The 333 Program: The 3 Day Workout Routine for Busy People

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John knows he needs to get his tail into the gym. And he also recognizes that he needs to start eating like he gives a damn.

He moved his family of four to a large home in the suburbs. The home was wrapped with a white picket fence and offered his family plenty of space with four bedrooms. The neighborhood provided a great public school system with less sirens driving by through the night. Every lawn on the street is manicured and mostly everyone has top of the line SUV’s that they don’t need.

On the outside his situation looked good. But internally, John knows he is breaking down.

The move has caused him to have a 65 minute commute to work each way. This causes him to get less sleep than he needs. His weight is up and his work performance is down. Over the last two years, John has put on 33 pounds.

Since he doesn’t get exercise and his diet doesn’t support brain performance, it takes him longer to complete tasks at work. Thus, it eats up the time he could spend at home with his family.

He crawls through the day with low-energy levels and it seems like nothing has worked. He tried to cut out carbs and while he lost a few pounds, but during the process he felt like ripping a few heads off at work.

He also tried joining a boot-camp class. He paid $175 a month for three months and only made it to four classes. He simply didn’t have bandwidth to get ready, drive another 20 minutes to the gym, workout and drive another 20 minutes home.

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Overweight, tired and darn near hopeless, John needs some help.

Does this story sound familiar? If you can relate, you’ve landed on the right article.

And don’t worry, I had you (and John) in mind when I created this program. You won’t have to spend 120 minutes at the gym each session. You won’t have to count every gram of carb you put into your mouth.

The 333 program is suited for someone that holds real responsibilities in their lives – a mortgage, a family, or a full-time job – but still wants to look good and feel good. You’ll workout three days per week all based around three movements (squat, bench, deadlift) and you’ll train in a three week micro-cycle (three weeks on, one week off).

Workout Equipment You’ll Need

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the program, you’ll need a few pieces of equipment. Exercising at home is the most practical and sometimes the most cost effective way to do it.
Once you invest in some equipment, there are no more recurring costs you have to pay like you normally would for a boot-camp class or personal trainer.

And don’t underestimate the results you can generate training from home. There are thousands of garage gorillas, basement behemoths, and spare-bedroom Spartans absolutely crushing their home gym workouts. And soon, you will be too.

Here’s what you need:

Squat stand with pull up bar

You’ll be doing a lot of your work on this, so it’s worth the investment. Having the pull up bar attachment is a big bonus and doesn’t take up any addition space. The Cadillac of squat stands that offers everything in a compact frame is the SML-2 Rogue 90 Lite Squat Stand.

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Barbell

Get a good barbell. One that has revolving sleeves and has a capacity of 1,000 pounds. A solid barbell will weigh 45 pounds, seven feet in length with center knurling.

Muscle Clamps

Spring collars are ok, but muscle clamps are way better.

Dumbbells

Unless you want a full rack of dumbbells, you probably don’t need them. A set of 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s will do the job.

Utility bench

These can run a bit pricey considering it’s just an adjustable bench. However, it’s a timeless piece of equipment that you’ll use often. Get a bench that isn’t so wide it hinders your pressing position in the bottom. The bench should have a capacity of 400 pounds or more and avoid purchasing a bench that has a leg attachment (this prevents a good set up with your feet in the bench.

Plates

Grab 4 plates of 2.5/5/10/20lbs and 6 of 45lbs. Totals for 440lbs when including your bar. Be sure to get round plates too. Hex plates make it awkward to pull anything off the floor. Rubber plates are great if you’re training at home. But they are more expensive. You can always just grab some rubber mats and lay them down while you lift with iron plates.

Resistance bands

While these are most often used for mobility purposes, we’ll be using them for some added resistance for some body-weight movements. One blue or green rogue monster mini bad should do the job.

Bosu ball

I know what you’re thinking, but just trust me.

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Practicality + Time Efficiency

The 333 program will test your limits and demand strength adaptation all within the parameters of your busy life. I’ve pulled some battle-tested methods and different elements from the powerlifting greats and strongman giants and packaged it in a way that the everyday man can use them too.

