T Nation

Training Legs and Shoulders 3x Per Week

Hi. I’ve not been able to train legs properly due to a tendon issue for about 4 months (the 3 months before that I hardly trained them either as I was training for a marathon). Now they are feeling better I wanted to bring them up by focussing on them 3 days a week. Chest/back will get just 1 day as a maintenance and I also wanted to up the shoulder frequency as my shoulders are small to.

Reading some of the programs on T-Nation seems like training a muscle group 3x a week isn’t a problem just need to manage the volume. So what does the following program look like that I made up:

Sunday: Legs and Shoulders
Deadlift 3x4-8
Hack squat 5x8-12
Reverse lunge 3x10-12
Hamstring curls 3x10-15
Face pull 3x8-12
Lat raise 3x10-12
Seated DB press 3x6-10

Tuesday: Chest and back
Flat DB press 5x8-12
Dips 3x8-12
DB row 4x10-12
Lat pulldown 5x10-12
BB curl 3x8-12

Wednesday: Legs and shoulders
Overhead press: 3x5
Lat raise: 3x10
Bent over flyes 3x10
Squat: 3x10
Walking lunge 1x max
Cable pullthrough 3x10-15
Glute thrust 3x10-15
Calf raise 2x10

Friday: Legs and shoulders
Front squat 3x8-12
Overhead press 3x8-12
Glute thrust 3x6-8
Goblet squat 3x15
Face pull: 3x6-10
Calf raise: 2x15
Lat raise: 4x10-15

So it works out to about 37 sets on glutes/hamstrings/quads/calves across the week and 28 sets on shoulders across the week. It doesn’t seem like too much volume I think. Honest opinions are welcome. Thanks

I should also add that the weights I can lift right now aren’t very high (100kg x8 deadlift, 70kg x5 squat) because of the injury so its not like the intensity is really high. So with this approach I guess its high frequency, medium volume and low-ish intensity for legs and shoulders.


I can see how you could’ve got injured in the first place going crazy on legs when you may not have been ready for it.

Make sure you don’t re injure anything or turn short term problems into long term ones. How’d you get injured in the first place? Are you fully ready to get back to it hard or do you think easing back into things would be a good idea?

Everyone is different in how much total volume they can tolerate in a certain time period. Or frequency for that matter. Other factors too like how heavy you go or past injury history or genetics or something. Better to go more conservative at first and not fuck yourself up

Doesn’t look too extreme to me so I’m sure you will be fine. Try it and see how you get on, it’s the only real way you will know.

In terms of bringing the shoulders up I feel you may need to push things much harder than what you currently have written. Shoulders is an area I feel I’ve brought up massively and I have experimented with a lot of things. I will put a few suggestions forward but you have got to find what works for you.

Bring the pain. In orders to bring the medial and rear delts up you are going to have to break through the pain barrier, I’m talking high rep ranges, drop sets, partials and so on.

Form is key, start really light on exercises like side laterals. Make sure the right muscles are working, it’s so easy to use too much weight and therefore not enough of the right muscle, shoot for a ridiculous burn rather than a failure because the weights too heavy. I have been know to use the 2kgs at times in a busy gym, don’t be embarrassed it’s all about feeling those side delts and getting that burn. I have seen a videos of Eddie Hall and pro bodybuilders doing side laterals with 8kg, yet many folk are out there swinging up the 20s! Get the heavy stuff out your system on the pressing.

Band pull apart pretty much every day, do them between sets on your non shoulders days, around 100 reps split up into 5ish sets, great between sets of bench.

Paul Carter 500 rep shoulder routine, most successful specialisation routine I have ever ran.

Good luck.

0 sets to 37 sets in one step seems like a big jump to me. Are you sure you can handle it?


Does not look too bad. 37 sets may be a bit too much, I would personally also add a day of machine exercises to give my body some “rest” i.e leg press, leg curls, leg extensions probably on Wednesday.

I would also remove overhead pressing from Sunday and Wednesday and focus on lateral and rear delts.

Hi guineapig. I appreciate the concern and those are valid points. The tendon injury happened back in May 2018 and I didn’t stop - it wasn’t a big issue until after I ran a half marathon in Oct 2018. That’s when I stopped all training. I’ve had physio, etc. and I’ve spent the last 6 weeks or so building it back up. I’ve been squatting, leg press, deadlift and now I can do those movements full ROM and without any pain.

Before I got the injury I was actually doing 3x fullbody workouts a week and it felt like my most productive training. So within that I did legs 3 times a week but at lower volume as I was also training everything else.

I was initially planning to come back in February with upper/lower so that would be legs twice a week. Maybe that’s more sensible for 4-6 weeks then I could go to 3x legs after that.

Thanks kd

All useful suggestions and noted. I think lighter is the way to go. I sit at a desk all day so face pulls/band pull aparts are part of my daily routine. I’ll look at the Paul Carter routine. I saw the Thib HSS-100 shoulder routine on T Nation which looked good too.

Hey thanks. I have been working legs as part of my physio rehab for the last 6 weeks so its more like 15 sets to 37 sets but I get the point you are making. I’m not planning on jumping the weights up all of a sudden, so the first few weeks will kinda be like doing 37 sets of rehab / physio I suppose

Side and rear delts are the bigger issues for me so maybe I’ll take that on board and just press one day.