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3 Days a Week, for 45 Minutes?


Any suggestions of short and focused workout programs for the time-deprived?

I can (and do) workout 3 times a week with a max workout time of 45 mins. My current schedule is:

Day One

Squats 5x8r
Dips 5x8

Day Two

Bpress 5x8
Rows 5x8
O/head press 4x6

Day Three

Chins 5x8
Deadlifts 5x8
Decline Dbell press 4x6

Doing higher reps as I've been doing low reps for a while now, thought it's good to give it a change-over. Currently 160lbs and 5'5 and looking to increase size.

I know it's a simplistic program but I feel it works. Like to get some links or suggestions for other workout plans I can do in the future.




3x per week is fine if each training session is comprised of compounds/complexes/hybrids. Basically, you need to do full body sessions. Research has shown that lifting that way is actually optimal for cutting/retaing/gaining.

Virtually all of the muscles of your body are growing 6 of the 7 days of the week. Try something like bench presses, squats, deadlifts, dips, chins/pulls, cleans and presses in a 3x5 fashion. I have personally found that to work well. Just my 2.


I'm not arguing with your advice, and I'm glad that you have found something that works well for you. But, be careful about stating that any one style of lifting is "optimal", or has been "shown" to be so according to research.


I'd say it looks good to me. I'm a fan of the total body workouts and your routine looks similar to mine. As long as you remember to bust your butt on each set you should make gains in pretty much all areas you're interested in.

Just curious--what are some of your #'s and goals? (anything besides the "increased size" as you mentioned)


Nothing for arms? Seems like a lot of guys around here don't care about arms. It kind of puzzles me, but if you like small arms and a big torso, then to each their own.


Don't you know that doing isolation exercises makes you non-functional, injury prone and weak. insert author's name said so...

But seriously, if I'm pressed for time, doing direct arm work would be one of the first thing I'd ditch as well given that I'm doing a variety of compounds that hit biceps and triceps anyway.



I'd do arms given time, which is if I'm working out on a weekend. Re the my stats question, my numbers and general conditioning have been increasing slowly but consistently over a period of time now. As for specific goals, I'd like to gain another 10 pounds and re-assess from there.

I know there was a program by Poliquin for those who were after quicker workouts, does anyone have any links to other such workouts by other authors?



I don't understand not working out your arms because of "time constraints". Just be more efficient in the gym, there is no reason to neglect entire muscle groups.


Thank you.


Just add 2-3 sets of each curls and some kind of tricep extension at the end of one of the workouts. You can superset them if you are pressed for time.


You can easily throw in sets for arms during your rest times on squats or deadlifts. Or even do biceps between sets of bench, and triceps between sets of rows. Doing arms isn't exactly going to impede your recovery unless you are also using that muscle during your next set, like triceps before bench.


If you want your arms to grow, you need to make them stronger. Just make time to train biceps just like you would make time to train your back, or your legs, or any other muscle group.

Would it be reasonable to say to yourself, okay, I only have 45 minutes to train, 3x a week, so I'll just not do any exercises for my thighs since they will get "hit" from the walking i do in and out of the gym.


I personally don't really like direct arm work, but I really like this idea.

I have always "avoided" direct arm work. It is a personal preference. That is it.


I wrote a program for a client of mine about 6 weeks ago:

Day 1:

Deadlift off 4 inch box 2x8, 2x6, 2x4
Dips 2x8, 2x6, 1 x as many reps as possible (the lighter set will over emphasize the triceps)
Pull ups/ Biceps emphasis (close grip, pull focussing on the hands, not elbows)
Standing Russian Twists (put barbell straight up and twist from barbell in front of you to right side 8x's en then from front of you to left side 8x's, repeat for 2 sets ea.)

Day 3:
Front Squat or hack squat with barbell behind you 6x4
Pull throughs 4x12-8
Atlete military press (set barbell on one side, load the other side and push that side up one arm at a time, Coach Thib mentioned them in an article and it is a great shoulder builder causing limited problems for the shoulder complex since you are using a lot of compounds) 4x12-8
Dumbell bent rows 4x8-6
Calf raises, 2 sets standing, 2 sets seated, 2x12 / 2x20

Day 5:
Dumbell Bench Press 3-4x12-8
Chin Ups 3 sets of triple sets (chin up till you lose significant speed, rest 30 sec, repeat, rest 30 sec, repeat. That's one set. Rest 3 minutes between each triple set)
Step ups with dumbells (do a calf raise at end of movement) 4x12-8
One legged romanian deadlifts 4x12
Cable crunch 2x12

My client/friend gained about 1/4 inch on each bodypart (about 4lbs of muscle in 6-7 weeks on this program), including his arms.

He rested as long as it took to get his breath back to normal between sets (so sometimes a minute or two, sometimes only 30 seconds).

He never went to failure in the traditional sense of spleen popping out of your eye but left a rep in the tank to ensure that he could add weight to the bar / or increase his reps each and every week.
However, most important was his focus on doing the exercise correctly. Better to do a dumbell row with 65Lbs and really feel your lats work then do it with 105lbs and have your lower back and hips do most of it. Makes sense?

Hope this works or will give you some ideas.

Good luck,



Ever try "German Volume Training"? The following article by Poliquin describes it very well if you're not familiar with it, and he gives a few different sample 3-day split routines. I mention it because you said you wanted to gain 10 pounds and Poliquin specifically writes "gains of ten pounds or more in six weeks are not uncommon, even in experienced lifters." There are some articles on T-Nation about it, but I think this is the best description of the program.



Sadly, I've actually heard people saying this or something similar ('I go jogging so I don't have to train legs').

In the given context, we're talking about two different things, though. Walking doesn't hit the thighs with sufficient intensity to promote strength and size gains. Heavy presses, chins and rows on the other hand do with regard to the biceps and triceps.

Apart from that, legs are a larger muscle group and the relevant exercises (e.g., squats, deads etc.) also play a far greater role in athletic performance as well as whole body strength and mass development. Again, apples and oranges.


2 day split 4x a week at 45 minutes is better...to me. Your workout works your tris every time, splits chest work,a dn I think you should look at splitting your push/pull into 2 workouts 4 x a week with a day off in between the 2 day in a row.


Mr Popular,

It's a good idea. However given that I go to a commercial gym at lunch-time, sometimes it's not possible to do this given how busy it is. Hence, I understand my workout plans are not 'optimal' but am trying to make the best of what I can given my schedule.

I do like to train arms however, but I don't feel it is essential. Especially not after many compound exercises, particularly chin-ups for bis and dips for tris.

Marqos, thanks for the workout schedule. I will definitely give it a go once I tire of my current plan.



Sorry, but if you feel chinups stimulate your bicep to grow enough, then you aren't doing them correctly.

And theres nothing wrong with doing dips for the triceps, but do you truly believe both your triceps and your pectorals are going to develop in balance just from this one exercise?

To the people in this thread saying you don't need to do any direct arm work, I would challenge you to show us what impressive arms you have developed from this philosophy.


I have added two measured inches to my arms just doing weighted chinups and dips 2x/week, so yeah, I'm gonna keep doing it until growth stalls. THEN maybe I'll consider preacher curls or triceps kickbacks, pinky out, to "balance out the pectorals" or whatever.