividing your workouts into specific training sessions, usually based on specific muscle groups. There’s no best split, it will depend on your goals, experience, time allowances, and schedule. 

For those who have ample time to spend in the gym, having a 4-5 day training split can be a great way to strategically hit all muscle groups separately. However, those who are more limited with their time and frequency might go for more of a full-body split, hitting all muscle groups 2-3 times per week. 

In this post, I’m breaking down the 5-day workout split I use for myself and share inside my app, FHM Active. 

FHM Active 5-Day Workout Split

Inside FHM Active, we utilize a 5-day split, but the 5th day is optional. We have 4 muscle-group specific workouts per week that are prioritized with an optional 5th workout of the week being a full-body workout. 

Our 5th workout of the week is kind of like the cherry on top. We’ve already hit all the major muscles throughout the week with intensity and intentionality, so choosing to hit the full body day is just a little extra work for those who prefer a 5-day split.

I program our workouts with two upper-body days and two lower-body days, with muscle-group-specific work. For example, our first upper body workout of the week might hit shoulders, chest, and biceps, and our second upper body session would hit the back and triceps. This allows us to hit all the upper body musculature without trying to cram in everything in on one training session.

Here’s our 5-day workout plan for women:

  • Day 1: Upper Body I + Core
  • Day 2: Lower Body I
  • Day 3: Upper Body II + Core
  • Day 4: Lower Body II
  • Day 5: Full Body (Optional)

This workout schedule allows us to work our entire body with intentionality while avoiding hitting the same muscle groups multiple days in a row. I have found this to be the best workout split for myself and for most of the women I encounter, especially those of us who are in our 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond.

Progressive Overload

Progressive overload is a strength training concept that means you are working to improve your strength in various movements from week to week. In order to apply progressive overload, you must be repeating the same exercises week to week to do this. 

Why is progressive overload important? Because this is where progress and results are made. When you’re consistently working on getting stronger in your lifts, this is when your body starts to change and you start to see and feel the results that you’re working so hard for. 

Sure, you can make progress and see changes by doing random workouts or workouts that change each week, but there will always be a cap on your progress. You can’t get really good at squats or build up your ability to bear load if you’re only doing them every so often. If you want to get stronger, build lean muscle, and get the toned look you want for your body, applying progressive overload to your workouts is going to be the key.

With FHM Active, we encourage progressive overload by repeating the same workout block for 4-6 weeks at a time (usually on a monthly basis) before moving on to the next block. 

Forms of Progressive Overload

Progressive overload can be achieved through many different avenues, it’s not just adding more weight. The following are measurements of progressive overload within a certain exercise:

  • Improved form
  • Increased weight 
  • Increased reps
  • Increased sets
  • Decreased required rest periods
  • Increased intensity (adding a pulse, a pause, etc. to the movement)

Cardio Recommendations

If you’re coming into strength training from a cardio-based background, I get it, I’ve been there. Many of us grew up thinking cardio and high-intensity workouts were the best way to lose weight and burn calories. 

This concept, of course, has been de-bunked, but embracing a less is more mindset when it comes to fitness can be tough. However, it’s truly freeing when you realize that you don’t need to do endless hours of cardio to get results. In fact, you’ll get better results from strength training from almost every perspective:

  • More muscled (toned, lean body)
  • Increased metabolic rate (ability to eat more calories because your body will be burning more at rest)
  • Stronger bones (so important for women as we age)
  • Less wear and tear on our bodies (again, critical for aging women)
  • Improved mood
  • Better sleep

This doesn’t mean that cardio is bad or that we shouldn't do it! Cardio is so important for heart health and our overall wellness. But it’s important to know that you don’t need to be killing yourself to burn calories. Instead, we recommend implementing 1-3 low to medium-intensity steady-state cardio sessions per week, performed for 15-45 minutes at a time.

Your cardio sessions should be something you enjoy like walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, etc. and you should not feel like you need to be totally gassed at the end. The idea of your added cardio is to help improve your overall health, not burn calories. In fact, going too crazy in the cardio department might hinder the results you get from your strength training program.

FHM Active Sample Workouts

If you’re curious about what our training program looks like and what you can expect from an FHM Active workout from our 5-day training split, here are a couple of examples of workouts that will give you a solid idea of what you can expect from our program:

Example 1: Upper Body I: Shoulders, Chest, Biceps & Core

Warm-Up Superset:

  • Banded Bicep Curl to Overhead Raise
  • Bear Plank Shoulder Taps

Exercise 1: Chest Press With Pause

Exercise 2: DB Arnold Press

Exercise 3: Single Arm Chest Fly

Exercise 4: DB Front Raise

Superset 2:

  • DB Alternating Bicep Curls
  • Static Bicep Curl External Rotations

Exercise 5: Banded or Weighted Pushups

Core Circuit

  • Weighted Cross-Body Toe Touches
  • Bear Plank Leg Taps
  • V-Sit Bicep Curls

Example 2: Lower Body I

Warm-up Superset

  • Mini Band Squat W/ Pulse
  • Banded Reverse Glute Bridge

Exercise 1: DB Squat

Exercise 2: DB Hip Thrust

Exercise 3: DB Alternating Elevated Reverse Lunges

Exercise 4: Single Leg RDL

Superset 2:

  • DB Single Leg Step Ups
  • DB Elevated Calf Raises

Exercise 5: Banded Glute Contractions

Getting Starting With FHM Active’s 5-Day Workout Split

If you’re looking for a solid 5-day workout routine that will help you get stronger, leaner, more toned, and more confident, give FHM Active a try! As soon as you sign up, you’ll get access to your first block of workouts strategically designed to give you the best results possible. 

The best part is that you don’t need a gym membership or any fancy equipment. All FHM Active workouts are designed to be done at home with minimal equipment (dumbbells, bands, bench, or sturdy surface.)

We can’t wait to see you in the app and to start training with you!

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