The three day training split is perhaps the most popular bodybuilding training routine of all time. A three day split training routine involves training every muscle group one time in a three day period followed by a day of rest or the cycle can be repeated.
Two of the most popular three day spit training routines used by bodybuilders are:
Many other specialized 3-day split routines exist that fulfill different needs. The first 3-day split mentioned above has significant overlap in the shoulders and arms that is favored by bodybuilders as those muscles are heavily used on chest and back day. The second 3-day split routine avoids this overlap; however, there is the disadvantage that the shoulders and arms don’t get special emphasis. This is why in choosing a 3-day split you need to have a goal in mind.
A 3-day split training program also allows for prioritization. Priority can be given to any weak muscle groups and scheduled at the beginning of the 3-day split following a day of rest. For example, if you wanted to focus on your legs you would simply reverse the order of the days in the cycle so that legs are always the first muscle group trained.
3-day split routines are intended for intermediate athletes and from then on can be used indefinitely. Although beginners are welcome to try a 3-day split, the individual training of muscle groups is not necessary and can lead to muscle imbalances. Beginners are better off doing full body routines and then progressing to an upper/lower body routine before trying a 3-day split.
Powerlifters can also take advantage of a 3-day split. For example, the second 3-day split mentioned above can easily be switched to a bench, deadlift, and squat day and finish with auxiliary exercises.
If you have been training for at least half a year, it might be time to try a 3-day split training routine. It is the most popular training split for a reason – it works.