How To Build Muscle When You Can Only Train 3 Times A Week

How To Build Muscle When You Can Only Train 3 Times A Week

How To Build Muscle When You Can Only Train 3 Times A Week

build muscle

Let’s get this straight, it’s a pleasure to train 5 or 6 times a week in the gym but not everyone has that luxury. In fact, most of us are too busy with our own jobs so training 3 times is still very good.

Now, in case you’re wondering “How can I build muscle only with 3 times a week”, don’t worry because you can build muscle, even if 3 sessions per week is all you can squeeze in. 

Overall, training frequently, like 5 to 7 times a week, may be more effective than training 3 times. However, it doesn’t mean that training 3 times doesn’t help us build muscle. In fact, it doesn’t really matter how many times a week you train but it does matter whether you know how to maximize your training results.


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Here’s How to Maximize Your Training

1) Split Your Workouts Smartly

You can never get results if you don’t even know you’re doing in the gym or you don’t have a strict workout routine. So no matter if you’re going to gain muscle or lose fat, it’s crucial to build your own workout plan or training split.

Remember that there are a lot of split routine options out there and if you can exercise only 3 times a week, I believe that here is one of the best options for you:

Push/Pull/Legs routine

First, let’s get this straight, no matter what your purposes are, it’s never a good idea to neglect any muscle group. The reason why I say this is that I’ve seen a lot of guys out there skip their leg day even when they go to the gym every day. All they want are a big chest and shoulders. Therefore, my advice is to follow the push/pull/legs routine.

In general, the routine separates your muscle groups into the following workouts:

  • Day 1: Chest, shoulders, triceps
  • Day 2: Back and biceps
  • Day 3: Legs

You can change the order above, depending on your preferences. However, to be honest, the increasing order of difficulty is pushed, pull, legs. I don’t know about you but on leg days, I feel exhausted than any other day.

The reason is that our leg muscles are the largest muscle group and they are literally your whole lower body. Therefore, make sure you get all the nutrients you need for your leg workouts.

2) Focus On Main Muscle Groups With Compound Movements

Keep in mind that compound movements are always better than isolation ones if you want to build muscle. You may notice that most serious lifters do compound movements more frequently than isolation ones.

In my experience, if you don’t have any serious health condition that prevents you from doing multi-joint exercises, they should be your first choice. That’s why the barbell bench press is way better than the pec deck flyes for muscle growth.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to say that isolation exercises are not effective. However, when it comes to building muscle, they are not as effective as compound exercises. Of course, isolation exercises are also necessary for targeting the main muscle group without training another and they are not really challenging.

Therefore, if you just need to feel your muscles activate, then it’s best to isolate them with single-joint exercises. And in case you still have no idea why compound movements are better for isolation exercises, here are some of the reasons:

They can help target a lot of muscle fibers at the same time.

With compound movements, you can increase the amount of weight you lift, and the more weight, the more volume and the more volume, the more muscle growth.

They can help release the hormones.

Compound exercises not only help target many different muscle fibers but also result in the great release of testosterone, which is especially important for men, and growth hormone in your body. In short, the more taxing the movement of your body, the greater the hormone release.

For those who don’t know, the power of testosterone is to help us boost muscle, burn fat, support our mood, etc. And growth hormone is essential for the optimal functioning of physiological processes and growth of our body tissues, including the muscles.

Therefore, if you want to increase these hormones naturally and build more muscle, place emphasis on some heavy compound lifts like the bench press, deadlift, and squat.   

They can help reduce your time in the gym

Look, you guys want to maximize gains while spending as little time working out as possible, right? Trust me, a 45-60 minute workout primarily composed of compound exercises is always much more intensive than a 2-hour workout primarily composed of isolation exercises.

For example, if you do 3 or 4 sets of the barbell back squat, your body will get tired more quickly than it would be if you do 3 or 4 sets of the leg extension.


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3) Change Your Diet

Training is one thing but your diet is another important thing to consider, especially when you want to make some gains. In fact, there are a lot of things to cover when it comes to diet, but in this article, I will only give you some diet tips to help build muscle effectively. Let’s get started:

Eat Enough Protein

It is the fact that protein builds muscle so my advice is for 1 pound of-of your body weight, shoot for 1 gram of protein.

However, the protein source is also very important. In my experience, you should get protein from meat as meat is the richest source of dietary protein and it contains all essential amino acids for your body to build muscle.

Also, remember to eat lean meat because you want to build muscle, not adding fat, right? As you already know, there are a lot of good protein sources out there but the most common ones are chicken breast, beef, fish. Besides, don’t forget supplements like whey protein which is perfect for your post-workout, and casein protein which is ideal for your pre-bedtime. 

Get All The Nutrients

While protein is very important for your muscle growth, the other nutrients (carbs and fat) are also crucial. Keep in mind that carbs are the main source of fuel for your body so if you are too little enough carbs, your body will definitely break down muscle for amino acids so that it can convert them into glucose.

Additionally, vitamins and minerals are essential for your body no matter whether you are trying to build muscle or not.

Thus, just make sure you get all the nutrients your body needs a day. Also, it is especially crucial to choose a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods for your pre-workout and post-workout meals to optimize your training results.

Split Up Your Calories

You can build muscle without gaining weight but that will take you a long time. Therefore, if you really want to build muscle, in addition to adequate protein, it’s important to maintain a calorie surplus.

A lot of guys out there say that they’ve already tried to eat a lot but still make no gains. Well, when those hard gainers say that, oftentimes what they mean is they try to eat a lot in only one sitting only, and actually don’t have a calorie surplus throughout the day.

In my experience, if you want to build muscle, you have to eat more calories at every meal. And honestly, eating a cult and annoying as eating the same amount of calories in 5 or even 6 meals a day.

If eating mini-meals like this will never make you feel like you’re stuffing your face. To be honest, eating everything for 2 or 3 hours can help you improve digestion without storing fat?

However, if you are too busy with meetings, appointments, phone calls, etc, and eating everything 3 hours is impossible, then prepare all the meals for a few days at once and store them in meal prep containers.

Now, get out there and make some gains, guys!

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and check out some more articles you may like to continue your self improvement journey!

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0 thoughts on “How To Build Muscle When You Can Only Train 3 Times A Week”

  1. One problem with this article: you make it seem like training 3 times per week isn’t ideal, when in fact it definitely is for natural trainers. Training 6 days a week will drain you out and lead to no progress. Also,push pull legs is a decent split, but full body is the way to go because you hit each muscle group at least twice per week as opposed to just once.


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