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
6 weeks
3
45 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Male & Female
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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

1.3K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 12/04/2017 - 13:47
Cato Jørgensen

Hi, seems like a great workout - I'm looking for a three day split, since I've packed two much in my own two day split and Im exhausted afterwards . like really nothing else gets done that day.
I have question though. What about abs?
Could I squeeze in another day that just has cardio and abs - or is this good enough as is? I'm usually at the gym three times a week, but hopefully this could motivate me to do one more day.

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Posted Sun, 11/19/2017 - 15:57
Lewis

Is is possible to lose a little weight too with this workout? Or will you only build muscle and gain weight?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 11/20/2017 - 09:06
JoshEngland

Hi Lewis,

Yes, absolutely! Weight loss is mostly determined by whether or not you're able to maintain a calorie deficit over time. in other words, If you burn more calories than you take in, you lose weight!

Find you calorie needs here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator

Then subtract ~250 calories from that number and aim to eat that many calories daily. This should result in weight loss.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 10/31/2017 - 09:52
anup

i go thrice a week and twice each day(morning and evening with a time gap of 7 hrs) for gym. please suggest me a good routine

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Posted Mon, 10/09/2017 - 15:31
Norton

When an exercise states for examlple 5 sets of 10. For each set are you adding weight or is more of a 5x5 thinking of doing one weight for all sets and if completed adding more for the next session?

Thank you!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 10/10/2017 - 09:41
JoshEngland

Hi Norton,

You can do either or. Both work, just depends whichever you feel more comfortable with.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 08/28/2017 - 15:45
Magoo

I suck at wide grip pull-ups, is there a substitute I can do?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 08/29/2017 - 13:52
JoshEngland

Hi Magoo,

Any exercise that targets the lats ought to do the trick. Check out our database of lat exercises below:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/lats

Personally, I'd go with a different pull up variation, however you could certainly sub in an additional lat pulldown variation if you prefer.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 02/19/2017 - 22:23
Jgute

Started out strong but when I see any routine using a smith machine for anything other than shrugs I loose my faith in the routine. I see it all the time, people benching or performing squats on a smith and I shake my head. In my opinion, it should be removed from all gyms. It's a liability. Too many blown out shoulders and hurt backs.

Sorry, I had to vent

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Posted Sun, 01/15/2017 - 14:52
Christan

Hello,
What's the reasoning behind pairing biceps with chest, and triceps with back? Can I switch it to back and bi, and chest and tri, or will that defeat the purpose of this program?

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Posted Fri, 04/28/2017 - 05:46
Arfan

Pairing back with bi's and chest with tri's is ok. A lot of people do this and it's kind of normal.

But what Shaun has done, I think, this is my opinion, is he's separated all the push workouts into 3 different days, with a rest in between. Basically you'll be working kind of working the same muscle group on 2 or 3 days.

For example, if you work chest on day 1, you'll be working a little bit of shoulders and triceps. Day 2 when you work shoulders, you'll work a little on chest and triceps. And with triceps on day 3, you'll work a little chest and shoulders.

Also on day 3 when you work back you'll work a little on the biceps.

Of course this is my guess and I'm not 100% certain if this is the reason he's done this.

Good luck with your workout.

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Posted Thu, 11/17/2016 - 09:23
Lane

I have been doing a similar routine, however have been doing triceps same day as chest and biceps same day as back. Should I switch it up to follow as suggested in your routine?

Also, what are your thoughts on doing three days in a row with one rest day then start the cycle again?

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Posted Tue, 10/25/2016 - 05:02
Steven harvey

Is this program suitable for a calorie deficit

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 10/25/2016 - 10:10
JoshEngland

Steven,

Yes, it is.

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Posted Thu, 10/20/2016 - 01:30
Adam

Hey can I do this workout three days in a row cause sometimes I am having trouble doing a three day workout with following the rest period for a week. I always finish this in two days a week but I could never do three a week due to school so can I do this workout three days straight and rest on later and get back at it again?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 10/20/2016 - 09:11
JoshEngland

Adam,

You could do that if that's the only way your schedule will permit.

However, I'd recommend trying to find other ways to remain active on the days you're not going to the gym. Taking 4 days completely off and returning for 3 days straight of weightlifting workouts will be tough, especially if you lose any sort of motivation during your 4 days of rest.

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Posted Mon, 02/13/2017 - 13:56
Adam Chalhoub

Thanks mean alot. Also can i take three days of rest instead of 4 cause i got really used to the shortcut to size program and it only had three days of rest which kept me going and my rest days are active days. , Is it okay if i take tuesday,thursday, and saturday off and start back training in sunday?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/13/2017 - 14:08
JoshEngland

Hi Adam,

Sure, I don't see why not!

