I’ve never experienced more amazing results since training 3 days per week. 5, 6, sometimes even the seventh day of the week I would beat myself down in the gym with no real progress to show for it…
The clients I have helped transformed were shocked too when they were spending LESS time in the gym, but seeing their body transform quicker than ever before.
How can this be? Is less truly more when it comes to training?
I’m excited to dive in and share with you why a 3 day workout split is the key for building lean muscle, strength, and the best results of your life.
IS WORKING OUT 3 DAYS PER WEEK ENOUGH?
The first objection I usually receive when folks learn that I transformed my body off just 3 days per week in the gym (and helped hundreds of others do the same) is that they immediately think we are not doing enough.
Sure, it may look like less on paper, but the laser focus and intensity is greater than ever.
Doing more, or even less will not give you any sort of result if you don’t have the proven principle in place: Progressive Overload.
In other words, if your goal is to build a strong and muscular body, you must give it a reason to change. That’s done by consistently getting stronger over a period of time.
That requires intensity. That requires you to push yourself, hard. Lifting heavier and heavier weights over time is no joke.
But that becomes easier when you maximize gym time and recovery time training 3 days per week only.
It’s All About The Freedom
We’ll dive more into this towards the end of the article, but freeing up your time from the gym is going to work wonders for your lifestyle.
Say your career, family, social life, personal interests and so on.
Fitness shouldn’t become a full-time job, it should be used to enhance your life.
Training 3 days per week with short, intense sessions. That’s roughly 60 minutes tops (minus your commute if you have one). That’s going to be so easy to commit yourself to. And consistency is the name of the game if you’re looking to make an impressive transformation.
WHAT’S OUR GOAL WITH TRAINING 3 DAYS PER WEEK
Do you know what looks sexy no matter what shape or form?
Yes, a big part of that is handled through nutrition but if you’re beating yourself apart in the gym that’s going to begin working against you.
Our goal is to work WITH our bodies and build them up into how we want them to look and feel.
It’s to build a strong, muscular, and powerful body that’s fully capable. One that looks great on the beach and also in clothes.
With the right focus and right protocols, this is more than possible working out just 3 times per week because you’re stripping your training down to the essential.
Take for example the progress of 2 of my rockstar clients:
WHY YOU’LL GET THE BEST RESULTS TRAINING 3 DAYS PER WEEK
Funny enough, training is a stress on the body. Of course, there is good and bad stress. And too much training can turn into a bad thing.
We grow and get stronger outside of the gym, and break ourselves down during.
So with that thinking, our training should be as quick, short, and as intense as possible.
If you want to keep making amazing progress, then you need to be able to show up to the gym feeling awesome. Taking a day break in between sessions and training 3 days per week makes this possible.
You hit the gym feeling recharged, strong, and even excited!
Instead of trying to fight to reach new personal records, this happens more frequently and predictably.
And even though you’re hitting the gym less, if you’re getting stronger much faster, this is going to translate over into some incredible muscle gain.
Muscle gain that lasts – even if you take a couple of weeks off working out. Because you built it from getting stronger, not just chasing a pump with light weights.
3 DAY A WEEK WORKOUT FOR LEAN MUSCLE
Alright so how would this look laid out on paper?
The good news is that there are so many ways to skin the cat, ha…
Full Body Workouts – where you would follow are routine that targets main muscles groups across of your entire body.
Body Part Splits – where you would follow a routine that targets specific muscle groups such as the chest, biceps and rear delts.
Push Pull Legs Split – where you would follow a routine that targets the pushing muscles, then the pulling muscles, and finish up your third workout of the week with legs.
