The most popular training routine - 3 day split

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a. Train the entire body each training day with 3 sets per major exercise.
b. Split the body up into 3 sections and train these different bodyparts; Mon, Wed and Fri, The best routines use compound exercises that cause overlap, so you actually work some of the major muscle groups twice in a week.

Here’s the prefered 3 day split routine (b)

Click on each exercise for a pop-up window
that shows you how to perform each exercise
(no downloads or extra software needed).


Squats OR Leg Press
Straight leg Deadlift or
Leg Curl (Lunges for women)
Standing Calf Raise
Leg Raise



Incline Bench Press
Close Grip Bench Press
Military (or DB) Shoulder Press
Lateral Raise
Dumbbell Biceps Curl

Hanging leg raises


Shoulder Width Lat Pulldown
Close Grip Seated Pulley Row
Reverse hand Triceps Pushdown
Hyper Extension
Shrugs (men only)

*Get proper instruction on all exercises or invest in a personal trainer to show you how to perform each exercise properly.

For those just starting out;
1. On the first training session, start off light, do 1 set per exercise. You might ache the next day, this is normal and shows you have trained well. Training well results in your body adapting to the stress applied. This causes your muscles to get stronger, firmer and more toned to cope with the stress you have put them under. You tend to ache the most the first few sessions, a dull ache however is good, often desirable and is a true indication that you have trained hard!

2. After a few weeks, perform 2-3 sets for each exercise. After around 2-3 months, you can move to a maximum of 3-4 sets per exercise. Always do an easy warm-up set of around 15-20 reps, to get the motion right and the blood into the muscle.

3. Perform a maximum of around 8-12 reps for each exercise. The weight you are using should be heavy enough, so that the last rep should be near impossible. Try and increase the weights or reps you are doing every session, to ensure you are progressing. When I say increase, it only needs to be a very little increase in weight, (in some instances, a tiny 1 or 2lb plate or extra 1-2 reps is fine.). Don’t ego train, i.e. throwing two additional big plates on the end of each bar and thinking you can lift it, only to struggle or bounce it up, is a waste of time. You’ll end up using bad form, which makes you look silly and increases your chance of injury and… you probably won’t even be using the actual muscle you are trying to work!

You’ll find that most professional bodybuilders will not use 3-day splits because of the large amount of ‘Chemical assistance’ that allows them to enhance their recovery abilities by a significant amount compared to the average trainer. So these guys will tend to use much higher frequency routines (greater than 4-6 days per week), due to the fact the more you stimulate a muscle to grow, the greater opportunity it has to grow. This is of course only possible if you have the extra protein required for building muscle by using a good protein powder and your recovery abilities are enhanced by effective supplementation/sports nutrition.

A lot of Natural bodybuilding champions and powerlifters, as well as a lot of professional athletes in other sports such as football, wrestling, track and field, boxing, Aussie Rules Football and rugby, use a 3-day per week weight training routines.

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Andy   |.
There is no reason women cannot do leg curls or shrugs. The article is making
the assumption that women would want to target the glutes more than hamstrings
(hence lunges vs leg curls) and not want to train traps (the 'mountain' type
muscle at the very top of your back). Women have no need to train differently to
men, only to train in a way that suits their goals, but that goes for me too.
Mark   |.
If you can do pull ups and dips (preferably weighted) these are way better than
lat pull downs and tricep pushdowns. Leg curls and leg extensions are also
pretty rubbish exercises and shouldn't be used by competitive athletes except
perhaps for rehab purposes, if you want to target the quads and hamstrings
harder use front squats and romanian deadlifts or good mornings respectively.
As a highly rated strength and conditioning coach said, 'sorry I don't use
machines, I've got testicles'.
farsouth   |.
Deadlifts and pullups are not necessarily the answer for everyone. I do a
similar thing to this routine and have made good gains on it. There's a good
emphasis on legs on a monday which is nice as a lot of routines don't
concentrate on legs. Monday's a good day to do them too.

It all depends on
what you are after.
Stephen T   |.
Note that this article is entitled "The world’s most popular training
routine", not "The world’s best training routine".
Luis L.   |.
Well,my opinion about it is,focus on compound exercises as bench
press,squats,deadlifts,rows,pull-ups,chinups,etc.I use only free weights.By the
way,I've seen routines worse than this one!Beginners should start full body
workouts.That's what I used to do 20 years ago,and I'm back on it again.It's
Adam   |.

push - bench, incline bench, shoulder press,
weighted dips
pull - deads, chins, bent over row, bi curls
legs - squats,
stiff leg dead, calf raises

tried and tested routine that works
Phil   |.
Not sure about this routine, seems too Simplistic. Try core excersises that
overlap with the smaller muscle groups.
i.e. Bench/DB bench, Incline bench, DB
Flys and any 2 tricep excercises. Abs

2 or 3 Bicep excersises (EZ
curls/Hammer/Preacher) followed by Bent over row, Lat Pulldown and/or

Shoulder/military press, Lateral raise, upright row. Abs

takes three days you could fit a leg workout in with some cardio on any of the
three days or day 4 if you have th time.
francis   |.
a good rountine but i would make a few changes.train biceps with the back+traps,
and train triceps with chest+delts.
also train legs on wednesdays to split up
the two upperbody rountine for example:
friday :back,traps,biceps

doing the rountine in this order it will provide better recovery for all muscle you get stronger increase the days off between workouts to compensate
for the extra stress that lifting heavier weights creates. e.g train monday,
Richard   |.
Not sure about training the biceps with back nor the triceps with the chest and
I would swap those two around because they would be worked hard
during the main back and chest movements and you wouldnt be able to stimulate
them enought to get the development needed due to their effort assiting the
chest press or lat pull down.

Also alot more "core" work is
so to agree with francis:

Monday:core Chest, delts, biceps and
Wednesday: Legs and core
Friday: Back, triceps and core
Monday: Biceps Triceps

Tuesday : Rest

Wednesday: Chest Shoulders


Friday:Legs Lats

Saturday & Sunday :Rest
michael flannery   |.
hi.can anyone outline a weight training routine for gaining weight. any help
Tim   |.
I work a 4 days on, 4 days off shift pattern leaving me time to train only on my
days off. Can anyone help or suggest a routine that would best suit my
lifestyle? Many thanks!
james  - 3 days on 1 off   |.
I want to work each bodypart twice a week,on a 3 day on 1 day off routine,do you
have any ideas
Stephen  - more planes of movement needed   |.
the only problem with this workout is that every exercise is in the saggital
plane (forwards and backwards). The body needs to adapt to other movements;
frontal (side to side/across the front of the body) and trasverse movements
(twisting) that will produce more functional results. It's a good strength
training programme. But if you stick to this programme then go to lift
something, say a shopping bag, or put something with some weight up on a shelf,
you'll risk the chance back/shoulder injury.
SMILER  - 3days a week   |.
monday - overhead press-up 3x10.,bench pressup 3x10.,dip with
weights3x10.,tricep workout., crunches..

wed - overhead press-up 3x10., lat
pull down 3x10.,squat 3x10., chin-up 3x10., crunches..

friday - same as
monday..that it..
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