Even after writing multiple articles explaining my approach of 3-day weight lifting routine and minimalism in the gym, I still get people hitting me up about that. “Greg, is a 3-day workout routine in the gym really enough?
Greg, I feel like I still have so much left after the gym, can I do more? Greg, I’m making very good gains on your program, but everyone says you have to do five days, I feel like I should do more. Can you speak to that?”
Normally I like to link them to one of three articles, which addresses this perfectly. Or even a youtube video I did a while ago, explaining this concept.
But in this article, I want to set the record straight, once and for all. I want to explain to people exactly what is going on and why a 3-day weight lifting routine often works way better than anything else.
That said, this will require an open mind. But I’ve been fortunate to have such open-minded readers. That’s you ;)
This reminds me of a story:
A learned man once went to visit a Zen teacher to inquire about Zen. As the Zen teacher talked, the learned man frequently interrupted to express his own opinion about this or that. Finally, the Zen teacher stopped talking and began to serve tea to the learned man.
He poured the cup full, then kept pouring until the cup overflowed. “Stop,” said the learned man. “The cup is full, no more can be poured in.” Like this cup, you are full of your opinions” replied the Zen teacher. “If you do not first empty your cup, how can you taste my cup of tea?”
I am fully aware that my approach to fitness and nutrition is so completely different than most of what you read online, in fitness magazines and books.
Despite this, so many of you have read my articles and posts and books with a completely open mind. Not chained to any preconceived notions or beliefs.
At the same time, so many of you have asked great questions and have used your brains to think critically. This balance of receptivity and inquiry are the key to learning, understanding and finding the truth.
As well, it’s the key to really achieving your goals. And Mary Mother of Jesus, the testimonials that I’ve been receiving each and every week have been blowing my mind and touching my heart.
So I just want to thank all of you for viewing my articles with an empty cup.
Build your physique with a 3 day workout routine
First, let’s break down what an amazing physique is! A great looking physique is a combination of having well developed muscles with a low body fat. The Warrior Shredding Program is perfect for developing this. When you emphasize proper proportion, you’re going to look like a god among men.
Achieving a low body fat is a matter of eating at a calorie deficit – which comes down mainly to nutrition. When you start intermittent fasting and eating 2-3 big meals per day, it’s so easy to hit a deficit, that there’s no need for any cardio (though cardio can help).
Building muscle is all about progressive overload. In fact, this is what world-renowned fitness and nutrition expert, Lyle McDonald kept stressing over and over again when I had him on my Road to Ripped Podcast. There are many different approaches to building muscle, but no one says you need to lift lighter weights over time.
Coincidentally, the natural lifters with the best physiques, have pretty unreal strength, typically.
three day weightlifting program and building strength
If you get stronger on your lifts, you’re going to build muscle like crazy, there’s no getting around that fact! If you’re doing 100-pound pull-ups and repping 225 lbs on the incline bench, you’ll be carved out of granite like a god.
When you lift weights too frequently and perform too many exercises and sets in your workout, progressive overload becomes a losing battle. Simply, it becomes harder and harder to make strength gains.
Why is this and how could this be? Well it takes the central nervous system about 48 hours to completely recharge. If you’re lifting on back to back days, you won’t be able to recruit as much muscle fibers and you’ll be lifting under your potential.
Now if you are doing too much in the gym, it will be impossible to maintain a high level of intensity and effort on every set. And guess what? The only way to surpass your current personal record is to train with a high level of intensity and effort.
Because of this, adding weight or reps becomes more challenging the more sets and exercises you perform. What’s more, your body isn’t great at doing a bunch of things at once. When you train too much, you have to replenish all the depleted glycogen, you have to increase work capacity and you have to learn how to better handle fatigue.
And all that gets in the way of building real, hard muscle growth. The type of muscle growth that comes from increasing the actual contractual filaments of the muscle. This is known as myofibrillar hypertrophy.
It’s the most important type of muscle growth to focus on and it requires you to get very strong in the 5-8 rep range (while taking plenty of rest between sets). Lower than 5 reps, doesn’t provide enough volume to maximize muscle growth nor does it lead to more muscle fiber recruitment.
When you go higher than 8-10 reps, you aren’t able to recruit as many muscle fibers, lessening the muscle growth response.
The Workout Feels Too Easy, Should I Do More?
This is a question that I get frequently when new guys start following a 3-day weight lifting routine. They run through a workout containing about 4-5 exercises and to them, it feels like they could handle way more. Subsequently, they don’t possibly see how they could build muscle with a routine that is so simple and ‘easy’
To which I eloquently explain to them that muscle growth is about progressive overload (remember what we were talking about earlier). Don’t judge a workout by how hard it is, how sore it makes you feel or how long it takes you to complete.