Those are some of the top, most efficient ways to do things. My personal favorite is body part splits or a variation of push and pull where I add the leg training to the pull workout and rotate the 2 workouts each week. (Week 1) Push Pull Push – (Week 2) Pull Push Pull – and so on…
3 DAY A WEEK WORKOUT PLAN FOR BEGINNERS
Taking the above, here’s a layout you can start following today…
Male Version –
Monday: Chest, Arms, Shoulders
Wednesday: Legs, Abs
Friday: Shoulders, Back, Arms
Workout 1 -Back, Shoulders, Triceps, Abs
1) Bodyweight Rows: 3 sets of 6-8 reps (2 mins rest)
2) Seated Dumbbell Press: 3 sets of 6-8 reps (2 mins rest)
3) 1 Arm Dumbbell Row: 3 sets of 4-6 reps (2 mins rest)
4) Cable Facepulls: 3 sets of 10-12 reps (1 min rest)
5) Skull Crushers: 3 sets of 6-8 reps (1 min rest)
6) Roman Chair Knee Lifts: 3 sets of 12-15 reps (1 min rest)
Workout 2 – Legs, Endurance Work
1) Cross Box Step Ups: 3 sets of 4-6 reps (2 min rest between sets)
2) Barbell Romanian Deadlifts: 3 sets of 6-8 reps (2 min rest between sets)
3) Standing Calf Raises: 3 sets of 10-12 reps (1 min rest between sets)
4) Kettlebell Swings: 3 sets of 12-15 reps (1-2 min rest between sets)
5) Yoga Plex: 3 sets of 5 reps per side (30 sec rest between sets)
6) Plank: 3 sets of max holds (1 min rest between sets)
Workout 3 – Chest, Biceps, Shoulders, Abs
1) Incline Dumbbell Press: 3 sets of 4-6 reps (2 min rest between sets)
2) Decline Push Ups: 3 sets of 5-10 reps (2 min rest between sets)
3) Standing Barbell Curls: 3 sets of 6-8 reps (2 min rest between sets)
4) Standing Hammer Curls: 3 sets of 8-10 reps (1 min rest between sets)
5) Bent Over Flyes: 3 sets of 10-12 reps (1 min rest between sets)
6) Russian Twists: 3 sets of 15-20 reps (1 min rest between sets)
Female Version –
Monday: Legs, Shoulders, Abs
Wednesday: Chest, Back
Friday: Legs, Arms, Abs
Workout 1 – Legs & Shoulders
1) Weighted Hip Thrusts: 3 sets of 6-8 reps (2 mins rest between sets)
2) Elevated Goblet Squats: 3 sets of 4-6 reps (2 mins rest between sets)
3) Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 sets of 6-8 reps (2 mins rest between sets)
4) Dumbbell Lateral Raises: 3 sets of 8-12 reps (1 min rest between sets)
5) Roman Chair Knee Lifts: 3 sets of 12-15 reps (1 min rest between sets)
6) Plank Holds: 3 holds for 1-3 minutes (1 min rest between sets)
Workout 2 – Chest Back & Rear Delts
1) Lat Pull Down (Palms Away): 3 sets of 4-6 reps (2 mins rest between sets)
2) Incline Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 sets of 4-6 reps (2 mins rest between sets)
3) One Arm Dumbbell Rows: 3 sets of 6-10 reps (2 mins rest between sets)
4) Push up Variation: 3 sets of MAX reps (2 min rest between sets)
5) Bent Over Dumbbell Flyes: 3 sets of 8-12 reps (1 min rest between sets)
6) Yoga Plex: 3 sets of 5 reps (1 min rest between sets)
Workout 3 – Legs & Arms
1) Dumbbell Box Step Ups: 3 sets of 4-6 reps (2 mins rest between sets)
2) Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts: 3 sets of 6-8 reps (2 mins rest between sets)
3) Standing Dumbbell Curls: 3 sets of 6-8 reps (2 mins rest between sets)
4) Dumbbell Skull Crushers: 3 sets of 6-8 reps (2 mins rest between sets)
5) Lying Leg Raises: 3 sets of 12-15 reps (1 min rest between sets)
6) Russian Twists: 3 sets of 6-8 reps (1 min rest between sets)
Warm Up Routine
The reality is that the proper warm-up is crucial. Not just to have an effective workout, but also to prevent injury. And with the motivation you have right now, I wouldn’t want to see you on the bench with an injury for a couple months.
As well, a proper warm-up will give you the confidence to push yourself hard as opposed to trying to lift weight cold.
