Since our first days in the weight room, we’ve no doubt been indoctrinated to train in a method that splits the entire body up into a group of 4 or 5 days. Chest and back are given their own training sessions, as are legs and shoulders. Often, arms will have their own day or they will be split up, biceps falling on back day and triceps being placed with chest. If you look around your gym, there is a good chance you’ll see plenty of people training in exactly this manner. They arrive in the gym, train one body part, and call it a day. It’s a tried and true method for bodybuilding training that has been the norm for a long time.
Then there is another school of thought employed by a very small group in your gym. These lifters know that the 4 or 5 days splits are going to be useful down the road when they have built up a decent level of muscle mass on the body. But they know that in the meantime, they have to build that level of muscle mass up first. They achieve this initial level of muscle mass and strength not through 5-day a week specialized training, but through a 3-day per week method based upon the use of heavy, compound movements that focus more upon major lifts instead of body parts. Here is such a training program for your consideration.
Monday – Squat Day
Begin your day with squats, of course, in the range of 6 to 8 reps for a full 5 sets. Then, move on to some other heavy leg movements including leg press and hack squats. Hamstrings and calves follow, as you would normally do, but the emphasis isn’t a pump, as would normally be the case for bodybuilders. Instead, you train explosively, moving more weight than normal with a bit less form than you would normally use. Train harder and heavier than usual, and then take a full day off to heal.
Wednesday – Bench Day
You’re back in the gym after a day of rest, and you’re going to train just as heavy and explosively. Today you’re going to be all about chest, followed by some triceps and shoulder work. Start with four sets of flat bench pressing in the range of 3 to 8 reps. Move on to incline bench pressing for four sets of 6 to 10 reps. From there, some heavy dumbbell work will finish your chest routine. Move to some seated shoulder dumbbell work, followed by some heavy skull crushers and triceps presses, and your day is complete. The heavier the better – and you should use a spotter whenever possible.
Friday – Deadlift Day
Start with four sets of deadlifts in the 3 to 8 repetition range. Barbell rows will follow, as will a few sets of chins or pulldowns. From there, spend about 20 minutes in the free weight area hitting the biceps with some very heavy barbell and dumbbell curls, toss in some grip work to keep the hands and forearms strong, and call it a day! Remember that this is not a powerlifting routine. It’s for bodybuilders looking to add muscle to their frame by adding some serious strength.