3 Day Muscle Mass Workout

Cutty March 13, 2013 64
3 Day Muscle Mass Workout
pinit fg en rect gray 20 3 Day Muscle Mass Workout

This 3 day muscle building split is going to add some mass to those bones. Couple this workout with a good diet and you are going to gain lots of muscle and strength.

This split works based on progressive overloading. Complete 4 sets of 8 reps per exercise and work on adding weight each week. When you get to where you have 3 weeks in a row you miss a weight, drop the weight 10 pounds and restart the process.

Keep rest intervals low as possible, ideally 90 seconds on compound barbell movements and 30-45 seconds on all other movements.

Monday – Chest and Tricep

  • Bench Press
  • Dumbbell Flies
  • Chest Press Machine
  • Close Grip Bench
  • Skull Crushers
  • Rope Tricep Extensions

Wednesday – Back and Bicep

  • Deadlifts
  • Pullups
  • Barbell Rows
  • EZ Curl Bar Curls
  • Dumbbell Preacher Curls
  • Hammer Curls

Friday – Legs and Shoulders

  • Squats
  • Standing Calf Raises
  • Hack Squats or Front Squats
  • Military Press
  • Arnold Press
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raises

If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave a message below!

Written by Cutty

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Rating: 3.6/5 (25 votes cast)

3 Day Muscle Mass Workout, 3.6 out of 5 based on 25 ratings


  1. Ahura Mazda March 14, 2013 at 4:02 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing ! Split looks really nice…. can we use this split while trying to loose weight and if we couple it with cardio, will it help ?

    • Cutty March 14, 2013 at 12:18 pm - Reply

      Diet is going to be your best friend in regards to losing weight or gaining mass. If your diet is down pat adding cardio will increase the ability to lose fat. If you follow this program and add in some cardio you will lose weight. No need to go overboard with it, 20-30 minutes at a time is enough to get some weight off of you.

  2. Shaun June 14, 2013 at 1:55 am - Reply

    Should I do my cardio before or after the workout

    • Cutty June 14, 2013 at 3:27 pm - Reply

      I prefer doing a 5 minute session before I start and then the 20-30 minute session post workout. The pre workout cardio will help get your nervous system ready, your body temperature up and will give you time to focus and let your supplements get circulated better (if you take any).

      Cardio post workout is great for active recovery and helps your body burn more fat for fuel. I did an article on that topic here.

  3. Mike June 24, 2013 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    What kind of diet would you recommend for this workout for someone that wants to lose about 30 lbs of excess body weight and build some muscle? There’s so many different answers online it’s kind of overwhelming. Thanks,

    • Cutty June 24, 2013 at 3:08 pm - Reply

      The trick to losing weight is to eat less calories than you burn. That sounds simple, but in reality the type of foods you eat can make a difference on your body composition. There really isn’t a trick to losing body fat and building or maintaining muscle and strength, but you must be consistent with everything so you can see what works and what doesn’t.

      Find your baseline calorie needs and start eating a 200 calorie deficit and keep track of weight loss. Eat plenty of protein, a good amount of dietary fats and then fill the rest in with carbs. Supplementation isn’t necessary, but some BCAAs never hurt, and whey protein is a quick way to get in some good proteins.

      If you would like me to email you I can give you some better detail on what to work towards.

  4. Cam July 3, 2013 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    Hey cutty I really like your work.

    I was wondering if you could give me some help.

    I work construction and also really enjoy hitting my bag so I burn allot of calories.

    Im 6’1 180lbs and im skinny, and would like to put on some muscle.

    I don’t think bodybuilding is for me, but I love to do pushups pullups squats anything bodyweight.

    My question is do I need to stop hitting my bag and doing other active things to put on muscle? or just eat alllllot of calories through out the day?

    If you get around to throw some advise my way I would appreciate it, Thanks allot.


    • Cutty July 3, 2013 at 6:52 pm - Reply


      Keep doing what you love, there’s nothing wrong with that. Add in some calorie dense foods throughout the day like drinking a gallon of milk a day or eating brown rice with every meal. You can keep doing what you’re doing, just eat more and you should start to see some increases in performance. Since you’re so active and you’re having a hard time getting enough calories, heavy cream in your protein shakes, sour cream, and cheese will be helpful for you.

      Always try to do one more rep in your exercises and try to progress some how. I actually wrote a body weight home workout routine you should check out here.

      If you have more specific questions, let me know!

  5. Muhammad Ali July 21, 2013 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    CT aka Gladiator your the man a great inspiration and motivator best wishes brother !

