The 3 Part Training Regimen – A Very Simple Brain Dead Way of Constructing your Lifting Regimen

forward smith squat for glutes and hams

There are ways of properly constructing one’s weight-lifting regimen especially if your goal is building muscle mass. You just have to ensure that you have sufficiently stimulated the target muscle groups – no more (as it may lead to under-recovery aka. overtraining) and no less.

Much too often lifters be confused of what needs to be done for the day. Too often I see practitioners of iron going through almost ALL moves that can be done for the certain muscle group! These extra unneeded sets and exercises are mostly redundant and will do more harm than good and tend to dent their recovery ability.

For example (Bad Program) Chest – Flat bench barbell – Incline bench barbell – Flat bench dumbbell – incline dumbbell – Chest Press Machine – Pec Dec – Flyes – Cross overs

I seriously see kids doing that! And that is like the WHOLE ARSENAL of Chest training and you do all that in one day? I don’t believe in using the term “over-training” but these kids are indeed OVER-TRAINING.

Just to tell you, Bodybuilding is not a competition of “Who can do the most exercises in one session”

It’s no surprise 90% of lifters or gym goers don’t make any progress at all, because 90% don’t have a damn idea of how to properly design their own daily regimen.

So today I will go out of my way to share with you, A-Lifters the SIMPLEST and the most reliable method of creating your lifting regimen. I call this the 3-part training method.

Like what the name implies this regimen consists of 3 parts for every muscle group that is trained. The first two parts will have you do 2 compound moves for the muscle trained and the third part will have you do an isolation exercise. Let’s go through each and every one of them:

The First Part

The first part consists of compound exercise done in 4 or 5 straight sets. You don’t need to go to failure on this part but you should opt to increase resistance as you progress. In other words this part will have you focusing on a big move with which you will have to aim for progressive resistance or intensity overload (intensity NOT HIT, intensity here means the raw weight being lifted for reps).

No Failure sets: Here you should opt for 6-10 straight reps done just close to muscle failure; which means you don’t need to opt for momentary muscle failure and you should stop once you can feel that you cannot the next rep.

The reason for which is so that you can concentrate in the lift and the form itself – keep in mind that the goal of the first part is to increase your strength and the amount of weight you can lift – this part will therefore consist of big hard such as Squats, Barbell Bench presses, Bent-over Rows, Military Presses, and Good Mornings.

In the first place these lifts are not that safe to take to failure and second the goal here is to progressively lift heavier and heavier load in a controlled manner.

These lifts on the first part is where you need to be fresh and this is where you will depend upon getting raw strength. Everyone needs raw lifting strength and your body should adapt accordingly to the high CNS load and will acknowledge the challenge which is imposed upon it not only making you stronger but also bigger and badder!

This will also prime your body to better adapt and react to the high intensity of effort moves which you will do next. Note: you can also opt to do a 5×5 themed scheme on this part of the regimen.

Second Part

The second part consists of compound exercises done to failure. A good rep range here would be 8-12 reps but it doesn’t really matter as long as you reach muscle failure. You don’t need to watch the weight you will do each session unlike in the first part – the only important thing here is FAILURE! You can even use 70% of your 1 RM today and then do 30 or 45 % the next session, as long as you reach muscle failure.

But I won’t really recommend going as low as 30% for me it’s very hard to “feel” the contractions using that light a weight. I would tend to bore myself out even before I can reach real muscle failure.

Compound Machine moves: This is the MAIN GROWTH part of our regimen, needless to say that this is the bread and butter of the hypertrophy program. For hypertrophy you only need as much as three triggers of momentary failure to produce the needed micro tears (micro damage) to your muscle fibres to stimulate a growth response. The moves in this part should therefore consist mostly of machine compound moves for 1: safety, since you will be reaching for momentary muscle failure (or beyond) and 2: Mind-muscle connection. It is easier to reach “mechanical failure” doing big barbell moves as other assisting muscle groups would fail and tire out not necessarily annihilating the target muscle itself, but compare that to let’s say “Hammer Chest Press” which is a compound chest move but here it is very easy to exhaust your chest completely reaching its true “muscle failure”.

Some great moves to include into your second part arsenal: Machine Chest Press, Hammer Press, ANY Moves that utilize a HAMMER-STRENGTH MACHINE (because hammer machine kick ass!)

Here Dorian is using Hammer Strength back machine:

mentzer and dorian yates HIT with hammers


Smith Machine moves (e.g. Smith Machine Bench press, Smith Machine Shoulder Press, Smith Machine Squat, Smith Machine Squats for Hams where your foot are placed at font *See Picture below* but place your feet closer together to affect your hams more, Smith Machine rows, etc.)

forward smith squat for glutes and hams


Leg Presses, Triceps Dip Machine, Cable rows, lat-pulldown, T-bar rows and the like. You probably got the idea right?

Note: You can do 2 regular sets to failure and to ramp up the effort, you can also apply additional intensity techniques such as continuous drop sets, inflitonic reps, omni contractions, and the like with your last set. Make sure you do every rep as meticulously as you can and try to make each rep last especially accentuate the negative portion of your reps to make the most out of every set (take advantage of TIME UNDER TENSION). With the second part it’s the “quality” that counts – you may not be doing too much sets but your will be doing intense muscle damage with this part so make it count.

Third Part

Now for the third part – this one will be very simple. Just 3-4 straight sets with any isolation exercise (which you didn’t do on the second part) for the certain body part that is trained. This will be the final part of your regimen and you don’t need to reach for failure for this although you most likely will reach momentary failure anyways. Just go for a light weight you can do for 15 reps and you’ll be fine.

Some body parts will usually do with just 2 parts:

For hams I would usually just do few couple of sets of RDLs and 4 sets of hamstring curls to failure (the drop sets on the last set). I notice that the curls themselves would usually do the job in that case I would do more than 4 sets. For calves it’s the same. Just 5-6 sets of calf raises will do.

Optional method

You can also opt to do straight sets for the first two parts for 4 sets. Just make sure that you will be hitting the target muscle in a different angle on the second part from the first part. For example first part is incline bench and second part will be flat bench presses. Don’t do Flat barbell bench presses then Flat Dumbbell bench presses in one day (for example), as that would be senseless and redundant.


I hope that helps. If you need a concrete sample stay tuned for the next article where I will share the very split that I am in. Eat your eggs, A-lifters!

A-Lifter- Don't forget to leave your comment/feedback below.  If this article was helpful, I am sure our book Real Talk Muscle will help you even more in your quest for muscle gain. Check it out you can read the first few chapters as well.
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