On days one and two expect to see a max effort attempt followed by accessory work and a short conditioning workout. On day three you’ll work on power and speed, moving sub-maximal weight as fast as you can followed by some muscular endurance work.

You’ll be doing all of this from home which automatically makes it more convenient. However, the program is designed to be done at a quick pace with timed intervals so you don’t end up spending more time than you want (or have) working out.

Because of this, The 333 Program fits the bill for a busy person like yourself all without sacrificing quality of your training.

Show and Go

Since The 333 Program is based on strength, you’ll not only be improving your body composition, but you’ll be building a well-conditioned body that isn’t all show and no go. Training for strength and power will allow you to build a body you like to look at and one that can perform on the basketball court for your Wednesday night men league game.

333 Workout Routine Notes

Habit based nutrition

You’re adding in a training program to your life. That’s a big deal for someone who is really busy. Rather than trying to overhaul your whole diet overnight, it’s better to just introduce new habits into your daily eating routine. This is known as the crowding out principle.

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Instead of removing items from your diet, concentrate on adding in good stuff. Eventually, this will crowd out the junk you’re used to eating, which plays a big role in the sluggish mental performance. Here are the two most practical but highly effective habits to introduce into your daily diet.

Have a green protein smoothie breakfast (3-4 cups of greens, 2 scoops of protein powder, 1 tablespoon of nut butter, 1 cup blueberries, a few ice cubes and 8-12 oz of water. Blend and drink.)

Have a huge salad with quality protein for lunch Pair with a high quality protein source like pasture raised grass-fed bison or wild caught salmon. A cup of quinoa, sweet potatoes or brown rice won’t hurt either.

Adding these two nutrition habits in your daily routine – without taking anything away – will do wonders to your performance and body composition.

One rep max

To find your one-rep max use this calculator.

Workout days

In the program you’ll find that the days are labeled by number instead of day. This is intentional. Everyone will have different schedules. Find a routine that works with your lifestyle. I suggest you have a at least one rest day between each workout.

Rest periods

For your max efforts, rest 3-5 minutes between reps. For your assistance work rest no more than 60 seconds between sets.

Off weeks

During off weeks be sure to stay active. Hike, swim, bike, row or whatever. Stay away from the weights but don’t turn into coach potato either.

The Movements

The program is built around the big three lifts – squat, bench and deadlift. All other movements augment these lifts or provide as a tool for conditioning work.

Squat

Rack the bar across your upper back by dipping under and then un-rack with a tight mid-line. You’ll step away from the rack by establishing your foot position. Your stance should be about shoulder width apart with your feet slightly turned out.

Before you initiate, breathe into your midsection to create some intra-abdominal pressure. Then, start the squat by taking the hips back while pressing your knees out. Break parallel. Squat the bar up.

Bench Press

Lie flat on the bench, lift your chest and pin your shoulders back. With feet planted on the floor you’ll grab the barbell with your pinky fingers on the ring marks of your bar. When you unrack the barbell your forearms and wrists should be perpendicular to the floor.

You’ll bring the bar to your lower chest by keeping your elbows tucked and your lats activated. With forearms still vertical at the bottom, you’ll press the bar off your chest keeping your butt on the bench.

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Deadlift

With your feet about shoulder width apart, you’ll grab the barbell with an overhand grip. Be sure the barbell is over your midfoot. In the set up position make sure your shoulders are pinned back, your stomach is tight and your hamstrings are stretched and loaded.

You’ll push through your heels and drive your feet into the ground as you pull the bar up. Think about bringing your hips through to extension as the bar passes the knees.

Reverse Grip Bent-Over Row

With palms facing up you’ll take the barbell from the knees and row it up to your belly button. Keep a flat back and knees slightly flexed.

Batwing Row

Set your adjustable bench to about 40 degrees and lie stomach down with a dumbbell in each hand. You’ll perform a row with both dumbbells.

With your left arm you’ll hold the position while your right arm perform the required reps. Once you’ve done the work on the right side, switch – hold the right arm isometrically while the left arm goes to work.

