3 Day Muscle Building Workout For Beginners

Beginners workout routine
New to weight training? This workout is for you. Designed to hit each muscle group with the big compound exercises once per week. Each workout day has 3-5 exercises.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
10 weeks
30 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, Machines
Male & Female
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Workout Description

New to weight training? This workout is for you. Designed to hit each muscle group with the big compound exercises once per week. Each workout day has 3-5 exercises.

Recommended: Need help building muscle? Take our Free Muscle Building Course

With this workout you focus should be on your technique not the weight you're lifting. Get the technique right in this workout then move on to a more advanced workout (Like this 4 day split) after 8-10 weeks.

Workout Schedule

The workout hits each muscle group once per week. Abs and lower back should be worked after each workout with 2 exercises (see ab exercises).

  • Monday - Chest and Triceps
  • Tuesday - Rest
  • Wednesday - Back and Biceps
  • Thursday - Rest
  • Friday - Legs and Shoulders
  • Saturday - Rest
  • Sunday - Rest

3 Day Muscle Building Workout

Before you begin each workout, start with a 10 minute warm up to prime your nervous system and get you ready to hit your workouts. Use this time as a beginner to establish quality habits. Take your time with each exercise and focus on proper form and developing that mind-muscle connection. You'll thank yourself later.

Monday - Chest and Triceps

Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Bench Press 4 12,10,10,10
Incline Bench Press 2 10
Tricep Dip 3 Failure
Lying Tricep Extension 3 10


  • Have your bench at a 30 degree angle for incline bench press.
  • Make sure you lean forward to focus the work on your lower chest. Use assisted dip machine if you cannot do bodyweight.
  • Light weights only for skullcrushers, focus on form.

Wednesday - Back and Biceps

Exercise Sets Reps
Wide Grip Pull Up 4 10
Seated Row 3 12
One Arm Dumbbell Row 3 10
Standing Barbell Curl 3 8-10


  • Focus on form.
  • Use lat pull downs if you can not do pull ups.
  • Can use EZ bar for barbell curls.

Friday - Legs and Shoulders

Exercise Sets Reps
45 Degree Leg Press 4 12,10,10,10
Leg Extension 3 12
Leg Curl 3 12
Military Press 4 8-10
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 10


  • 45 deg leg press, start with 75% of your max and add weight on each set.
  • Lateral raises - focus on form using light weights

1.4K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 05/05/2021 - 21:20

What ab exercises can I add, or will it suffice as is to trim a 44 year old female’s spare tire? Add- 10 years out of the gym, 5’6, 145#.

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Posted Thu, 05/06/2021 - 09:40
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Posted Fri, 04/16/2021 - 13:28
Matthew Mounts

Can I replace the leg press with squats and add a deadlift to day 2?

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Posted Mon, 04/19/2021 - 09:48

Hey Matthew - yes, you can do that.

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Posted Sat, 04/03/2021 - 02:46

How much time you're supposed to rest between reps ?

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Posted Tue, 04/06/2021 - 10:04

Hey Andre - there is zero rest between reps. Rest between sets can be 45-60 seconds.

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Posted Mon, 11/02/2020 - 17:47
Eric Kuehn

Hello. I’m 8 weeks into this 3 day split and I’ve had a lot of gains. I really want to start adding squats and dead lifts into my weekly routine. Can you recommend a 3 day split to follow this one?

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Posted Tue, 11/03/2020 - 09:34
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Posted Thu, 09/10/2020 - 18:32
John Brown

What should be my rest time between each rep on the workouts and rest time between each different workout

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Posted Fri, 09/25/2020 - 16:29

Hey John - You should not be resting between reps. The reps should be performed back to back until you reach the prescribed number. Rest between sets should be 45-60 seconds. Rest between exercises can be 2-3 minutes. Hope that helps!

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Posted Sat, 08/31/2019 - 04:26
Jaikaran saini

What diet plan should I follow for this exercise plan please tell me.

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Posted Fri, 07/12/2019 - 10:51

Is it ok to include cardio (treadmill or swim) on the rest days.

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Posted Thu, 02/07/2019 - 09:52
Ricardo Cesari

Should I be resting in between sets and if yes how long

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Posted Sun, 02/03/2019 - 12:02
Eduardo Eduardo...

In the end of each workout its 2 exercicies for abs and two for lower back ?

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Posted Tue, 01/08/2019 - 13:12
Andreas Jansson

What does 4 sets of12,10,10,10 mean?

