2022 Late Spring 3-Day Physique Hypertrophy

May 3, 2022 | Program Cycles

2022 Late Spring 3-Day Physique Hypertrophy

May 3, 2022 | Program Cycles

3-Day Physique is our strength training and bodybuilding program for our people who can’t/don’t want to spend 4-5 days in the gym, and/or for our people who love chasing other athletic endeavors (like running) or hopping in other fitness classes (CrossFit, Peloton, etc). Sessions are full body and take 90-minutes.

New Cycles Begin Every 6-Weeks for 3-Day Physique.

The Quick & Dirty About 3-Day Physique:

  • 3 full body lift days/week of progressive overload training 
  • 75-90 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…)
  • This is a 6-week program, consisting of:
    • Pre-cycle Intro/Deload week
    • 5-week progressive building phase

Equipment Required: 

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

Quick reminderWe want to increase effort (proximity to technical failure) week to week. This usually means beginning a 5-week block with around 3 reps from failure, and ending the block at 0-1 reps from failure (just prior to deload week).

A Note from Paragon Founder LCK:

While this program was intended to be a 3-Day program for those who are busy and short on time, we also wanted a program that was versatile and could service those who want to lift a few days and then also chase other 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 (:

Less days in the gym doesn’t have to mean less results. You may be working out less days per week, but you most DEF won’t be getting less results. Similar training volume as our beloved 4-Day Physique program, just delivered via 3 90-minute Full Body Days!

Sample Day from 3-Day Full Body Physique:
*In our app, movements will have links to movement videos

A. Incline Barbell Bench Press
2-3 Warm-up sets
1 set x 5-8 Reps (heavier)
Rest 2 min
2 sets x 8-12 Reps (lighter)

+ Superset the Final Set:
Flat DB Flies x 10-15 Reps

B. Superset Movements:
2-3 warm-up sets each, then

B1. Kas Glute Bridge
2 sets of 8-12 Reps

NO REST to B2, stay under the bar and drop from bridge to thrust
B2. Barbell Hip Thrust
2 sets of 4-8 Reps
*Same weight as Kas Glute Bridge
Rest 2-3 minutes between sets

C. Heels Elevated Barbell Back Squat
1-2 warm-up sets
1 tough set of 8-10 Reps
Rest 2-3 min
2 sets of 6-8 Reps
(same weight as 8-10 rep set)
Rest 2-3 min between sets

D. Bentover Barbell Row
(torso ~45-degree angle)
1-2 warm-up sets
1 heavy set of 6-10 Reps
Rest 2-3 min
2 lighter sets of 10-15 Reps
Rest 1-2 min between sets

E. Hip Extensions
1-2 warm-up sets
1 tough set of 10-12 Reps
Rest 2-3 min
2 sets of 8-10 Reps
(same weight as 10-12 rep set)
Rest 2-3 min between sets

F. 2 Work Rounds:
1 warm-up round prior
Weighted Sit-ups x 6-12 Reps
Superset Reverse Crunches x 10-20 Reps
Rest 1-2 min
Landmine Rotational Twist x 12-16 Reps (6-8/side)
Rest 1-2 min

Details About 3D Physique From Founder Bryan Boorstein:

Big news for the 3D Physique program!

Since its inception, 3D physique has been its own programming path, primarily focusing on hypertrophy (muscle-building focused) blocks of training.

Starting with this new cycle on May 9th, the 3D physique program will align with the same cycle format of the most popular 4D Physique program.

When 4D Physique has different training cycles to focus on different adaptations, the 3D program will follow, as well.

This will make it extremely easy for you to move between the programs, as needed. Sometimes life happens, or you want to pursue something else along with your physique training, and it’s easier to train just 3x/week.

With that said, as we embark on this new cycle, the body is PRIMED for hypertrophy right now!

The prior 12 weeks consisted of strength for 6 weeks. During a strength cycle, work capacity decreases. The 6-week metabolic cycle followed strength. This allowed us to regain the prior work capacity capabilities, and hopefully add on to them slightly.

Now we will have a higher level of strength base, and the ability to recover quickly between sets.

Why does this matter? As we start this 6-week hypertrophy cycle, the ability to use heavier loads (even slightly) will have a cumulative impact over the cycle, generating more mechanical tension (stimulus to the muscles).

The increased conditioning from the metabolic cycle will allow you to complete training with lower stress response and potentially slightly shorter rests between sets. If you are less stressed during training, you will get back to being parasympathetic quicker after the workout, and possibly create better nutrient partitioning (ability to use nutrients for muscle building instead of fat storage).

All of this to say that this hypertrophy cycle is gonna smash, and here are a few things you need to know to get the most out of the programming.


