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 %.

1.3K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Fri, 12/16/2011 - 03:26
Shaun

It's important to push yourself. You don't have to work to failure every set but make sure you focus on progression from week to week.

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Posted Tue, 12/13/2011 - 00:58
Kyle

I just started this workout 2 weeks ago and I am now going on vacation for 2 weeks.i know bad timming. There will be no weight equipment were I am at so I cant continue the workout untill I get back. Will pushups, crunche, close grip pushups, pullups.....maintain me well enough for 2 weeks so when I get back I wont have a hard time going right back into my lifting? If not what do u reccomend I do. Thanks

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Posted Tue, 12/13/2011 - 09:01
Shaun

If you don't go away that often with no access to weights then I would say just enjoy your holiday and don't worry about the weights. If it is a common thing then yes do what you can with body weight exercises while you are away.

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Posted Sun, 12/11/2011 - 15:53
Matt

Is it ok if I move the legs and shoulders to Friday and the back and triceps to the wednesday? I play football (soccer) on wednesdays and don't want to do a leg workout before that.

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Posted Tue, 12/13/2011 - 03:58
Shaun

Hi, it's not ideal as I have designed the split to give maximum rest to the muscles before they are next worked. You should be ok playing football on leg day, any soreness usually come in over the next 2 days. I play football on my leg day.

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Posted Thu, 12/15/2011 - 03:28
Shaun

Yep, Good luck hope you enjoy the routine!

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Posted Tue, 12/13/2011 - 18:21
Matt

Thanks for the reply. I'll give it a go and see how my legs are on the wednesdays. If it doesn't work then I could always do my workouts on tuesdays, thursdays and saturdays instead.

Cheers

Matt

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Posted Thu, 12/08/2011 - 02:30
Danny

Is it fine if I replaced the Smith Machine Press with Regular Incline Barbell Press? How many days of the week/how many workouts/when should I work on abs? Also, would be be a good idea to run 2-3 miles all at once on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays?

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Posted Tue, 12/13/2011 - 03:57
Shaun

Yes. I would work abs twice per week after your work outs.

You can do as much cardio as you like, you just need to realise how it will affect your goals. If you want to bulk up and you're doing cardio, this will burn calories and you will need to eat more to compensate. If you're looking to cut then a bit of cardio might help.

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Posted Tue, 12/13/2011 - 16:02
Danny

I have a belly and potentially a decent % of body fat, but I am a bit taller than 5'6" and about I fluctuate between 140-142 lbs. Would it be a good idea to bulk up to the size I want, then spend time getting cut and lowering the % of body fat?

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Posted Thu, 12/15/2011 - 03:27
Shaun

It's personal preference, I would prefer to get the body fat % down first then use a 'clean' bulk where you try to add muscle with as little fat as possible.

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Posted Tue, 12/06/2011 - 15:44
David

Started this program last night I left the Concentration Curls till last and could barely lift the 15lb... Great program - Im sore today, Thanks

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Posted Wed, 12/07/2011 - 11:16
Shaun

Glad you like it!

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Posted Sun, 12/04/2011 - 04:46
Cory

How do you recommend splitting up the workout in day 1, 2, and 3. meaning do you do all the chest exercises one after the other, then move on to biceps and do those all together, or do you alternate between the two? plus, I am not going to do legs (i get my leg workout done elsewhere). what do you recommend i do to fill the leg portion of the workout? Thanks for the help!

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Posted Tue, 12/06/2011 - 03:52
Shaun

You do the workout exactly as it is laid out, all the sets on the first exercise listed then move onto the second and so on.

Don't tell me you do a lot of running or cycling and that works your legs, because it's not the same as lifting weight! It's completely different when you are lifting heavy weights and over loading the muscle... work legs in the gym.

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Posted Tue, 12/06/2011 - 18:29
Cory

okay, fair enough. thanks!

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Posted Tue, 11/29/2011 - 14:11
matt

Would doing back and triceps on wednesday instead of legs and shoulders make much difference?and putting sho's and legs on fri?

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Posted Wed, 11/30/2011 - 03:32
Shaun

It's not ideal because you don't want to be hitting biceps as a secondary muscle on Back 2 days after training Biceps on Monday. Same with hitting Shoulders 2 days after working Triceps, Triceps will be used as a secondary muscle in shoulder press movements and they might still be sore and recovering from Weds.

