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Phase 3: Three-Day Split

The 12-Week Beginner Bodybuilding Plan - Phase 3

After 6 weeks of consistent training you should be nailing your form on the exercises you've been doing. Now lets move on to weeks 7-9.

Phase 3 The Three-Day Split ( Weeks 7-9)

After 6 weeks of consistent training you should be nailing your form on the exercises you've been doing. That's because your nervous system and muscle fibers are getting properly trained through the constant repetition. In week nine, step up the amount of work you're doing for each muscle group and the intensity, yet again. Remember, the goal here is to keep progressing. The only way to do that is to keep raising the bar with more work and higher intensity.

Phase 3 progresses you to a 3-Day Training Split. So instead of dividing your body up into two different workouts, divide it among three different workouts. You'll train fewer muscle groups each workout, allowing you to do more exercises per muscle group while training each muscle group with even greater intensity.

Although there are numerous ways to pair muscle groups to work with a 3-day split, one of the most effective is also known as a push/pull/legs split. That means the body is broken down into a push day, where you train all the pushing muscles of the upper body (chest, shoulders and triceps); a pull day, where you train all the pulling muscles of the upper body (back, trap, biceps and forearms); and a leg day (legs and calves).

Weeks 7-9 Workouts

Workout 1: Push Day
Workout 2: Legs Day
Workout 3: Pull Day

Phase 1 Rundown

Exercises

The exercises in this phase are the ones you've been using in the previous phases with yet again another additional exercise added to most muscle groups. The point is to increase the amount of work for each muscle group. Although you could increase the amount of work simply by doing more sets per exercise, better to add more exercises. Different exercises target different areas of the muscles, a necessity for overall development and balanced shape. You'll also add an exercise for a new muscle group to target - the forearms.

Different Exercises target different areas of the muscles, a necessity for overall development and balanced shape.
"Different Exercises target different areas of the muscles, a necessity for overall development and balanced shape."

Sets

You'll still be doing 3 sets per exercise. However, since you're now adding another exercise for most muscle groups, you'll be doing an extra 3 sets per muscle group.

Reps

In this phase, drop the reps to 6-8 for first exercise for each major muscle group, excluding calves, abs and forearms). On the second exercise, drop down to 8-10 reps. But on the last exercise, increase to 12-15 reps per set. This will help you to develop muscle strength, muscle size and muscle definition.

Weight

As you have been doing in phases 1 and 2, choose the proper weight that allows you to hit the listed rep range for each exercise. And continue to add weight as you can compete more reps than the listed rep range.

Rest

During this phase, rest 2-3 minutes between sets, allowing you to stick with heavier weight while complete more reps for maximum size and strength gains.

Do each workout once per week allowing at least one day of rest between workouts

Main | Phase 1 | Phase 2 | Phase 3 | Phase 4

Related Articles

About The Author

Jim holds a doctorate in exercise physiology and has been the personal nutrition and health consultant for numerous celebrity clients...

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Enforcer26

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Enforcer26

A very informative and great routine Jim has posted (I'm currently in phase 3 myself) however in this 12 week workout there's not one mention of nutrition on what to/not to eat, what's preffered to take on pre/post workouts and there's no word on off training days, especially the weekend. Not that i'm chowing on fast food, but a little direction in the macros field would be keen. Anyone else trying this 12 week program? Drop me a line. Cheers!

Jan 11, 2012 11:05pm | report
 
Geotorres

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Geotorres

week 8, so far is working fine. Im happy with this routine keeps me focused and motivated. About the diet i keep it simple (isoprotein, creatine and lots of tuna-chicken and veggies) this routine is only three days but a lot of workout in the day, so you must rest every part one week. I do 3 workouts days and one cardio M-W-F-S, G,reetings, Geo

Jan 13, 2012 8:29pm | report
bigtee75

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bigtee75

I'll be in phase 3 next Monday. I am ready for it too. I have seen very great gains in just 5 weeks of this routine. I'm seeing major definition in my upper body above my abs (still have alot of fat to lose around belly so I'm ramping up the cardio). I am seeing separation in muscle between my deltoids, pecs, and traps. Speaking of traps they are getting pretty big too thanks to the rows and shrugs. I am also seeing definition in my quads, and horseshoe development in my triceps. That's all in just 5 weeks. I'm getting stronger, feeling good, looking good, and my wife can't keep her hands of me ;) Thanks Jim, this has been the BEST plan I have ever used. Good luck fellas, and looking forward to hearing about your great gains.

