Am currently enjoying a push-pull split since joining the health club gym across from work and training mostly away from a real platform. I have been inspired largely by an old Glenn Pendlay forum post pasted below.
Splitting up the work but still using total body lifts. One thing I am finding is that heavy squats and heavy overhead work (push presses or jerks) on the same day takes a lot out of me.
I've even seen people who after a while on a 3 day a week program, switched to a 4 day split, doing squats and pressing exercises on Monday and Thursday, back and pulling exercises on wed and Saturday. I don't see this as retreating from the principles of the 5 by 5 at all. you are STILL working your whole body, or very nearly so, every training day. squats work the back, they work everything... and deadlifts or stiff legged deadlifts work the legs, not as much as squats, but they still work them. this is in fact the favored program of mike stone, probably the best ex phys guy on the planet and former head of sports science at the Olympic training center.the main thing is to go about it in a systematic way.
one of my lifters, josh wells, who made the junior world team in 2004 in weightlifting, and can jerk close to 400lbs weighing around 180lbs as a teenager, did this program about a year ago in his "off season" to try to gain some general strength.
- Monday, squats (5 sets of 3), push presses (3 sets of 5) then glute ham raises or reverse hypers
- Wednesday, snatch pulls (5 sets of 2), powercleans (5 sets of 2), chin-ups (5 sets of 10 with extra weight, hanging from a 2" bar)
- Thursday, front squats (6 sets of 2), push jerks (5 sets of 2), military press (3 sets of 5), then glute ham raises or reverse hypers.
- Saturday, powersnatches (5 sets of 2), clean pulls (5 sets of 5), barbell rows, (5 sets of 5)