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4 Day Power Muscle Burn Workout Split!

4 Day Power Muscle Burn Workout Split

Average: 4.4 (1043 votes)
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This building workout by Steve Shaw is designed to maximize Progression and muscle gains by hitting each muscle group with power sets, muscle sets and burn sets.

Workout Summary

Main Goal:
Build Muscle
Workout Type:
Split
Training Level:
Intermediate
Days Per Week:
4
Equipment Required:
Barbell, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Target Gender:
Male & Female
Author:

Workout Description

Back in 1986 my mentor, Dr. Mike, taught me to train in multiple rep ranges. I was young, trusting and did what he said. After all, Dr. Mike was a big natural bodybuilder. And he was a professor. It just made sense to do what he said. Over the next 3 years I used his style of training and made amazing progress. I continued to use Dr Mike's training philosophies for nearly a decade, and they never let me down. This style of lifting made me big and strong. What more could you ask for?

This workout is based on the Dr. Mike system. I have tweaked it a bit over the years. I hope that you find some use for it, and if you do end up running it for 10+ years...well, feel free to make changes. No system is perfect unless you adapt it to your individual needs.

Dr. Mike was ahead of his time. He approached training routine design from a scientific standpoint in an era where everything was Weider Principles this and Weider Principles that. Simply stated, muscles tend to respond differently to different rep ranges. Dr. Mike believed that by training in all reasonable rep ranges, you could maximize muscle hypertrophy while boosting strength. This approach worked for me, and I hope it works for you.

For more information on the impact of rep ranges on hypertrophy, please read the article Hypertrophy and Muscle Growth.

For more information on the Power Muscle Burn training approach, please read:

The Power Muscle Burn System

My Power Muscle Burn training system will help you build muscle and strength by focusing on three different training approaches, all used in the same workout. You will be performing the following types of sets for each muscle group:

  1. Power. You will perform power sets to lead off the workout. Power sets are performed in the 3 to 5 rep range. Use the same weight for each of the sets. When you can perform 5 reps for all power sets, move up in weight. Major muscle groups will perform 2-4 power sets per workout, and minor muscle groups will perform 2 power sets per workout. Please note that for some minor muscle groups, power sets do not make sense, or they are not realistic. For example, it is difficult to perform extremely heavy resistance abdominal sets.
  2. Muscle. Muscle sets are performed in the 6 to 12 rep range. Use the same weight for each of the sets. When you hit the upper rep limit of 12 for all muscle sets, move up in weight. Major muscle groups will perform 4-6 total muscle sets in each workout, using 2 different exercises. Minor muscle groups will perform 2-4 total muscle sets in each workout, using 1 to 2 exercises. You can also perform a single exercise for 3 sets.
  3. Burn. You will perform 1-2 burn sets for each muscle group - generally using isolation movements. Pick a weight that allows you to hit 15 to 20 reps, and then perform 40 total reps. How? Do as many reps as possible, then take a slight rest and perform more reps. Rest only long enough to regain the energy and willpower to perform 1 to 3 more reps. Keep pushing yourself through the pain until you hit 40 total reps. When you can hit 25+ reps from the start without stopping, add weight. Major muscle groups will utilize 2 burn sets, minor muscle groups will use 1-2 burn sets.

Power Muscle Burn Notes

  • Failure - I do not recommend training to failure. Try to perform each set until you feel like you may fail on the next rep, then stop. It's ok if you occasionally fail on a set, but do not purposely try to train to failure on every set.
  • Progression - You must have the goal of progressing on every set of every workout. Sets performed with a half-hearted effort are wasted. If you lack energy or are pressed for time, it's better to perform fewer quality sets then it is to waste sets.
  • Splits - You can split this system numerous ways, but remember that training more then 4 days per week is generally not beneficial for natural bodybuilders. What is the best split? The one you will use and stick with.
  • Small Tweaks - What if I don't like training in the 6 to 12 rep range, and want to train in the 6 to 10 rep range? Then train in the 6 to 10 rep range. What if I don't like training in the 3 to 5 rep range? Then train in the 4 to 6 rep range. 40 burn reps are too difficult!? Then aim for 30 burn reps. Note: small tweaks are ok, as long as you are using the core mechanisms of this program. Don't obsess about the details - obsess about moving weight and getting bigger!
  • Alternating Exercises - It is not a bad idea to alternate exercises every other week. You can't possibly fit every exercise into every workout. For example: for muscle sets you could hit dumbbell bench presses one week and chest dips the next week.
  • Total Sets - It is better to start with the minimal amount of sets, and build in to this routine by adding sets if you find you need more work.
  • Calves - Please note that there are no power sets for calves. I am not convinced that calves respond effectively to lower rep training.
  • Quads - If you love pain, you can do a single 20 rep set of squats for your quad burn work.

