The Ultimate 3 Day Workout Split Training Programs

So you want to train 3 times a week?

The 3 day workout split is for you. 

In this post, we first discuss what is the 3 day workout split, the pros and cons, and introduce the best 3 day workout split training programs. 

Let’s get to it.

What is a 3 Day Workout Split?

The 3 day workout split is simply a training program that’s designed to train 3 times a week. Each time you hit the gym you train different muscle groups. 

The Pros and Cons of the 3 day workout split.

Just like any other training program, the 3 day workout split has pros and cons. It all comes down to your goals and training stage. 

The Pros of the 3 day workout split:

  • Good for developing strength as it prioritizes compound movements. 
  • Good for busy lifters.
  • Allows adequate recovery. It’s 3 days a week only! 
  • Beginners and older demographic-friendly.
  • Good for the maintenance phase and for the transition from cutting to the off-season. 

The Cons of the 3 day workout split:

  • Not suitable for weight loss.
  • Not optimal for hypertrophy – as it requires more frequency. 
  • Not primal if you have a weak muscle group or muscle imbalance
  • Not enough isolation movements.

The Best 3 day workout split Programs

Here are two different programs of the 3 day workout split.

1

The Push, Pull, Legs 3 day workout split Program.

This is arguably the most popular 3 day workout split program among lifters. 

Push - Chest , Shoulders, and Triceps:

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest (Mins.)

Flat Bench Press (barbell or dumbbells)

5 (2 warmup, 3 working sets)

15-6

2 - 5

Incline Bench Press (barbell or dumbbells)

3

12 - 6

2 - 3

Dips or Flyes (alternate every other workout)


3

12 - 6

2 - 3

Delt side raises (dumbbells or cables)


5

15-10

1 - 2

Delt rear raises (dumbbell, cable, or reverse pec-deck)


5

25-12

1 - 2

Tricep cable push down


3

15-10

1 - 2

Standing Tricep cable extension

3

15-10

1 - 2

Pull - Back and Biceps:

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest (Mins.)

Deadlift

5 (2 warm up, 3 working sets)

15 -6

2 - 5

Lat pull down or pull ups

3

15 -10

2 - 3

Dumbbell rows

3

12 - 8

2 - 5

Machine cable rows

3

15 - 10

2 - 3

Bicep dumbbell or barbell curls

3

15 - 10

1 - 3

Bicep machine concentration curls

3

15 - 10

1 - 3

5 each

30 - 15

1 - 2

Legs:

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest (Mins.)

Hamstring leg curls

4

15 -10

2 - 3

Barbell Squat

4

15 - 8

2 - 5

Leg presses

3

15 - 10

2 - 3

Leg extension

3

15 - 10

1 - 3

Hip thrust or walking lunges (alternate every other workout)

3

15 - 10

1 - 3

4 each

25-15

1 - 2

There are many variations of this program. We published some of the push, pull, legs variations in this post

As for training frequency, it could be something like this:

  • Day 1: Push.
  • Day 2: Off.
  • Day 3: Pull.
  • Day 4: Off.
  • Day 5: Legs.
  • Day 6 & 7: Off.

2

The Superset 3 day workout split Program.

This is a less popular 3 day workout split. It’s used by more advanced trainers that want a fast and congruent training style. 

The idea is that you train two opposing muscles in supersets. 

Chest and Back:

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest (Mins.)

Flat Bench Press

5 (2 warmup, 3 working sets)

15-6

superset*

Lat pull down or pull-ups

3

12 - 6

2 - 3

Incline Bench Press


3

12 - 6

superset

Dumbbell rows


3

15-10

2 - 3

Dips or Flyes (alternate every other workout)


3

15-10

superset

Machine cable rows


3

15-10

2 - 3

2 Ab exercises of your choice

3 each

30-15

1 - 2

Shoulders, and Arms (triceps, and biceps):

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest (Mins.)

Delt rear raises (dumbbell, cable, or reverse pec-deck)

5 (2 warm up, 3 working sets)

25-12

1 - 3

Delt side raises (dumbbells or cables)

4

15 - 10

2 - 3

Machine Shoulder presses

3

12 - 8

1 - 3

Standing up-right rows or Shrugs (alternate every other workout)

3

15 - 12

1 - 3

Tricep cable push down

3

15 - 10

superset

Bicep barbell or dumbbell curls

3

15-10

1 - 2

Standing Tricep cable extension


3

15-10

superset

Bicep machine concentration curls


3

15-10

1 - 2

Legs:

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Rest (Mins.)

Hamstring leg curls

4

15 -10

2 - 3

Barbell Squat

4

15 - 8

2 - 5

Leg Presses

3

15 - 10

2 - 3

Leg extension

3

15 - 10

1 - 3

Hip thrust or walking lunges (alternate every other workout)

3

15 - 10

1 - 3

2 calf exercises of your choise

4 each

25-15

1 - 2

*Superset means you don’t rest after you’re done with the exercise. Instead, superset it with the next one on the table.

As you can see, you do one exercise for the chest followed by one for the back. During the time you train your back your chest is resting and vice versa. The same principle applies for the arms day, you do one exercise for the biceps followed by another for the triceps. Hence, the name “superset”.

The main advantage of this 3 day workout split over the push, pull legs is the speed. It can be implemented in 30 to 40 minutes because the rest between the sets is minimal.