Dougs 4 Day Split Maximum Strength Workout

If you are looking to a pure strength training routine, then this routine is for you. This program will increase your strength is the shortest time possible.

Workout Summary

Increase Strength
Split
Intermediate
4
Barbell, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Male & Female

Workout Description

If you are looking to a pure strength training routine, then this routine is for you. Doug Lawrenson has designed this strength program to increase your strength is the shortest time possible. This is an intermediate strength training program. Beginners should not use this workout. If you need a beginners strength workout head over to our muscle forum and ask. We'll put one together for you. Good luck, stick with it and build some more strength!

Important:

  • 5 mins warmup and stretching before your workout
  • 2 warmup sets for each exercise
  • 5 mins of cool down and 5 mins stretching after each workout
Monday - Shoulders and Triceps
Shoulders
Exercise Sets Reps
Military Press 4 8, 6, 4, 2
The last set should be supersetted with side laterals (10-15 reps). You can also replace this exercise with seated barbell press.
Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Lying Tricep Extension 4 8, 6, 4, 2
4 sets of  with the last set supersetted with tricep push down for 10-15 reps.
Notes
None
Tuesday - Back
Back
Exercise Sets Reps
Bent Over Barbell Row 4 8, 6, 4, 2
Make sure you keep a wide grip. The last set should be a superset with wide grip pull down (10 to 15 reps)
Notes
None

Wednesday: day off/rest day

Thursday - Chest and Biceps
Chest
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Bench Press 4 8, 6, 4, 2
With the last set to be a superset with flat bench dumbbell flys (10 to 15 reps)
Biceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Dumbbell Curl 4 8, 6, 4, 2
Last set superset with standing barbell curls (10 -15 reps)
Notes
None
Friday - Legs
Legs
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 4 8, 6, 4, 2
Last set superset with leg extensions (15 - 20 reps)
Leg Curl 4 8, 6, 4, 2
Last set double drop set to failure
Calves
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated calf Raise 4 8, 6, 4, 2
Last set double drop set (15 - 20 reps)
None
None

Saturday and Sunday: days off/rest days

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About The Author
Doug is an ex-competitive bodybuilder with over 20 years fitness experience, specifically diet & nutrition, weight management and training techniques.