But what if I don’t know how far I am from failure?


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 (lifting) portion of the rep.

I understand the sentiments of those that don’t necessarily feel comfortable with projecting their “reps from failure” very accurately and worry that you might short-change yourself.

This model of increasing effort (adding load or reps) week to week allows you a “fail-safe” of sorts. As you add weight or reps, you will get closer and closer to failure, and ultimately you will feel what “tough reps” feel like towards the end of the mesocycle.

To provide a little general context around “failure,” I want to introduce the term “Maximal Concentric Intent.”

This means you are trying to lift every rep as fast as possible (control the descent… explode the ascent). This is performed without LAUNCHING from the bottom, but to assertively try to move the weight quickly.

Think about the difference between flooring the gas pedal on your car versus pressing it confidently to pick up speed quickly.

If you lift every rep in this manner, you will eventually feel the concentric speed slow, even though you are exerting maximum effort. This first “slower” rep is usually 3-4 reps from failure (a great place to begin week 1 of the cycle).

This video by Jeff Nippard is extremely well done, and he demonstrates what failure looks like on a number of different common movements.

Exercise Selection for Hypertrophy

When training with the goal to build muscle, it’s important to consider exercise selection.

As an easy example, a conventional or sumo deadlift is prob not the BEST movement for you to use in a hypertrophy phase. It extends at three joints, which makes it extremely fatiguing, and also difficult to determine what muscles are actually receiving the primary stimulus. Instead, an RDL is a significantly better choice to target the hamstrings and glutes.

The same idea can be extrapolated across all movements. For this cycle, the selection of exercises will take into account the overall fatigue cost of that movement.

Instead of a heavily loaded back squat, we will use a heels-elevated squat, or a quad-dominant machine option (leg press, hack squat, pendulum squat etc…). This heel elevation is meant to INCREASE the range of motion at the knee and ankle, while decreasing the movement at the hip (more quads, less systemic fatigue).

Glute Destruction!!

This cycle contains a really cool REPEATING MOVEMENT sequence that I’d like to discuss a bit further! In prior cycles, we’ve used the Kas Glute Bridge and the Barbell Hip Thrust, but never together!

A Kas Glute Bridge is a super small range-of-motion. The top position is the same as the Hip Thrust (vertical shins, table-top hip position). The main difference in execution, is that the Bridge descends down only a few inches, while ensuring the shins DO NOT change angle throughout the movement.

In a Hip Thrust, the shins change angle, and the upward force is produced by a combination of glutes, quads, hamstrings, adductors etc…  Due to the contribution from all these large muscle groups, the Hip Thrust requires an exorbitant amount of weight and therefore has a relatively poor “stimulus to fatigue” ratio (on its own).

However, we can drastically improve the stimulus by completing what’s called a “mechanical dropset.” This means to go DIRECTLY from a Kas Glute Bridge into a Hip Thrust.

The Kas glute bridge primarily works the top of the movement and ISOLATES the glutes. Once you fatigue out on the glute bridge, you can continue to accrue reps via the hip thrust (which recruits much more muscle than just the glutes), and allows you to stimulate the GLUTES significantly more without having to use all the weight you would need for a hip thrust if done “fresh.”



The reps may differ, but this is a common way we will conduct our repeating movements: 

RDL or Back Squat (or any large compound movement), Programming says:

2-4 Warm-up sets, then:
1 set x 5-8 Reps (heavier)
Rest 2-3 min
2 sets x 8-12 Reps (lighter)
Rest 2-3 min b/w each 

Therefore, arm-up sets might look like:
Empty Bar x 10-12 Reps
85 lbs x 8-10 Reps
115 lbs x 5 Reps
145 lbs x 3-4 Reps

And Work sets will look like:
175 lbs x 5-8 Reps
145 lbs x 8-12 Reps

It’s important to understand that the “warm-up” sets are low-fatiguing. That earlier sets of higher reps are meant to be a super easy effort in which you are just beginning to prepare the muscles for the work ahead (Less than 50% of the weight you’ll use for your first working set).

As the weight increases, we continue to PREPARE (but not fatigue) by lowering the reps. Even the FINAL warm-up set of 145 lbs is only 3-4 reps. This will allow the body to FEEL the heavier load, such that there is a psychological and physiological adaptation that occurs, ensuring that the “work sets” don’t feel overwhelmingly heavy.

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!

You also will not need nearly as many warm-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. *Warm-up sets don’t need as much rest, but work sets definitely do!

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

There is no rule here. It’s just important to match the intended effort level and let that dictate how much weight and/or reps you achieve. This is the best way to manage the accumulation of fatigue and provide yourself with the best opportunity to exceed performance in the assessment weeks