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4 Day Power Muscle Burn Workout Split!

4 Day Power Muscle Burn Workout Split

Average: 4.4 (1016 votes)
4.4 5 1016
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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  • 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 (2,894)

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 07:26

You can work traps on back/deadlift or shoulder day.

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Alberto
Posted Wed, 06/09/2010 - 12:17

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.

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Wed, 06/09/2010 - 14:55

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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Alberto
Posted Wed, 06/09/2010 - 16:34

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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Howard
Posted Wed, 06/09/2010 - 17:30

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.

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 07:35

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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Vinoth
Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 12:10

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

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 14:39

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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Vinoth
Posted Fri, 06/11/2010 - 02:11

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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Moe
Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 13:36

Steve:
Can I do this:
first day : Chest + Biceps
Second day: Quads + Shoulders
Third day : Back, Calves + Triceps

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 14:40

Yes, if there is a rest day between workout days.

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hedley
Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 14:52

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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cken590
Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 14:58

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?

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 16:14

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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ryan
Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 15:23

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?

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 16:15

Yes, perform the exercises in the order listed.

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Dario
Posted Thu, 06/10/2010 - 21:27

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!

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Fri, 06/11/2010 - 08:29

Thanks for the great feedback Dario! I will start to add more variations and splits in the near future.

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joeniel
Posted Fri, 06/11/2010 - 01:06

would it be okay if i replaced the deadlift(back) power set with shrugs super set with bent over dumbbell rows

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Fri, 06/11/2010 - 08:27

The deadlift is a cornerstone of this routine. I don't recommend replacing it.

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Andrew Wright
Posted Fri, 06/11/2010 - 18:07

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.

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 10:08

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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Jordan
Posted Fri, 06/11/2010 - 19:51

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

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 10:11

Sure, that would work.

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niranjan singh
Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 03:08

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....

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 10:20

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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Simon
Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 09:37

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?

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 10:05

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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Tony
Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 12:04

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

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 12:14

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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JR
Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 12:33

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..

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 10:43

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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Ryan
Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 12:51

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

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sat, 06/12/2010 - 20:43

Weighted Pullups.

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Mark
Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 08:27

Is it ok if i do it this way.

M - Chest Tri
T - Back Bi
W- Rest/Core + Cardio
TH - Legs
Fri -Shoulders

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 10:44

Looks good!

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gilbert
Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 12:10

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!

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 17:20

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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gilbert
Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 09:40

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!

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 15:07

You're welcome!

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adam
Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 13:23

can i do chest/tris, back bis, legs abs, shoulders? and when should i take off days

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 17:19

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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Andrew
Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 16:27

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?

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sun, 06/13/2010 - 17:17

As long as you are eating to grow you will see results.

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Jarin
Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 04:15

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.

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 09:21

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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Phil
Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 14:49

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

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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 15:09

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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sean
Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 17:10

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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Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Mon, 06/14/2010 - 18:17

You could do two power exercises, but I would only do 2-3 heavy sets per exercise. I wouldn't do 8 total heavy sets.

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