Effective 3 Day Split Weight Training Program

By Beau Radclyffe-Thomas

Whether you’re short on time, a beginner to weight training or simply looking for something different to avoid plateaus in your training, a 3-day split is effective and allows you to train each body part on a more regular basis than a typical body-part training split.

bodybuilder performing bench press as part of a 3-day split

It’s recommended that beginners limit themselves to three or four exercises per workout, until they have perfected those movements and built a strength and size base, whereas more advanced trainers can increase the training volume and use more advanced training techniques, for example intensity boosters such as drop-sets, rest pause or forced reps.

A simple 3-day training split rotates around basic grouped body-parts used in the same movement patterns (pushing, pulling, legs). Pushing engages the agonistic muscles responsible when pressing your arm away from your body (shoulders, chest, triceps); pulling focuses on those muscles that pull the arm towards the body (back, biceps, traps), legs focuses on quads, hamstrings and calves.

Due to the greater amount of body-parts being trained per session, the number of exercises should be reduced to allow for a healthy balance of workout intensity and volume.

There will be two separate routines for each workout. It’s recommend to do the workouts in order and taking days off as you see fit (remember that it’s on your rest days that you grow – so don’t overdo it). Aim to complete 2 warm up sets for compound exercises and 1 warm up set for less strenuous ones. Complete 2-3 working sets on each exercise, aiming to hit failure between 8-12 reps.

Push 1

Flat Barbell Bench Press
Seated Military Press
Skull Crushers
Incline Dumbbell Flyes
Seated Dumbbell Side Raises (light)
Rope Pushdowns
Rear Delt Machine

Push 2

Incline Barbell Bench Press
Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Close Grip Bench Press
Incline Dumbbell Flyes
Standing Dumbbell Side Raises (heavy)
Straight Bar Pushdowns
Reverse Dumbbell Flyes

Pull 1

Wide Grip Pull-ups
Lat Pulldowns
Barbell Rows
Barbell Curls
Incline Dumbbell Curls (light)
Machine Curls

Pull 2

Wide Grip Pull-ups
Close Grip Lat Pulldowns
T-Bar Rows
Preacher Curls
Standing Hammer Curls (heavy)
Machine Curls

Legs 1

Barbell Squats
Stiff Legged Deadlifts
Leg Press
Seated Leg Curls
Walking Lunges
James’ 3 Minute Calf Workout

Legs 2

Barbell Squats
Stiff Legged Deadlifts
Hack Squats
Lying Leg Curls
Walking Lunges
James’ 3 Minute Calf Workout

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