This home version of our HIT3 training program will give you the muscle-building challenge you crave all while using the equipment you have in your home gym.
Workout Summary
  • Main Goal
    Build Muscle
  • Workout Type
  • Training Level
  • Program Duration8 weeks
  • Days Per Week
  • Time Per Workout60-75 minutes
  • Equipment Required
    Bands, Barbell, Bodyweight, Dumbbells
  • Target Gender Male & Female
  • Recommended Supps
  • Workout PDF Download Workout

Workout Description

Whether it’s by choice or by factors outside of their control, some fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders have started training at home. Because of this, it could be considered more challenging to get a quality workout in. Some of the popular programs out there aren’t designed for home gym warriors.

Fortunately, there is at least one program that takes this into consideration. Last month, M&S shared a training program called HIT3, which was created by former bodybuilder John Robert Cardillo. The high-intensity principles of that program, combined with the minimal rest periods, provide a challenge that many programs don’t.

Recommended: Need help building muscle? Take our Free Muscle Building Course

For those of you that can’t make it to the gym to try Cardillo’s HIT3 for yourself, don’t lose hope. You too can feel the benefits (and pain) of this program. This is the home gym version. These exercises can all be performed with basic equipment in a home gym setting.

As a matter of fact, folks training in their own weight rooms could actually have an advantage over gym people. People training in gyms could be at the mercy of others using the desired equipment. People training at home have 100% control of their equipment. That means no waiting, no making quick changes, and you can plan the workout without any other outside factors.

About HIT3

If you didn’t see the gym version of this program, you can check it out here. Cardillo’s philosophy is that you should reach failure three times in one set. The first is positive failure, which means you can’t perform another rep with proper form. The second is negative failure. So you wouldn’t be able to control the lowering of the weight. The final phase is known as static failure. With assistance, you return the weight to the contracted position and hold it as long as you can. You get one working set per exercise, and the only rest you get is when you change from one movement immediately to the next, and one minute of rest in between muscle groups.

The workouts are broken down into three days over the course of a week. At least one day off in between workouts is recommended by Cardillo so you have enough time to rest and recover.

Home Gym Compromise

If you’re able to train at home with a partner, then you should try to follow those guidelines as best as you can. However, many people train alone in their weight rooms. If this applies to you, then your goal should be to reach positive failure only. Don’t cheat the reps for the purpose of doing negatives. It won’t be as beneficial and could actually increase the risk of injury.

Here’s an extra tip for those of you that can control the settings that you train in. Set everything up before you start the workout. That way, the transitions from one exercise to the next are absolutely minimal. Remember, unlike the gym people, you have the freedom to use whatever you want since you own it.

Use whatever weights or equipment you have access to, and make the sets as challenging as possible. Positive failure within the specified rep range should be the goal. If you don’t have the equipment for these exercises, throw in the substitutions that you can do and that you feel would be best.

Also, if you have more equipment than what is available here, and you feel that you could make this workout more challenging, then by all means please do.

Workout Schedule

A minimum of one day off after this workout is recommended, and two may be better. During that time, focus on eating quality food and getting plenty of rest. A sample schedule of this workout is:

  • Monday - Workout 1: Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps
  • Tuesday - Rest
  • Wednesday - Workout 2: Lower Back, Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads, Calves
  • Thursday - Rest
  • Friday - Rest
  • Saturday - Workout 3: Upper Back, Rear Delts, Traps, Biceps, Forearms, Abs
  • Sunday - Rest

Related: Rest Day Strategies: Active Recovery vs. Passive Recovery

Workout 1: Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps Workout

Like the gym version of this program, the workouts will begin with isolation movements to pre-exhaust the primary muscle group before multi-joint, compound movements are added to the equation. Focus on proper form with each rep and focus on the working muscle as much as possible. That mind-muscle connection is vital.

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Decline Dumbbell Fly 1 8-12 None
Incline Dumbbell Fly 1 8-12 None
Flat Bench Dumbbell Fly 1 8-12 None
Barbell Bench Press 1 8-12 None
Feet-Elevated Push Ups 1 8-12 1-2 min
Single Dumbbell Front Raise 1 8-12 None
Barbell Close Grip Upright Row 1 8-12 None
Arnold Press 1 8-12 None
Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise 1 8-12 None
Standing Band Lateral Raise 1 8-12 1-2 min
Skull Crushers 1 8-12 None
Dumbbell Kickbacks 1 8-12 None
Seated Two-Arm Overhead Extension 1 8-12 None
Dips 1 8-12 -

Workout 2: Lower Back, Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads, Calves

These are a lot of exercises but remember you’re only doing one set of each. Since you only have one shot at them, make them meaningful and beneficial. Cardillo’s sequence here is designed with the intention of working the posterior chain as effectively as possible. That means starting at the top with the lower back and working down. He also placed hamstrings before quadriceps so the back of the thighs can grow in proportion with the front. Too many trainees place too much emphasis on the quads and throw in leg curls at the end. This prevents that.

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Good Morning 1 8-12 None
Stiff Leg Deadlift 1 8-12 1 min
Barbell Hip Thrust 1 8-12 None
X-Band Walk 1 8-12 1 min
Exercise Ball Leg Curl 1 8-12 None
Dumbbell Hamstring Curl 1 8-12 None
Dumbbell Walking Lunge 1 8-12 1 min
Dumbbell Leg Extension 1 8-12 None
Barbell Squat 1 8-12 None
Zercher Squat (Sumo Stance) 1 8-12 1 min
Seated Barbell Calf Raise 1 8-12 None
Standing Calf Raise 1 8-12 -

Workout 3: Upper Back, Rear Delts, Traps, Biceps, Forearms, Abs

This day will focus heavily on the pulling muscle groups as well as the forearms. If you don’t have a pullup bar, get bands and perform pulldowns. If you do have a pullup bar but are unable to perform full reps with your bodyweight, connect the bands to the bar and use them as assistants. If you get stronger at pullups, your back is sure to grow. All of the other exercises here should be executed as they normally would be.

