T Nation

3 days a week full body routine?

I’d like some suggestions or tips on how to structure my program for three days a week. It’s getting warm out and I’d like to play some pickup ball so I’m cutting my workout days to three.

This is what I thought up.

Monday speed day

  1. Speed squats (to a low box)
  2. tuck jumps
  3. Speed Bench
  4. Bench press throws
  5. leg curls
  6. JM Presses (I think that is what they are called)


  1. 25 rep rythm squats
  2. pull ups
  3. chin ups
  4. Another upper body movement but not sure what


  1. Box Squats
  2. split squats
  3. bench press
  4. db bench
  5. good mornings
  6. push press (maybe)

Does that look like it might work or is it too much volume? Also if it does look ok, what do you think a good set/rep scheme would look like?

Thanks guys

Coach Poliquin, who seems to be a bright guy, has observed the best gains when each muscle group gets beat-up only once every 5 days. I believe that he was referring to hypertrophy gains, but I’ve seen the same sort of phenomenon in strength training. If you do a shit-simple split, alternating upper-body and lower-body workouts on Mon/Wed/Fri or Tu/Th/Sat, with the occasional, necessary, delayed workout, you’ll average about 4.5 to 5 days between workouts for each bodypart. Note that this means you’ll get two upper-body workouts one week and two lower-body workouts the next week; “squat day” will NOT be the same day of the week, every week. You can blend this with “Westside-style” training, except that it will take you four weeks to do what they do in three weeks. (As you become one of us seriously OLD farts, your body will thank you for the extra recovery time.)
Write lotsa variety into this program. Alternate your lower-body days between heavy back/speed box squat and heavy squat (or box squat)/speed back work. Rotate your heaviest, multi-joint exercise (typically, the first one you do) on upper-body day, and alternate the upper-body workouts between maximum-effort days and speed/bodybuilding days. If you can write a 16-week program in 10 minutes, it doesn’t contain enough variety.
Oh, yeah. One other thought. Examine your motivation for being a powerlifter. If you let pickup basketball determine the structure of your workout routine, the really serious powerlifters are gonna make you look funny at contest time, unless you have superior genetics. (Now, if you structure your program around time for getting laid, your competition is having to do the same thing…)
Strength & courage,
Coach Joe

Thanks Coach Joe, That might be a better way to go since I get burned out frequently. I forgot to mention that I’m training more for speed and jumping.

I’ve kind of got stuck on my squat I’ve been between 395 and 405 lbs for about 6 months, but I think I can lose weight and keep my squat equal it will help me jump higher. I really need some work on my elasticity even though that used to be my strong point.

search for functional strength article on here by CT, and program design one, those are good… for example he has stuff like:

day 1: deads/jump squats
day 2: cleans/bench press
day 3: box squat/chinups
day 4:clean off blocks/push press

ok i made that up but from my recolection he has 6 day/4 day training in the article with lower volume for pure functional gains.

i dont really think that is too bad, try it out it might work you never know. if you get burnt out change it up.

in his three day routine he does:

one push/press,
one pull
one legs
throw in some abs and speed in the beggining and you are set

ok peace

Get Joe Kenn’s book at elitefts website. He designed 3 days of whole body utilizing westside methods. It’s purely athetic based performance, not bodybuilding though.

You might want to check out the thread ‘questions for big martin’, but I copied his post for a 3 day a week program for football players, Im not sure if this is what your looking for, but you might want to give it a try.

big martin
01:13 AM

Indiana, USA
all right guys wow…what we do is very basic to the individual and the position and the level…i tell you right now i work with primary high school and division 2-3 players in my area…i got most my ideas from other people…when more and more players started approaching me i just kept reading everything i could by joe keen, coach x, coach davies, ct, cw, loui simmons, poliquin, tom myleski, defranco and have just mashed it all toghether to fit the caliber of players i work with…now 99% of the football players i work with lack 3 basic things…

  1. a base of muscle mass, football is a brutal sport and size is very important…and while most of the kids are bigger than normal people they lack muscle mass in crucial areas, 1. back of the legs, 2. upper back…3. abdominal mass…they all though come out of high school with huge biceps and pecs and average quads…