4 Day Power Muscle Burn Split

The 4 Day Power Muscle Burn split:

Note: This is a sample template. Feel free to "swap" in any appropriate (and favorite) exercises.

Chest and Biceps
Chest
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press - Power 4 3 to 5
Incline Bench Press  - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Dumbbell Bench Press - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Dumbbell Flys - Burn 2 40
Biceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Pinwheel Curls - Power 2 3 to 5
Standing Barbell Curl  - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Cable Preacher Curl - Burn 1-2 40
Quads and Hamstrings
Quads
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat - Power 4 3 to 5
Leg Press  - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Front Squat - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Leg Press - Burn 2 40
Hamstrings
Exercise Sets Reps
Romanian Deadlift - Power 2-4 3 to 5
Romanian Deadlift or Leg Curl  - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Leg Curl - Burn 1 40
Shoulders and Triceps
Shoulders
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Barbell Press - Power 4 3 to 5
Seated Arnold Press  - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Barbell Front Raise - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Dumbbell Lateral Raise - Burn 2 40
Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Closegrip Bench Press - Power 2 3 to 5
Seated French Press  - Muscle 2 6 to 12
EZ Bar Skullcrusher - Muscle 2 6 to 12
Cable Tricep Extension - Burn 1 40
Back, Calves and Abs
Back
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift - Power 2-4 3 to 5
Barbell Rows - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Lat Pull Down - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Seated Cable Row - Burn 2 40
Calves
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Calf Raise - Muscle 2-3 10 to 15
45 Degree Calf Raise  - Burn 2 40
Abs
Exercise Sets Reps
**Perform Ab work of choice***    

 

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    Average: 4.4 (1043 votes)
  • About The Author
    Steve is a powerlifter who has also spent 20 years training in bodybuilding. He is a national level competitor training for an all-time over 50 raw world record.
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Comments (2,907)

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Lyle C. Monroe III
Posted Tue, 05/11/2010 - 19:07

If doing this workout at home without machines, what would a good exercise be to replace cable tricep extension for burn set?

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Steve
Posted Wed, 05/12/2010 - 08:58

I workout at home and use skullcrushers for my burn set. You could also do dumbbell kickbacks.

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Lyle C. Monroe III
Posted Thu, 05/13/2010 - 16:19

Do you use skullcrushers as a muscle set and burn set or just burn set?

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Steve
Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 09:21

I personally use French Presses as a muscle set and skullcrushers as a burn. But you can use any preferred exercise for either.

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Abhishek
Posted Fri, 01/04/2013 - 01:01

what is the alternate of cable preacher curl (burn set) ?

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Corey
Posted Sun, 08/24/2014 - 19:06

I'm substituting reverse curls there, for lack of equipment in my gym, but also because I noticed a lack of explicit forearm targeting here too. And, I've noticed that at least with write curls, people recommend high # of reps with with lesser weight.

Would be curious if that's a good move or not.

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Stig Johnny Hansen
Posted Mon, 10/06/2014 - 10:55

i don't have either a cable or a bench but what i do instead is following: find two chairs and place a plate (about 30 cm wide & 1m long) and place the plate vertical with a 60-70 degree angle on the two chairs. get down on you're knees behind the chairs & place you're arms over the plate leaning on you're triceps/armpits and simply lift two dumbbells like it was a cable shown on the video :)

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Jordan
Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 22:14

Is it wrong if you cant do the split exactly the same? Like can i do Chest/ arms on monday rest on tuesday, Wednesdy do squats and all that and thursday shoulders, but what if Friday is the only day you could do back? is that ok? and then rest saturday?

