2021 Fall 3-Day Physique

Say hello to our newest 3-Day Physique cycle! Week 1 of Cycle Begins Monday October 18th

Program Details:

  • 3 full body lift days/wk of progressive overload training 
  • 60-75 min/sessions. Training cycles = 12 weeks long
  • This program is perfect for busy parents, travel, individuals who don’t want to spend 4-5 days in the gym, and/or those who love lifting and are also looking for an excellent program to compliment other athletic endeavors in their life (running, cycling, mountain biking, spin/Peloton classes, BJJ, boxing, surfing…)

Equipment Required: 

  • Dumbbells, barbell, squat rack, bench, way to do pull-ups


Using This Program to Compliment Other Athletic Endeavors in Your Life?

  • While this program is intended to be a 3-Day program, we also wanted a program that was versatile and could service those not wanting to spend 4-5 days in the gym and also those wishing to lift AND chasing athletic endeavors (running, cycling, mountain biking, spin/Peloton classes, BJJ, boxing, surfing, etc…)
  • That being said, think of this program as a template to use as a guideline and make your own. As always, we recommend making sure that we are getting in 2-3 rest days per week. Recovery is the secret sauce and vital to positive adaptation (whether that’s fat loss, muscle gain, improving performance…). Train hard, rest harder = where the magic happens

Only Have 2 Days to Lift?

No sweat! You basically have 2 options:

  • Stay in order in the app and continue to work forward (letting yourself “fall behind” in the calendar date)


  • Pick 2 out of the 3 lift days each week to repeat and progress week-to-week. For example: let’s say programming is MWF. We might choose to hit M + W each week and pretend Friday doesn’t exist. We wouldn’t want to mix up those days and hop around each week. Progressive Overload = having movements that repeat every single week and we work to increase difficulty on them week-to-week so that we can progress them and hit PR’s by the end of the cycle. For example: If we squat on Mondays and open the cycle with 150 lbs, we might aim to squat 155 the following week, 160 the next week, and so on. Thus we wouldn’t want to complete M + W on week one, and then M + F week 2. We’d want to complete M + W on week 1, M + W on week 2, M + W on week 3, and so on

Sample Day from 3-Day Full Body Physique:

*In our app, movements will have links to movement videos

Sample Lift Day-

Parts A and B repeat week-to-week. Track Metrics

A. Stiff Legged Deadlift (SLDL)
Build to ONE TOP SET of 5-8 Reps to 2-3 reps from failure
(see blog for “building” protocol)
Rest a few minutes
Then complete one backoff set of 8-12 Reps to 1-2 reps from failure


B. (weighted) Pull-ups
(grip of choice; stay consistent week to week)

Build to ONE TOP SET of 6-10 Reps to 2-3 reps from failure
(see blog for “building” protocol)
Rest a few minutes
Then complete one backoff set of 8-12 Reps to 1-2 reps from failure

Pull-ups Scaling options are included in all programming


C. Hand Supported DB Split Squat
3 sets of 8-12 Reps per leg
1-2 lighter progressive sets and 1-2 top sets to ~2-3 Reps from failure
Rest EQUALLY between legs (1-2 minutes)


D. Close Grip Incline Press
3 sets of 8-12 Reps
1-2 lighter progressive sets and 1-2 top sets to ~1-2 Reps from failure


E. Seated DB Lateral Raise
One TOP SET of 10-15 Reps
Rest a few minutes
Then using the SAME weight as the top set, complete 35 Reps in as few sets as possible
Rest only 10-20s whenever you need to break (expect sets of 4-6 reps after the initial large chunk)

+ Superset the ONLY FINAL “chunk” SET with:
Band Pull-Aparts OR Cable Reverse Flies (rear delts) x 15-25 Reps


F. Superset Movements x 2-3 sets each:

Hanging Knee Raises (weighted as feasible) x 10-15 Reps
Reverse Crunches OR Roman Chair leg Raises x 10-20 Reps
Rest 1-2 min


More Details About 3D Physique:

Hey Paragon fam – programming expert and & Paragon Cofounder Bryan Boorstein here!

When I first began training in the 1990’s, it was blasphemy to train the full body for a physique purpose. It was the era of the “Bro Split” (which essentially means training one or maybe two body parts in a day, and often even splitting Quads and Hams into separate days). This meant each muscle was getting hit only once every week.

Luckily, my first introduction to the Iron Game was through a group of physical culturists who espoused the training methodologies of the pre-steroid era (1960’s). In contrast to the “Bro Split,” the predominant method of training before the introduction of steroids was in fact the FULL BODY approach. I could write an entire blog on some of my theories regarding the differences in training natural versus “enhanced,” and how this evolved over time, but we’ll save that for another day.

For today’s discussion, the most pertinent thing to understand is that frequency is an important consideration for a natural trainee. The current state of the literature is overwhelmingly in favor of higher frequencies. A quick search in PubMed on “training frequency” will provide a plethora of studies in which higher frequencies are shown to better or equal in the majority of cases. The empirical data is also supported by rationale.

