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 Fri, 08/27/2010 - 07:10
zac
Hi steve my gym is currently missing the anything to perform dips on, what would be the best alternative for chest dips, cheers.
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 08/27/2010 - 09:34
Steven
Hi Zac, I would add in dumbbell flat bench press.
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Posted Mon, 08/30/2010 - 15:39
jas
what can i do instead of rear delt machine
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 09/01/2010 - 14:46
Steven
Hi Jas, Bent over dumbbell reverse flyes.
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Posted Wed, 09/01/2010 - 14:25
Stefan
Hi Steve, I have two questions that I think you can help with. 1. Thanks for creating and sharing the routine - I am currently using it! I mostly lift in the mornings before work and I trying to create a way to shorten it a bit. I was wondering if I would be able to turn this more into an alternating circuit (i.e. Chest/Bicep Day: Do Incline Smith, then go straight into EZ bar curls, then back to Incline Smith...etc until all exercises and sets are completed)? 2. My other question is about BMR: I have calculated it but I can not shake the feeling that I am off on it. I am 5' 10" and weight 185. I am also carrying some loose fat and skin from 150lbs weight loss. Using this workout combined with playing Beach Volleyball on the weekends do you think I can categorize my Harris Benedict section as: I am lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) I am moderatetely active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) I am very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) The volleyball will not be every weekend, but probably 2 out of the 4 a month and the workout will be 3 time a week every month. Any help would be appreciated Thanks again for your awesome contribution! Best Stefan
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 09/01/2010 - 14:51
Steven
Hi Stefan, Are you able to workout 5 days per week? You could try: Day 1 - Chest Day 2 - Legs Day 3 - Shoulders Day 4 - Back Day 5 - Arms Regarding BMR, I think you would be considered moderately active.
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Posted Thu, 09/02/2010 - 10:00
Stefan
I will definitely put that into consideration. Thanks for the input Steve!
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Posted Thu, 09/02/2010 - 07:11
Barry Robinson
All rep timings are 2-1-2. Without wanting to sound stupid, what does this actualy mean. Barry
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 09/03/2010 - 13:21
Steven
Hi Barry, 2-1-2 means that it should take you 2 seconds to perform the exercise, hold it at contraction for one second, and then take 2 seconds to lower the weight to it's starting position.
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Posted Sat, 09/04/2010 - 07:28
gary
should i add weight each time or just keep the same weight for excample chest press 4 x 10 use the same weight for all the sets?
Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 09/04/2010 - 09:30
Steven
Hi Gary, You will fatigue after the first set, so you may need to drop the weight with each set.
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Posted Sat, 09/04/2010 - 20:41
Chris
Hey steve, i was just wondering what do you guys mean by 2-1-2 and 3-1-3 rep timing? thanks!
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 09/08/2010 - 08:44
Steven
Hi Chris, 2-1-2 means that it would take 2 seconds to perform each rep (or lift the weight), then you would hold the weight at contraction for one second, followed by a 2 second lowering of the weight back to its starting position.
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Posted Sat, 09/04/2010 - 21:02
Chris
Hey steve. I am currently in my 10th week of working out on a 4 day split. If i choose to switch to this 3 day split will i see less gains since i am so used to training 4 days a week. and do you recommend me taking a week off first before doing this since i have worked out 10 straight weeks? thanks for all the help.
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 09/07/2010 - 12:28
Steven
Hi Chris, The effort on each set is generally more important than the split itself. Many guys make better gains training more infrequently. You won't lose muscle going to a 3 day split. I would definitely give it a try.
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Posted Sat, 09/04/2010 - 21:09
Chris
and also should i take my protein when i take a week off from working out? on non workout days i would usually take it first thing in morning and right before i go to bed. Thanks.
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 09/07/2010 - 12:29
Steven
Hi Chris, Protein helps to maximize muscle growth and repair, and helps to maintain existing muscle. Make sure you are eating plenty of protein 365 days a year.
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Posted Sun, 09/05/2010 - 09:01
Jas K
Hi, I've been doing compound exercises for the past couple of months, but not feeling any strain on my muscles the next day. I thought of introducing this routine I had a few questions regarding this - routine, On each set should you be increasing the weight? Would you suggest drop sets on the chest exercises? With one day of chest exercises - is that way too much of a resting period? E.G. I do the day one workout on a Monday - I will not be doing another chest workout until the following Sunday or Monday. Any info would be appreciated.