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Steve
Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 22:52

That looks ok.

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Edgard
Posted Mon, 02/14/2011 - 20:15

hey steve! this workout looks great... I have a problem though... in my gym there is no barbell... only cable machines. what exercises can I do to replace the barbell ones? thanks in advance!

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Rodriguez
Posted Wed, 09/26/2012 - 06:15

Find a new gym lol if your doesnt have a barbell something is wrong there

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Ripped Muscle X
Posted Sat, 05/12/2012 - 03:40

It's amazing designed for me to have a web page, which is good for my experience. thanks admin

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Corey
Posted Mon, 11/26/2012 - 18:04

I would say skull crushers with light weight. It would work the same muscle group.

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ac123
Posted Wed, 05/12/2010 - 03:37

can this work out be done as

Monday, Tuesday-On

Wednesday-Off

Thursday,Friday- On

Saturday,Sunday- Off

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Steve
Posted Wed, 05/12/2010 - 08:38

Absolutely. Just make sure your pushing days (chest-shoulders) are at least 3 days apart.

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ac123
Posted Thu, 05/13/2010 - 04:52

so if i was to do it like this;

Monday-Chest/Bicep
Tuesday- Hamstring/Quads
Wednesday- OFF
Thursday-Shoulders/Triceps
Friday-Back/Calves/Abs

would it be fine?

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Steve
Posted Thu, 05/13/2010 - 08:25

That looks good.

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ac123
Posted Thu, 05/13/2010 - 08:26

awesome, thanks a lot for the help!!

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dsouza
Posted Tue, 11/13/2012 - 12:17

can i combine it like this-
Monday - Legs, Tue- Rest Day, Wednesday - Back and forearms and calves, Friday- chest and biceps and sunday - shoulder, triceps

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robertq
Posted Wed, 06/30/2010 - 15:19

thats looks good to me too I train mon-fri only wed off

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Gary
Posted Thu, 07/22/2010 - 14:01

Hi Steve.

I Run Around 20 To 30 Miles Per Week, Can You Tell Me Is This Program Suitable For Me As I Want To Built Muscle As Well As Progress With My Running And Another Question Can I Do Chest And Shoulders On The Same Day.

Thanks, By The Way Great Website.

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Steve
Posted Fri, 07/23/2010 - 09:22

Hi Gary,

As long as you have a solid bodybuildind diet, and are eating to gain weight, this workout will help you reach your goals.

You could perform chest and shoulders on the same day. I would work biceps and triceps together on day 4.

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Tri
Posted Tue, 12/14/2010 - 20:04

Steve,

I am in the same boat as far as running but wanting to add muscle while burning fat. Can you be more specific about eating to gain weight and what or where I could find the body building diet that would cover this requirement.

Suggestions?

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Cam
Posted Thu, 08/07/2014 - 10:34

Google for stuff about macronutrients.

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Tommy
Posted Thu, 01/13/2011 - 16:10

Hey Steve im in that boat too. I run 3 miles and try to mix it up with hills, sprinting, slow jogging. Sometimes I'll run 2 miles than do a mile on the step machine before my workouts. Should I be doing that much work before my lifting or will it hurt my gains?

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ferhat
Posted Wed, 05/12/2010 - 17:06

How will i decide the right weight?

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Steve
Posted Thu, 05/13/2010 - 08:26

Use as much weight as you can with good form on each exercise without training to failure.

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chris
Posted Wed, 05/12/2010 - 18:55

Thanks for this template to get started. I just started weight training last week. Haven't done it since my teens, early twenties. 48 now, but in good shape, anything I should do differently?

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Steve
Posted Thu, 05/13/2010 - 08:52

Hi Chris. I would take it easy for a couple weeks just so you're not too sore. Maybe run through the workout with a little lighter weight just to get used to the movements again, and then gradually start to add more weight.