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Wide Grip Pull Up 1 8-12 None
Wide Grip Behind the Neck Pull Up 1 8-12 None
Reverse Grip Pull Up 1 8-12 None
Dumbbell Rows on Bench 1 8-12 None
Reverse Grip Barbell Row 1 8-12 1 min
Bent Over Rear Lateral Raise 1 8-12 None
Band Face Pulls 1 8-12 None
Rear Delt Barbell Row 1 8-12 None
Band Reverse Fly 1 8-12 1 min
Dumbbell High Pull (Seated) 1 8-12 None
Dumbbell High Pull (Standing) 1 8-12 None
Dumbbell Shrug (Seated) 1 8-12 1 min
Barbell Preacher Curl 1 8-12 None
Incline Dumbbell Curl 1 8-12 None
Barbell Curl 1 8-12 1 min
Barbell Wrist Curl 1 8-12 1 min
Barbell Reverse Wrist Curl 1 8-12 None
Barbell Reverse Curl 1 8-12 -

Rest, Recovery, and Nutrition

Once the sessions are over, you’re going to very likely be sore. However, many people will try to push through and train again. Don’t do this. As admirable as it may be to carry on, the rest is actually a part of the muscle-building game here. That time to recover is crucial. Recovery tactics such as stretching and massaging should be used when possible. Getting proper sleep is essential as well.

Finally, focus as hard on what you’re eating as you do on how you’re training. Drink plenty of water every day (most people should focus on having a gallon), and keep that menu high in protein to support those muscle-building efforts. Whichever nutrition program you are following likely has its own guidelines around carbs and fats, but make sure the protein is there. Many people can benefit from having one gram per pound of bodyweight.

Dave Childs
Posted on: Tue, 06/27/2023 - 12:39

There’s no way at all this workout can last 60-75 minutes. I done first day yesterday and I completed the actual workout in 16 minutes, and that was going as slow as I could (3 second rule) and to failure on majority of moves. Basically 1 minute per exercise plus 2 minutes rest. I actually done the circuit twice then I took me 34 mins plus 10 min warm up and 5min stretch after. Can you give me any tips to get more out of it rather than having to do 2 circuits?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 06/28/2023 - 07:52

Hey Dave, I didn't put in the 60-75 minute time part at the top of the article. This is a 20-30 minute workout. Are you going to true failure on all sets?

Posted on: Mon, 04/03/2023 - 09:17

Is this workout safe for me if I have a pectus excavatum?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 04/18/2023 - 13:00

That is up to your doctor, Rick. Show your physician this program and let that person make the decision.

Posted on: Wed, 03/22/2023 - 12:46

Hi Roger,
I just started using this workout and I need to ask you few questions about it. First, is it ok to replace some of the exercises for some similar ones while targeting the same muscles? Second, can I add some extra abb workout, or is it gonna affect my muscle balance? Lastly, can I use supplements like creatine with this workout?
Thank you, Phill.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 03/27/2023 - 20:56

Hey Phill, yes, you can change workouts based on what equipment you have.

You can do extra ab workouts if you want. I like doing vacuums between sets.

Absolutely you can use supplements. Take advantage of the low prices and sales here on M&S!

Posted on: Tue, 08/16/2022 - 23:49

I finish these exercises in 30 min with the suggested breaks. I am taking my time when I do each set, I know that I am not rushing. I know that it says 60 to 75 min per day in the article. Is the suggested time wrong or am I missing something?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 08/18/2022 - 18:55

The 60-75 minutes is counting warming up, stretching, setting machines or weights up if necessary, and cool-down. You're not missing anything, Drag. Hope the workouts are helping you!

Posted on: Thu, 07/28/2022 - 08:58

I have a a question about doing cardio or yoga on rest days. How advisable is running or cycling on those days?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 08/09/2022 - 08:15

You can do it, Kent. As long as you have one complete rest day a week, you're going to be fine.

Posted on: Sat, 05/28/2022 - 06:33

Why is there only 1 rep per exercise? Why a different exercise to target the same muscle group? Im a newbie and this confused me a little bit. Thank you for the help!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 05/28/2022 - 21:14

Hi, Carlo. I believe you mean one set per exercise. The premise is that you're going to do that set to complete and total failure, and immediately start the next one without rest. That kind of effort is going to take a toll on its own. Trying to do more sets for exercises would not only defeat the purpose, it would increase the chances of injury.

Utah MTB
Posted on: Sat, 05/07/2022 - 20:18

Seems like 1 set is not enought but im surprised at how sore I get each after each workout..

Posted on: Wed, 02/16/2022 - 01:10

I love this workout plan and it has definitely reinvigorated my routine as I had hit a bit of a plateau with my results.

I have noticed a difference in the size of my lats and triceps over the last month and also a reduction in abdominal fat. This workout plan does yield great results all you got to do is stick to it and go hard. Trust the process and watch your eating. Slowly but surely with this one and I can say 100% that this works.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 02/18/2022 - 19:41

So glad you loved it, Adrian. Thanks for sharing your feedback.