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Posted Mon, 03/25/2019 - 12:16

first set is 12 reps
Second set 10 reps
Third 10 reps
Fourth 10 reps
Best Regards

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Posted Sat, 09/26/2020 - 01:58

Do you mean same weight in every set or increase weight each set? 12,10,10,10

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Posted Mon, 09/28/2020 - 09:23

Hey Andreas - Your weight should stay the same and you should be focusing on form & technique. Hope that helps!

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Posted Sun, 09/16/2018 - 13:30

Do I need to add weight after each sets?
Looking forward to your response.

Thank you very much

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Posted Mon, 09/10/2018 - 16:52

Hi I'm just wondering how many sets and reps I should do on my abs (I'm coming back from a serious illness )

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Posted Mon, 08/06/2018 - 10:57

What would be a good follow up program to this one?

Im in week 9 now and soon finished.

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Posted Mon, 08/06/2018 - 14:05
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Posted Sun, 07/29/2018 - 17:34
Kushal Karki

Hi M&S team,
I'm returning to the gym after 6 months, after a horrible injury (piriformis and trapped nerve), would this exercise be good for me?



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Posted Thu, 07/26/2018 - 13:09

Hello, I am 504 pounds, 6' 3",. 41 years old. I have started going to the gym. It is my first experience in a real gym doing lifting. 10 or so years ago I was a member at Gold's but I wasn't allowed to lift only do cardio. Maybe 5 or 6 years ago there was a small gym type thing at work that I used on my lunch break but was never really regimented with it. I did more bicycle than I did weights but I did do some of the weights. So here I am going and mostly just doing things I am familiar with 5 sets of 5 reps with enough weight that I can finish but the last rep of the last set I have to dig a little. One day arms and back, one day legs and just keep alternating. Obviously I need to lose weight, but I also want to get stronger and build some muscle that will burn more fat and make it easier for me to move this big carcass around. I usually do about 10 or 15 minutes on the bike and 5 to 10 minutes around the track as warm up and about 5 to 10 minutes after my workout to cool down I guess. Right now because of my schedule I can only go 3 days a week and it alternates W, F, S, and T, Th,, S. I have some strength from being big my whole life but not like I used to. I like heavy weights, it is almost like my body isn't satisfied if I go too light.

Should I be looking at this routine (understandibly replacing any pull ups with lat pull downs at heavier weights), or is there something better I should be doing? Also I am kind of finding it hard to make my legs sore like I can my arms. Any suggestions, more reps, more weight, or don't expect it because they have been carrying a lot of weight for a long time and they are used to a little torture already?

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Posted Sun, 01/27/2019 - 20:48

I noticed nobody replied to this comment and I'm 6 months late to the party but I want to chime in.

I started at 5'10" 350 lbs and through calorie restriction and walking alone I managed to lose 175 lbs over the course of 18 months or so. As a result of the way I lost weight, with no weightlifting, I was exceedingly weak returning to the gym at last at 175 lbs. I'm now about to finish this program and have had noticeable gains in every single area and am now at a normal strength level. I will be transitioning to Fierce 5 in the next two weeks to get serious about adding some good weight back on.

My takeaway for you is don't worry about the exercise itself if weight loss is your goal. Get out and move, rein in your eating and stay disciplined, you can lose that weight of you're truly dedicated. Good luck!

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Posted Mon, 07/09/2018 - 11:53

What can i do during workout rest days?

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Posted Thu, 07/05/2018 - 18:41
Karen Sano

Hi -
So here goes - I am 53 and used to do Half Marathons and was a Fire Fighter - so worked out regularly. The last 5 years I have gone through a Divorce - 2 Rounds of Chemo and Other Family Issues which have side lined me on the couch - Just 'Splainin' - Not Complainin' :) So all this has wreaked my body and muscles and I am pretty tired of it !! I have reasonable goals here - to get off the couch again !! Can you please explain the Calorie Deficit to help lose weight ?? I plan on following the Beginners Work Out to start.
Thanks so much !!

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Posted Fri, 07/06/2018 - 08:38

Hi Karen,

Sure - a calorie deficit is any point in time where you are eating/consuming less calories than you burn during the day. This aids in weight loss.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 07/01/2018 - 17:10

My question is about Pull Ups. I am just starting back into the gym with a big focus on weight loss. I have never in my life been able to do a pull up, even in my fittest of days when I was 16 and a lifeguard. I would love to incorporate something like a pull up into the routine. I never had any issues with a pull-down, but I feel that it’s not giving me the same bang for my buck. Is the pull-down really a good alternative to a pull up, or do you have another movement / exercise that is more suitable alternative? (Note: I am aware of weight assisted pull ups, but looking for some other exercises to be more suitable substitute) Thank you
If you have time, can you also provide an alternative to dead lifts? I also want to incorporate them but since I am just starting out, I have a healthy fear of back injuries right now and would rather try to build up to dead lifts.

