Believe it or not, I’ve built my entire physique off a 3 day workout split!
Further, each client I’ve worked with has been on a three day workout routine and their progress exploded because of it. I’ve flirted around with training more often in the past, but this invariably led to stalled strength gains.
Training more frequently requires temperance, you need to be willing to stop a few reps shy of failure, otherwise you will overburden your nervous system. Unfortunately, this style of high frequency training isn’t nearly as effective as a max effort, 3 day workout routine like in the Warrior Shredding Program.
In this article I will explore the interesting phenomenon as to the magic behind a three day workout routine!
But first, I will share a couple case studies…
Tyler Holmes – instagram
Tyler’s a longtime follower of Kinobody, as well as a personal coaching client of mine! In the last year he has switched from lifting weights 4-6 days per week to a 3 day split workout and he has made the best strength gains of his life while maintaining a very low body fat.
I’ve been implementing a mix of heavy reverse pyramid training into his routine combined with high volume rest pause training on his shoulders. Tyler’s shoulders have always been a stubborn muscle group, but the extra volume work on his lateral delts have led to some serious growth.
Scott Bellott – instagram
Since following the plan, which revolves around a 3 day split workout, Scott has dropped 25 lbs of body fat and put on 8 lbs of muscle (from looking at his pictures I speculate quite a bit more muscle than that). This is in just six months and while doing a three day workout split
Not to mention, Scott is 45 years old and has been lifting consistently for the last 30 years.
3 day workout: The Optimal Frequency
Now I’ve been getting an endless supply of questions from people on why I opt for a three day split workout over a higher training frequency protocol.
In fact, just the other day I had a very interesting comment on my blog, which I felt compelled to turn into a full-blown article.
The quick rundown is that this individual who goes by the name John, has switched over to a more minimalist strength training program that has him lifting three days per week on nonconsecutive days.
However, with almost everyone suggesting lifting 5 days per week to maximize muscle growth, John can’t help but wonder if he should go back to a 5 day routine because he doesn’t think he’s working hard enough.
Funny enough, he has been making better progress on three day workout split and feels much less worn out. He then goes on to ask me why so many people advocate and use a 5 day method when it seems just as effective or more effective to give your body the little extra rest that comes form lifting three days a week with an emphasis on just a handful of key movements.
My response: “John, you can’t look to what the masses are doing to determine the most effective approach. You must kill that mindset right now, it won’t get you anywhere in life. You need to put faith in yourself, first and foremost. If you’re making better strength gains and feeling better with a three day routine, then you’d be a fool to let anyone convince otherwise.”
You get out what you put in: True or Not True?
At first glance, it would make sense that training more often would lead to better and faster strength and muscle gains.
Like most things in life, the more you put in, the more you tend to get out.
However, because of the nature of strength training, recovery is a huge part of the equation. You don’t get stronger in the gym, the gym is a major stressor and it’s only until you give your body sufficient rest that it makes positive adaptations towards improved power output and levels of muscle mass.
If you train too often and too long, you’ll be beating your body down and causing more harm than good.
Now you’re probably about to call erroneous, erroneous on all counts! After all, it’s likely that even your 5 day workout routine allows for full muscular recovery between sessions.
So maybe you’re training chest Monday, back Tuesday, legs Wednesday, shoulders Thursday and arms Friday…. Or what have you! Surely each muscle group is fresh for each session.
Unfortunately muscle recovery is only half of the equation. This type of split training program fails to address the inevitable neuromuscular fatigue that heavy lifting triggers.
In fact, after a heavy strength training session, it takes roughly 48 hours to recharge your nervous system.
In case you weren’t aware, your nervous system is the powerhouse that calls your muscle fibers into action. An efficient and high functioning nervous system means a high degree of muscle fiber recruitment and therefore greater strength expression.
Contrarily, a stressed and inefficient nervous system means a low degree of muscle fiber recruitment and poor strength expression.
As you can probably imagine, the more muscle fibers you can trigger, the more weight you can lift and the more muscle growth you can promote. On that account, we want most of our training to take place when we’re as powerful as possible.
Meaning brief, intense workouts with plenty of time for muscular and neural recovery between sessions.
The Magic of Working out 3 Days a Week
When you take at-least a day of rest between strength training sessions and convert to a 3 day workout split, something magical happens…
You hit the gym feeling recharged and powerful! You’re no longer training under sub-optimal conditions with a depleted nervous system.
And because of this, heavy weights begin to move with much less struggle on your part. When before you had to fight to make every personal record, now it just seems effortless.
Even though you’re training with much less volume than before, your lifts are increasing with much more predictability and with these steady strength gains comes hard lasting muscle growth.
You’re not carrying around puffy muscle size from sheer volume of lifting.
Instead, you’re carrying around muscle that was developed to directly improve strength and power. This type of muscle growth gives you the hard, dense look!
It’s also this type of muscle growth that looks great virtually all the time, even if you take a couple weeks off lifting.
More importantly, it’s this style of training that brings with it real world strength and power.
Now the beauty 3 day workout split is that it fits perfectly into a balanced and productive lifestyle. I believe that you should never let fitness take over your life, as to do so would be to defeat the very purpose of training.
Though working out is incredibly fulfilling in its own right, it is still a means to an end and most people lose sight of that.
When you prioritize your training, you free up precious time to dedicate towards other areas of your life, allowing you to become a more well rounded person.
Read books, meditate, socialize, learn new skills and put some work into your style; it will pay off immensely.
How To Use The Three Day Workout Split In The Real World
At the end of the day, you have to make your own decision as to what style of training you will follow.
I’ve worked with countless individuals who switched from training 5-6+ days per week to my approach and they experienced explosive strength and muscle gains.
However, the only surefire way to know if this is the right training style for you is to put it to the test. Try a 3 day split workout for 6 weeks and see how it works for you.
If you’re following one my workout routines this will usually transpire into some of the best strength gains of your entire life.
And on that note, my new fitness program, the Greek God Muscle Building Program is now available!
Here’s a little video I made because I believe in leading by example: