T Nation

3rd Iteration of 3 Day Split


Hey, new here, been reading the articles for about a year and a half and lifting a little over 3 years. I wouldn't waste your time throwing out an early draft of a plan, I'm pretty proud of this but need external input. A little background: I am currently chasing strength above all, but also need to get lower than my current 20% body fat. This is the most streamlined version, but I still find myself at the gym 2 hours every day.

Is there any way to shorten this routine without sacrificing results? As one last caveat, the 3rd set of every 5 set, main lift is a 1RM the first time they're done in a week (Mon-Wed), whereas it's just 5 even sets the second run through (Thu-Sat).


Get rid of 3 exercises from each day. Really spend some time thinking about keeping the good lifts, and getting rid of the redundant, junk lifts. Really think about your own experience. What are the important moves?

Do you need incline curls, preacher curls, and Zottman curls? Are DECLINE INCLINE extensions as well as dips, rope pushdowns and regular incline tricep extensions necessary?

Once you're doing fewer lifts, you can put more effort into those fewer lifts. That will lead to better results. Doing higher reps, but less sets means more time working and less time resting.

Work in 1 or 2 more "off" days from the gym each week. This way, you'll be fresher for your weigh lifting. You'll be able to work faster, and take shorter breaks between sets if you're more rested.

On those off days, take some long walks and stretch out. This easy conditioning will help with the weight loss, without taking away from your real workouts.

Once you get everything figured out, and are making gains, you can make your conditioning more intense. Kettlebell swings, jump rope, sprints, whatever you like.


A ridiculous amount of volume. I honestly don't believe you'll progress well at all on this plan because you're doing full body training 6 days out of the week and you aren't giving your body proper time to recover.

Edit: I guess technically not everyday is full body but it's still too much.


I'm going to be blunt.

Why have you had such poor strength results over the last 3+ years? You have an 820 powerlifting total. Is it from poor programming or lack of consistency or medical issues... ?

This program looks like a mess. Going for a 1RM on 3 lifts a week, every week, is a terrible terrible idea. The exercise selection looks all over the place.

The only thing I like is the frequency of the lifts, and that you have a heavy & rep day. But you can get this by following 5/3/1 with doing the opposite main lift as accessory.


Upper A:
5/3/1 bench
5x10 shoulder press

Lower A:
5/3/1 squat
5x10 deadlift

Upper B:
5/3/1 shoulder press
5x10 bench

Lower B:
5/3/1 deadlift
5x10 squat

Throw in an exercise or 2 each day, and you'd have something an order of magnitude better than what you posted that won't have you in the gym for 12 hours a week. I highly recommend shelling out the cash for Beyond 5/3/1 if you're going to do it (you can find it free online, but don't be that guy.): http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Simple-Training-Extraordinary-Results/dp/1467580309 or follow a template laid out in an article, otherwise you run the risk of fucking it up.

Or, here ya go: https://www.t-nation.com/training/guaranteed-muscle-mass The "over warmups" can let you get in some heavier work.

If you want to go heavy often, follow someone's conjugate (i.e. westside style) program. Maybe Westside for Skinny Bastards 3?


I agree with these guys.

You might really like Westside for Skinny Bastards. You can plug your favorite lifts into Defranco's template. The variety looks like fun. You get to lift heavy, and do reps. The structure of it will teach you about upper/lower splits.


Great stuff guys, thank you. I looked at the westside program and I'm working on plugging stuff in now. I figured I could knock off an exercise or two on some of these, especially my leg and shoulder day, but three? I'd never thought of that. And yeah, I'm focusing on strength now because I recognize these numbers aren't good for my body weight, as for excuses, I guess I'd have to say I didn't know what I was doing AT ALL the first year, and after that I wasted a lot of time on single muscle days, only hitting muscle groups once a week, and until VERY recently, even doing smarter splits I was still in the 8-12 rep range on everything.


If you're going for strength, cut the number of training days in half. 3 days a week, full-body. Focus on getting in lots of good quality reps (don't grind) in your bread-and-butter lifts. Assistance is to keep you healthy and balanced and to fix weak points. Rotate assistance lifts when they start losing effectiveness. Maxing is needless for most trainees, so stop. Strength programs should have some kind of plan for progression. At your level, planning for progression should be readily apparent in your program. You can spend the other 3 days on active recovery: conditioning, stretching, work on your rotator cuffs, grip training, mobility work, foam rolling, or even just doing fun physical activities.

This would be a good general place to start if you're really into the DIY aspect of programming. If not, WS4SB is a pretty reasonable way to go.