The following routine shouldn’t take more than 7-9 minutes and is designed to warm up the entire body. Even if you aren’t working that particular muscle group that day, it’s still best to warm up the whole body before getting started.
Before moving into the warm-up exercises, if you feel cold, I recommend walking on the treadmill, elliptical, or some piece of cardio equipment for 3-5 minutes to get the blood flowing. Next, perform one round of the following exercises:
- Bodyweight Squats – 1 set of 10 reps
- Arm Circles – 1 set of 10 reps per arm
- Seated Wall Slides – 1 set of 12 reps
- Thoracic Twists – 1 set of 8 reps
- Supine Leg Hamstring Stretch – 1 set of 8 reps per leg
- Cat-Cow Stretch – 1 set of 5 reps
- Glute Bridges – 1 set of 10 reps
- Wrist Stretch hold – 3 holds for 10 seconds each
How Long Should A Workout Be For Muscle Gain?
Ideally, as we talked about above, your workouts should be in the range of 45-60 minutes – given that you are bringing the intensity and taking your rest time between sets accordingly.
That’s not taking into consideration, warming up, your commute, maybe your gym gets really busy, etc…
Don’t stress about it – that’s a great time frame to gauge your workouts to know you are staying focused and putting forth maximum effort.
RECOVERY FOR MUSCLE GAIN IS JUST AS IMPORTANT
The powerhouse of your muscles is your central nervous system. If you hit the gym with a fatigued CNS, the weighs are going to feel heavy, you’ll feel sluggish, and it will be a rough time pushing for more strength gains. Even if that’s just one more rep or adding more weight to the bar.
Remember, that’s our main goal.
And it takes roughly 48 hours for your CNS to recover and adapt to the stimulus that you just put it through.
As we discussed above, you’re still training hard. With the proper recovery in place, you’re able to push yourself to the limits EACH training session.
That’s going to induce way more progressive overload and speed up progress much more efficiently than just doing more exercises and going more days. We can’t neglect nutrition either – especially how you start your day. The start of your day sets the stage and tone for how the rest of your day is going to unfold so make sure you’re eating healthy breakfast foods for fat loss and more energy.
WHERE IS YOUR MINDSET AT?
To be brutally honest with you – going through the motions on any training plan or workout split, whether that’s 3 or 5 days per week won’t get you any results if you’re just going through the motions.
There’s a big opportunity that the gym presents to you – and that’s to show ourselves what we are truly made of.
Reaching our potential in the gym can then be carried over into other areas of our lives.
When I enter the gym, I clear my mind from the stress of the day and all distractions. I know what I need to focus on, and I always give it the best I can in that given workout.
YOU HAVE A LIFE DON’T YOU?
This is my favorite part. Mainly because you’ll soon learn along your journey that this does indeed take a lot of time and patience.
So if you aren’t able to live your life fully and you’re only caught up in getting to your end goal, it will be a pretty lousy experience for you.
Training only 3 days per week goes hand in hand with a balanced and productive lifestyle. Whether that’s with your career, family, social life, or personal development.
If fitness consumes all your time, that’s defeating the purpose of why you’re starting in the first place.
Working out is incredibly fulfilling. It’s a gift even to be able to move our bodies. But most people lose sight of that.
So when you prioritize your training, you have so much more free time to dedicate to your life and create yourself to a more well-rounded person.
Reading, rocking climbing, meditating, martial arts, and learning new skills are some of my favorites, and giving yourself this will pay off immensely.
Besides, ask anyone and they will always say they are busy. But I do believe EVERYONE has roughly 3 hours per week to commit to getting to the gym.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON TRAINING 3 TIMES PER WEEK
Combining everything we just talked about:
1) If you have a laser focus on your workout routine
2) If you have a plan to consistently get stronger
3) If you are fully recovered from your last training session because you had a day of rest in between
This is the perfect setup to go to war and train. Pushing yourself to your limits, making personal records, in as little as time as possible.
That is how you transform your body. If you liked this article, make sure to check out my most popular one: How To Get Rid Of Skinny Fat
Have you tried a 3-day workout split before? Let me know in the comments!
To your new body,
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