Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sample 3-Day Max-OT Arrangement

I was asked in response to the sample 5-day Max-OT routine if I could list a 3 day variation.

The principles remain the same the only difference each workout will be longer because you are forced to work more body parts each workout. For that reason I prefer to train over a 5 day period to keep the workouts shorter but if your schedule doesn't allow you to workout 5 days you can still achieve results with 3 days a week.

Day 1 – Chest, Shoulders & Triceps

Flat Bench Press….3 sets 4-6 reps
Incline Bench Press….3 sets 4-6 reps
Dumbbell Presses….3 sets 4-6 reps
Side Lateral Raises….2 sets 4-6 reps
Tricep Cable Pushdowns….2 sets 4-6 reps
Dumbbell Overhead Extensions….2 sets 4-6 reps

Day 2 – Back, Biceps & Abs

Deadlifts….3 sets 4-6 reps
Lat Pulldowns….3 sets 4-6 reps
Bicep Barbell Curls….2 sets 4-6 reps
Dumbbell Curls….2 sets 4-6 reps
Ab Rope Crunches….3 sets 8-12 reps
Swiss Ball Crunches….2 sets 8-12 reps

Day 3 – Legs & Calves

Squats….3 sets 4-6 reps
Leg Press….2 sets 4-6 reps
Stiff Leg Deadlifts…2 sets 4-6 reps
Seated Calf Raises…. 2 sets 6-8 reps
Calf Raises On Leg Press….2 sets 6-8 reps

Believe. Achieve.


  1. Hi Jeff,

    I've often wondered why we would want to train triceps after chest/shoulder training. I realize that this is a 3-day workout schedule so it's probably hard to avoid it, but with a 5-day schedule it can easily be avoided. I was just asking because I'm always able to lift heavier weight with my triceps if I haven't been working my chest first (when I train biceps and triceps together for example). They just seem to be a little tired after the chest workout. Doesn't that mean less overload?

    With kind regards,

  2. Good question.

    There are a couple ways to look at this - more overload vs. more recovery.

    There is always going to be overlap of secondary muscles involved no matter how you break up your training week.

    If you group triceps on a different day than chest day you will likely be stronger and able to handle more weight. The only draw back is this is yet another day during the week that triceps are being worked when you consider the amount of work they get on chest and shoulder day.

    So in that sense you may be stronger but you have less recovery time.

    I think this is examining things too much. I think it makes sense to work triceps on chest day and I also think it can make sense to work them on different days. I've done it both ways.

    More important is that you follow the Max-OT principles, train with intensity and follow great nutrition.

    I think the pluses and minuses pretty much cancel each other out so choose to group them how you feel most productive.

  3. HI Jeff,

    i have been working on a similar type of training split the past few weeks, one day on one day off 3 day a week split. I keep feeling that i overtrained.

    Usually after the first session of the week things kinda go well, but when it comes to the second session, i keep finding myself overtraining, and that screw up the gains i have got on back day. i am sure i am not overcomplicating it, as i am doing pretty much the same exercises here that you have listed out with the same amout of rep range. What's your take on this?

  4. Hi Jeff would the 5 day Max OT workouts suit a complete beginner? A lot of beginner programs recommend just 1 - 2 full body workouts a week for a total beginner 'to get used to weight training'. Would working out 5 days a week may be too much Jeff?

    Kind Regards, Shanx.

  5. Jeff thanks for this. You know it's funny everytime I find myself wanting to avoid going to the gym, all I have to do is have take a look at your documentary - and voila! instant motivation. It's amazing how that works. I find getting to the gym is 90% of the battle already won.

    I also noticed that you say in the documentary that you eat 'one whole food' meal a day. Now does that imply the rest of the day you live off supplements (shakes, and more shakes?)...I want to know if this is actually a healthy practice? Or is it okay and a matter of convenience? I'd have thought it'd be best to at least eat 3 whole food meals a day - after all supplements are just that - they're meant to supplement your regular food, yes?

    Look forward to your enlightening answer as always...

    Kind Regards, Shanx.

  6. Vincent - Every body part trained one time per week with the Max-OT principles. The rest is all about nutrition to maximize recovery. The Max-OT principles by there very nature guard against over training.

    Shanx - I perered most of my meals through supplementation for convenience, quality, nutrient density and ease of measuring. I think it is perfectly healthy as long as you make sure to get fiber through vegetables. That being said a person can have more food meals if they choose as long as the nutrient totals mesh at the end of the day.

  7. Thanks Jeff for the 3 day split workout, just what I as looking for!

  8. hi jeff
    about the three days workout i am in the university and i can workout only (sunday,monday,tuesday) so if it's ok what can i do in the rest of the week to maintain the muscle and if it's not what should i do
    plz help me

    Thanks alot...

  9. I think 3 days of Max-OT training per week can be very effective. One main key is making sure your nutrition is great all week long, including your non training days.

  10. so, to see great results i have to stay on the same training workout schedule or should i change it? because i saw steuart trained different workouts in the decumentary.
    and two workouts per muscle for the whole week is it enough?

    Thank you.

  11. Actually you want to train each body part only once per week.

    You can follow the same arrangement for 8-10 weeks and then you can change after your off week if you want.

    Check out this entry where I address variety.

  12. I want to keep my workouts short and effective, is it okey to skip forearm training like in this 3-day schedule? And also, is it ok to skip traps training if you do deadlifts?

    I think my traps get really good workout from 3 sets of deadlifts, plus that i hate shrugs.

  13. Yes, I think it is OK because forearms get a lot of work on many of the exercises and I agree traps get plenty of work doing deadlifts.

  14. hi jeff!
    do you recommend including activation exercises?
    such as doing heavy rack pulls before deadlifts?

  15. I think as long as you do the Max-OT warm-up protocal you are fine.

  16. I'm currently doing Max OT 5 days and I'm not seeing major gains yet but the muscle is getting harder. What I would like to do is to be able to do cardio to burn a little fat off but don't want to comprise muscle gain. What would you recommend? I'm 5'6 and 158 so not much fat there except midsection. Thanks.

  17. I recommend you continue to execute the Max-OT principles and place high emphasis on your nutrition. Adding Max-OT cardio is a good idea to help with fat loss.

  18. Hi Jeff i training the 3 day max ot,I have a question: after the firts 4 weeks i have to stay on the same exercises or need to change whit others.I see in the 5 days training the exercises changes every month.Thanks for your help.

  19. I recommend using the same exercises for the entire 8-10 week training cycle. After you take your scheduled week off you can try a different Max-OT arrangement if you prefer.