Shaun's 3 Day Muscle Building Split Workout

Shaun's 3 day split workout is a solid routine for those who are looking to pack on some pounds! It features a chest & biceps day as well as a legs & shoulders day.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Split
Intermediate
3
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Male & Female

Workout Description

The goal of this workout is to build muscle. All rep timings are 2-1-2 unless stated in the notes and all rest times are 1 min between sets and 2 mins between exercises. As always, perform a warmup by doing 5-10 mins cardio followed by stretching and some warmup sets on the first exercise.

Work the Abs on a Monday and/or Friday if desired.

Daily Workout Schedule:

Day 1 - Chest and Biceps
Chest
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Smith Machine Press 4 10
Flat Bench Barbell Press 4 10
Chest Dips 3 10
Pec Dec 3 12
Biceps
Exercise Sets Reps
EZ Bar Curls 3 8-10
Concentration Curls 3 10
Reverse Barbell Curls 3 12
Workout Notes:
Use 3-1-3 timing on Incline Smith Machine Press

Tuesday - Rest Day

Day 2 - Legs and Shoulders
Legs
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 5 10
Leg Press 4 10-12
Stiff Leg Deadlifts 4 8-10
Seated Calf Raise 3 8-10
Standing Calf Raise 3 12-15
Shoulders
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 4 8-10
Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 10
Rear Delt Machine 3 10
Dumbbell Shrugs 4 10-12
Notes
Try some deep squats with 3-2 rep timing (use lighter weight) for some variation. Use a drop set on the leg press machine to give the quads a shock. If your gym doesn't have a Rear Delt Machine substitute Reverse Dumbbell Flyes. Use 3-1-3 rep timing on the seated lat raises

Thursday - Rest Day

Day 3 - Back and Triceps
Back
Exercise Sets Reps
Wide Grip Pullups 4 8-12
Lat Pull Downs 4 10
One Arm Dumbbell Row 4 10
T-Bar Rows 4 10
Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Lying Tricep Extension 3 10
Rope Pulldowns 3 12
Reverse Single Arm Extension 3 12
Notes
3-1-3 rep timing on Lat pulldown machine

Weekend - Rest

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About The Author
Shaun started training seriously in 2006. Using the knowledge gained from Muscle and Strength, he has packed on the muscle and dropped his body fat %.

