100 times yes!
Still to this day I get readers telling me that they’re going to stay on the 5 day THT workout (instead of the 3 day plan) because they want to “speed up” results. Woah! Hold up!
The 5-day routine is not more effective.
This belief stems from the “more is better” mindset that is still rampant in the bodybuilding community.
Think about it…if more was really better, why do 8 sets? Do 20. Why stop at 20, do 50. If more is better, do 100 sets as it must produce better results than 50, right? I’m sure you see the absurdity of “more is better”.
So we all have to draw the line somewhere.
Now, please pay attention to this…muscle growth is a 2-step process.
(1) The stimulation i.e. the workout itself.
(2) The rest afterwards where repair and growth can occur.
Only when both are correct, can you truly grow. The workout needs to be of a sufficient intensity, and the rest period needs to be sufficiently long enough to produce those gains you’ve stimulated.
I’ve stated it gazillion times: A workout does not PRODUCE growth, it merely STIMULATES it. The rest period then PRODUCES the growth.
I coined the term Peak Overcompensation Point (POP) to describe the time when you have fully produced all the gains you stimulated in the gym. Only then should you hit the same body part again. P.O.P. is point (3) in this diagram…
So please remember the distinction between “stimulating” and “producing” in the future.
The more work/volume/sets you do, the greater the stimulation – true. But also, the longer is required to recover and produce the growth.
Doing too much work and/or not allowing a long enough time to elapse between hitting the same body part results in ZERO PROGRESS. Your body is not getting a chance to produce the gains you want so bad.
This is an example of being “too keen” and getting nowhere.
NOTE: When you’re cutting, your ability to recover actually slows. Your training must be amended (slightly) to allow for this. If not, you will actually lose muscle. Discover how to train your whole body correctly in my fat loss program Total Six Pack Abs.
So, if you’re doing the 3-day THT routine, make sure you’ve trained intensely enough on Monday, Wedesday, and Friday, then simply leave the body alone on those other days to let the reparation process complete itself. Think of it like the body repairing a cut on your skin. If you poke it, it never heals. Just leave it alone and let it heal itself.
So more is not better. But less is not better. We want the PRECISE amount/volume of work relative to the rest said volume demands for the stimulated changes to occur.
On the 5-day routine we do 8 sets to failure for each body part and allow a week for recovery and growth i.e. a 5-day split routine.
On the 3-day plan we do 2 sets to failure for each body part and train the whole body 3 times a week i.e. a 3-day full body routine.
Bear in mind that although there are 2 extra days on the 5 -day plan, each session is shorter than those 3-day workouts.
So, if you had any confusion about this, I hope you can see now that the 5-day routine is not more effective simply because there are 2 extra days. However, it’s not less effective either.
Stop making the mistake other “empty heads” in the gym are making year after year. MORE IS NOT BETTER. More leads to short-circuiting your gains and making zero progress.
Hit it hard – Rest – Hit it hard – Rest – Hit it hard – Rest – Hit it hard – Rest – Hit it hard ∞
It’s Monday today – go train with as much intensity as you can muster!
Then simply rest and eat 😀
Now you know what to do and why you’re doing it, get the science-based, growth-promoting THT workout below for free. Make amazing gains like these guys. Both the 3-day and 5-day plans are included…
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Ok I’ve always been hesitant to do the 3 day plan. I admit I do suffer from more is better. But it’s just been drilled into me, it’s hard to get away from it. But I will try this! Look forward to it actually.
Personally I’ve been making great gains on THT 3 day! It’s the other way around for me, I’m afraid to go to 5 day training lol! Keep the blogs coming Mark. Great work!!
When to do cardio in this plan of three days muscle building activities.
Can we do it on rest days?
I’m going into my second week of tht training the 5 day program I’m very curious to see this work im taking it serious and I feel the chest and abs day is not enough but I guess time will tell I feel my body is well above average I just want to take it to the next level
In THT 4 ,the shoulder workout consisted of lateral raises suppersettes with overhead presses,is that better for side delts??
And also should we peform seathed or standing. Overhead presses?are behind the neck presses really bad?