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Enoc Ayala
Posted Wed, 05/12/2010 - 18:56

I just started this workout routine and I'm loving it. I'm a City Police Officer and am trying to keep up with my strength and fitness. I told one of my fellow officers about this workout and he's really diggin it too. I was trying to find a workout that would push me to my limit and this one is it. thank you for posting this workout. Now the only thing I have to do right is eat right. Im spanish and Im all about the rice and beans.lol. Thanks again.

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Steve
Posted Thu, 05/13/2010 - 08:50

You're welcome. At least you have the training down. Best of luck with the dieting.

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Ajay
Posted Thu, 05/13/2010 - 10:14

I was just wondering if for exaple on chest and bicep days, if i should do all the chest exercises first then the bicep exercises, or if I should alternate between them

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Steve
Posted Thu, 05/13/2010 - 14:34

You could alternate if you like. I don't see anything wrong with that approach.

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Ryan
Posted Thu, 05/13/2010 - 10:34

Just want to give props to this routine. On my 2nd week now and love the chest and leg day. I use lighter weight for the squats and front squats because of a knee surgery in the past, but doing the leg press burn is a great feeling.

Should this routine be done in the 8-12 week range?

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Steve
Posted Thu, 05/13/2010 - 14:31

I did it for 10 years or so...

You can continue using it as long as you'd like.

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Hans
Posted Tue, 05/18/2010 - 01:15

how long should we breaking between each set for power, muscle and reps?

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Steve
Posted Tue, 05/18/2010 - 08:25

Generally you want to rest about 2 minutes between sets. You may need to rest 3 to 5 minutes between heavy sets of squats, deadlift and bench pres. That is ok.

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Gino
Posted Mon, 01/31/2011 - 03:22

hi, i've been doing this routine for about 2 months now, was just wondering if i should change some of the exercises or not. Awesome routine by the way

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KC
Posted Thu, 05/13/2010 - 17:12

Hi Steve -
How much rest should we get between sets? Exercises? This questions applies to all of the PowerMuscleBurn routines....

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Rob
Posted Thu, 05/13/2010 - 19:13

How would this routine compare to a 1 body part/day scheme? That has worked well for me over the past 2 years, but I tried and liked the Power, muscle, burn leg split you posted. What are your thoughts?

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Steve
Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 09:17

One body part per day is more of a steroid-based split system. Naturals don't have the same recovery benefits, so they should generally stick to training no more then 3-4 days per week.

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Jack
Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 03:08

Hi how could i adjust this to 3 days split training?
Please advise
Thanks

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Steve
Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 09:14

I would train every other day. You could use the following splits:

Workout 1...Chest, Shoulders and Triceps
Workout 2...Back, Biceps and Abs
Workout 3...Legs

...or...

Workout 1...Chest and Arms
Workout 2...Back and Shoulders
Workout 3...Legs

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jaie
Posted Tue, 08/17/2010 - 17:52

I plan on doing the 3 day split with Chest and arms on day 1. Which should I do first triceps or biceps?
thanks

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Steve
Posted Wed, 08/18/2010 - 14:45

I would suggest biceps first. This will allow your triceps to rest a bit after chest.

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Zeljko
Posted Wed, 03/07/2012 - 12:10

Hi steve, should i combine this program with something else or do i only repeat this one every week?

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jack
Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 03:21

Could i split to 3 days?
Mon-Chest & Back
Tues-Quads,Hamstring,Calves
Wed-off
Thurs-Shoulders,Triceps,Biceps

I will do my 2sets x 15to20reps of my abs workout (body weight e.g. hanging leg raise)on mon,tues and thurs

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Steve
Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 09:12

Absolutely. I used a 3 day split for many years.

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Richard M.
Posted Fri, 09/10/2010 - 14:34

I follow this “Power, Muscle, Burn” principle and it seems to work I use it on a day day slit and is as followed: Monday: Chest/Biceps --- Wednesday: Delts/Legs --- Friday: Back/Triceps

On the burn exercise I pick an isolation movement and pick a weight that I can get 20 reps and I push it pass 20 for as many as I can.

Working back and chest together… I’ve heard criticism about that combo, let me know if it works for you.

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Steve
Posted Sun, 09/12/2010 - 08:52

Hi Richard,

Your split looks solid. Regarding working back and chest, that's a great combination. The most important thing is to find a sensible split that works for you.

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