You judge a workout based on how effective it is at improving your lifts. That’s it. Are you getting stronger week to week, are you adding weight to the bar overtime? If that’s the case, then you’re killing it.
If you do too much, add extra sets or exercises, you’re just going to be stripping away at the effectiveness of the workout, by making it harder to achieve progressive overload.
Make no mistake, if you go from incline benching 175 lbs for 5 reps to incline benching 225 lbs for 5 reps, you will experience some incredible growth. Your chest will fill out like crazy!
Too often I see guys destroying themselves in the gym, working their asses off day in and day out, and they’re lifting the same light weights every single week.
I just want to grab them by their bony shoulders and be like, “stop the madness!”
Is Lifting 3 Days Per Week Really That Effective?
Just check out some of these Kinobody case studies:
Case Study #1 – Steve (@Sunderwood61)
Steve (@Sunderwood61) made phenomenal results on my Greek God Program.
Previously Steve was lifting 5+ days per week and was shocked that I recommended a 3-day weight lifting routine. But sure enough, once he switched to the Greek God Program, his lifts went through the roof.
And he began to build serious muscle while staying lean. The entire transformation was over a year. But most of the results took place in the last 8 weeks when he began the Greek God Program.
In that time, he put on 10 pounds of muscle and took his bench from 130 to 190 and his sumo deadlift from 200 to 300 pounds. A lot of people are shocked when I recommend lifting 3 days per week and intermittent fasting to build muscle.
But mary mother of Jesus, it works. When you build up those key lifts and eat just enough calories to build muscle (without fat), magical things happen. I think Steve actually got more shredding in this transformation while building a ton of muscle. Way to go!
Ps. The program he was following can be checked out here.
Casestudy #2 – Leo (@butterboy76)
Pretty damn remarkable transformation! First 6 months was dedicated to dropping the fat and leaning down with my free warrior shredding articles on Kinobody.
Once he knew how effective my advice was, he invested in my superhero bulking program and went from 160-165 lbs to 185 lbs in 6 months, while staying very lean!
Absolutely fantastic! My superhero course is here.
Casestudy #3 – Timo
“Your intermittent fasting and only three times lifting a week, became my holy grail!!! I got stronger than ever (pull-ups with 100 pounds/ incline bench 220). And it was no longer such hard work to stick to it, it became my lifestyle!
But what’s more important, that you give the people more to think about! You really inspired me, to start my own business. I just pulled the trigger, and I will do this with the same attitude that I started my workout.
I started in January, my mind completely changed… I now attract success and I got a totally new attitude! I stopped to compare myself with others, I became the most powerful version of myself.
How much more I can ask for? I hope to see you one day and maybe have a few beers and a nice talk about the real important stuff in life!
My deepest regards,
Casestudy #4 – Justin (12 weeks)
Very awesome 12 week Greek God transformation by Justin.
“Hey Greg, just wanted to send you my transformation pictures from October to January while using your Greek god program. The first photo I was 148-149 lbs and about 8 to 9% body fat, the second I am 155-156 lbs while still at 8-9% body fat. Thanks again! This program has been awesome!”
Right on the money. Justin gained 6 lbs of pure muscle in 3 months on the Greek God Program. Three months is not a lot of time to gain muscle, so you’re not going to see massive changes. It takes about a good 6 months to 12 months to see a big difference from muscle gain alone.
But looking at the pictures you can tell his shoulders are broader and his arms are a lot thicker. No doubt he would look considerably more muscular in a t-shirt, too. The vein on his pelvis is also more visible, indicating a slight increase in leanness. The next step would be to start up on chest specialization from the program to get his chest thicker.
The program he was following is my Greek God Program. Thousands of guys have gone through this program and it has become wildly popular for its ability to accelerate strength gain and develop a great looking physique.
If you want to get started you can learn more here.
Casestudy #5 – Greg (@gregj88)
More Case Studies from Kinobody & Lifting Three Days Per Week
Scott B was following my Greek God Program. In 6 months, Scott dropped 25 lbs of body fat and put on 8 lbs of muscle (from looking at his pictures I speculate quite a bit more muscle than that).
This is in just six months and while training hard only three days per week. Not to mention, Scott is 45 years old and has been lifting consistently for the last 30 years.
Trent – 12 Weeks (@trent_mccloskey)
This was accomplished in 12 weeks on my Greek God Program. The before picture was actually after Trent built great definition following Kinobody principles.
He then killed it in 12 weeks adding a ton of muscle onto his back, shoulders, arms and chest.
