A Classic 3 Day Bodybuilding Split

The 3 day bodybuilding split is a popular form of workout routine, commonly used by weightlifters who want to gain strength and put muscle on their frame. It is a low volume split so it should work well for the genetically typical trainee and the trainees with slower recovery. The 3 day bodybuilding split can be used occasionally for periods of 6-8 weeks, before deloading.

With this workout routine, each main muscle group is directly worked once a week. Each work day is followed by a rest day so your muscles can recover.

The routine revolves around the main compound lifts which are proven to be much more effective than isolation exercises in adding muscle mass. The low volume and the lower number of exercises enables you to lift with much greater intensity, without the fear of overtraining.

Intensity and progressive overload are two of the main factors in increasing muscle mass.

3 day bodybuilding split

Below you can find the workout routine:

Day One (Back and Biceps)

Deadlifts (3 x 6-8 reps) / Bent over barbell rows (3 x 6-8 reps) *
Wide grip pull ups / chin ups (3 sets to failure) *
Bicep curls (3 x 10 reps)

Day Two (Chest and Triceps)

Flat bench press (3 x 6-8 reps) / Incline bench press (3 x 6-8 reps) *
Dips (3 x 10 reps)
Close grip bench press / triceps push downs (3 x 12 reps) *

Day Three (Legs and Shoulders)

Squats (3 x 8 reps)
Leg press 1 x 20 reps
leg curls (3 x 8 reps) / Straight legged deadlifts (3 x 8 reps) *
Calf raises (3 x 12-15 reps)
Upright barbell rows (3 x 12 reps) / side raises (3 x 12 reps) *

* You should switch exercises every other week.


Nutrition is one of the most important factors for muscle growth. You can follow whatever routine you like, but without a proper diet there is no way to build muscle mass.

If you want to build muscle you need to follow a high calorie diet plan. The number of calories you consume during the day should be higher than the calories you burn, in order to create a caloric surplus. Also, a very important thing is to consume calories from clean macronutrient sources and ditch the junk food.

Follow a high protein and moderate carbohydrate diet. During the muscle building period try consuming about 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.

The routine doesn’t look too fancy or spectacular, but give it a run for 8 weeks and I’m sure you’ll be surprised with the results. Start with lower weights and strict form and try to add pounds to the bar every week or every two weeks.

Remember, progressive overload is one of the main factors contributing to muscle growth. It’s not important how much you can lift when you start…what is important is how much did the weight on the bar increase over time. Small increments every week or every other week will be quite an increase of weight at the end of the 8 week period.