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Bulldog 3 Day Powerbuilding Split

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The bulldog program is designed to make you as big and strong as possible.  It is called a powerbuilding workout because the goal is to give you the best of both worlds: a powerful physique with the strength to back it up.

The addition of muscle will help build strength; the pursuit of raw strength using a volume of reps will help you build muscle. Your main goal will be to get every bodypart from head to toe as strong as possible.

As you can see, this program is no nonsense. Not hundreds of different exercises, not filled with lots of clever movements, just simple hard work and concentrating on the big lifts.

Quad Sets

You will begin each workout with quad sets, which are simply heavy 4 reps sets. Just to be clear, we’re not talking about your Quadriceps. We mean four sets of four reps of squats on day one, bench on day two, and deadlifts on day three.

During your first workout, start with a weight that easily allows you to perform 4 sets x 4 reps. When your 4th rep feels comfortable and manageable, add 5 pounds to the bar the next time you perform it.

Don’t worry if you are unable to hit 4 reps on every set after adding weight. Try to improve the following week.

Deload Weeks

There are no planned deloads. If your body feels beat up, drop the weight used by 30% and take an easy week.

Progression of Weight

For non-quad exercises, use the same weight for each set of a given exercise. When you can perform all the reps as listed, add weight to that exercise.

Training Split

You will be training 3 days per week. Here is a sample split:

  • Monday – Squat Day
  • Wednesday – Bench Day
  • Friday – Deadlit Day
Squat Day
Exercise Sets Reps
 Squats  4  4
 Squats  1  20
 Still Leg Deadlifts  3  6
 Leg Press  4  20
 Leg Curls  5  10
 Seated Leg Curl  5  10
Bench Press Day
Exercise Sets Reps
 Bench Press  4  4
 Military Press  4  4
 Dumbbell Bench Press  5  10
 Seated Arnold Press  5  10
 Cable Tricep Extension  4  15
Deadlift Day
Exercise Sets Reps
 Deadlift  4  4
 Power Shrugs  2  20
 Barbell Rows  5  10
 Pull Ups  5  Failure
 Seated Dumbbell Curl  3  12
 Hammer Curl  3  12


  • Barbell squats with a normal stance (not sumo)
  • For the bench press stick to flat bench rather than incline bench
  • If you have any lower back issues you can change the military press to an overhead press which allows you to have your legs shoulder width apart rather than placed together
  • Standard deadlifts (not sumo)
  • Rest period between the quad sets should be 90-180 seconds long
  • Rest period for other exercises should be 45-60 seconds long
  • If you cannot perform pull ups then try chin ups, or a lat pulldown as a last resort

Final Thoughts

In some ways, the bulldog three day power building split is a variation of the push/pull program. With an extra leg day rather than splitting these exercises into push/pull. What we really like about this program is the combination of different rep ranges. Training for strength and particularly hypertrophy works best when it involves a combination of rep ranges, rather than just low reps, medium reps, or high reps.

When following this program it’s important to prioritise rest and recovery. You will need to boost your protein intake, improve your sleep quality and quantity; whilst being conscious of signs of overtraining; though if you stick to the three days per week schedule you should be fine.

Have you tried this 3 day bulldog powerbuilding split? Let us know how you got on in the comments below. 

Steve Shaw

Steve Shaw is the founder of Muscle and Brawn, and a powerlifter with 30+ years of experience. Steve's recorded a 600lb squat, 672lb deadlift and a 382lb bench press.
Steve Shaw
  • Chippila Apr 13,2015 at 8:50 am

    You misspelled ”Deadlift” under ”Training Split” section 🙂

  • Michael Robles Mar 9,2015 at 10:40 pm

    Okay, I’m 155lbs and my MAX on Bench Press is 180lbs. If i this workout routine, how long will it take me to be able to bench press 200lbs?
    (That’s my goal for the summer)

    • Michael Robles Mar 9,2015 at 10:40 pm

      If i follow this*

      • Jonny edwards Aug 7,2015 at 8:15 pm

        There’s not necessarily a time frame u can put on something like that… your obviously a beginner don’t worry so much about weight u can push or pull or the get big schemes.. do 2 to 3 weeks of practicing on nothing but form… make sure u have your form down perfect if you think your doing it right ask the experienced lifters or youtube it.. once you get form down than progress in to powerlifting and experimenting with different weights and rep ranges let your ody tell you what’s making you stronger listen to your body it’s the best personal trainer

  • gfinch Nov 1,2014 at 8:33 am

    Man that leg day is barf material. Especially those 20 rep leg press sets! Couldn’t walk for days afterwards either.

  • Evan Walton Oct 30,2014 at 12:55 pm

    What if I were to do legs, chest, day off, back, day off, cardio, repeat? Training for an upcoming strongman comp and feel like a day off after legs is a wasted day

    • Dr. Lou Nov 1,2014 at 7:48 am

      That could work! Good luck with the competition!!

  • Daniel Sep 20,2014 at 4:40 pm

    I wanted to know if the split can be done three days in a row? What if my workout days were limited to Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Would it be OK to follow this program without any rest days in between a working day?

    • Dr. Lou Sep 22,2014 at 1:48 pm

      No, because if you are really powerbuilding you will need a day or two to recover and heal from these grueling workouts. If you don’t think you will need the rest then you’re not really powerbuilding and advancing. I would rather cycle this two days a week in order to get the rest I need to grow than squeeze the 3 days in a row.

  • gfinch Sep 15,2014 at 7:03 pm

    When, how much, and what type of cardio would you recommend with this training?

    • Dr. Lou Sep 18,2014 at 12:36 pm

      Depends. If you want to build strength and size, limit the cardiovascular to once a week for 20 to 30 minutes. Maybe even every two weeks. I also recommend not doing it on the training days.

  • Jeff B Sep 7,2014 at 8:28 am

    How long can i perform this routine for? Would it be good to use while training jiu jitsu?

    • Dr. Lou Sep 8,2014 at 3:42 pm

      I would use this routine for 6 to 8 weeks, then change if you feel you have stopped progressing or do a deload week or take a week off and return. I think it is fine if practicing Jujitsu however make sure the Jujitsu is not using up too much strength. If so you may have to do less volume of either this program or jujitsu or both.

  • Juan Siliezar Aug 25,2014 at 9:18 am

    Is this workout good for a baseball player looking to get stronger?

    • Dr. Lou Aug 26,2014 at 12:59 pm

      Yes, it will! Or you can look up bill star’s 5×5 program for powerlifting

  • Brent Jul 9,2014 at 10:21 am

    Why would you do leg curls then do seated leg curls?

    • Dr. Lou Jul 10,2014 at 11:38 am

      My hamstrings became too painful with both lying and seated, was hard to walk. I alternated between the two week to week and still had a small limp leaving the gym, but was tolerable.

      • Brent Jul 15,2014 at 11:25 pm

        Seems like overkill to me.

  • Dr. Lou Jun 26,2014 at 5:29 pm

    I am on my 3rd week. All lifts are getting stronger. And getting more compliments on my physique from fellow gym buddies. Thanks for an awesome program! I think I will stick with power building style workouts for a long time to come. Ps I definitely will deload in a week or two. Thanks, Dr. Lou Chiropractor, ny

  • John Sep 24,2013 at 5:13 pm

    Great! And rest period between sets?

  • John Sep 23,2013 at 11:46 pm

    Experience level? Intermediate?

    • Mick Madden Sep 24,2013 at 12:24 am

      This should work well for late beginner, early intermediate and beyond.

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