4 Day Power Muscle Burn Workout Split

4 Day Power Muscle Burn Workout Split
This building workout is designed to maximize Progression and muscle gains by hitting each muscle group with power sets, muscle sets and burn sets.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Split
Intermediate
4
Barbell, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Male & Female

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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2.9K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 04:12
MJ
i have been working out before and going back after 1 year. The products i took while working out was - macule tech(protein), NO explode(creatin), and mega man(vitamans). I just lost 20 lbs due to stress but slowly gaing it back. I am 24 and my metabolism is fast. Need to know what to do to slow it down and what type of work out should i do to gain mass because I am slim and lean weaighting about less then 145 lbs. I want to be about 160 and be able to keep it. What should my diet be? Please email me back I am greatful. Thank You
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 09:11
Steven
You need to learn to out eat your metabolism by 300 to 500 calories per day. I can't say for certain just how many calories per day this is, so it will require you to tightly monitor calories and the scale. If you're not gaining weight at a certain calorie level, then add 500 daily calories for 2 weeks and see what the scale does. You want to make sure you eat at least 30 grams of protein every 2.5 to 3 hours, and fill the rest of your diet with nutritious, quality foods.
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Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 05:19
ranjit
My question is- for How much time rest should be taken in muscles sets or power sets? This is not mentioned in your prog. so pls reply soon becoz i m following your prog.
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 09:06
Steven
Rest "about" 2 minutes between sets. You may need 3 to 4 for some power sets...that is OK.
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Posted Sat, 01/11/2014 - 04:01
jacob
hey steve, why did you label chest with biceps but instead of chest/tri, back/bic? is there something im missing? Bench press you're already working on your tricep so why not continue it or incorperate it?
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Posted Mon, 05/05/2014 - 08:51
Bartolomeo
just look trough the coments he answered that question twice already xD
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Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 10:09
sunny
My question is how can i accomodate cardio with this 4 day split muscle workout and how much amount of cardio can be incorporated with this 4 day workout.Or can I do cardio on my day off from muscles??
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 18:46
Steven
Cardio is really personal choice. Some do it early in the morning and some post-workout. Some like it on off days. I hesitate to recommend one way over the other.
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Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 13:13
Sean
It would be okay this way? Day 1 - Back and Biceps Day 2 - OFF Day 3 - Chest and Triceps Day 4 - Quads and Hamstrings Day 5 - OFF Day 6 - Shoulders, Calves and Abs Day 7 - OFF
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 17:39
Steven
Very good!
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Posted Tue, 07/12/2011 - 18:21
dan
would this be okay MON- CHEST AND TRICEPS TUE- QUAD AND HAMSTRING AND CALVES THRU- SHOULDER AND ABS FRI- BACK AND BICEP
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Posted Mon, 03/19/2012 - 14:41
Tracy Wright
Hey Steve, I am just finishing scrutiny's 4-day split routine, I really liked it I made some improvements, I would like to start another routine. I am 5'10'-180lbs 45-years old I would really like to gain some muscle, I am a diabetic so cardio is important, I know it is hard to do both, sure would appreciate your help. Thanks, Tracy
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Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 13:39
calvin
yes, for the abs, it says do workout of your choice. any examples? i'm assuming the power, muscle, burn doesnt really apply to this. mainly just the burn, correct?
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 17:38
Steven
I wouldn't use the Power Muscle Burn protocol for abs, per se. You could do some heavy weighted situps and then some higher rep work like crunches or leg lifts.
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Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 13:48
MJ
thanks for the previous post reply and i just needed to know one more thing still that the products i take is it good or should i change it becuse i heard it has a lot of chemicals---macule tech(protein), NO explode(creatin), and mega man(vitamans)and what should my workout routine be for a fast metabolism person.
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 17:33
Steven
Muscletech is a reputable brand of protein, and NO Xplode is a best selling product. You really can't go wrong with either of them. I'm not familiar with Mega Man. You might want to check out some of the selection here at M&S. I do know that not all multi vitamin products are created equal.
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Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 16:05
Todd
Steve, this is working great for me, thanks, though I've been skipping the Romanian deadlifts (bad lower back). Do you have a suggestion of something to replace them with?
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 17:30
Steven
It's hard to find a good power move for hamstrings that doesn't hit the lower back. I think I would simply recommend using possibly single leg curls, just to bring in some variation.
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Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 17:44
Todd
Any variation will be better than what I'm doing! Thanks for the quick reply.
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 18:48
Steven
You bet!
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Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 17:44
Ryan
Thanks for posting this. Just completed week one, very sore but great workout.
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 18:48
Steven
Glad to hear it. Keep hard at it!
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Posted Sun, 05/16/2010 - 01:30
Ryan
One quick question. Trying to cut down 5-10 pounds to tone up a bit without losing too much muscle, how much cardio would you recommend to add to go along with this routine?
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 05/16/2010 - 09:54
Steven
Cardio really comes down to personal preference. If it were me, I probably would perform cardio 3 to 5 times per week.
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Posted Sun, 05/16/2010 - 11:26
