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3-Day Split Workout For Beginners

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3-Day Split Workout For Beginners

We don't all have enough time to spend all week working out in the gym, but we all want those sculpted abs and bulging biceps! With a 3-day split workout, spend just 3 days a week working out to get the results you're looking for. Because this plan leaves you with more free time to spend doing other things you love to do, this training style could be the one that fits your lifestyle the most!

A 3-day split workout is designed to build muscle by targetting specific muscle groups on each exercise day. Monday, you work the chest, Wednesday you can use a hip circle band to target your legs, and Friday, you hit the arms. Your body has loads of time to recover between workouts, allowing you to come back ready for a more challenging workout the next week.

In this article, we look at the benefits of a 3 day split workout and show you our favorite 3-day split workouts for beginners!

What is a 3-day split workout?

A 3-day split workout is a workout schedule that includes exercising 3 days a week. That means that out of 7 days, 3 days are spent working out, and 4 days are rest days.

Sounds great, right?

3-day splits are targeted towards strength training exercises, with the idea that each day is dedicated to a particular muscle grouping that you want to work out. If you stick to this particular schedule, it will result in 7 full days of rest before working that same muscle grouping again.

For 3 day splits to be effective, create targets and goals to hit, as it's very schedule oriented.

How effective is a 3-day split workout?

A 3-day split workout is a very effective way to manage your week, make the most of your time, and build the body that you want.

A 3-day split workout needs to be targeted and focused, and if you hit each of your 3 workout sessions at high intensity, you have plenty of time to rest and recover. 3-day splits are particularly useful when you're targetting specific muscle groupings, as you're always going to give each group ample time to rebuild after being trained.

A targeted 3-day split workout routine works well for anyone looking to build muscle mass, while also creating a lean, natural look. While working out 7 days a week in the gym will probably give you larger muscles, you're also going to look unnatural. 3-day split workouts, on the other hand, give you a more defined and toned look, as you're not overdoing the muscle building.

3-day workout splits are perfect for beginners looking to get into strength training. With so many rest days, it's more difficult to get injured when you're first starting. Train your body with free weights, resistance bands, or gym machines. It really is up to you.

But they aren't just for beginners, and with so much recovery time, split workouts work well for more advanced strength trainers looking to build muscle and definition, and for anyone with limited time to spare!

Of course, you don't have to religiously stick to just 3 days of working out if you find yourself with more motivation or more spare time to exercise. You can also include flexibility sessions or yoga classes on your 'rest days,' or you can take up cardio pursuits, such as running, swimming, or cycling, to help burn calories and define your muscles.

Here's a quick rundown of the significant benefits of a 3-day split workout routine:

  • Target specific muscle groupings in each workout.
  • Have more spare time outside of your exercise schedule.
  • Build strength and fitness.
  • Allow your muscles proper recovery time after each workout.
  • Vary your workouts using free weights, resistance bands, bodyweight exercises, or weight machines.
  • Create a training schedule that you can easily stick to.
  • Avoid exercise fatigue or training burnout.
  • Stay motivated to hit workout targets and fitness goals.

Beginner 3-day split workout routines.

The idea behind 3-day split workouts is that you target different muscle groupings on each workout day. To do this, you need to have fitness goals. Determine which muscles you want to target and why.

For instance, if you're looking to build your biceps, focus on different muscle groupings in the arms. Workout number one can focus on biceps, workout number two on triceps, and workout number three on your back and core for stability.

Alternatively, if you just want a more muscular body, focus on significant muscle groupings and split a full-body workout over three separate days. The great thing about these routines is the ability to pick and choose your favorite exercises for each muscle grouping to create personalized circuits.

We've put together a few example routines below, aimed at beginners who are just getting into the strength training game. For these 3-day split workouts, you can perform the exercises using free weights, machines, or resistance bands.

If you're just beginning or don't have a gym membership, we recommend performing the exercises using resistance bands. You can better control your movements, avoid any unwanted injuries, and as you gain strength, you can switch lighter bands for higher resistive bands.

Remember to stretch and loosen up before you start any intense strength training exercises. Start your workout with light cardio to get warmed up too.

1. Beginner's full-body workout

The following 3-day workout routines are aimed at beginners looking for a full-body workout. This 3-day split targets different muscle groupings on each workout day to build a healthier body and a more defined shape. This is a great way to get into 3-day splits while building a healthy base level of muscle and fitness that you can expand on after a few weeks of training.