Bosu Ball Hamstring Curl

Lie in supine position on the floor with your heels on top of the bosu ball. You’ll raise your hips to the ceiling while pulling your heels toward your body (think about brining your heels to your glutes). Then, you’ll reverse the movement to starting position without letting your hips touch the floor.

Chin Up

If you’re a ninja at chin ups (if you can do more than 10 in a row), add some weight to your sets by holding a dumbbell between your ankles.

Single Leg Banded Hip Thrust

You’ll sit with you upper back supported by the flat bench. Take your resistance band and loop it around your waist once, and then loop it around your left ankle. With your left foot planted and your right foot floating off the ground, you’ll drive your left heel into the ground raising your hips to the sky (while squeezing your left glute). Return to starting position and repeat.

Scissor Jumps

You’ll start in a lunge position or split stance. From here, you’ll jump into the air, scissoring your legs so that when you land the opposite leg will be in front. Each jump is one rep.

Russian Swing Kettlebell Swing

You’ll hold a bell between your legs. To initiate you’ll let the bell swing out in front of you to create momentum. On the way back as the bell sweeps through your legs, you’ll take your hips back with it while keeping a tight, flat back.

Once your glutes and hamstrings are stretched at the back of the swing, you’ll drive your hips forward to swing the bell up to eye level. Once the bell gets to eye level, let it naturally fall through your legs to initiate the next rep.

Burpees

The ultimate body-weight move everyone hates. However, there isn’t a match when it comes to picking a conditioning movement that requires no equipment like the burpee.

Start standing tall. You’ll place your hands on the ground (push up position) and then kick your feet out so you’re fully extended from the hips to the knees. Perform a push. Kick your feet back up and perform a jump clap at the top. Repeat.

Banded Push Ups

With just a resistance band, you’ll take your push up game to another level. You’ll assume push-up position with the band wrapped around your upper body and planted with each hand. The resistance should be felt throughout the entire movement. The most resistance should be at the top of the push up.

Dumbbell Push Press

You’ll take a pair of dumbbells and rack them across your shoulders with your palms facing away from you. To initiate, you’ll dip at the knees. The depth of the dip should be about 10% of your full squat depth.

Then, you’ll drive. Extend the knees first and then the hips to create some power to finish off the movement. Finally, you’ll complete the movement by taking the dumbbells overhead.

The 333 Program – 3 Day Workout Routine

Day 1
3 Day Workout Routine
Exercise Sets Reps
Heavy Deadlift or Squat – 3 to 5 minutes rest between sets, 3-5 warm up sets  1
Bosu Ball Hamstring Curl – 60 sec rest between sets  4  10
Banded Push Ups – 60 sec rest between sets  4  12-15
Jumping Lunges Superset with Russian Kettlebell Swing – No rest  6  AMRAP
Day 2
3 Day Workout Routine
Exercise Sets Reps
Heavy Bench Press – 3 to 5 minutes rest between sets, 3-5 warm up sets  1
Reverse Grip Bent Over Row – 60 sec rest between sets  4  10
Chin Up (Weighted, if need be) – 60 sec rest between sets  3  8-10
Dumbbell Push Press Superset with Single Leg Hip Thrusts – No rest  6  AMRAP
Day 3
3 Day Workout Routine
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat/Deadlift – 60 sec rest between sets  5  2
Bench Press – 60 sec rest between sets  5  2
Burpees – No rest, perform as fast as possible  1  100
Scissor Jumps – No rest, perform as fast as possible  1  100

Workout Legend

*AMRAP = as many reps as possible

*AFAP = as fast as possible

*Use about 10-15 minutes max when working up to a heavy single.

*Day 3 Choose the opposite movement you did on day one for lower body. For example if you did the squat on Day 1, you’ll deadlift on Day 3, and vice versa. Also on Day 3, these reps are to be done exposlveily. Work at around 70% of your heaviest lift.

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Name: Brian McFadden

Bio: Brian teaches motivated but overwhelmed active individuals the importance of adopting an integrative approach to their health and fitness, so they can finally make the gains they want in the gym, but also live a healthy life outside of it.