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 Wed, 06/09/2010 - 17:24
Spencer
OK will try that. Which day would be best to mix in traps and how many sets and reps?
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 07:26
Steven
You can work traps on back/deadlift or shoulder day.
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Posted Wed, 06/09/2010 - 12:17
Alberto
Steve, I started this workout this week. My main question is, I'm having a tough time selecting the appropriate weight for the muscle and burn sets. On some exercises, I was able to complete 12reps for all the sets, and for the burns, I was able to do 25+ reps. My question is, did i basically "waste" a workout/set by doing this since I didn't add weight? I'm keeping a workout log, so I'll be able to adjust the weight according with time.
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 06/09/2010 - 14:55
Steven
Sometimes you have to waste a workout to zero in on the right weight. That's fairly common. That happens to me when I try a training style I'm not familiar with. I wouldn't look at it as a failure. Burn sets are still extremely taxing, and you still went to the gym!
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Posted Wed, 06/09/2010 - 16:34
Alberto
thanks for the response. i think next week i should have the weight dialed in...so far, the routine is a good, tough workout...i like the idea of pushing it to the max...thanks for the great workout routine!
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Posted Wed, 06/09/2010 - 17:30
Howard
Just started this workout, have a few interesting questions though. What timing do you use for each exercise or do you use the same. Also was wondering if I could get some examples of good alternate exercises to change to every other week like suggested. Great program and am loving it.
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 07:35
Steven
As far as timing, for this workout I wouldn't mentally think about it. Use good, controlled form and don't purposely slow down reps. Possible alternative exercises: Chest Power - Floor Press Chest Muscle - DB Incline Press, Dips, DB or BB Decline Press Chest Burn - Any chest isolation movement Quads - Muscle, Lunges and Hack Squats Shoulder Power - Push Press or any press variation Shoulder Muscle - Overhead DB Press, Upright Rows Back Muscle - Pull Ups, Dumbbell Rows
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Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 12:10
Vinoth
hey i saw your 4day workout program and i ve been working out in the below fashion Mon-chest Tue-shoulder Wed-lat Thur-biceps Fri-triceps sat-quads and hamstring pls tell me if i should continue the above workout plan or should change to the 4 day workout plan.would appreciate it if you could clarify.i want to get a defined structure in the muscles so kindly help out. Regards
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 14:39
Steven
A 6 day plan is generally not optimal for most natural lifters. I would definitely consider a more stream-lined split.
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Posted Fri, 06/11/2010 - 02:11
Vinoth
thanks steve for your comment.i really appreciate it. so i guess i should follow the 4 day workout plan then right.would you recommend that as a streamlined workout plan as you suggested. Regards
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Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 13:36
Moe
Steve: Can I do this: first day : Chest + Biceps Second day: Quads + Shoulders Third day : Back, Calves + Triceps
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 14:40
Steven
Yes, if there is a rest day between workout days.
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Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 14:52
hedley
started your plan last week feeling pumped everytime bit sore next day dont mind though thanks steve this is going to be a good one
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Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 14:58
cken590
Quick question, I'm 20 and am around 140 pounds, relatively new to weight training, but really looking to build some muscle. Do you think this workout is too intense? SHould i start somewhere else or will this one work?
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 16:14
Steven
It would be more beneficial to stick with a more basic program for a while until you build a little more strength. I wouldn't recommend lower reps until you have a good base strength level.
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Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 15:23
ryan
are you supposed to do all the work out you show..like for chest should i be doing 4 different lifts tht day along with the bicepts?
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 16:15
Steven
Yes, perform the exercises in the order listed.
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Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 21:27
Dario
Ok so I wanted to do the full workout before posting any comments and I just finished it today. What I can say is: IT'S AWSOME!! For me, this workout worked really really well. Good pumps, good exercices, everything was good (I only added a traps workout because there is none and changed the order of days). I really recommend this workout to anyone who wants to build muscle, it's awsome!! Thanks Steve for creating this workout! and if you could do more of them (with the same power - muscle - burn system) it would be really appreciated!
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 06/11/2010 - 08:29
Steven
Thanks for the great feedback Dario! I will start to add more variations and splits in the near future.
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Posted Fri, 06/11/2010 - 01:06
joeniel
would it be okay if i replaced the deadlift(back) power set with shrugs super set with bent over dumbbell rows
Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 06/11/2010 - 08:27
Steven
The deadlift is a cornerstone of this routine. I don't recommend replacing it.
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Posted Fri, 06/11/2010 - 18:07
Andrew Wright
What would you prescribe for good cardio during the week? I run typically 3-4 times a week for 2 miles but am not sure if I am doing the right thing.
Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 10:08
Steven
Running is a great form of cardio. I would either run post-workout, or on off days. You can also run on workout days, but I would make sure you are well rested for resistance training.
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Posted Fri, 06/11/2010 - 19:51
Jordan
Could I do it this way? Mon- Chest, Triceps Tues- Back, Biceps Wed- Hams, Quads Thur- Shoulders, Calves, Abs Fri- Off Sat- Off Sun- Off The only reason is because I'm limited to going to the gym only on mon-thursday
Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 10:11
Steven
Sure, that would work.
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Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 03:08
niranjan singh
hey .. thanks alot for posting this workout,,, I want a physic like brad pitt from "fight club" ... and my muscle responds to my eatings very quickly ... so i have kind of stopped eating egg whites coz i was getting quite bigger in size which i didnt like ,,, can u plz suggest something... thanks alot....
Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 10:20
Steven
If you don't want to gain weight, the best thing you can do is eat at a calorie level that keeps the scale in the same spot week after week. I know this sounds obvious, but it might take some work to zero in on an appropriate daily calorie level.