1.2K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 05/26/2010 - 19:38
Daniel O
How many weeks is it recommended to do this routine ?? Daniel O.
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 05/27/2010 - 09:44
Steven
I would run it at least 8 to 12 weeks, or as long as you are making consistent gains.
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Posted Thu, 05/27/2010 - 14:57
Daniel O
Thanks Steve!!!
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Posted Fri, 06/18/2010 - 12:29
Daniel O
HI Steve, By any chance do you know about the effectiveness of the products Animal Pak, M Stak, Stak and Stak 2? If so what would be the best combinations. i have tried Animal Pak with M Stak but id like to know your opinion and if there is any difference between the 3 kinds of Stak. Thank you so much.
Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 06/19/2010 - 19:17
Steven
I know that it is recommend you cycle Stak and M-stak. Animal Pak you can use year around. As far as I know, you can use all of these in combination. I am not familiar with Animal Stak 2 though.
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Posted Wed, 09/22/2010 - 11:21
chris
i was just wondering when for example you do chest and biceps is it best to do all your chest excercises thn all your bicep excercise or mix it up
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Posted Wed, 03/02/2011 - 09:47
Bill
what would you change to after this workout?
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Posted Wed, 03/28/2012 - 07:30
Ben
Hey steve your workout is great but if i wanted to put abs into one of the workout days which day would i put it in ???? cheers Ben
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Posted Sat, 09/22/2012 - 10:26
Andre
Steve i have been running this for about a month or so love it! I do miss conventional deadlifts.. What if i switched t bar row with deadlifts and maybe do them after the pull ups? My goals muscle definition low fat good strength.
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Posted Mon, 12/06/2010 - 09:48
mark palk
on this workout routine do u use the same weights or go up the weights set by set??
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Posted Thu, 06/09/2011 - 08:32
Zach H
In order to effectively gain muscle mass, you need to rep to failure. So when is says to continue doing 10 reps and 4 sets, you wanna make sure that each time you hit that 10th rep, your at failure. If that means adding weight, then do it. If it means lowering your weight, then do it. But each time you do a set your muscles will begin to tire, so i think keeping the same weight is what most people will do
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Posted Thu, 08/04/2011 - 17:05
Ryan
I would agree training to failure is a awesome way to gain muscle mass, but its defiantly not the only way. And I personally believe, if you only do training to failure. Your gains will not reach its max potential unless by switching it up. I dont know everything, but my proffesors, and personal trainers passed that on to me, and has been working.. Just passing on good info :)
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Posted Tue, 02/08/2011 - 15:56
shane
cant you do your back,shoulders,biceps,triceps,chest and legs all in the same day
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Posted Tue, 02/15/2011 - 07:51
Nadeem
Hi Shane You will be over loading or stressing your muscles if you work out all in one day. Your muscles need at least 24 to 48 hours rest "remember, muscles dont grow in the gym, they grow when you rest or asleep". Therefore, breaking down your workout allows ample time for each muscle group to rest ! Hope this helps :) "NO PAIN, NO GAIN !"
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Posted Fri, 07/15/2011 - 20:45
Eric D
Hey steve, if there is no TBAR row machine there, what should i do ? :O
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Posted Thu, 05/27/2010 - 09:53
Shawn B
I have been doing this workout for since January and with summer coming I need to cut down to two days in the gym.(Kids, Fishing, and yard work) Any suggestions? I have been getting a consistent gain but have been kind of plateauing.
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 05/27/2010 - 10:00
Steven
Hi Shawn. Here is a good template you could work from: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/2-day-simple-ab-split-by-steve.html
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Posted Mon, 01/21/2013 - 02:38
Irvin
Hi Steve, This is a three day work-out and each muscle group is worked out only once a week. Isn't that a long period of rest for the muscles? I mean, I work out my chest and biceps on Monday and I don't work these two muscle groups until next Monday, isn't that a long time in between??
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Posted Fri, 05/28/2010 - 17:32
Arjun
how much cardio should i do with this workout? and should i do it before or after my weight training session?
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 05/31/2010 - 09:41
Steven
Cardio should be based on your individual goals. There is a heated debate on which is better...morning cardio, or cardio following workouts. I recommend trying both ways to see which you like better.
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Posted Wed, 02/16/2011 - 23:14
jp
Morning cardio's are better, because if you do cardio in the morning before you eat, you're burning your body fat, and if you do it during the day when you've eaten something 1-2 hours ago, you're burning whats in your stomach, that's why so many people who do cardio during the day, don't get the results they want. Morning Cardio, enough said.
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Posted Thu, 02/24/2011 - 17:07
eugenio
Wrong. What you ate isn't readily available as energy [calories] if it was eaten only 1-2 hours ago that it was eaten. Just make sure you get the cardio sometime during the week. I don't do cardio on lift days because I get exhausted the workout or the cardio and it just hinders my performance with whatever i am going to do afterwards, be it cardio or lifting.
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Posted Fri, 01/13/2012 - 00:45
Lewball98
If u do cardio as soon as u wake up without eating ur effectively burning muscle aswell tho because when u have been asleep for say 8 hours your muscles are screaming for protein as u havnt had any for 8 hours so u will be using ur muscles as the main energy source!
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Posted Fri, 05/28/2010 - 23:34
Arindam
Hi Shaun , Thanks for the programme it is working quite good for me in building muscle. I do Cardio on the rest days to lose a bit more of body fat. Is this OK? Please advise.