Feb 5, 2012 1:19pm | report
veddish

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veddish

yeah great phase workouts..i have gain an incredible increase in strength,muscle definition,medium gains( depend on body type=ecto,endo,meso)..increased all my max one rep..my pecs are growing rapidly and triceps,shoulder incresed in height and seems more massive..with heavy squat ,urs legs will grow rapidly...but but but train hard and sweat.concerning nutrition am on a high protein diet because i want to keep my abs and dont want to store fat in my waist line..i dont do cardio..one more thing when i take caffeine before legs workout that is squat,when i take my post-workout shake am about to vomit..observed this all the time

Feb 19, 2012 6:47am | report
 
domoMKIV

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domoMKIV

Why is upright row being done on push day? I am enjoying the routine thus far but the above question confuses me a bit.

Feb 27, 2012 4:44pm | report
 
jeremywp

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jeremywp

I didn't really get that either at first. I think it's because you're working your delts on that day, but I'm not sure.

Apr 9, 2012 5:02pm | report
bendeziel

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bendeziel

When done correctly the upright row is a great exercise for your shoulders. I prefer to use two dumbbells over a barbell to avoid wrist problems. Just be sure to lift with your elbows to activate your delts more.

Mar 17, 2014 1:42pm | report
veddish

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veddish

Completed phase 3.have made incredible gains 6lbs in two or three months,i don't always control my calories but i started eating 6 eggs per days since two weeks..6 whites and 3 yolks..really happy to see gains because i rarely make gains..looking fro greater gain for phase 4.i recommende strongly this split.T to anyone.

Mar 18, 2012 10:22am | report
 
dlknight553

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dlknight553

I am starting Phase 3 on Monday. I'm older so I have adapted the rountines to all machines. Its working well for me. Getting stronger and people are starting to notice the changes. Will be taking "after" pics in January.

Nov 30, 2012 11:28pm | report
 
6s2350

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6s2350

I am on phase 3 and noticed my lifts have to be lighter since I am not doing them 3 times a week! Anyone else notice that?

Jan 2, 2013 3:19pm | report
 
chels66

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chels66

very informative, there is no mention of what day's of the week, phase 3 routines should be used?

Apr 27, 2013 3:49am | report
 
jholloman

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jholloman

Chels66,

Look at the end of the of the rudown...

"Do each workout once per week allowing at least one day of rest between workouts".

Basically you are doing Phase 1: Mon- Push, Tues-Cardio, Wed - Pull, Thurs- Cardio, Fri - Legs, Sat-Cardio, Sun- Rest

May 12, 2013 7:36pm | report
dga4

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dga4

This past week I tore my MCL...I am supposed to start week 7 of this program today. Should I just continue with it and just skip the leg day? Any advice would be great! I am loving the results I am seeing from this program!

May 7, 2013 12:32pm | report
 
NathanielR

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NathanielR

I start Week 7(Phase 3) today My bench press weight has improved a lot from week 1 but i havent done any cardio during phase 2 Gain are pretty good, cant wait to see what the end result will look like at the end of week 12

Jul 15, 2013 5:32am | report
 
woitw1

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woitw1

SHOULD I SUBSTITUTE MORE SQUATS FOR LYING LEG PRESSES SINCE I DONT HAVE THAT MACHINE IN MY HOME GYM ARSENAL

May 19, 2014 9:18am | report
 
Creation02

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Creation02

I'm on week 6 phase 2 join it=nto this phase three looks like we are doing one day of rest per week with this split is that correct?

Aug 26, 2014 11:46pm | report
 
Showing 1 - 16 of 16 Comments

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