- Main GoalBuild Muscle
- Workout TypeFull Body
- Training LevelIntermediate
- Program Duration8 weeks
- Days Per Week3
- Time Per Workout75-90 minutes
- Equipment RequiredBarbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells
- Target Gender Male & Female
- Recommended Supps
- Workout PDF Download Workout
As Shakespeare so beautifully put it, “to be or not to be, that is the question”.
However, for lifters it looks more like this:
“To train for strength or to train for hypertrophy, that is the question.”
It’s a dilemma we all face too often. But, who’s to say we can’t have it all? When I recently took a second to dissect my workout, I decided going forward I’ll always have a split that has it all and by sharing it, you’ll have it too. The next time you decide you want to build up your strength, without sacrificing your striations, return to this workout. It’s the total package, a 3-day full body workout.
Recommended: Need help building muscle? Take our Free Muscle Building Course
Breaking Down The 3 Day Full Body Workout
The total package workout is a simple concept, really.
You want gains.
You’re told to get muscle gains, you have to train in an 8-12 rep range for muscle hypertrophy.
Related: Fast Mass Program - The 4 Day Superset Split Workout
But you’re also told you need to be functional. You need to be strong. And to accomplish this you have to train in the 1-5 rep range to increase your central nervous systems capabilities to elicit force output, aka strength gains.
Seems like a lot of confusing and conflicting circumstance. However, you can accomplish both.
How? I’m glad you asked.
The Frequency of the Total Package
We’re going to start off by switching from your traditional bodybuilding or strength split to full body workouts three days a week. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “But, Josh! Full-body workouts are so… are so… beginner level!”
Stop right there, my friend. Sure, a lot of coaches and personal trainers put their clients through an initial full-body program to ensure they fix any muscular imbalances a client may have, but there are so many benefits to full-body workouts that we can all benefit from.
Instead of hitting the gym 5 times a week, we narrow it down to just 3 days. You’ll be thanking me when you start seeing gains in your social life to go along with the gains you’ll earn through this workout.
Plus, those three days are packed with two huge components (I’ll get to them shortly) that will leave you jacked! Not only that, the more often you can stimulate the muscle (especially true for natty lifters), recover fully, and repeat that muscle protein synthesis, the more gains you’re going to see!
So, now that you’re sold on working out 3 days a week, let’s move on to the two major components that make this program the total package.
The Strength Component
Each day begins with a 5x5 rep scheme of one of the big three lifts (squat, bench, and deadlift). The 5x5 rep scheme is used in a lot of programs and is seen as one of the key foundations of a strength-based workout.
We’re going to split up each day to be paired with its own big lift. On Mondays, you’re going to come in and hit some squats.
I’m a big fan of squatting on Mondays; usually you tend to be the strongest you’ll be coming off dual rest days from the weekend and you tend to be more energized due to the extra calorie consumption most of us are guilty of on the weekends. Also, the squat racks tend to be free as everyone else is participating in international chest day.
Wednesday is your bench press day. Nothing like getting your #pumpday swole from some heavy bench pressing. It also will give you some extra time to allow your legs to recover from squats before we hit deadlifts on Friday.
The strength portion of the Total Package Workout ends with deadlifts on Friday. Deadlifts, for most, are a lifter’s strongest lift. So, by doing them on Friday you can burn some extra calories before going into the weekend.
The Hypertrophy Component
While we split up the big three lifts, we also hit each muscle group with just the right amount of volume to elicit a hypertrophic response.
This is where the full-body component comes in and also where you’re going to see most of your physical gains. You’ll be doing a 4x10 rep scheme for all of the large muscle groups, with a 3x10 rep scheme hitting the smaller groups.
It’s certainly no easy task. You’re going to be dog-tired from performing the strength component of this workout. So, make sure you go lighter on the weight, focus on the range of motion while you’re lifting, and really try to create a pump in each muscle group.
Some people still think there shouldn’t be such a thing as a rest day. I kind of sit on both sides of that fence. I don’t like to lift weights every day, but I like to keep my body in motion.
On your rest days for this program, you’re going to refrain from touching the weights (you’re probably going to be too sore to want to anyway). Instead, go for a very light jog and/or walk. Keep the pace slow and really try to benefit from the active recovery.
Shoot for about 30-45 minutes of low-intensity cardio on your off days and also be sure to hit the foam roller afterward to further promote your recovery.
3 Day Full Body Split FAQs
How long should I take for rest periods in between sets?
You’ll want to be sure to take 2-3 minutes of rest in between your 5x5 sets. For the rest of the hypertrophy workout, try to limit rest to 45-60 seconds. At the end of the day, if you need to take a longer rest, it’s better safe than sorry.
How should I progress the weight used for these workouts?
You can do this in a number of ways and it really depends on your level of fitness. Personally, I like to add 5lbs for each set on the strength component. Each week, I’ll begin my working sets with the second lightest set from the previous week.
However, you can do sets where the weight remains the same throughout and try to increase by 5lbs each week too. This is how I prefer to progress with the hypertrophy sets of this workout.
Can I substitute (body part specific lift) with (lift in the program)?