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Posted Mon, 05/31/2010 - 09:48
Steven
Absolutely!
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Posted Wed, 06/02/2010 - 09:32
Alex
I do the same thing!
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Posted Wed, 06/02/2010 - 08:39
Jesse
Is this a good starter routine for a beginner?
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 06/02/2010 - 11:06
Steven
This is an intermediate routine. here are some quality beginner routines: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/beginner.html
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Posted Wed, 06/02/2010 - 12:47
Eian
I want to bring an Ab workout in this routine. Would you say it is best to do it on the rest days, or is there a better way to fit it into an exercise day?
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 06/02/2010 - 17:07
Steven
I would squeeze in some ab work at the end of one or more workouts.
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Posted Thu, 06/03/2010 - 11:07
Joshua
I suppose this question may be a bit dumb, but I usually like to do 4 day splits. However, I work a lot and this 3-day split seems like a better option for me. Will I see less gains from a 3-day split than from a 4-day split because it's "less" training?
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 06/03/2010 - 18:15
Steven
A 3 day split is actually probably the best option for most looking for size and strength.
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Posted Thu, 06/03/2010 - 22:54
Joshua
Can you explain why that is? I'm very interested.
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 06/04/2010 - 11:23
Steven
The best way to explain it is by looking at how lifters trained prior to steroids. Before steroids, more routines were 3 days per week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Steroids allow trainees to lift longer and more frequently, and from this many elaborate splits evolved. Most naturals really don't need more training. Some will grow better on 4+ days per week, but for the genetically average, 3 days per week allows for proper rest and recovery. As a trainee becomes an intermediate, he/she will know there body well and made adaptations. This might involve 4 or 5 day splits. But it is better to evolve into more complicated routines while learning your body then it is to start out complicated and to try and reverse engineer when gains are non-existent.
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Posted Sat, 09/22/2012 - 07:54
Eric
I lift three days a week, and do 40 minutes of treadmill 4 days a week. While doing treadmill pause it every 5 minutes and bang out some crunches. Sunday off. Also doing all my workouts about 30 minutes after consuming whey mixed with oats for fuel. Works great for me.
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Posted Thu, 06/03/2010 - 18:48
Sam
should i increase weight on each set
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 06/04/2010 - 11:18
Steven
Always push yourself for more reps on every set, and when you hit the top end of the rep range, add weight.
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Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 07:30
vince
is it okay to add one day of just arms?
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 10:18
Steven
I wouldn't recommend that. More weekly volume is not as important as hard effort with the existing number of sets.
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Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 17:52
patrick
i've been searching online a little looking for what "rep timing" is, but i can't seem to find an explanation that makes sense to me. what is "2-1-2"?
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 19:45
Steven
2-1-2 means it should take you 2 seconds to perform the rep, then hold the contraction for one second and lower the weight to the starting position using a 2 second count.
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Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 22:57
patrick
thanks! also, this is the first time i've followed a written work out routine. in the tables it shows the different exercises for particular muscles grouped together. is this the order i should do these exercises in? should i do incline on smith and then flat bench or should i continue to alternate between muscles like i always do by doing incline bench on smith followed by EZ bar curls?
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 06/07/2010 - 07:53
Steven
You're welcome. I would perform the exercises in the order provided. Complete all the sets of one exercise before moving on to the next.
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Posted Mon, 06/07/2010 - 23:21
josh
i was wondering if it is better to work your triceps out on the same day you work your chest or if it is better to work your biceps on the same day because a lot of workouts on here are different and I'm trying to gain size and i read that if u work ur triceps out on the same day as your chest it may affect your chest or tricep workout...thanks any info would be helpful
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 06/08/2010 - 08:52
Steven
Either way is completely acceptable. You have 3 primary pushing days each week...chest, shoulders and triceps. You can work triceps with either shoulders or chest.
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Posted Mon, 01/17/2011 - 19:32
Aaron 477
Hi Steve. This workout sounds good but I have a few questions. I have been training to keep very lean and compact strength to aid my martial arts, but now I am looking to size up for 3 months, then strength train for to 2, and cycle that. So I was wondering if it is best to train my triceps with my chest, shoulders or back, and my biceps with my chest back or shoulders? Thanks.
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Posted Wed, 06/09/2010 - 10:51
tyler
how can you prevent plateauing, would you change the order of the workout days...?
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 06/09/2010 - 14:48
Steven
Everyone hits plateaus. They are part of lifting. If you find that a certain routine has you stuck in a rut, I recommend trying something new.
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Posted Wed, 06/09/2010 - 11:34
Kazakistanian
Hello guys, This program is for training level intermediate. How can I know if I'm in intermediate Level. I've been working out seriously for 2 years, at what Level am I? Please advise. Thanks much, Kazakistanian
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 06/09/2010 - 14:51
Steven
It sounds like you are an intermediate lifter. I wouldn't hesitate to use this routine.

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