  6. Remi July 27, 2013 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    I would like to hit each muscle group twice a week. Would you recommend to do the above exercises on consecutive days? eg Mon, Tues, Wed, rest, repeat? Iam 6.1″ 90kgs, want to loose body fat and add definition. Thanks

    • Cutty July 28, 2013 at 12:36 am - Reply

      Hitting muscle groups twice a week is fine, some people do not respond as well to hitting the groups twice a week versus once a week so just test and see how your body responds.

      Recovery is key here so find what will work best for you schedule wise.

      I may write an article and workout for those who would like to hit each muscle group twice a week. It will be set up to where one day you do the heavy compound lifts and the second time of the week will be isolation/machine workouts.

      Hope this helps!


  7. Rick July 28, 2013 at 10:31 am - Reply


    A friend referred me over to this site and it has been very informative. What is the minimum amount of weeks you would recommend doing this workout for? I started doing the above routine this week.

    • Cutty July 28, 2013 at 10:49 am - Reply

      I’m glad to hear you’re finding the site helpful! This workout is meant to be as long as it works. Depending on how long you’ve been training, this could be 6 months or it could be a year.

      I tell people to run a workout for 12 weeks and fully devote yourself to it. Don’t go three weeks into a routine and start changing things and adding in extra sets because you feel it works better. Run the workout for 12 weeks and record your results as you go.

      Some people may stall during the 12 weeks which is also normal, if you stall for 2 consecutive weeks, cut the weight down by 20% and start doing the weights at the reduction. This will lower the weight used which will give your body time to recover from the heavy weights just in time for you to break through a plateau.

      Good luck with the routine, if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment!

  8. Rick July 28, 2013 at 8:02 pm - Reply


    Thank you for the quick response. FYI, I started training approximately four months ago.

    • Cutty July 29, 2013 at 5:56 am - Reply

      Congratulations, it’s a long journey but it is a fun one. You’re going to see some big changes in the next year or so if you keep at it!

  9. Josh August 9, 2013 at 6:48 am - Reply

    Do you think I can take out some of the exercises and shorten up the sets for strength, thank you.

    • Cutty August 9, 2013 at 7:55 am - Reply

      I would invite you to check out the other routines here. All routines are created with a certain balance in mind and there are plenty of strength related routines here. Specifically the powerlifting routine.

  10. Drew August 13, 2013 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    How much weight should I add every week? 5? 10?

    • Cutty August 13, 2013 at 8:12 pm - Reply

      Yes, adding 5 pounds a week is ideal. I would recommend purchasing some 2.5 micro plates if where you train does not have them. If you go up in 10 pound increments, it is going to seem like it takes a lot longer to progress. I’ve found that adding 5 pounds to the bar helps keep your nervous system in check and able to recover after every workout.

  11. Amit August 29, 2013 at 7:41 am - Reply

    I am 25 now but quite skinny and so was looking out to start some weight gain programs. Came across this. As a beginner, would you recommend this program to me? What else can I add into it?
    Also please guide me towards diet/protein supplement.


    • Cutty August 30, 2013 at 4:04 am - Reply

      Since you are a beginner, any program you pick you will get great results. Check out this article on how to best get the most out of beginner strength gains, this article to make sure you aren’t making beginner mistakes, and this article is another great workout for beginners.

      For diet and supplementation you don’t have to worry about much, just eat healthy foods and eat plenty of protein. If you want to supplement with protein, a shake or two wouldn’t hurt, but if you have to eat off of the dollar menu at McDonalds because of purchasing protein, buying some chicken breast and ground beef is a better choice. Since you are quite skinny, stuff yourself with healthy foods and don’t be afraid of some potatoes and brown rice.

      If you have more questions, feel free to ask!


  12. Josh September 8, 2013 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    do you think its good to put “arms & forearms” too on the “legs & shoulders?”

    • Cutty September 8, 2013 at 1:12 pm - Reply

      The routine was designed with balance and performance in mind. Adding in more curls won’t necessarily give you bigger biceps but if you wanted to add them in and do that, then feel free. There are a lot of heavy compound lifts on the legs and shoulders day, I would rather someone put the energy into the compound lifts instead of curls.


  13. Jboone September 13, 2013 at 12:10 am - Reply

    Hi Cutty!

    Nice routine! I am going to start it next week as a follow up to my 5×5 stronglifts routine.

