T Nation

Success Switching to 3 Days/Wk?


Has anyone had success switching from a 4 day upper/ lower template to a 3 day total body template? I've always lifted at least 4 days per week (used to stupidly be 5 or 6 days a week) and currently do that with hard conditioning on a fifth day.

However, after seeing a few 5/3/1 total body templates I'm curious to give it a try. Has anyone made that switch before and if so what did you experience as far as strength gains and changes in body composition? Did you add more "hard" conditioning due to the less frequent lifting?


You should ask your body that question after a few cycles. No way my success/failure is going to translate to you.

Your success depends on you. Attack the program like you mean it and you will succeed.

I do not add anything for less lifting. I add or take away to follow my goal.


Excellent advice. I'm having success on 4 days/week, but there is always the possibility that I would have greater success on 3. That is why I was asking for the experiences of people who have made such a switch before. But you're right in saying that my own experiences will invariably be different from the experiences of others. I guess I'll just have to experiment with a total body template for a few cycles and see which one I respond better to.


The 1000% Awesome template from Jim's forum has put "noob gain" like gains on my squat and bench over the last few cycles. For instance, I got 12 reps on 5s week bench in my third cycle but got 8 reps my first 5s day. I put 30lbs on my 7RM squat between first 3s week and second 5/3/1 week. Gawddamn.

I've lost fifteen lbs as of last week since June as well, so I'd say I could have had even greater gains on a "bulk". I recommend it 1000% if you have the self control to only lift 3 days a week (mine tend to have a tendency to turn into six day weeks sometimes).

Edit: have done no conditioning due to physically intense work five days a week.

Edit #2: for comparison sake, my squat went down on four days (why I switched), my press rose the fastest with FSL and jokers, while my bench and deadlift made slow gains. My assistance is much better rounded and inclusive on full body as well.


I switched from the standard 4 day a week lifting to the 2 day a week template but use the SVR setup from Beyond 531 several months ago and I love it. I push my assistance work a little harder since I'm only in the gym for those two days. For conditioning I use 2 days for kettlebell work (swings / snatches) and 1 day for sprints (hills, stairs, 50 yd, 100 yd). My kettlebell days also turn into mobility work at the end of the workout.

If I have to miss a workout due to work or family it is a lot easier to make it up during the week. My lifts have improved a lot since making this switch. All of my lifts have gone up by at least 15lbs while dropping about 10lbs of bodyweight from 230 to 220. Try it out for a 6 week cycle and see how you respond.


Here's my answer:

You will get stronger and better ONLY if you put in the time and effort. People nitpick over the days/week or the frequency or whatever keeps the Internet Fire of Fury going this week. They are all idiots.

What matters is the quality of your effort.

I have gotten stronger/better using a variety of different templates due to situations out of my control. People have gotten stronger using Sub Max Training, WSB training, Bulgairan style - it doesn't matter. All have been proven to work by the results. It is a matter of attitude and not accepting defeat - rather accepting the situation "as is" and making it work. As Slayer said, "Adjusting the odds so I win."

The principles of the 3 day/week and 4 day/week are 10000000% the same. So you can get stronger - it depends if you believe you can get stronger.