How to Strength Train if You Have 3 Days per Week

My first rule for setting a workout schedule is that you don’t want to think about a “workout split” until you’re training 4+ times per week.

3 strength workouts or less per week and you need to be doing total body workouts for each session.

The reason you need to be doing full body workouts is that you want to be stimulating all your major muscle groups as much as possible given the number of training sessions you have.

What are the major muscles groups you ask?

  • Glutes
  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • Core
  • Back
  • Chest/Shoulders

The reason I don’t include arms as a major muscle group is that they will be worked enough with the back and chest movements, or you can add at most 1-2 isolation exercises per workouts (depending on how much time you have).

You’ll also want to stick with compound movements – movements that use multiple muscle groups at once. Some of my favorites include:

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Hip Thrusts
  • Lunges/ Step Ups
  • Pallof Presses
  • Farmer Walks
  • Pull Ups
  • Rows
  • Push Ups/Bench Press
  • Overhead Pressing

If you even stick exclusively to that list, you will be in a great place. Getting stronger at all those movements is the staple of any good strength training program. Training 3 times a week means you really want to focus on “bang for your buck exercises”. Any extra time can then be spent on “extra” things like arm work, calf work and more core work.

How exactly would I organize things?

  • Workout 1 – Squat focused, rows and bench pressing
  • Workout 2 – Deadlift focused, overhead pressing, core work
  • Workout 3 – Hip thrust focused, pull ups, push ups

To sum it up: If you can workout 3 times a week, that’s plenty to get in all the strength training you need. Focus on total body workouts with lots of compound movements and you’ll be set!

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