But It’s Not Just About Lifting Three Times A Week
Outside of a 3 day weight lifting program routine, you have to have a plan of action! It’s about following a structured routine that is designed to support a great looking physique. This is why I wrote my Kinobody Courses. They’re designed with a certain look in mind, and they’re focused on adding muscle in the right places.
It’s about following a routine that has built in progression guidelines so each week you’re progressing in weight lifted or reps performed. And yes that means tracking each and every workout that you perform.
This is where my actual full blown courses go way deeper than my articles. In my full blown courses I teach people how to hit personal records year round to build the Warrior, Greek God or Superhero Physique.
It’s about utilizing the best training protocols that give you the biggest bang for your buck. These include:
You’re also going to have to work hard. You’re going to have to really push yourself. Sometimes this means using a specific mental approach to unlock your true strength potential.
Yes, you’re only in the gym 3 days per week and you’re just doing 4-6 exercises.
That said, you’re going to have to really pour yourself into each and every one of those sets. If you’re used to lifting weights haphazardly, that’s not going to cut it.
Remember: We are lions. We’re not just lifting weights to build muscle.
We’re lifting weights to show ourselves what we’re made of. To show ourselves what we’re capable of. And to take that into other areas of our lives.
I go into my set Terminator style. I have a goal for how much I want to lift and I’m going to go in with absolute conviction and self belief. And I’m going to finish my set knowing that I gave it my absolute all.
Benefits of working out three days a week
Let’s not forget the perks of training less! They’re plentiful.
When you build your physique off a lower volume and frequency, you build resilient muscle. Think of it as more permanent. Once you build this muscle, it’s very hard for it to go away. You can maintain your physique off 1-2 quick workouts per week, effortlessly.
You can take 2-3 weeks off, and you’ll hardly lose any muscle size. Euro trip anyone?
You can cut the calories down and you’ll maintain your size no problem. Even when life gets super busy, you can rest assured knowing that you can still make gains.
Note: When doing heavy weighted chin ups, make sure you’re using a high-quality weight belt that won’t distract you from, your training or cause discomfort.
What Is The Downside Of Training More?
Well the high volume lifters have to live in the gym to maintain their shape – since it’s dependent on all the volume they perform. If they take a few days off the gym, they flatten up completely.
Well sorry to break it to you, but if your muscle size goes away that easily, it’s not really muscle, is it? More like temporary glycogen and fluid in the muscle.
Oh and when these guys decide to go on a cut to get really lean, their training goes downhill. They can’t maintain all the workout sessions on a lower calorie intake, and they start to lose plenty of strength and muscle.
As well, because they train with such high volume, they rarely develop incredible strength. So in most cases, they fall into the ‘all show, no go’ camp.
Because these guys rarely develop great strength, sooner or later they hit some pretty brutal plateaus.
It doesn’t matter how many gut wrenching hours you put into the weight room each week, if you aren’t adding weight to the bar, sooner or later you’ll be maxed out in muscle gains.
And you’ll spin your wheels for months trying to get bigger to no avail.
But How Do You Establish The Routine?
Some people are worried that it’s hard to maintain a 3 day weight lifting routine if they aren’t in the gym everyday. They are concerned that taking rest days will break the momentum of getting their butts to the gym.
Well just because I say lift three days per week, doesn’t mean you can’t do other activities on your rest days. Cardio, abs training, stretching/yoga/mobility work is all okay to do on rest days. Since it creates little to no central nervous system fatigue.
You can also go for walks on your rest days, play sports or immerse yourself in new skills or activities like martial arts. Alternatively, you can just live your life and sit on your ass.
Now here’s the problem with lifting 5+ days per week; if you spend nearly everyday in the gym, you don’t truly appreciate it. On some of those days, you end up forcing yourself to get to the gym, because you think you have to.
Well when you only allow yourself to lift weights three times per week, you can’t wait to get your ass to the gym. You can’t wait to make that 5-pound personal record on weighted chin ups or incline bench. You never get burnt out from the gym, you have a new level of vigor, a spring in your step if you will.
This is definitely the case for most people that I have talked to. They love their workouts 10x more when they started training less often. When they were training more, lifting started to consume their life.
This Change Will Transform Your Entire Life
Now that they train less, their entire live improves.. Work, school, social, dating!
This is awesome because Kinobody isn’t just about building a great physique – it’s about the total picture. Leading an amazing life.
Fitness and nutrition should enrich your life, not completely take it over. So yeah, that’s why I recommend the whole ‘3 day workout routine and focus on key movements’ approach. And I’m a living testament to it. Heck, sometimes I’ll go a couple months with just two workouts per week while still making gains.
Three day weight training routine is the best
If you found this article useful and you know some people that would appreciate it, then send it their way, that would mean a lot! And if anyone is hating on you for training three times per week, just remember