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Posted Sat, 01/21/2017 - 15:11
Adam Chalhoub

Thanks I used this workout for the rest of semester in college and I followed the rest periods. I did the shortcut to size workout got really good results but its my sixth week it will end soon. Should I use this workout again for my next semester or should I find another plan like this? Is there a plan you can recommend like this?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/23/2017 - 14:04
JoshEngland

Hey Adam!

That's awesome man! Glad to hear you were able to see some good results with the program!

Whether you change the program or not is completely up to you. If you're still seeing positive results and enjoying it, I'd recommend not changing a thing. However, if your results have stalled or you no longer find this program enjoyable, it might be time to look for something new.

We have a lot of great workouts on the website that you can browse through. I've provided a link to our database below as well as another popular 3 day a week workout we have on the website.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workout-routines

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/total-package-workout

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 10/12/2016 - 18:38
David

Hi there,

Why does this include squats and then leg press? Is it to target the quads? Could you sub leg press for extension?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 10/13/2016 - 09:03
JoshEngland

Hi David,

Both squats and leg press activate a lot more muscle (quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, core) by performing them, while leg extension is an isolation movement to target strictly your quads.

The more muscle you can activate within an exercise, the greater the chance you can elicit muscle growth.

You could sub in leg extension, however, for optimal results I would not.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 10/13/2016 - 09:31
David

That makes sense, thanks! Do you know why there are 2 instances of calf raises?

Also, do you think it'd be worthwhile to add/swap a lat raise to the back routine?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 10/13/2016 - 09:53
JoshEngland

David,

Seated and standing calf raises target different muscles within the calf. Seated calf raises work more of the soleus muscle while standing targets the gastrocnemious muscle of the calf.

You could add an additional lat raise to your back day, sure. I'd try to keep it paired with my shoulder work though since it is a shoulder exercise.

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Posted Thu, 10/13/2016 - 10:02
David

That makes sense, thanks! And I misspoke earlier, would it make sense to add / swap some upright rows***?
You've got a downward motion with the pulldowns, backwards motion with the row, but no upward motion. Not sure if it matters, though.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 10/13/2016 - 11:03
JoshEngland

The upright row is more of a trap exercise. You could certainly add them into this program, but it's not necessary to do so.

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Posted Sun, 01/17/2016 - 16:21
Adam Vining

This is a great 3 day split. Good work on this.

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Posted Sat, 01/09/2016 - 01:23
Anthony

Is it alright to switch a day around for preference? Or keep biceps with back/triceps with chest? I can't usually get the hang of training back and triceps together.

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Posted Thu, 10/29/2015 - 19:01
Pete mansfield

Hello what are the rep ranges on this for eg. 12.10.8 or 12.10.10 and how many sets on each exercise please plus what does 3.1.3 timing mean ... thanks

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Posted Sun, 11/08/2015 - 21:02
KMichael

Each number of "3.1.3" or "3.2" (or whatever timing) are seconds for each phase of the movement. If there are only two numbers, it means instantly reverse the movement with no pause, like squats -- pick the weight off the rack, lower in "3", then without pausing, drive up in "2", and go again. Traps -- quick lifting in "1", hold and pinch for "3", and controlled lowering in "3" (maybe you'll prefer 3.1.3?). I think it is good to add a "1" in the middle of everything, as this is your reminder to use weights you can handle. An example would be dumbbell lateral fly -- you will benefit more and injure less if you perform a controlled lift, pausing at the top before lowering. You will be forced to use lighter weights, but they will require greater effort as the "moment arm" increases as they move away from your body (think of holding a book -- you could hold it all day hanging at your side, but at arms length, like a lateral fly, not that long). You cannot use momentum to "get it up" if you also have to hold the weight stable at the top. The pause also works on bench press, as long as you are not locked out at the elbows. On a squat, you could put a pause at the top "3.2.1", but again, only if you do not lock out. Keep the muscles under tension throughout the set.

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Posted Wed, 07/01/2015 - 21:36
Louis..

Hey guys. I also care about my traps, out of the 3 days when should I implement them?

MikeWines's picture
Posted Thu, 07/02/2015 - 09:22
MikeWines

Louis,
There are shrugs on day 2.

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Posted Tue, 06/16/2015 - 14:19
phil

hi how can we print this workout please

MikeWines's picture
Posted Wed, 06/17/2015 - 09:12
MikeWines

Phil,
The easiest way is to take a screenshot and then print off the picture. You can also pull up the workout on your mobile device or tablet and then you can take it anywhere with you.