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 09/07/2010 - 12:32
Steven
Hi Jas, Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight. This maximizes muscle growth. Drop sets are a solid approach, but I wouldn't worry about them until you have built up a good amount of base strength. Pushing for more weight on the bar is the real key to muscle mass. For a chest workout such as this, I wouldn't perform it more than once every 5 days.
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Posted Mon, 09/06/2010 - 19:00
Ronald
With this workout do i increase weight? and also are there alternatives for reverse barbell curls?
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 09/07/2010 - 12:34
Steven
Hi Ronald, For reverse curls you could try hammer curls. Regarding weight increases, using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight. This will maximize muscle growth.
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Posted Tue, 09/07/2010 - 14:40
Ronald
thanks for the fast response. and my last question is there an alternative for concentration curls and for the rear delt machine can i use the machine fly but sit on it backwards? thanks
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 09/08/2010 - 08:42
Steven
Hi Ronald, Reverse pec dec flyes are a solid choice. For concentration curls, I would swap in either standing or seated dumbbell curls.
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Posted Wed, 09/08/2010 - 23:34
Bayron
hey steve! what does drop set mean?
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 09/09/2010 - 13:51
Steven
Hi Bayron, You start with a weight and perform as many reps as possible. Without resting, move to a lighter weight and perform as many reps as possible. Repeat this once again for a third time.
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Posted Sun, 09/12/2010 - 17:15
Bayron
so how many times should i do this? selecting a weight and doing it as many times then lower weight and doing it as many times counts as 1 set?
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Posted Wed, 09/08/2010 - 23:51
cory
i've been running this routine for about 7 weeks now and i dont find it challenging enough anymore, so i started to add a few extra sets and some extra workouts, should i continue with this or maybe start looking at maybe a different routine?>
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 09/09/2010 - 13:55
Steven
Hi Cory, A quick question...are you pushing yourself on every set for more reps and weight? this is the fastest way to challenge yourself and maximize gains on any routine. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight. I had to ask this first before considering different possible routines...
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Posted Thu, 09/09/2010 - 21:48
cory
yea im pushing myself as much as i can, i usually add 10-20lbs to my major weights and at least an extra 5-10 on my minor weights each week, i just find myself adding different exercises because im just not spent.. i know i can do more, im an ironworker by trade so i have a fairly physical job day to day aswell. My legs and back are probably the only days i actually feel the next day. thank you in advance for any help.
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 09/10/2010 - 12:02
Steven
Hi Cory, I might suggest a routine like this: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/power-muscle-burn-5-day-powerbuilding-split.html
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Posted Fri, 09/10/2010 - 14:55
cory
thanks steve that was the one i was thinking i should try.
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Posted Sat, 09/11/2010 - 05:56
Matt
Hi Ste, I'm slightly overweight, weight about 205 pounds and I'm 6'2. I wanted to tone up and build muscle as I'm a bit flabby. I've searched the web over and over and it seems that it's apparently impossible to build muscle while losing fat. However using a diet of 2000-2500 calories a day using your 3 day workout and 3 cardio days 1 interval and 2 30 min runs would it really be impossible to drop at least 20 pounds and get toned at the same time? Or would I need to forget weights training all together focus on cardio for a few weeks then try tone up? I would really appreciate your advice. Thanks
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 09/14/2010 - 09:32
Steven
Hi Matt, It is definitely difficult to do both at the same time. With that said, you can train and eat properly, and end up with some great definition. Daily calories alone don't tell the story. You also need to be taking in a proper amount of protein and healthy fats, generally in frequent meals. Here are a couple articles that will help. Let me know if you have any questions. http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/your-go-to-guide-for-cutting-fat-while-keeping-muscle.html https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-diet.html Weight training is also essential when cutting. If you don't push yourself, you will be encouraging your body to give up hard earned muscle while dieting, and you will generally end up thin, but not more defined.
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Posted Sun, 09/12/2010 - 00:34
Paul
Hi I have been doing this routine for about a month and it has seemed to be working alittle, but i have noticed that by my muscles shrink a little over the weekend because of the long period in between when they are worked out. I have been thinking in trying to do the same routine but just waiting a day in between training and not resting the whole weekend. Do you think this will be more effective?