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Posted Mon, 07/02/2018 - 09:17

Hi David,

Try eccentric only pull ups where you jump into the top part and lower down slowly.

I'd recommend an easier variation of the deadlift. Try trap bar deadlifts or dumbbell deadlifts until you get your form right.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 06/26/2018 - 22:32

is it ok dat i will do the wednesday workout on evening if i failed to do so in the morning den on friday ill go back to the gym in the morning?

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Posted Wed, 06/27/2018 - 09:37

Hi Michael,

Yes, that is fine.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 06/28/2018 - 02:10


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Posted Tue, 09/18/2018 - 07:03

Please Josh email me the workout plan for the beginners for whole week. i shall be thank full to you. regards

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Posted Tue, 09/18/2018 - 10:07

Hi Usman,

It is available on this page you have commented on.

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Posted Thu, 06/14/2018 - 00:21

I trained until I was untill about 37.Due to my restrictions due to an accident I cannot do regular deadlifts,but I can do still leg.I have no other restrictions.What kind of workout do you recomened to start again. I am 50 in good shape?

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Posted Thu, 06/14/2018 - 15:33

Hi Junior,

I'd recommend reaching out to a professional in person. Tough for anyone to provide advice over the internet not knowing how your accident has affected your movement patterns.

I know this probably isn't the answer you were hoping for but I hope it helps!

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Posted Tue, 05/15/2018 - 17:26

I'm midway through the 10 week suggested duration of this routine. Many thanks - this has really helped me get into it. Should I move onto a different workout at the end of the 10 weeks??

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Posted Wed, 05/16/2018 - 10:20

Hi James,

Awesome! Glad you're enjoying it. You can stick to this program after the 10 weeks if you're still enjoying it. No need to switch things up if it's working and you actually like doing it. Just be sure to continue to make it challenging for yourself.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 03/26/2021 - 10:47

Hey Louis - yes you can continue using this program.

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Posted Fri, 03/26/2021 - 13:52
Louis Hook

Thanks very much love this site very helpful you guys

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Posted Thu, 03/25/2021 - 15:55

Hi there can i just keep carrying on this program and of course challenge myself with more weight is that ok kind regards louis

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Posted Fri, 04/06/2018 - 01:00

I used to go to the gym consistently for nearly 4 years. But I've stopped due to personal reasons, and I haven't been weightlifting for nearly 5 years. Now I'm struggling to find a good beginner workout so I can start from scratch again. I've also put on some fat over the years. So I was wondering if this a good program to build lean muscle and burn fat at the same time, or if there are any better programs? I also plan on increasing my protein intake, eat less carbs and do calorie deficit to shed some fat, and gain muscle at the same time.

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Posted Fri, 04/06/2018 - 09:10
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Posted Mon, 02/12/2018 - 22:47

Hey man I just came across this website tonight and I like your plan, but I'm not sure which to follow. I've been going to the gym for about 3 years but it was never steady sometimes I would go 3x a week other times I would go once in two months so obviously its disappointing when it comes to my results, I really want to be consistent now and really build on some mass but I am torn between this split workout or the beginners full body workout you posted in the comments section, what do you recommend???

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Posted Tue, 02/13/2018 - 09:04

Hi Vlad,

I'd personally recommend full body workouts for beginners. However, whichever program you feel you'll enjoy more and will perform consistently will ultimately lead to the best results.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 02/08/2018 - 17:02


I'm doing BBG for now but i'm looking for a lifting program that i can incorporate with my running schedule and this looks perfect just wondering how many weeks this program is? Also should exercises change each week or can you repeat the same thing every week.

thanks !!

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Posted Fri, 02/09/2018 - 10:15

Hi Kat,

Program is 10 weeks long and you perform the same exercises for those 10 weeks.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 02/09/2018 - 10:53

I see. thank you !!

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Posted Tue, 01/16/2018 - 08:26

Biceps only 3 sets per week ? Is this sufficient? I am a beginner and doing single muscle a day ...Monday chest to Saturday legs and rest on Sunday...6 days a week with single muscle group...I have heard that if we do a single muscle workout per week, it is very less intense workout and not advisable as the muscle works once per week and cannot see any effect in your muscle ...please advice ...