If you have 12 sets of quads to do in one session, how much effort can you really put into sets 8, 9, 10, 11, 12… whereas if you split that into two sessions of 6 sets, you’d be able to utilize even more effort and have more effective mental focus. What if we even split that further and did only 4 sets, but three times per week? Utilizing an approach of at least 2x/week frequency per muscle group (like Physique and Paragon programs) is a prudent approach. We want to train a muscle when it’s recovered, but not before.

If you only train a muscle once a week with an absurd amount of work, you may be sore and fatigued for 3-5 days. But if you don’t completely trash that muscle, you can recover in 2-3 days and be ready to train it again in a “fresh” state. Ultimately, there is a point of diminishing returns on training frequency. There are also concerns of potential overlapping fatigue. For example, if we had to train quads 5x/week, it would be very unlikely recovery takes place day to day (even if we did only 2-3 sets each session). 

For this reason, I find the 3x/week “full body” frequency to be JUST RIGHT. There is a high level of systemic fatigue that occurs when you train the entire body. Instituting a rest day that follows each training day seems be just the perfect dose of recovery before being able to optimize performance again! The full body approach is also extremely versatile. When using this setup, you can adjust the implementation in a number of ways, and it is still extremely effective.

If you are the person who has a busy week and can’t fit in all three sessions, then just do two. You’ll still be hitting each body part twice in a week! Roll over the third session to the next week and keep chugging along. If you are the person that has a busy week and can only fit 30-40 minute sessions, then split it up into more frequent training sessions! From one training day’s “program” complete all the upper body work one day, then lower the next. Each session should be super short and effective, and you’ll still get all the volume of work!

Each FULL BODY cycle will appear slightly different and have a unique approach to splitting up reps and loading across the week. In this first cycle, we are utilizing a TOP SET + Backoff set approach for the REPEATING MOVEMENTS. This means that you will first BUILD to the TOP SET, then reduce the weight and complete a slightly lighter set.

HOW TO BUILD TO TOP SET of 5-8 Reps + Rest Periods
(assume “top set” goal = 200 lbs)
#1 objective = Keep fatigue low by increasing effort as reps decrease (optimize performance on TOP SET)

Empty bar x 10-15 Reps
95 x 5-7 Reps
135 x 3-4 Reps
175 x 1-2 Reps
200 x 5-8 Reps “TOP SET”

If you are stronger, you may need 1-2 additional preparatory sets.
If you are not as strong, you may need fewer prep sets; but the principles all still apply!

For the backoff sets, you don’t need to do any additional ramp-up sets. Just decrease the weight and go!

You also will not need nearly as many ramp-up sets for smaller muscle groups. For curls, shoulders, triceps and the such, I usually just implement one “feel it out” set, then jump into work sets. This means I may use 25# DB’s for 8-10 Reps before my work set with 40# DB’s for 10-15 Reps.

Rest periods are ALWAYS important. Below are the GENERAL GUIDELINES
(Ramp-up / warm-up sets don’t need as much rest, but work sets definitely do!) 

As always, don’t sweat this too much as rest times will be indicated in programming within our app (:

Compound Lower Body Movements = ~ 2-3+ minutes
Compound Upper Body Movements = ~ 2+ minutes
Isolation work (arms, lateral raises etc..) = ~ 60-90 seconds

PROGRESSION and PROXIMITY TO FAILURE (How Hard Should You Be Working?)

First let’s define Failure:

We should assume that taking a set to failure means that you can no longer perform a rep with the same technique. This does NOT mean that you contort your body to achieve another rep. That is beyond failure, because the intended musculature is no longer the one moving the weight. Your first rep should look the exact same as your last rep, just a slower grind through the concentric portion of the rep.

Training will begin “week 1” with approximately 2-3 reps from failure on the TOP SET and 1-2 reps from failure for the backoff set.

While maintaining similar proximity to failure each week, you will add reps whenever feasible. If you reach the top of the rep range, add a small amount of weight that may drop your reps the following week. Then slowly, over a few weeks, work your way back up to the top of the rep range.

Remember that progression is the result of what happened in PRIOR SESSIONS, not what you do in this session. It takes time for the body to “catch up” and adapt sometimes. So it’s important to avoid getting discouraged if progress doesn’t occur weekly. I constantly work for “execution” PR’s for a few weeks before I even worry about whether weights/reps are increasing.

We will maintain these general effort levels for the first few weeks of the 5-week mesocycle. In the week or two prior to deload week, we will work slightly closer to failure and push ourselves to ensure we have been working to our true capabilities in the prior weeks. The cool thing about this model, is that you get a sense of assessment at the end of each 5-week period and you can know accurately whether the training, nutrition and lifestyle you are living is “working.”

We *know* through research that you get similar hypertrophy with 2-3 reps shy of failure as you do going to failure (and potentially better strength gains). As a result, we find it prudent to enjoy these earlier weeks, shy of failure, as we prepare for the progressively harder training ahead.