    I have 1 question:

    - Isn’t is better to combine biceps with chest and triceps with back? Because after a good chest workout your triceps are already weakened and the same goes for your biceps after a back workout. And that way you train your tri- and biceps twice a week ;)

    • Cutty September 13, 2013 at 3:44 am - Reply


      That is mostly personal preference, some people like to hit the smaller secondary muscles after the main lifts as a post exhaustion technique. There is also a pre exhaustion technique where you’ll do something like tricep extensions before you bench. It’s all preference and if you know you respond better to doing chest/bi and back/tri then feel free to swap them out.

      Good luck and let me know how it goes!


  14. Jboone September 13, 2013 at 4:33 am - Reply

    Thanks for reply!!

    I think I give both options a try. Maybe I change them weekly for one month to check what feels better! ;)

    I keep you informed!

    Greetz from the Netherlands!

    • Cutty September 13, 2013 at 11:42 am - Reply

      Cutty is going worldwide! :)

      A lot of my routines I create to give you ideas on things to try and see what works for you. Everyone works differently and I want to try to get everyone aware and try new things. Once you find out what works best for your personal growth, you can use it or we can go over some ideas to see if we can set something up that will work for you.


  15. John September 18, 2013 at 3:53 am - Reply

    Still waiting on response.
    While following this routine can I continue my Martial Art training twice weekly?
    My MA sessions run a fast 45-60 minutes each and are also used as cardio.
    All training done at home.

    • Cutty September 18, 2013 at 5:08 am - Reply

      John, you should continue your MA training twice weekly as well as the weight training routine. Be sure to listen to your body and adjust to your needs. I think as long as you get plenty of rest and healthy foods you are going to respond great. Remember it takes time to see results.


  16. rishi September 29, 2013 at 3:51 am - Reply

    Best chart I have ever seen, 2 months before I was just 50 kg, now after following the chart I have gained 70 kg, with solid lean muscular body, suggest me more for further improvement, keep me posted on my mail..

  17. Tony October 2, 2013 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    Simple plany. I like that. I will definately give this a try. Thanks!

    • Cutty October 2, 2013 at 6:26 pm - Reply

      Simple and easy to execute. Any plan can work if you stick with it and progress. There’s no need to complicate things with supersets and dropsets and everything if you can’t even dedicate at the minimum 12 weeks to complete a routine.

      Stick with it!


  18. Andres October 4, 2013 at 12:15 am - Reply

    Hey there! Im starting this program soon but i have some questions. Should i use the same weight all 4 sets or how does it work?
    Thanks in forward

    • Cutty October 4, 2013 at 4:03 pm - Reply

      This one was of the first routines I wrote and I forgot to add in to check out the rep-goal system. Utilize the rep-goal system in this routine and you will be very happy with the progress. You work up to your work weight and use the same weight for each exercise. I find when you ramp weights (go up each set), it’s hard to progress as fluidly as you do with the rep-goal system.

      Be sure to ask any other questions you have!


  19. Jake October 16, 2013 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    One thing with mass gaining is length of tension under weight, would you recommend throwing some sets with a few second negative on the reps in there? Or is the length of rest short enough? Thanks cutty

    • Cutty October 16, 2013 at 7:01 pm - Reply

      Time under tension is important which is why you do higher rep sets. I’ve had good results with all of the workouts I write. The forced negative reps and all of these super workouts like supersets and hugesets just don’t really help if you aren’t already past intermediate to late intermediate. Most people I meet who have troubles gaining weight doing “regular exercises” aren’t consistent with their reps and sets, they don’t add weight to the bar, they don’t eat enough, and they don’t sleep enough.

      Keep the intensity up, you are going to be proud of the results.


  20. Patrick October 17, 2013 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    Thanks for all the great advice. Quick question: I am trying to improve my incline press; can I substitue incline press/incline DB press/incline flies in this workout? If so, what should I do and what can I replace? Thanks again!

    • Cutty October 17, 2013 at 3:50 pm - Reply

      Replace DB Flies with an incline. I’ve had great luck with flat bench and incline DB personally.

      Let me know how it goes!


  21. Shaun November 4, 2013 at 8:03 am - Reply

    What do you recommend for a 13 year old who wants to start lifting in irder to gain mass muscle for football

    • Cutty November 5, 2013 at 6:41 am - Reply

      I can safely say any of my workouts would be great. My routines I design to have balance and use full range of motion exercises and compound lifts that are going to make you more athletic and able to do any sport. Of course once you get into the pros, there are more specific things you should work on, but I think any program would be great for you. Work on developing good form now before bad habits set in and you will be able to build a strong base.