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Posted Mon, 11/21/2011 - 22:11
domenic DiCato

Would the incline bench be better than the smith machine?

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Posted Tue, 11/22/2011 - 09:31
Shaun

You can do BB Press if you like, the range of movement is not limited and this will work your stabilizer muscles.

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Posted Sun, 11/20/2011 - 20:49
Michael

what ab workouts should i do with this?

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Posted Mon, 11/21/2011 - 09:13
Shaun

You can do your own ab work outs, maybe after the weights twice per week.

Do some leg raise exercises to hit the lower abs and then just some standard crunches & weighted ab exercises.

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Posted Fri, 11/18/2011 - 19:12
Tristan

is 3 days a week enough?

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Posted Mon, 11/21/2011 - 09:29
Shaun

I would recommend a 3 or 4 day split, which ever you prefer.

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Posted Thu, 11/17/2011 - 14:46
Phil

Such a great split! Perfect blend of recovery time and lift days for my personal threshold. My only question is regarding the reps.

I have been doing one week of 3x8 for each lift, then 3x12 the next week, and 4x6 the next week. This seems to help me keep from plateauing. Why did you choose the sets and reps that are listed above?

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Posted Fri, 11/18/2011 - 10:36
Shaun

It's harder to monitor your progress when you change the rep range every week. The aim with keeping the same rep range is to make sure you progress every week, be it one extra rep or lifting a heavier weight.

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Posted Wed, 11/16/2011 - 15:24
Charlie

Thanks Steve this workout really works for those who are in doubt try it .

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Posted Tue, 11/15/2011 - 20:35
charlie

steve after every set am i suppose to go up on the weight , if im able to do the amount every set?

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Posted Wed, 11/16/2011 - 11:01
Shaun

You should select a weight and use this weight for all sets or the exercise. If you hit the reps for all sets then next week use a heavier weight.

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Posted Tue, 11/15/2011 - 07:34
Peter

This is such a GREAT workout, just wanted to say cheers Shaun for the contribution and for spending so much time replying to everyone's questions.

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Posted Tue, 11/15/2011 - 09:22
Shaun

Glad that you like the work out Peter thanks for the feedback

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Posted Mon, 11/14/2011 - 17:17
Joshua

Hey, for the chest day instead of using the pec dec would subbing it out for some dumbbell fly's be okay?

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Posted Tue, 11/15/2011 - 09:18
Shaun

Hi, Yes DB flyes would be a good substitute

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Posted Sun, 11/13/2011 - 15:48
RhiNOx

Great workout plan I have gained 10 lbs in 12 weeks on this routine and lost 3 inches on my waiste

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Posted Fri, 11/11/2011 - 12:01
Raff

after doing this routine for 12 weeks , what do you suggest i should do to grow even more?

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Posted Mon, 11/14/2011 - 03:41
Shaun

There are plenty of great routines on the site, pick one that fits you schedule!

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Posted Fri, 11/11/2011 - 05:52
thenewguy24

Hey, I just have a few questions and wondering if you can adjust this workout for me.. to fit the restrictions i have at my "gym" ... im in afghanistan and where im at.. half the time im restricted to ONLY barbell, dumbbell and flat/incline bench.. so i dont have ropes or fancy machines :\

also, i dont need a day for legs.. im constantly walking around with a alot of extra weight on me walking/running around and up/down hills lol.. thanks in advance

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Posted Mon, 11/14/2011 - 03:49
Shaun

I have modified some of the exercises for you below. Everyone needs a leg day, walking around with weight on your back is not the same as performing squats.

Day 1 - Chest & Biceps
Chest
Exercise
Incline DB Press
Flat Bench Barbell Press
Chest Dips
DB Flyes

Biceps

EZ Bar Curls
Concentration Curls
Reverse Barbell Curls
Workout Notes:
Use 3-1-3 timing on Incline Smith Machine Press

Tuesday - Rest Day

Day 2 - Legs & Shoulders
Legs

Squat
Leg Press or BB lunges if you don't have leg press
Stiff Leg Deadlifts
Seated Calf Raise
Standing Calf Raise

Shoulders

Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise
Bent Over Reverse Flyes
Dumbbell Shrugs
Workout 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 & Triceps
Back
Exercise
Wide Grip Pullups
Lat Pull Downs
One Arm Dumbbell Row
T-Bar Rows