  2. posterior chains are usually non exsistent…in fact i have seen ton of divison 2 players i work with who can push press near 300 pounds yet have trouble doing a single glute ham raise or 5 reps of blue band good mornings…

  3. they let themselves get out of shape…espicially high school kids who make up a lot of my buisness…they belive the bench press and the powerclean and jogging laps around the track for 6 straight months is all they need…its a shame there coaches think the same thing…

realizing this and dependent on the athlete…and most important the amount of time i get with the athlete…wich is usually 6-12 weeks…and usually only 9-10 weeks during the summer months with my local college kids…i have to find a way to adress these needs…i need to find a way to build mass, strength, conditioning, bring up work capacity, and provide there weak areas with enough extra work to bring them up to par…so taking this into account i dont have a lot of time to worry about things like barbell speed and training with maximal weights which are the best and most needed aspects of the westside powerlifting program…but the most important aspect of westside i keep in wich is the conjugate method of rotating exersices this will allow me to give the player a ton of volume to up his work capacity while not frying his cns…but in all actuallity i am going to have him overacheive for the first 2 weeks of the program until he can adapt and bring his work capacity up to par…

so if i only had 8-12 weeks with athletes here is what i do…i use bodypart tiers of total body, lower body, upper body wich all have a exersices pool of around 10 movements and rotate these through 3 emphasis’s - priority, major, minor, each of these 3 emphasis have a set waved % pattern and rep scheme that i have found best to add msucle and strength to athletes in the fastest and shortest time possibile…it is from personal experence but follows pripeillins table…each work out begins with a 10-15 minute active gpp warm up just like mine in my training log…i like to hit there upper back, post chain, and abs for high-medium reps low intensity supersets just like i do…each work out is concluded with 2 sets of 8-12 reps of vertical or horizontal pulling and either vertical or horizontal pushing…these sets should be medium intensity…conditioning is on 2 non-lifting days a week and it consists of gpp-strongman work for 15 minutes of active warm up and then 2 circuits of -3-4 gpp-strongman movements for time for 25-35 minutes these strongman and gpp moves are also rotated conjugately and all done with varied intensities …

so here is how i set up the weightroom program…

here are the exersice pools for each bodypart tier…

total body- power clean, power clean standing on 2 inch box, hang clean, hang clean from deck, hang clean off pins, traiditional deadlift, traditional deadlift standing on 2 inch box, sumo deadlift, sumo deadlift standing on 2 inch box, snatch grip deadlift, snatch grip deadlift standing on 2 inch box, rack pulls varied heights, power shrug from floor, power shrug from pins)

lower body - (atg squat, power squat, power box squat with straight bar, camberd bar, safety squat bar, 10-12 inch low box squat with the various bars, lunges, split squats, step ups, good mornings both regular and suspended from chains with various bars,)

upper body- (bench press, close grip bench press, millitary press, push press, 1-2-3-4 board press, incline press, decline press, dumbell bench, dumbell incline, dumbell decline,)


priority- total body - 6 sets of 3 reps waved through %'s from 70-90% with set 6 being the hardest set for a near max triple at 90%…

major- lower body - 5x5 @ 80%

minor - upper body - 4x5 waved through %'s from 72-75%…

day 2

priority-lower body- 6 sets of 3 reps waved through %'s from 70-90% with set 6 being the hardest set for a near max triple at 90%…

major - upper body -5x5 @ 80%

minor - total Body - 4x5 waved through %'s from 72-75%

day 3

priority- upper body - 6 sets of 3 reps waved through %'s from 70-90% with set 6 being the hardest set for a near max triple at 90%…

major- total body - 5x5 @ 80%

minor- lower body 4x5 waved through %'s from 72-75%…

ok there it is thats what happens in the weight room for a 6-12 week phase…now please understand this, this is my basic program with some of my more experenced guys i have some very creative tiers that really work on speed strength, strength speed, and lactate training, …now i wil get tons of ?'s about why no speed work and stuff…but like i said i have a short time ot build a base and thats what i am after…you have to crawl before u walk…PLUS THE STRONGMAN-GPP CONDITIONING I DO TRANSLATES TO ON FEIL SPEED AND POWER MORE THAN ANY SPEED WORK I HAVE EVER SEEN…so it truly acts as a dynamic session…hope this helps…bm

I train 3 times a week, alternating upper and lower, works fine