3 Days On, 1 Day Off Powerbuilding Workout
3 Days On, 1 Day Off Powerbuilding Workout
I receive a lot of questions about training frequently. With numerous names in the industry (including me) informing the masses that they really don't need to train more than 3-4 days per week, trainees who DO want to hit the gym more frequently are often left scratching their heads about how to lift.

The other day the following question rolled in on my Massive Iron Q&A from Casey:
Would a 3 day split such as chest tri's, back bi's, shoulders legs (completed twice a week as in ABC rest ABC) be as effective as full body with regards to growth and protein synthesis assuming progressive overload.
Now I should start by saying that just because you don't need to train more than 3-4 days per week doesn't mean you can't. There are times during my life when I hit the gym 5-6 days per week because I want to. Let's face it, we love to lift. If you didn't you wouldn't be here.

Frequent weekly training sessions can be done as a natural. You aren't going to die, explode or lose gains. In fact, I used frequent training during the 3 years leading up to my run at a 2,000 pound raw powerlifting total. The key to training more frequently is daily volume regulation. What do I mean by this?

Look at things in terms of weekly set volume. If you were using a split workout and hitting chest for 15 sets per week, you want to keep about that same weekly set volume for full body workouts or other frequent training approaches like the one in this article.

3 Days On, 1 Day Off Workout

Female PowerbuilderWhen Casey asked his question he was wondering if 3 days on, 1 day off, 3 days on would work. So basically he wanted to lift 6 days a week. While this approach could work, I would rather see him use 3 days on, 1 day off like this:
  • Day 1 - Chest, Triceps and Abs
  • Day 2 - Back and Biceps
  • Day 3 - Legs and Shoulders
  • Day 4 - Off
  • Day 5 - Repeat this cycle
I prefer an extra rest day because it allows your triceps and shoulders (Day 3) to get in a little extra recovery time before hitting chest and triceps again (Day 1). So with that said, here's the workout. I call it a powerbuilding plan simply because it is meant to build as much muscle AND strength as possible.

It features the Rep Goal System. For more information on the Rep Goal System, please check out my book Massive Iron: The Rep Goal System.

You will cycle between two different sets of workouts: Group A and Group B. Perform the Group A workouts then take a day off before jumping to Group B.

Group A Workouts

Day 1
Chest, Triceps and Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Bench Press  4  30
Machine Chest Press  3  30
Lying Tricep Extensions  5  50
Plank  4  60 seconds
Day 2
Back and Biceps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Deadlifts - When you reach this number of singles, add 5 lbs  1  12 Singles in 10 minutes
V-Bar Pull Downs  3  35
Machine Rows  3  35
Face Pulls  3  40
Rope Cable Curls  5  50
Day 3
Legs and Shoulders
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Leg Press  4  50
Leg Curls  4  45
Military Press  4  35
"Massive" Side Laterals  3  35

Group B Workouts

Day 1
Chest, Triceps and Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Dumbbell Bench Press (Flat or Incline)  4  40
Cable Crossovers  3  40
Close Grip Bench Press  5  40
Ab Wheel Rollouts  4  10 Reps/Set
Day 2
Back and Biceps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Barbell Rows  3  25
Pull Ups or Inverted Rows  4  As many As Possible
Power Shrugs  3  30
Dumbbell Curls  5  45
Day 3
Legs and Shoulders
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Squats or Paused Squats  4  30-35
Seated Calf Raise  4  50
Seated Arnold Press  4  40
Power Upright Rows  3  35