3 Day Split Workout For Gaining Muscle Mass

It’s no secret that split workouts are better for building muscle mass than full body workouts.  A 3 day split workout is the most popular workout routines around. And it’s for good reasons, this routine never fails, it will give you a respectable physique that can compete with the best of them.

But it takes much more than just training with a split routine to get the benefits that this type of workout has over other forms of training. But don’t panic, I’ve got you covered there.   I am going to give the perfect 3 day split workout routine for putting on muscle mass quickly.

In order to reap the true rewards from this routine, you need to have the right setup. That means everything from your exercise choices, the pairing of muscle groups, the frequency of your sessions, the intensity of your workouts, your rest periods, all of these things have to be on point in order for you to receive the real results that one expects from such routines.

3 day workout routine result

What is a split workout?

A split workout is a weight training method where you train different muscle groups on different days of the week. Meaning, you don’t train your entire body on any given day, but one or two major muscle groups per day.

The two major aspects of this workout that make it so effective for bodybuilding is that it allows you to spend more time on each muscle group training them with more intensity than a full body would allow you to do. You also have more days to let your muscles heal and grow.

As you should know by now if you’ve already read my 4 day split workout routine article, the two most important aspects of muscle building beside good nutrition is the intensity you train with and how well rested your muscles are after each session.

A 3 day split does this perfectly and it’s extremely easy and convenient to follow. I personally go back and forth between 3 and 4 day split routines. Meaning I will do four-day routine for 90 days and then three-day for the next 90 and back and forth. It’s a great setup.

The reason the 3 day split workout is so popular

The average weight lifter who has a busy life and is still able to maintain a great physique will be, 9 out of 10 times following a 3 day split routines. It’s the perfect balance, not too much not too little. It allows you to live your and respond to life’s other responsibilities without becoming a gym rat.

It’s very convenient to follow, so you won’t miss many workouts (which can be a big issue for muscle growth). But the main reason why this workout is so effective is because it allows you to perfectly pair the six major muscle groups with each other on each workout day.

Another big advantage is that it fits perfectly into the work week. Let’s see an example: you can train chest and triceps on Mondays, back and biceps on Wednesdays and shoulders and legs on Fridays. See how easy it is. You don’t even need to write anything down to remember this routine.

3 day workout 6 pack abs

What are the real benefits of the 3-day split routine?

Convenience should not be the main focus of a great workout. If all that made a workout routine great were its convenience and the ease to fit into one’s schedule,  it wouldn’t be a workout worth wasting time on. Being just easy and convenient rarely brings real results in most aspects of life, and fitness is no different.

But being both effective and convenient is the perfect combination for sustainable fitness success. Trust me the workout routine I’m about to give you is not easy in any way, it will kick your butt and give you great results as a reward. The sessions will be intense for the first few weeks but once you get adjusted and settled, the routine will be easy to maintain while still giving you a great workout. You will always look forward to your sessions.

The true benefits of  training three times a week using a split routine is, as I briefly mentioned above, the attention you’re able to give each muscle group which translates into the ability to train them at a higher intensity than a circuit, full body workout would allow you to.

Resting Done The Right Way

You also give each major muscle group a full week of rest. Your muscles grow when you’re not working out. You do the
controlled damage in the gym and then you allow your muscles to heal at home by feeding them the proper foods and by getting proper rest. So when you only directly train your chest once every seven days, you’re giving them six full days of rest to grow.

Now even when you’re not directly training a specific muscle, it will still get a workout as a secondary muscle when you train other neighboring muscles. So for example when you do shoulders, you end up training your chest a good bit because of its proximity to your chest and the fact that they share many joints and fibers. So you never really rest a muscle fully for week, but that’s good.

Training Intensity and overthinking overtraining

The intensity at which a secondary, stabilizing muscle is trained is perfect for inducing more growth and is not at all detrimental to your resting. You never want to get carried away with rests. If you go to third world countries, you will notice a lot men who are very muscular who have never set foot in the gym. These guys build muscle from having to do manual labor often and by eating natural unprocessed foods.

Albeit not by choice, it’s a good thing to keep in the back of your mind, next time you start counting calories and stressing over your rest days and sleep quality. Just train right, eat right, handle your business and watch things come together. Ok, I’ve gone over a lot of reasons why the split method is superior and the advantages of the 3 day split. Now it’s time to give you what you’re here for.

3 Day Split Workout Routine

Do all sets in the order they are listed. Keep rests to under 2 minutes. Do dynamic stretches before you begin and static stretches at the end. You don’t always have to stretch but it helps to do so. Do a warmup set before each exercise with about 40-60% of your regular set loads. The warmup set doesn’t count, so the 3 sets are regular sets at your regular load.

Mondays: Chest, Triceps, Abs


Bench press: 3 sets of 6-12 reps each

Incline Dumbbell press: 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Machine Flies: 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Chest Dips: 3 sets of 8-16 reps ( feet behind, leaning over)


Tricep extensions : 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Tricep Dips: 3 Sets of 8-12 reps ( feet in front of chest)

Dumbbell overhead tricep extensions: 3 sets of 6-10 reps

Close grip bench press: 2 sets of 8-10 reps. ( elbows point forward, hands about 5 inches apart)


Hanging leg raises: 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Ball Ab Crunches: 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Decline situps: 3 sets of 8-16 reps

Wednesday: Back and Biceps 


Lat Pulldowns: 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Seated Cable Rows: 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Deadlifts: 4 sets of 6-8 reps

Pullups: 4 sets to failure


Dumbbell Hammer Curls: 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Barbell Bicep Curls: 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Close Grip Chinups: 4 sets of 8-10 reps

Friday: shoulders, legs, abs


Lateral Dumbbell Raises: 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Military Press: 3 sets of 6-10 reps

Cable Front raises: 3 sets of 8 – 10 reps

Dumbbell Seated shoulder press: 3 sets of 6-8 reps


Leg curls: 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Leg extension: 3 sets of 8-reps

Squats: 3 sets of 6-10 reps

Calve raises: 4 sets of 8-12 reps


situps: 3 sets of 8-12  (slow and controlled reps)

Ab crunches: 4 sets of 8-12 reps ( slow reps, use weights to make reps more difficult)

Leg raises: 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

This muscle building workout will pack on the mass and it’s easy to follow. Remember to use weights that you can only rep for the stated number of reps. Meaning, don’t use light weights and then just stop once you reach the number of reps, that’d return little results. You need to use weights that are heavy enough for the rep range so that you can’t go beyond.

Practice good breathing method, keep track of time between sets as you can easily lose track and rest for too long, decreasing the effectiveness of the sets. Also time how long your sets take and try to maintain a consistent tempo, slow and controlled but not to slow.

I personally use this workout routine and have prescribed it to many others with great success. Good luck with your fitness goals but you won’t really need if you follow this routine and eat right. It’s a tested and proven routine.

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