How to Get Jacked With Just 3 Workouts Per Week

Man Stretching Arms
Per Bernal

It can be challenging to get to the gym as often as you want to. With school and family demands, long work hours, and an increasing number of reasons to stay out of the gym as Old Man Winter recedes to whatever frostbitten hole he emerged from and spring takes over. But an efficient and organized plan can ensure that you make gains without cutting into your free time. 

Enter hybrid density training (HDT), a time-efficient training method I created to build lean, fit, and muscular physiques

HDT is a type of high-intensity interval training, which is a science-backed method that improves both your aerobic and anaerobic fitness and bolsters fat-loss efforts and strength gains. Each workout is broken up into two 20-minute circuits (marked A1, A2, and A3 and B1, B2, B3) that combine an upper- and lower-body exercise with a sprint for a total of 40 minutes of work (with an optional 10-minute add-on, marked C1, C2, C3).

It will not be easy (read: Keep a bucket on hand), but busting your hump just three times a week will leave your schedule free to spend more time out of the gym. Plus, after six weeks of HDT, that's exactly where you'll want to be—outside, showing off your new physique.

The Training Explained

First, find your 10-rep max for the following exercises:

  • deadlift (conventional, sumo, or trap bar)
  • squat (back, front, or goblet) l leg press
  • walking lunge
  • lat pulldown
  • bentover row
  • bench press
  • seated overhead press

This is the weight that you'll be using for all the weighted exercises, though you'll be performing only five reps per round (circuits marked with A and B). This will prevent you from burning out too quickly and will allow you to take minimal rest between exercises before moving on to the sprint. The times for each round are indicated next to "Sets." The goal is to get as many rounds as possible (AMRAP). For the sprint, choose your piece of equipment—whether it's a jump rope, an assault bike, a treadmill, or an erg—and go hard for 20 seconds. Note, for the optional Circuit C: Use your body weight as resistance, and perform as many reps as possible without failing. This is indicated in the table (right) as max reps minus one. Complete as many rounds of Circuit C in a 10-minute period.


You'll perform three HDT workouts per week for six weeks, with at least a day between workouts. (See the table below for the breakdown.)

Take a picture and measure the circumference of your waist around your belly button at the beginning, three weeks in, and at the end of the program. Lastly, retest your 10RM for all exercises to see how much you've progressed.


via Muscle & Fitness
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