T Nation

Three Lift A Day Workout?


I am about 200 lbs right now at 6'1/2" and I'd guess about 10-12 percent bodyfat. I'm about to start a bulking cycle that I had to put off due to a hand injury. Aside from gaining muscle overall, my secondary goals are to increase shoulder and upper-trap size. Please let me know what you think of the following workout:

Day 1
A) Power Clean
B1) DB Incline Bench
B2) Front Squat

Day 2
A) Push Press
B1) Chins
B2) Dips

Day 3 Off

Day 4
A) Overhead Squat
B1) DB Bench
B2) Row

Day 5
A) Power Snatch (clean grip?)
B1) Pull Up
B2) Leg Exercise(unilateral or machine)

Day 6 Off
Day 7 Off

For the movement plane people it would look like this:

Oly. Pull
Hor. Push

Oly. Push
Vert. Pull
Vert Push

Oly. Push/Overhead
Hor. Push
Hor. Pull

Oly. Pull/Overhead
Vert. Pull

I am still pondering the reps. I would rather have specific ideal reps for each exercise than cycle through a different rep scheme for each day. For example, oly lifts will be more like 6x3 or 12x1. Rows will be something like 5x10-15. Chins may be ladders one day. Can I please have some feedback on the layout (bulking is my ultimate goal right now) and specifically on rep ideas?


I have come up with some set/rep schemes. I'm basically just trying to vary everything for similar movements. I will also use different progressions for similar exercises. Like on day 2 I am going to increase weight each week for chins and on day 5 I will try to increase my total pull-up numbers with bodyweight.

I still need some input (I haven't actually recieved any yet) for rep schemes, especially for the oly lifts. I am using them for hypertrophy because they are fun and because I am limited from doing certain hip extension exercises such as deads.

1. What would the best rep scheme be for clean-grip power snatches? I am primarily concerned with hypertrophy.

  1. What would the best rep scheme be for push presses? Shoulder hypertrophy is focus.

  2. Is this too much?

  3. Does this suck?

Day 1
A) Power Clean 6x3 or 10x1-2
B1) DB Bench 4x6
B2) Front Squat 5ishx3

Day 2
A) Push Press ?x?
B1) Chins 3-4x6-8, weighted
B2) Dips 3x8

Day 3 Off

Day 4
A) Overhead Squat 3x8 or pyramid
B1) Incline DB Bench 3x12-15
B2) Row 5x10-12

Day 5
A) Power Snatch (clean grip?) ?x?
B1) Pull-Up 3 sets for max total reps
B2) Leg Exercise (unilateral or machine) 3x8-12

Day 6 Off
Day 7 Off

Seriously, any input would be good, especially about the (A) exercises.


Honestly? That is one of the best user designed programs I have seen here.

I haven't had too close a look at it but the exercise selection, order and set/rep scheme is spot on.

From here, the only thing I'd be looking at is balance. If you have the same number of pushing Vs pulling movements etc.

If you do (and sorry i didn't check it for ya but I'm a bit tired) then it is a sweet little program you've got there.


Looks good. Why no deads?


I have a hip injury that seems to get agravated from deads, GMs and heavy back squats. Its kind of depressing because deads were my strongest exercise before. I started doing more oly stuff after that happened to replace some of the hip/leg/upper back work. For some reason the oly stuff and front squats don't bother me...yet.


I think the best type of three lift a day program would be one that includes the following:

  1. One general lower body exercise (back squat, front squat, box squat, deadlift, sumo deadlift, etc.)
  2. One upper body push exercise (bench press, incline press, decline press, military press, floor press, board press, push press, etc.)
  3. One upper body pull or whole-body pull exercise (barbell rowing, chin-up, pull-up, power pull, any variation of the Olympic lifts, etc.)

*Taken from CT's Renaissance Body Development article.