Triceps

Close Grip Bench Press
Lying Tricep Extension
Kick backs
Workout Notes:
3-1-3 rep timing on Lat pulldown machine

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Posted Thu, 11/10/2011 - 14:33
stuart

Steve/Shaun

Is it possible to increase the volume for certain body parts and reduce for others to get the physique you want. For example, I am not after a typical bodybuilder type physique but more like a fitness model physique. So to do that you would need to concentrate more on chest, shoulders, arms and abs and not as much on legs and back. I have been doing this type of split having read a lot of articles on here

Mon: Chest 12 sets
Back 6 sets

Tues; Cardio

Wed: Shoulders 12 sets
Legs 8 sets

Thurs: Off

Fri: Arms (8 tri, 8 bis)
Chest 6 sets

Weekend off then start again Monday

The reason I do chest on Monday and Friday is because chest recovers by Friday and starts to de-train (muscle involution).

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Posted Fri, 11/11/2011 - 03:11
Shaun

Hi

I cannot understand why someone would want to develop certain body parts more than others. You say that your chest recovers by Friday but what about after training it on Monday, is the 2 days before Monday enough for it to recover again? I would only look into training body parts more than once per week if you are an advanced lifter (with a split routine).

Rest and diet is just as important as lifting the weights - if not more so. Don't worry about trying to over work certain muscles to make them grow. Hit all muscle groups once per week with high intensity and this will bring results.

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Posted Wed, 11/09/2011 - 18:35
Alan

Is it okay to start this after p90x?

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Posted Thu, 11/10/2011 - 09:43
Shaun

Yes. Take up to a week off first to rest if you feel that you need it..

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Posted Tue, 11/08/2011 - 15:02
stuart

Steve/Shaun

What are your opinions on doing some complexes/circuit weight training on your off days instead of cardio. I mesn using weights that shouldnt impair your recoveribility. I hate cardio but need to keep the fat off

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Posted Wed, 11/09/2011 - 03:11
Shaun

Personally I would prefer to stay off any form of weights on the off days. 20 minutes on the cross trainer isn't so bad!

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Posted Wed, 11/02/2011 - 20:11
Sameemo

I have been following this for 3-4 weeks. The good news is my overall shape is getting better . I have lost a couple of kilos as well. But still no muscle mass added on me . Do I need to take supplements?

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Posted Thu, 11/03/2011 - 05:43
Shaun

If your goal is to build muscle and you have lost 2 kilos then you're not eating enough. Adding muscle will also mean adding weight, so if you're losing weight, whilst you may see some small muscle gains, it will be no where near what you could achieve if you were eating enough. Supplements are to 'supplement' your diet, if you can't get all the calories you need from proper food then you should think about using supplements such as a weight gainer.

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Posted Wed, 11/02/2011 - 14:08
Daniel Goulding

im startin weight training next week, is there any tips you could give me so i get what i want , which is to build muscle ,and strength , but i dnt want to overdo myself , just need the basics to start of with but wanna get some serious muscle, :)

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Posted Thu, 11/03/2011 - 05:40
Shaun

My advice would be to make sure that you combine a good weight training routine with a good diet.

In terms of training don't over do it on the sets and time in the gym, instead train with intensity. You should see good results if you are new to lifting.

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Posted Mon, 10/31/2011 - 13:49
Jay

Steve,

this workout looks great, has gotten alot of good reviews, so im hoping it will work for me. im 35, been lifting for many years, but military deployments always derailed my intentions of getting serious. but now i have a day job, which keeps me at a desk for 10 hours, 4 days a week. im currently training for a Tuff Mudder in a month, but want to start deploying this training asap. my question is, and if this has been asnwered sorry for the repeat, iv always been told that competing push vs pull in the same day, draws the blood away from the major muscle groups as it tries to repair the damage, so ive always trained chest/tris, back/bi's type workouts. any reason you are making the push for competing movements? im excited to start somethign new though. thanks alot

jay

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Posted Tue, 11/01/2011 - 14:38
Shaun

Hi Jay

The reason for training back with triceps and chest with biceps would be that you should be able to lift more on the arms and therefore put a greater load on the muscles. Some people prefer training this way and some would prefer to pre exhaust the arms by working back with biceps then just smash the biceps with a couple sets at the end of the work out. See which method you prefer and select a routine accordingly!