Full-body workouts 3 days a week would keep the following schedule:

Monday: Chest, shoulders, and triceps

Perform 3 sets of each exercise

  • Chest press x 8
  • Incline press x 12
  • Crossovers x 12
  • Overhead press x 12
  • Lat raises x 12
  • Skullcrushers x 12
  • Banded push-ups to failure

Tuesday: Rest day

Wednesday: Back and biceps

Perform 3 sets of each exercise 

  • Seated resistance band row for 30 seconds
  • Lat pulldowns x 12
  • Bent over banded flies x 12
  • Back hyperextension x 12
  • Bicep curls x 12
  • Hammer curls x 12
  • Banded push-ups to failure

Thursday: Rest day

Friday: Legs and core

Perform 3 sets of each exercise 

  • Banded barbell squats x 12
  • Leg press x 12
  • Leg extension x 12
  • Leg curl x 12
  • Standing calf raise x 12
  • Plank hold for 30 seconds
  • Crunches x 20
  • Banded push-ups to failure

Saturday: Rest day

Sunday: Rest day

2. Beginner's push-pull leg workout

The push-pull leg workout is a classic 3-day split exercise schedule that divides your body into three distinctive areas of movement that will then be targeted on each exercise day.

The push element targets the upper body muscles that are required to perform push movements. This includes muscles such as the chest and shoulders. The pull element of this 3-day a week workout targets the upper body muscles required to perform pull movements. This includes biceps and lats. The leg element of the training then targets key leg muscles on the final day of exercise in each week.

Push-pull workouts are an excellent way to gain functional strength for everyday movements and for sports that require both upper and lower body strength.

A push-pull leg routine would keep to the following schedule:

Monday: Push

Perform 3 sets of each exercise 

  • Chest press x 8
  • Shoulder press x 12
  • Incline press x 12
  • Lat raises x 12
  • Tricep extensions x 12
  • Tricep pushdowns x 12
  • Banded push-ups to failure

Tuesday: Rest day

Wednesday: Pull

Perform 3 sets of each exercise

  • Lat pulldowns x 12
  • Bent over row x 12
  • Face pulls x 12
  • Bicep curls x 12
  • Hammer curls x 12
  • Pull-ups to failure

Thursday: Rest day

Friday: Legs

Perform 3 sets of each exercise

  • Banded squats x 12
  • Leg press x 12
  • Leg extensions x 12
  • Leg curls x 12
  • Standing calf raises x 12

Saturday: Rest day

Sunday: Rest day

3. Advanced full-body split workout

An advanced full body workout split gives you a full-body workout split on every training day, rather than split over each workout session. That means for 3 days of the week you'll be working out your entire body rather than focusing on separate muscle groupings.

This style of 3-day split workout is more intense as your body has less time to recover between each session. It's a great way to build muscle and shred fat fast, leading to a more toned and defined body shape.

An advanced full body splits workout schedule would look like this:

Monday: Full body workout

Perform 3 sets of each exercise

  • Chest press x 12
  • Banded squats x 12
  • Bent over rows x 12
  • Lat raises x 12
  • Bicep curls x 12
  • Triceps extensions x 12
  • Banded push-ups to failure

Tuesday: Rest day

Wednesday: Full body workout

Perform 3 sets of each exercise

  • Incline press x 12
  • Deadlift x 12
  • Lat pulldowns x 12
  • Shoulder press x 12
  • Bicep curls x 12
  • Triceps extension x 12
  • Banded push-ups to failure

Thursday: Rest day

Friday: Full body workout

Perform 3 sets of each exercise

  • Chest crossovers x 12
  • Leg press x 12
  • Cable pull x 12
  • Overhead shoulder press x 12
  • Bicep curls x 12
  • Skullcrusher x 12
  • Banded push-ups to failure

Saturday: Rest day

Sunday: Rest day

Stay motivated and reach your goals!

A 3-day split workout is a fantastic way to build muscle and burn calories without devoting your entire week to the gym. With a 3 day split workout, you get 4 days off to rest, relax, and recover!

3-day splits can help you to stay focused and motivated while also enjoying the other things in life that you love. Work out hard each time you hit the gym or bring out the resistance bands at home, but then take time off to rebuild those stressed out muscles!

Why not save our beginner's guide to the 3-day workout split and add it to your next weekly exercise schedule?

Katherine Holden

Katherine Holden

Katherine is a CrossFit expert with humble origins. Starting out on a ranch, ever since she was nine, she spent most of her life roping and competing in team roping. After finding bodyweight exercises interesting she sought after a career in CrossFit and dedicated her life towards achieving the body of her dreams. Today Katherine is a personal trainer that loves to travel the world and change the lives of her clients.

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