That looks very good. For the the oly lifts I would think that something like 8 x 2 or 10 x 2 would work well. You are hitting the more traditional "hypertrophy" range with the other exercises, so if you focus on keeping your clean, snatch and push press explosive, that will help stimulate hypertrophy I think. On your second day, I'd recommend Bulgarian split squats. These have been a staple of my program for the last couple of months and I've definitly noticed some hypertrophy in the quads.

Just my .02, but that definitly looks like you've got things in place there, cycle the reps every few weeks and that program should definitly put some mass, especially on the upper back.


Looks really good Dorso, almost everything seems to be spot on, the only few things I would address if this were my program is I would much rather do front squats before incline DB press, and 5*10-15 reps is a ton for rows... If you are able to do 50-75 reps with one exercise, using enough weight to stimulate growth and not fry your nervous system from the slower reps I would be suprised. While rows are not the same as the olympic lifts you have there, they are using similar muscle groups....traps for instance... just seems like two extremes, explosive, and bodybuilding rep schemes in the same workouts, could be wrong it could work, just my only concern.


Thanks. I will go with 10x2 on the P-Cleans and maybe on the puch presses to. Bulgarian split squats is a good idea. That will be my second direct leg exercise in the week after front squats.


I know what you mean about front squats. I will probably just add weight to the bar after power cleans and go right into them. I will superset or just alternate with the DB bench presses unless I feel like puking, then I'll just wait till after to do the presses.

Thanks. You may be right about the rows. I intentionally put them on a day when I am not doing any oly pulling and my other exercises that day are also in the 8-15 rep range. I would probably do 5x10 or 4x12, not 5x15. Considering this, do you still think it is too much upper back work?

I want to vary the reps as much as possible, especially from whatever I use for clean-grip power snatches the following day.

Does anyone have any ideas on what set/rep scheme would be best for clean-grip power snatches? I am using them as one would use high pulls. I am more concerned with hypertrophy and am alreay doing power cleans for 10x2 eariler in the week.

High reps (15-20) are also a possibility for either the clean-grip snatches or the rows.


Good program. This pain that you speak of in your hip... have you seen a doctor about it? They could possibly give you treatment for it through a physiotherapists(just an idea if nots too serious) and have you deadlifting in no time.


No I haven't. I self treated it from when it was really bad a few months ago (I could feel the pain doing non-weighted GMs, just bending over basically) to about 95%. I haven't done deads, GMs or heavy back squats in a while, but now I can feel a little pain when I shift weight to my left side so I know something is still wrong.

Anyway, I just got I new job and missed the deadline for this year's benifits so I have no medical insurance.

How much do you think a session/screening with a PT would be?


I like it.

But if it were me, id probably add some assistance exercises. Just an idea.

-The Truth


Just an update. This workout kicks ass. I am in the third week and so far I have hit a PR on every exercise, every week. After this week is over I think I might add one assistance exercise on each day.

Day 1
A) Power Clean 10x2
B) Front Squat 5x3
C) DB Bench 4x6
D) Hanging Leg Raise 3xWhatever

Day 2
A) Push Press 6x3
B1) Chins 3x6 (weighted)
B2) Dips 3x8
C) Lat Pull-Down 3x12-15

Day 3 Off

Day 4
A) Overhead Squat 3x8 or pyramid
B1) Incline DB Bench 3x12-15
B2) Row 5x10
C) Lateral Raise 3x8-15

Day 5
A) Clean grip power snatch 3x8
B) Pull-Ups for 30 total reps
C) Bulgarian Split Squats 3x8-12
D) Curls 5x5, 3x8 or 3x15

Day 6 Off
Day 7 Off

Question: Taking into account the other pulling exercises I am doing, what set/rep scheme should I use for curls? I want my biceps to grow but I am more interested in bringing up my chinning #s than curling weight. So like... 5x5, 3x8, or 3x15?

Also what would a good curl variation be? I usually just do standing BB curls with and EZ curl bar if I do them.


Very cool to hear about this... I've been thinking of trying a workout like this sometime after my cutting cycle. Keep posting about your progress.

And get the hip checked out. What about chiropractic or acupuncture? I have a funny hip, and I find chiropractic very helpful.