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Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 09:37
Simon
Hey Steve, i've read through all the comments and you are adamant that deadlifts should be staple to the back workout! My problem is i really want to include weighted pull-ups in the workout. I've been training pull-ups for months now and have become a bit of a fanatic. I started out with a measly 2 pulls ups and now im finally at the point where i can do 5 weighted sets of 3-5 reps. I'm really excited about working towards my goals of performing muscle ups and eventually a 1 arm pull-up so i definetly want to include weighted pull-ups in my program. So my question is, would it be ok to do 2 power exercises (deadlift and pull-ups) in a single back workout or maybe 2 sets of deadlifts and 2 sets of pull-ups? Or do them on different days or as a last resort just omit deadlifts? what would you suggest?
Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 10:05
Steven
Hi Simon, Pull ups are a great exercise. I have never tried lower rep pull ups, but you could use them as a replacement for one of the muscle sets. There is nothing wrong with doing two power exercises. You could also alternate week to week - deadlifts one week and weighted pull-ups the next week. Regarding deadlifts...when providing training advice, I hesitate to replace an exercise with a less effective exercise for basically any routine. This can be a slippery slope, and many young trainees start to look at training more as a buffet then a structure of exercises that has to be wisely chosen. I am not against other back exercises for mass, by any means. For this routine, the power focus is on bench press, overhead press, squats and deadlifts. If I recommend replacing one of these exercises, someone reading the routine will think it's OK to replace another, and before you know it someone is doing pec dec as a power movement. It IS possible to do back using other power movements other then deadlift. But I think the most effective back workout includes deadlifts.
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Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 12:04
Tony
Hello Steve, I am not interested in doing legs do to very bad knees. They are in good shape fromhaving played alot of soccer. I would like to get your advise as to what would be the best three day split for upper body. I have an incline/decline bench and a complete set of rubber hex dumbells from 5 lbs. to 65 lbs. So all of my exercises have to consist of Dumbells. I have found substitutes for almost all of the body groups except Triceps. What would use for the power and muscle sets? For the burn set in Biceps can I do single arm dumbell preacher using my incline bench or should I do an exercise that uses both arms at once? Thanks, Tony
Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 12:14
Steven
An upper body three day split could be: Monday - Chest and Triceps Wednesday - Back and Biceps Friday - Shoulders and Traps For triceps, I would recommend a seated two-arm dumbbell extension as the power move. And a one arm extension as a muscle move. You can also do skullcrushers with 2 dumbbells.
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Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 12:33
JR
These articles are great, I just finished week one and am very sore! Only thing it lacks is what to eat to develop muscle mass..
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 10:43
Steven
Hi JR, You want to eat at least 30 to 40 grams of protein every 2.5 to 3 hours. You will also want to eat at least 300 to 500 more daily calories then it takes to maintain your weight. Other then protein, fill your diet with healthy, nutritious foods such as fruits, veggies, dairy, healthy grains (oatmeal, wild rice, quinoa, etc.), etc.
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Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 12:51
Ryan
Hey great workout but I have a bad lower back and on backdays I try and stay away from deadlifts, what's a hood replacment
Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 20:43
Steven
Weighted Pullups.
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Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 08:27
Mark
Is it ok if i do it this way. M - Chest Tri T - Back Bi W- Rest/Core + Cardio TH - Legs Fri -Shoulders
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 10:44
Steven
Looks good!
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Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 12:10
gilbert
hi steve, tried this routine for a month and works out fine for me.. just wondering though if i can do a twice-a-week muscle group training in a 4-day split. for example: day 1: Chest, Shoulders and Triceps day 2: Back, Biceps and Abs day 3: off day 4: Chest, Shoulders and Triceps day 5: Back, Biceps, lower body day 6: off day 7: off I have also been taking a whey protein shake and MRI's anabolic creatine as supplements. Is the latter advisable? Thanks in advance!
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 17:20
Steven
I would recommend twice a week bodypart training with this workout. In general, if you train more frequently, you have to reduce daily volume. This routine can tax the body quite heavily from the various approaches. As far as supplements, you're good to go with those supplements!
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Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 09:40
gilbert
Thank you very much for the prompt response! This is a great site, and really insightful. will definitely be not hesitant to ask other questions in the future. thanks Steve!
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 15:07
Steven
You're welcome!
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Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 13:23
adam
can i do chest/tris, back bis, legs abs, shoulders? and when should i take off days
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 17:19
Steven
Hi Adam, Try this: * Day 1 - Chest and Triceps * Day 2 - OFF * Day 3 - Back and Biceps * Day 4 - Legs and Abs * Day 5 - OFF * Day 6 - Shoulders * Day 7 - OFF
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Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 16:27
Andrew
I usually work out about 6 days a week. I would like to try this routine but I swim 2 days a week for about an hour would this hinder me from building muscle?
Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 17:17
Steven
As long as you are eating to grow you will see results.
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Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 04:15
Jarin
hi there, Would it be a good idea to use protein powder before or after each workout or would it be better to just drink it every day.
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 09:21
Steven
It's a good idea to drink whey protein first thing in the morning and post-workout. Any best-selling brand will serve you well. And it doesn't hurt to drink a casein protein shake before bed.
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Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 14:49
Phil
Hi steve, I am currently in need of bringing my legs, arms (particularly tris) and shoulders up to speed....What split would you recommend with these workouts in order to gain the most in those areas (I would use your specialised strength, muscle, burn routines for those body parts). Phil
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 15:09
Steven
Hi Phil, I love to place an emphasis on legs, shoulders and triceps in my routines, and this routine is no exception. This routine would be perfect for your goals. there is plenty of heavy leg and shoulder work, and plenty of pressing movements for big triceps.
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Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 17:10
sean
hey, do u have to do only four work outs for chest for example or could you do more. like lets say two power, two muscle and two burn work outs.

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