Ryan
Any kind you recommend, say HIIT> Thanks
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 05/16/2010 - 18:03
Steven
There is a hot debate over which is better, HIIT vs. LIT. My personal opinion is to do the form of cardio you enjoy.
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Posted Fri, 05/14/2010 - 20:52
Alejandro Vasquez
Hey I like this workout I'm going to try it this coming week. What alternates do I have for Pin wheel curl and cable preacher curl?
Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 05/15/2010 - 12:26
Steven
You could use standing or seated dumbbell curls, preacher curls, concentration curls, or any other bicep movement you prefer. Exercise selection isn't as critical as working it the stated rep ranges, so I would just choose bicep exercises that you enjoy performing.
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Posted Sat, 05/15/2010 - 19:27
gene
i was 350lbs now down to 230 run daily and started lifting 2mo ago! my question is how hare is it to add mass when im still fighting some belly fat? now at 19% but all in the gut? oh yeah fighting the age thing im 41? any advice ??
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 05/16/2010 - 10:03
Steven
It is very difficult to add muscle and lose fat. The best thing to do is keep an aggressive progressive resistance program, eat about maintenance level, and do cardio 3 to 5 times per week. I would also get a skinfold caliper to monitor your base muscle mass. That way you can tell how you current calorie level is treating you, and if you are losing fat, gaining muscle, etc. You may need to eat a bit above maintenance level. I might also recommend eating a bit more on workout days and a bit less on non-workout days.
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Posted Sun, 05/16/2010 - 01:17
Billy Michael
what would u subtitute for cable rows??
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 05/16/2010 - 09:56
Steven
One arm dumbbell rows would be a great choice. You want to pick a back "burn" exercise that doesn't put too much strain on your lower back, so being able to support yourself with one hand during dumbbell rows would make this a solid choice.
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Posted Sun, 05/16/2010 - 08:25
Paul
I'm thinking of going to the gym, it's been a few years since I last did weight training and wondering what a good starting weights would be for the 4 day workout. I'm a slim guy, weighing 12 stone (168lb. any help would be gratful.
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 05/16/2010 - 09:34
Steven
It's a good idea to take it easy for a couple of weeks. Use a moderate weight to get your body used to the effort. Then I would gradually start increasing the weight. You want to get to a point where you are pushing yourself on every set, trying for more then last workout. Always use as much weight as you can, and try to do more every time; even if it's just a single rep.
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Posted Sun, 05/16/2010 - 17:27
Jerry
How would you add cardio to this, or would you have a problem with walking/jogging on off days? Thx
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 05/17/2010 - 09:40
Steven
There are a wide variety of opinions of how and when to do cardio. I recommend doing it when you are most motivated. You can either do it first thing in the morning, post-workout, of on off training days.
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Posted Wed, 06/09/2010 - 04:21
B
is it possible to gain muscle and loose weight? im pretty new doing one muscle group a day and taking one day off a week. Im not eating to much and do cardio for about 30 mins each day as well (warm up and down) I enjoy it alot but i dont want to be wasting my time either. I want to focus on my arms (biceps) chest and legs. any suggestions?
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 06/09/2010 - 08:25
Steven
It's actually extremely difficult to gain muscle and lose fat. If you feel you have some extra fat to lose, you should continue to lift hard and heavy (to give your body every reason to hold onto muscle) and reduce your calories until you are losing up to 2 pounds per week. To focus on arms, chest and legs, use heavy lifts such as the squat, barbell rows, dumbbell rows, Romanian deadlifts, bench press, dip and closegrip bench press. You can also add in curls.
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Posted Sun, 05/16/2010 - 19:59
Alejandro Vasquez
so for a power movement can I use seated Bicep Curl and for burn standing cable curl?
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 05/17/2010 - 09:38
Steven
Absolutely! Sounds good.
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Posted Sun, 05/16/2010 - 22:07
Marty van Duym
I like the sound of this routine, but I just read a thread about how it is not advised to lead off a back workout with deadlifts. Should I just do them at the end or substitute a different exercise for the power sets?
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Posted Mon, 05/17/2010 - 01:43
David Baker
Where would you put in some trap exercises?
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 05/17/2010 - 09:32
Steven
Both deadlifts and overhead presses impact your traps, so if you want additional trap work I would do it on back or shoulder day.
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Posted Mon, 05/17/2010 - 11:08
David Baker
Thanks Steve, Coming off an off week that was preceded by a modifed version of Shaun's 4 Day Bodybuilding Spilt. Started a modified verison of your workout today. Love it! -David
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 05/17/2010 - 15:15
Steven
Glad to hear it. Best of luck!
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Posted Mon, 05/17/2010 - 10:04
mike
i'm just about to begin this routine but train at home and need to replace the leg press with another exersise and hoping you could tell me which one would be best, i guess standing calf raises will replace 45 degree calf raises
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 05/17/2010 - 15:16
Steven
There are several exercises...dumbbell squat, barbell hack squat or barbell lunge would all work fine.
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Posted Mon, 05/17/2010 - 11:04
Jake
Steve, your the bomb. that is all
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 05/17/2010 - 13:19
Steven
Thanks Jake. Glad to help.
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Posted Mon, 05/17/2010 - 14:43
ericb
I just did day one of the workout and I immediately noticed the difference. I had already been doing a similar but much less intense 4 day split for about 2 months and It did not really do much. After the first day of the chest/bis the first thing I noticed was that the muscle pump was noticeably more then usual. Looking forward to giving this a try for a few months and seeing how it goes. Thanks!

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