  22. Roger November 25, 2013 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    Should I aim to get 32 reps total in 4 sets? Is it ok to do a few more reps in the first set and a few less in the last, as long as I reach 32 total?

    Excited to start the routine!

    • Cutty November 26, 2013 at 8:44 am - Reply

      Yes this was one of my first routines I wrote down before I got into the rep goal scheme. I’ve had a lot of great results from the rep goal, so just as long as you get 32 reps over 4 sets you are good to go. Most of the time you start out with a bunch of reps in the first two sets and then really start to burn out by the last 2 sets.


  23. Andres December 12, 2013 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    Hey again Cutty!
    Friday ends my 10th week and so far i havent skipped any day and i have been persistent with my training, nutrition and well….50/50 with rest.
    Things are going great, ive gone from uber-skinny 51kg 21 yr old 173 cm young man to 58kg and hopefully will gain more.

    I wanted to ask if it is okay to change some exercises after 12 weeks are over?
    For example DB Flys – Incline DB Flys
    Close grip bench – Dips
    Skull crushers – Dumbell overhead press

    Pullups – lat pulldowns
    Barbell rows – dumbbell rows
    EZ curls – just a closer grip curls
    Preacher curls – dumbbell curls

    Dumbbell lateral raises – seated dumbbell side flys

    Those are the exercises i want to do the switch with after my 12 weeks. I really can´t get the feel with those exercises and i feel like i would get more out of alternative exercises….please let me know if it is okay to do the same plan for 8 weeks but with some exercises replaced with others and after those 8 weeks (total 20 weeks) i will change to a new training plan.
    Best wishes,
    PS! Sorry for the bad english!

    • Cutty December 12, 2013 at 1:21 pm - Reply


      Your English is better than most people. I’m glad to hear you’ve been sticking with the plan and really giving it a good run. Try the new exercises, some exercises for better for other people with different leverages, etc so as long as you are progressing in whatever lift, it’s going to help you.

      Run the program as long as it works and feel free to switch up exercises like this. Just be sure to progress in weights like you have been and it’ll be great. I’ve had people run the same program for a couple years (a different one) and they are still making progress. Just like they say, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” Meaning if you’re making progress, no need to switch it up.

      Good luck and keep in touch!


  24. Ed December 19, 2013 at 10:03 am - Reply

    Hey Cutty,

    I’m just starting this routine and I like how it’s going. I’ve seen a few posts regarding caloric intake and was wondering if you had a post that goes over the most beneficial intake values for yourself or that you’ve seen for others throughout the years. Diet is the one thing I’ve been lacking all this time and it has been holding me back greatly in terms of weight loss and defining who I truly am on the exterior. Currently I’m putting up 275 on the flat bench press and want to destroy 300 in the coming months. Athletically, I play soccer 3+ and do a good bit of HIIT cardio when I work out(so I’m pretty good on that track), and I’m incredibly flexible for my size and mass. I am really looking for a diet to drop the pounds and still retain the muscle and flexibility I have while improving the gains to come.


    • Cutty December 19, 2013 at 3:39 pm - Reply


      Congrats on the program and nice numbers, keep them up. If you are able to eat consistently, dropping 200-300 calories a day will help you cut fat and keep most of your muscle. Be sure to get plenty of protein and BCAAs can help too when on a cutting diet.

      Strength can be hard to come by on a cutting diet but it is possible, push as hard as you can and be sure to get plenty of extra sleep; since you’re on a caloric deficit, your body will take more time to recover. It wouldn’t hurt to have a day where you eat more calories than usual (~500 calories extra) this will keep metabolism going and also be a good day to look forward to.

      Ideally if you up the calories a bit you’re going to find strength go up, but eating too much will cause a bit of fat issues.

      Either way eating plenty of protein and cutting calories some will help get fat off of you and keep size.

      Any more questions, let me know!


  25. mel December 20, 2013 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    hello. great site and responses. i have been lifting for about 4 months and getting information as i move along. during that time period, i have been bench pressing and using dumbbells 5 days a week. i went from 15 to 40s in dumbbells and benching 65 lbs to 205 1rm. during that time period i did not work legs at all. i just got a weight set and bench for home. the bench has a rack that allows me to do squats and dead lifts. im not going to a gym or buying in bands or cables. can u recommend a program that that is just deadlift, squat, bench press, or other barbell exercises i can do with the equipment i have.???????

    • Cutty December 21, 2013 at 11:17 am - Reply

      Most of the workouts written are barbell mostly. Let me go through and see if I have one that I use for people who use barbell only and I’ll get back with you on that!