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 09/13/2010 - 10:10
Steven
Hi Paul, I would only recommend adding training days if you cut the volume on each day. For example...if you are working chest for 10 sets, once a week, I would do something like 5-6 sets twice a week. Can I ask if you are currently focusing on progression on every set, pushing for more reps and weight when possible?
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Posted Sun, 09/12/2010 - 08:31
Daniel S.
Whatup Steve, I've been lifting on and off for like 5 to 6 years, I played high school football and I weigh 195 and im trying to get to 210 or 215 by January so i can walk-on in college and play spring ball. I wanna gain weight and get faster. Is this a good workout and do you have any addition tips for my goals??
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 09/13/2010 - 10:17
Steven
Hi Daniel, You ant to make sure you use a routine that focuses on major lifts - squats, bench press, etc. I would recommend one of the following workouts: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/hardcore-look-at-jim-wendlers-5-3-1-powerlifting-system.html http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/modified-westside-barbell-strength-workout.html http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/steves-density-and-strength-4-day-split.html When training, using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight. As far as eating, your goal is to add at least 5 pounds per month. I would recommend starting at 3500 calories per day, including about 30 to 40 grams of protein every 2.5 to 3 hours. If you have a hard time eating that much, drink whole milk, add 1-2 weight gainer shakes per day, and add calorie dense foods like almonds and natural peanut butter to your diet. Training hard and eating big will help you hit your goals and them some.
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Posted Mon, 09/13/2010 - 21:00
Daniel S.
Steve, Ok thanks... But what assistance work you recommend for me in the wendlers 531 workout. And could i eat one type of food all the time or should i switch it up?
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 09/14/2010 - 09:39
Steven
Hi Daniel, For Wendlers I would probably suggest the "Big But Dumb" approach. Don't eat the same foods. You definitely want to switch up foods, including protein.
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Posted Wed, 09/15/2010 - 00:51
Daniel S.
do you mean boring but big? and thanks again
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 09/15/2010 - 17:05
Steven
Yes, sorry.
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Posted Mon, 09/13/2010 - 15:01
Bayron
hey steve, for the drop set when i start with a weight and perform as many reps possible then lower weight and perform many reps possible does that count as 1 set? and also how many sets do i do of this? thanks!
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 09/14/2010 - 09:36
Steven
Hi Bayron, Each set, even after dropping, is counted as one set. So if you performed the leg press and dropped weight twice, it would be a total of 3 sets performed in a drop set manner. For drop sets, I personally feel two additional drop sets is all you need.
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Posted Tue, 09/14/2010 - 10:18
AJ
I was wondering, could I do this tuesday/wednesday/thursday and then take the rest of the week off? Or should I be doing something else. Feel free to email me. Thank You.
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 09/15/2010 - 16:59
Steven
Hi AJ, You could lift three days in a row, but it would be best if you added in a rest day between sessions if possible.
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Posted Tue, 09/14/2010 - 11:18
Vang
Hey Steve. I have used the program for only about 2 weeks, and it all fells good. But the one thing that bugs me is because of the high 10 reps, my weight has decreased quite a bit, from the time when i did 6 reps, I was up about 190 lbs in bench and now im only pushing 155 lbs and my squat was around 200 lbs and now only 160 lbs. So my question is: Am i losing strength while im doing this program? and why the high reps? And im not quite sure when to add weight as i think that it will take awhile to increase weights when i always have to hit the same 10 reps? hope you understand.
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 09/15/2010 - 17:01
Steven
Hi Vang, Can you tell we what you are eating each day? Hoe many calories and grams of protein do you eat? As far as resistance, using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.
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Posted Tue, 09/14/2010 - 16:24
dan
hi Steve,was just wondering how long it should take to do each workout and how long should i take between sets??i usually wait about 2 mins but if you are still feeling week should you just go for it anyway??
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 09/15/2010 - 17:08
Steven
Hi Dan, I recommend an average of 90 to 120 seconds between most sets. You can go a bit longer for very heavy, taxing sets. On the average, I would say this workout would take about 75 minutes per session.
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Posted Tue, 09/14/2010 - 16:51
dan
hi steve iv a holiday coming up next august,i was wondering if i do this workout would i develope a good chest id want to put on at least 3inches iv a big chest alread but just want bigger!!also i was told that i should pack on muscle mass and then cut 4 months before my holiday to really show all that muscle.any suggestions??want to have great abs to!!..thanks steve

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