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Posted Wed, 08/05/2015 - 19:48
hey

Easy - ctrl+p
Done

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Posted Tue, 05/26/2015 - 13:34
pete mansfield

NEED SOME HELP HERE PLEASE... i like the look of this because i dont have a great deal of time for the gym due to work and kids but i love working out ... what rep range and sets do you use on this workout program please

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Posted Tue, 06/30/2015 - 06:23
Robin Bulsink

'Swipe table to the left to reveal more data'

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Posted Sat, 04/04/2015 - 21:08
yoga

Halo bro,
can i add Abs intense workout in thursday (rest day) + little cardio in saturday (rest day) ?

wait ur feedback,
Terimakasih (thankyou)

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Posted Tue, 01/27/2015 - 15:51
Triago

This is a solid three day routine. I see a lot of other 3 days that don't have a single bi or tri exercise. I understand they're being worked during other exercises, but if your aim is to look like you work out, you better put some arms in there. I also see a lot of 3 day routines with the only chest exercise as 3 sets of flat bench, nothing else. Hey, i'm not saying spend all your time on the pec dec, but there's no way you're going to get the look you want with 3 sets of bench being your only chest target, especially if you don't have naturally well developed pecs. I think this routine here hits all of the essentials in the correct amounts. Good work brah.

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Posted Fri, 12/12/2014 - 01:54
Jason Salinaz

Could I use this workout 4 days a week allowing for a rotation of every muscle group with a workout partner who can only meet twice a week on fixed days? If no could you point me in the right direction for a good rotating workout that would end up hitting one muscle group twice a week. Thank you

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Posted Mon, 09/22/2014 - 14:22
Danny

Hello Steve, I have just started using your routine and I must say I've never felt so sore before, which is good of course. Anyway, I wanted to ask you, are the exercises listed in an order they should be performed in? I'd guess so but I'm just asking to be sure. Thanks, Danny

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Posted Tue, 01/27/2015 - 16:28
Triago

I'm not Steve, but the answer is yes and no. The exercises are laid out in a specific order for general purposes. But if you notice you need more work on an underdeveloped muscle or muscle group, move that exercise up earlier in the workout while you have more strength. After a few weeks, you can go back to the original order. In bodybuilding, you have to look in the mirror and be honest with yourself. If you see a body part that needs more work, spend more time on it. Just watch Pumping Iron with Arnold Swartz. You'll get it after that. Cheers

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Posted Tue, 09/02/2014 - 12:15
alvin

Hi steve :) so i can do this routine for 3 months? Same reps and sets?ive been lifting for 1 montj do u think thia is for me? I need to get toned for dec.do i need to changes the weights every month? Thank you so much..

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Posted Mon, 08/18/2014 - 05:53
Marius

Hi

Im 30years old 182cm and my weight is 70kg, working nights still smoking :) So i decided to quit and start to put so weight on my. So i took this 3 day program bought creatine, proteine plus amino acid, but i can drink them just after the night shift 1 and a half hours before training and just when i wake up to work in the evening. Is it gonna work or no how would you do?

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Posted Mon, 08/18/2014 - 05:53
Marius

Hi

Im 30years old 182cm and my weight is 70kg, working nights still smoking :) So i decided to quit and start to put so weight on my. So i took this 3 day program bought creatine, proteine plus amino acid, but i can drink them just after the night shift 1 and a half hours before training and just when i wake up to work in the evening. Is it gonna work or no how would you do?

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Posted Wed, 08/06/2014 - 14:34
Mike

Hi Steve. I love this workout. My only issue with it is after doing legs I struggle to be able to focus on another body part that day as squats and dead lifts completely drain me. I know this is a three day but I was wondering if I could split legs and shoulders into two separate days so I can make sure each part is getting proper attention. My legs are my weak point so eventually when they get stronger I'll hopefully be able to do legs/shoulders like the program calls for. Any thoughts on this?

Thank you,
Mike

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Posted Tue, 01/27/2015 - 16:01
Triago

I know what you mean. Here's what I do. I alternate. One week I do legs first, then take it a little easier on the shoulders. The next week I do shoulders first, and take it a little easier on the legs. The Leg and shoulder day is an interesting dilemma though, considering that if there were only 2 body parts you could work on, legs and shoulders would the best ones to choose. Without shoulders, nothing else looks right on the upper body. You could have a great chest or back, but look really bad w/underdeveloped shoulders. However, if you have big bulky shoulders and an under developed chest or back, you still look good with your shirt off. And as far as legs go, chicken legs don't look good on anyone. Cheers.

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Posted Sun, 06/15/2014 - 20:10
kanav

i am using this plan and i am wondering,muscle and pharma combat protein powder after workout it is good for this plan. because i am 5.9 ft and my body weight is 180 pounds..and what other excercise i can perform instead of chest dip ?

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Posted Sun, 06/08/2014 - 11:52
Amit

Hi Steve,
I do three day workout ie
Monday, Thursday - legs n shoulder
Tuesday, Friday - chest n back
Wednesday, Saturday - bicep n triceps.
I have been doing this for many years on and off.
Never felt any under recovery of muscles over the years.
I'm 29 now. I have recently started the workout after a long gap of 3 yrs. Should I continue the same schedule? Now my life is settled and I'm looking for serious muscle gain. Please reply.

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Posted Sat, 05/24/2014 - 04:42
Erik

Why do incline bench on a smith, isn't it just better to do it with BB/DB?