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Full-Body 3x3 Rest Rundown

This 5-day program will help you build strength head to toe while whittling away rest periods for more muscle and less fat.

Full-Body 3x3 Rest Rundown

Getting stronger doesn’t mean you need to combine heavy weight and low reps with rest periods of 3-5 minutes. That’s the traditional way of training for pure strength, and those extended breaks between sets make for workouts that take FOREVER to complete.

Not only that, but standing or sitting around for 3-5 minutes between lifts isn’t exactly the best way to build muscle and burn fat – the intensity’s not high enough, not even close.

Enter my 3x3 Rest Rundown program. The weights will be heavy throughout to promote impressive strength gains, but the rest periods will be short – more specifically, rest periods will get progressively shorter, shrinking every workout over the course of five days.

Think of the workouts as heavy strength sessions with an added dose of intensity so that gains in size and fat loss aren’t compromised in any way.

Strength-Training Similarities

The 3x3 Rest Rundown program is similar to my 5x5 Full Blown routine –  the rep counts are low, weights are relatively heavy, and the amount of rest decreases every day. With the 3x3 system, however, the weights are heavier (because you’re only doing 3 reps per set) and the volume (total number of reps) is significantly lower.

Regarding rest periods, the 3x3 program drops them systematically, whereas 5x5 Full Blown simply instructs you to shorten (“beat”) the time it takes you to complete all sets each workout.

These differences may seem subtle. Both programs reduce the time you have each workout to complete the same number of reps with the same weights on the same exercises. With 3x3, you’re just doing so with heavier weights, fewer sets and reps, and in a more predictable fashion.

Breaking Down the Rundown

Here are the details of the 3x3 Rest Rundown program and how the workouts will progress over the course of five days:

Workout 1

is where you’ll select your exercises and how much weight to do on each; you’ll stick with these same exercises and poundages for all five days. And as the name of the program implies, you’ll be doing 3 sets of 3 reps on each exercise – 9 reps total per move.

As with my other full-body programs in the #TrainWithJim series, you’ll do 10 exercises total, one for each muscle group (chest, back, legs, shoulders, traps, biceps, triceps, forearms, calves, abs).

As for weight selection, pick a load for each exercise that would normally have you reaching failure at 6-7 reps (even though you’ll be stopping at 3 reps per set, except in the fifth and final workout). Your goal for every exercise in every workout is to complete all 3 sets of 3 reps using the prescribed rest periods. Because the rest periods will start off relatively brief and get shorter by the day, trying to use your 3-rep-max (3RM), or even your 5RM, wouldn’t be feasible.

Here’s how the rest periods will break down:

In Workout 1, you’ll rest 1 minute between all sets and exercises.

In Workout 2, you’ll cut rest time by 15 seconds across the board and rest 45 seconds between all sets and exercises. Again, same exercises and same training weights for each.

In Workout 3, another 15-second drop, so you’ll rest 30 seconds between all sets and exercises. (You can see where this is going, can’t you?!)

In Workout 4, the rest periods will be cut in half, so you’ll rest 15 seconds between all sets and exercises.

Finally, in Workout 5, one more 15-second decrease means you’ll do all 9 reps as one non-stop set.

Worried about how you’ll get 9 reps with your 6-7RM? First of all, by the time Workout 5 rolls around, your muscles will have adapted with more endurance and greater strength through the gradual decreases in rest periods. That by itself will make you more capable of hitting 9 consecutive reps than you were the first day of the program.

But it’s still a tall order, so on any exercises where you’re unable to do all 9 reps non-stop, simply rest-pause until you reach that number. This should only take you one rest-pause (if that), like so: Hit failure at 6, 7 or 8 reps, rest 10-15 seconds, then bang out another 1-3 reps and you’re ready to move on to the next exercise.

Because rest periods are essentially non-existent in this workout, only rest between exercises as long as it takes you to get situated for the next move.

Feel free to do any or all of the exercises I do – or do none of them and choose all different moves you like. My workouts are simply here to serve as a guide. By all means, make this program your own. Just make sure you do your best to follow the descending rest periods model I outlined above.

Okay, time to get started. I think you’ll really like these 3x3 Rest Rundown workouts – the infusion of intensity combined with heavy training will have you feeling as big and lean as you are strong… JYM Army Strong, that is!

Workout 1

Workout 2

Workout 3

Workout 4

Workout 5

Download All Workouts Here


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