As a 58 year old, I do the 5 day cycle – 30 to 45 mins per day. Am totally bushed once I have gone through my sets – Gains are great – wife has no complaints 🙂
I don’t believe it… I see many fitness blogs pushing the 3 day/45 min regimen .. I believe an advanced lifter ( a person who has basically reached their maximum muscle potential ) can get by with this regimen to maintain… Mark you can get by with this suggestion but this regimen is not how you initially built your physique ..
Hi mark question on 3 day split rest, would active rest be ok? I play squash so would an hours game be ok on “rest days”?
I want to gain muscle bet if any time I be come strong the next week I be less strong what should I do
3 day plan is perfect…
but i have problem…
if i have six pack im very very lean..
if iam increasing my muscle size im losing my 6 pack…
is there any means to maintain both 6 pack and good bulk of muscle
Great article. After training for almost 20 yrs I gotta say tht 3 days a week slaps on muscle like no other. I workout like this most of the year. When I notice a muscle group lagging, then I’ll switch to a 5 day split to bring them up. Keep up the awesome work. MUSCLE HACK!!!
@Vivek. If you’re on a gain cycle, there’s no need for any cardio – it doesn’t help. If you’re cutting, I recommend you do it immediately after your weight training and rest on rest days.
@abishek. Yes that’s the pre-fatigue technique. I would recommend seated for stabilization. After lateral raises, you don’t have much energy left. Better to take the stabilization out of the equation and just focus on pushing the bar up. Even a smith machine is good when using a pre-fatigue set. Yes behind the heads are terrible and can lead to injury. Don’t do it.
@Hermnan. lol great stuff!
@John. I built my physique by cycling 5-day and 3-day plans. The last many months I’ve been doing back to back 3-day cycles to great effect.
@Tommi. Yeah I don’t see any issue with a game of squash. When I talk of rest I mean avoiding weight training or any cardio that will push you to an intensity where you start to feel the burn i.e. crossing the lactic threshold. Enjoy your squash.
@Jonathan. If you do my THT workout and start with my 3-day plan, you will definitely get stronger week to week.
@venkata. Both free diets on this site are designed to give lean gains with no fat. Check out my GLAD diet and also work out how may calories you need. Also download my free meal plans book. Here are the links…
@Caleb. Awesome! Keep up the good work, buddy!
I like the 3 day, I did see gains when using it. What was the hardest for me was I got accustomed to 5 day or 6 day (tspa) trips to the gym. So when i switched to try 3day, I found myself going….. OK no gym today…..now what do I do. It was weird feeling And took a few weeks to come around.
hi Mark, outstanding article as always.
i was wondering what may be your thoughts about the 3 days per week full body workouts that call for just a 3 compound multi-joint exercises per session as a pull exercise (basically all back exercises), a push exercise (all chest exercises) and a lower body exercise (squat/deadlift/lunge variations) and no isolation exercises for smaller body parts (biceps, triceps, shoulder, calves) because they get all the stimulus needed from the 3 big lifts, claiming that’s all the trainees need to build muscle and transform their bodies. advising also to rotate exercises every workout (for example with the push movements, choosing a flat bench press for Monday, a military press for Wednesday and dips for Friday), changing the rep/set scheme every session ( 5*6 for Monday, 4*8 for Wednesday and 3*12 for Friday), and focusing on challenging the muscles every workout by either adding reps or weight, reaching failure and beyond only on the last set of every set and near failure (by a rep or two) on the other sets. so do you think this is sufficient to built and change the body (body recomposition), and if not why would be the reasons? thanks Mark.
@Tony. Yeah a lot of people have that experience man.
@Younes. I think they’re pretty terrible actually. The smaller parts absolutely do not get enough stimulation from compound movements – they need direct work. So the muscle fiber recruitment is not optimal for the whole body.
Only 1 set at the end ever comes near failure so the intensity is not high enough for real meaningful gains in size. If you want the full scientific breakdown on all of this, read my article on it here…
Tony, same here. I just finished 2 back to back cycles of TSPA, my first ever attempt at a “diet.” I made it from 26% to 14% body fat and gained size and lean mass. Now I’m doing a 10 week cycle of the THT 3-day with the glad diet. This week was the start of the workout. Started the diet 2 wks. ago.. Can’t help feeling like I’m cheating on food and being lazy about the gym just because the TSPA routine was so drilled into my head. However, I’m maintain the body fat, so once these workouts get going, I think I’ll see even more size.