  26. mel December 23, 2013 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    thank you so very much for taking the time to develop a easy to follow beginner routine. have a great day.

    • Cutty December 23, 2013 at 5:29 pm - Reply

      You too bud!

  27. Brendon January 2, 2014 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    Hey Cutty
    Im currently doing my buddies work out and its not bad, I’ve seen some pretty good results but not much weight gain. I know it takes time and everything but I’ve been doing his work out for 2 months now and realized its only cut me up instead of put on weight. I was just wondering what you think of the 3 day on, 1 day off routine? Im 6’1 and weigh 205lbs and just wanted to know what you think would work best for putting on weight? Thank you!

    • Cutty January 2, 2014 at 9:16 pm - Reply


      Any workout should help you get bigger, the diet is where you’re going to have to adjust. Looks like you’re going to have to start eating more. Check out my healthy living section it has muscle building articles and ideas for ways to get more protein, etc. If you already eat a lot and can’t really eat more, try to use calorie dense stuff like butter, heavy cream, etc in your meals to add flavor and calories. This will help you bulk more. Do this steady and slow and gauge by what the mirror and scale tell you and work from there.

      Let me know if you have any other questions,


  28. Thom January 2, 2014 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    Cutty my man. This looks like a good routine. But how long. should I use? I generally use a routine for 6 weeks, is that apropriate for this one?

    • Cutty January 3, 2014 at 1:05 pm - Reply

      I usually say run a program for 12 weeks or until it “quits working.” I had someone running a simple 5×5 plan for building strength and mass and they ran it for almost 2 years before they started hitting plateaus with training. I would say 6-8 weeks minimum.

      Let me know if you have any other questions!


  29. Tor February 17, 2014 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    I came across this workout when trying to change up my current 5×5 three day a week workout that was getting a touch old (squating three times a week and living with 24/7 leg DOMS gets tiresome).

    So far I am on to week 2 and am fairly happy with the exercise selections and the rep range. I have setup a excel spreadsheet that increases my weight 12.5% between sets and by 2.5% week on week. I hope that this variation won’t blow up the program?

    Cheers Cutty.

    • Cutty February 17, 2014 at 10:02 pm - Reply

      As long as you are progressing that’s what matters. Keep up the good work and let me know how your progress goes man!


  30. H March 5, 2014 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    Hey Cutty,

    First, great site! Love the stuff it gives me that extra motivation to train better, long may it continue!

    I have been doing this workout coming up to 3 months now and i have seen some gains, my weight has definitely gone up.

    I want to know, when do i have to start switching things up? And if i do need to switch, is it working on the same muscle group but using a different set of exercise?

    • Cutty March 5, 2014 at 10:47 pm - Reply

      Keep going as long as it works. There will come a point and you’ll know it when you can’t just progress like that and you have to switch things up but run with it while it stays working.


  31. mat March 24, 2014 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    Hi Cutty, greetings from Australia.

    Love the site and the no nonsense/fad approach.
    With this weekend do you see any negatives for swapping fridays day for wed?
    I like to get the legs out of the way as early in on the week as poss!

    • Cutty March 25, 2014 at 9:22 am - Reply

      Hi Mat,

      Put the days in the order you like doing best, it will let you get legs out of the way so you don’t dread them on Friday haha.


  32. Terry March 25, 2014 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    I don’t have access to a gym and all I have is a Smith Machine with 335# of weight and I have some dumbbells and a seperate Olympic straight bar and I really want to do CT’s workout. So my question to u is, is it possible? And if possible what would my routine consist of?

    • Cutty March 25, 2014 at 11:08 pm - Reply

      If you don’t have the stands to do squats and bench it’s hard to do any workout. If you find a workout you like, substitute whatever equipment you have. So if you can’t do an overhead barbell press, use dumbbells.


  33. Andreas, 16 June 25, 2014 at 5:36 am - Reply

    Hi Cutty, and thanks for some great tips! I wondered if I can do this program with 3 sets of 8-12 reps, instead of 4 sets. I tought that i could start with a weight on 8 reps and work my self up to 12, before adding more weight? I’m 16, I’m skinny and I’m a beginner. Do you think it will fit me? I want to gain weight, build on some mass and get ripped!

    • Cutty June 25, 2014 at 11:56 pm - Reply

      The secret behind the 4 sets of 8-12 reps is it will help fatigue your muscles and help you really get some mass going. Beginners can pretty much go in the gym and do anything they want and make great gains. Check out my noob gains article for some other ideas man.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.


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