Absolutely! I wouldn’t swap out any of the main lifts unless you have a legitimate reason to do so, but for the hypertrophy lifts, you can swap out whichever exercise for an exercise targeting the same body part that you want to. You know your body’s weaknesses better than I do, so by all means swap away.
One thing that I’d like to note, no two lifts are the same day each day. If you decide to make alterations, try to make each exercise that you are doing on each day different, and consistently do them week in and week out so you can track improvements.
Related: Muscle & Strength Full Body Workout Routine
Can I add in additional lifts?
I wouldn’t recommend it. This program is pretty serious as is and you’re going to want to limit taking the rep count any higher. If you want to do a lift bad enough, sub it in for one and do it. Your gains will thank you in the long run.
Can I do HIIT Cardio/additional cardio than what is recommended on rest days?
Again, I wouldn’t recommend it. But if you feel like you can and still recover efficiently enough to where it won’t affect your performance doing these lifts, give it a go!
Is this program good for someone looking to lose fat/build muscle?
This program is perfect for both of those scenarios. Your ability to lose fat and build muscle is going to be highly dependent on what you do outside of the gym. You’ve got to make sure your diet is aligned with your goals, you're getting enough sleep each night, and you're doing everything possible to allow your muscles to recover.
The Total Package 3 Day Full Body Workout
|2. Dumbbell Bench||4||10|
|3. Dumbbell Row||4||10|
|4. Seated Dumbbell Press||4||10|
|6. Dumbbell Curl||3||10|
|7. Standing Barbell Tricep Extension||3||10|
|8. Calf Raise||3||12|
|9. Plank||5||20 secs|
|1. Bench Press||5||5|
|2. Machine Pec Deck||3||12|
|3. Leg Extension||4||10|
|4. Leg Curl||4||10|
|6. Seated Lateral Raise||4||10|
|7. Dumbbell Hammer Curls||3||10|
|8. Rope Extension||3||10|
|9. Plank||5||20 secs|
|2. Incline Dumbbell Press||4||10|
|3. Lateral Raise||4||10|
|5. Leg Press||4||10|
|6. EZ Bar Curl||3||10|
|8. Dumbbell Shrugs||3||12|
|9. Plank||5||20 secs|
The Total Package Workout is the perfect workout if you’re looking to get the most out of your workouts without spending every day in the gym.
It targets both strength and hypertrophy by utilizing a 5x5 rep scheme followed by a full body routine three days a week. It also allows you to work on your cardiovascular health during your low-intensity recovery days.
While I certainly didn’t come up with these principles, I like putting them together. Strength, size, and health, what more could you ask for?
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below!
Any way to trim this down to just as intense be to be done in 30 - 45 min?
Hey Scott, if that was all the time I had, then I would cut one set out of each exercise and keep the rest to 45 seconds max.
Just started this workout . Dead tired from day 1 . Taking an additional rest day before day two . Is the exhaustion usual ? Also, what's the optimal rest time in between different workouts ? For example - from dumbbell Bench to dumbbell rows . I usually rest 5 mins when switching.
Is there an optimal diet plan guideline you can share ? Calories to aim , main foods to include , do and don't? I'm a vegetarian . Thanks
Are you new to training? If so, then yes, the exhaustion doesn't surprise me. It will decrease as you get more advanced, but the workouts should never be easy.
2-3 minutes is best for switching, but stick to five until you get used to the workouts.
Before I make nutrition suggestions, are you trying to build muscle size?
Then yeah, the volume is too much at first for you, but it will come. Just stick with it and don't go beyond what you're capable of. Slow progress beats none at all.
Everyone wants to build muscle and burn fat at the same time, but it's a very few that can do it. If you need to get leaner, start there. Then, build the size after you reach that first goal.
Okay thanks Roger.
Any specific diet plan I should follow ? Or just eat clean 3 to 4 meals a day ?
For the time being, eat clean 3-4 times a day. Keep it as simple as possible until you start seeing improvements, then you can play with it and make adjustments. If you have any other questions along the way, come on back. We're here for you. Thanks for reading M&S!
I have been training for some time now , but never this full body and this many workout in one session.
I was doing a 4 day split before and a 5 day split years before that , diet, ate clean , lose tone of weight , became skinny fat, and never been able to build Muscle. Just been maintaining since .
I'm trying to pack on muscle , maintain and lose some body fat .
Really like this routine for the range of exercises, however can I turn this into a mainly hypertrophy focussed routine by just switching the 5x5s with 3x8-10, as I don't really have a specific strength goal. Thanks
You sure can, Phil! Let us know how that works if you try it. Your results may help someone else. Thanks for reading M&S!
Hi! This looks great. How can i incorporate RDLs and Hip Thrusts into this plan? I’ve been doing these progressively over the last weeks to target my glutes and seen good results so I’d like to keep them in. I already only work out three times a week. Thanks in advance!
Hi, Belle! I would suggest adding one exercise to Day 1 and the other to Day 3. That should help you get them both in without taking too much time in one session. Fit them in with other lower body exercises on that day. Hope this helps!
Would you recommend adding in some more ab workouts or working abs on an off day if you are looking to lose gut fat? Only been doing this workout for 2 weeks but planks alone didn't feel like enough. Thanks for the advice and workouts!
You can certainly add one or two more on the days you're already training. I suggest leaving the off days alone.
To be clear, though, the exercises are going to help strengthen the abs themselves. They aren't going to help you lose gut fat. The only surefire way to do that is consistent dieting, cardio, and rest along with the weights.
Just finished week 4 of 3 day strength programme & iv lost muscle mass? Any thoughts? Iv upped my weights each week & used progressive overload during sets.
Lots of questions on this for me to answer, Chris. Did you do a lot of cardio? How much were you eating? Did you get solid sleep? How do you know you lost muscle, did you do a body composition test?
Can I substitute Smith Machine Squat for squats and Smith Machine Deadlift or dumbbell deadlift for deadlifts and is one better than the other?
Squats would be better, but you can make that swap if needed. If you need to swap deadlift, go with dumbbells.
Plan looks great sir can’t wait to try this out,
But is there any short cardio plan I can do on rest days roger.
It would be nice of you if you share that to me
Thank you from
If 20 minutes is short enough, here are five of them.
Thanks for reading M&S!
Any suggestions on how to replace machine-excercises with Garagegym alternatives?
You can check out our Exercises section up at the top of the site and plug in any alternative exercise you need to replace the machine movements.
I am starting on your program tonight.
Is there a version of it for a Garage gym
With dumbbells barbells squatrack pullup and Pulldown , Bench and Row.
Ie no machines .-)
You can check out our Exercises section up at the top of the site and plug in any alternative exercise you need to replace the machine movements. There is no specific version like that for this program, but it's a good idea.
For lower body, I'm doing a specific PT program for my knee after tearing my ACL a while ago. Is it okay for me to just do the upper body parts on Monday/Wed/Friday while I do my own stuff for lower body?
As long as your PT is good with it, then I say yes, Charlie. Good luck and thanks for reading M&S!
For lunges, is it 10 reps as in 5 per leg or 10 per leg?
10 per leg
Hey! Im a truck driver, Im cutting pff all junk food from my diet and starting to implement peanut butter sandwiches only for diet. Will this eating option work combined with this workout routine?
Hey Andy, my brother is a truck driver as well. PB sandwiches only won't provide enough nutrients. Give this a go. It should be relatively simple to follow if you have water and protein powder with you.
Meal 1 - Protein Shake, Banana, and PB sandwich.
Meal 2 - Protein Bar with Nuts
Meal 3 - Lunch wherever you would stop but go for a healthy meat with a salad if possible
Meal 4 - Protein Shake, PB sandwich
Meal 5 - Dinner wherever you can get it.
Meal 6 - Protein Bar
I have been doing this program for about 7 weeks. Love the workouts. I noticed how I’m feeling stronger. However I’m not seeing much of a change in my body. I’m eating at caloric deficit, having a lot of protein in my diet and drinking a gallon of water a day. Should i be doing something else? Or just keep working and the results will eventually show? Any tips/advice would be great. Thank you!
How are you tracking the changes? Did you do photos or measurements, or are you only going by the scale?
Give yourself grace and time. Make sure every workout counts for something and you support that recovery with quality food. Here to support you along the way.
I’m going off of photos. I’m not looking to lose weight. Just add muscle and get stronger. I realize it’s only been 21 workouts and I should give myself some grace and keep working. Just wanted to see if there was advice you’d give? Appreciate the reply!
Can I substitute Leg press with Squat?
I love the workout. Been doing it for about 7 weeks. Noticed how I’m getting stronger but haven’t noticed a change in physique. I been eating at a caloric deficit and eating a ton of protein. Am I doing something wrong? Or should I just keep working and the results will eventually show?
Any help would be appreciated!
May be time to change it up, Adam. Read this to find a program you can work with.
Just finished doing this routine for 3 months and made excellent gains in the amount I can lift and my overall physique especially my back. I can do 3x5 pull-ups now unassisted
Congratulations! Glad the routine helped you. Thanks for reading M&S!
Can this workout be done more then 8 week I mean long time?and one more thing can I add more exercises like forearms,riversarms,upright row,and finally obliqes and abs wheel
Do it for as long as you're seeing results. Glad you like it.
I wouldn't suggest doing them all in the same workout, but yes, you could add one or two movements of each muscle group throughout the schedule.
Is it optimal_wide to do the pec deck immediately after bench pressing on day 2?
It is. Stretching the pecs out can help break down those muscle fibers even more, and it's an isolation movement, so you can focus on maximal contractions after pumping them full of blood during the presses.
On day 2, is it optimal/wise to do the pec deck immediately after benching?
I play soccer 3 times a week on the days of Mon, Wed, and games on Sat. How would you fit this schedule into it? When is the best day to have a rest day?
Do the workouts on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday with Sundays as a complete off day. That would be how I do it.
Hands down one of the best routines I came accross in my years of training. More recently after brain injury and in rehab stage, I stummbled unto this routine, in just two months I looked and felt better than even top form in the past. Thank you for this
Can I do this exercise 6 days a week
How long you been training, and how active are you outside of training?