119 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Tue, 06/01/2010 - 13:29
Ned
You mention that this routine is not for beginners. I have been lifting on and off for years at an intermediate level. However I have currently not been in the gym for at least 4 months. I have lost a significant amount of my gains due to a poor diet. Does this mean I should start over with a beginner's routine before starting this? Or can i still consider myself of the intermediate level... Thanks
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 06/01/2010 - 16:43
Steven
I wouldn't start with a beginner routine. I would recommend taking a couple weeks working with moderate weights to get the feel of the exercises again, but after that, start hitting it hard. I took several years off at various times (military service, etc.) and muscle memory helped quickly return my past strength and size.
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Posted Fri, 05/24/2013 - 11:59
Kyle
I've read every comment on this routine and have come to the following conclusions based on the answers and my personal experience with the routine. 1. The routine is for immediately advanced people, if you have never worked out before, spend a month or more learning you body. If you haven't worked out in a long time spent at least a couple weeks getting back into the form and finding a good weight range for each activity. 2. For all of you who are questioning the amount of reps and or total amount of exercises per body group, or why isn't dead lift in there, etc. please calm down. The exercises are suppose to be simple and to the point for each major muscle group. When it comes to overall leg strength, hammies, quads and glutes, squats are king. When it comes to overall chest strength, bench is king, and there is nothing better for building strength in your shoulders than pushing weight off of your shoulders. Likewise for the rest of the muscle groups. When you stop getting stronger from the routine, or get to the strength you desire, do a different routine. 3. If the particular exercise described in this routine is something that you can't do because of equipment issues or physical restraints, do the closest comparable exercise you can think of or get one recommended to you by a trainer, or google it.
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Posted Mon, 06/07/2010 - 11:41
robert
should i be upping the weight between sets as the reps go down? or should i take my maximum lifting ability at 8 reps and keep that amount of weight on down to 2 reps? also - just to clarify for each exercise its set 1 = 8 reps set 2 = 6 reps set 3 = 4 reps set 4 = 2 reps then superset with each exercise. not set 1 = 8 reps, 6 reps, 4 reps, 2 reps set 2 = 8 reps, 6 reps, 4 reps, 2 reps set 3 = 8 reps, 6 reps, 4 reps, 2 reps set 4 = 8 reps, 6 reps, 4 reps, 2 reps + superset
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Posted Thu, 01/20/2011 - 15:25
crap
set 1 = 8 reps set 1 = 6 reps set 1 = 4 reps set 1 = 2 reps + superset
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Posted Wed, 06/15/2011 - 11:16
leo
superset?
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 06/07/2010 - 17:08
Steven
You should be using as much weight as possible for each stated rep range. How much weight you use will vary from exercise to exercise. For some exercises you might not be able to add weight for each set. If you can perform 8 reps on a set that requires 8 reps, I would add weight the next time in the gym.
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Posted Mon, 07/26/2010 - 02:45
Kyle
Is there any Rest time between the reps? 8,6,4,2??
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 07/26/2010 - 13:10
Steven
For real taxing lifts, you could rest anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes between sets. No need to rush from set to set on this type of workout. Take your time, and regain your energy and focus before starting another set.
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Posted Sat, 07/31/2010 - 18:53
Phikaz
Can I substitute bentover barbell rows with one arm dumbell rows coz I have a left/right side balance/symmetry issue I need to get rid of. Thanks
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 08/03/2010 - 11:12
Steven
Hi Phikaz, You can use one arm dumbbell rows.
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Posted Thu, 08/12/2010 - 00:49
David Baker
How long should a strength workout like this be done for?
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 08/12/2010 - 14:51
Steven
Hi David, I would run it as long as you are making solid progress.
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Posted Fri, 08/27/2010 - 23:48
James
What does is mean by "last set double drop set" ?
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 08/31/2010 - 14:45
Steven
Hi James, You perform the set, and without resting, remove some weight and perform more reps. Without resting again, remove even more weight and perform more reps.
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Posted Tue, 08/31/2010 - 23:18
James
thanks! great routine you have here
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Posted Thu, 09/23/2010 - 20:24
Jason
I am focusing my training efforts solely on building strength and this routine is working quite well. However, I have learned from the articles in this site that I should change my routine periodically. My problem is that this site has few pure strength-trainging routines and I don't trust many other sites. What are some ways I could change this routine up to keep up the results?
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 09/27/2010 - 08:31
Steven
Hi Jason, Stick with a routine as long as you are making progress and seeing good results - especially a strength focused routine.
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Posted Thu, 10/07/2010 - 18:31
kody
i see that theres only 1 to 2 workouts per muscle grounp is it ok to do more than just one to two workouts per muscle group or would that be a bad and if so why?
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 10/13/2010 - 13:54
Steven
Hi Kody, I would start with what's listed and run it for several months. See how your body responds, and only add volume if you aren't seeing the results you're after.
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Posted Tue, 12/07/2010 - 17:21
Lance
So are you recommending to NOT add extra lifts for each muscle group?
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 12/08/2010 - 08:54
Steven
Hi Lance, I never recommend adding more sets without a reason. Training should be an evolution. Start simple and basic, learn your body, and evolve your training as needed. One major mistake many trainees make is that they look at a program and think..."if this is good, more will be better." Unfortunately more is generally not better.
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Posted Wed, 12/08/2010 - 10:40
Lance
Thank you for the info.
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Posted Wed, 10/20/2010 - 16:26
graham dube
can i ask why incline bench press instead of standard?
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 10/20/2010 - 16:40
Steven
Hi Graham, Inclines are very popular in the bodybuilding world. If pure strength is your goal, more so than muscle building, I would use flat bench.
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Posted Sun, 10/24/2010 - 11:56
Alvin
Hi, i would like to ask what exercise can replace seated calf raises, because the gym i am in does not have a seated calf raise machine. Please reply to this, thanks.
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 10/25/2010 - 10:07
Steven
Hi Alvin, You can standing calf raises while holding a dumbbell(s).
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Posted Sun, 10/24/2010 - 12:17
Alvin
Hello, what do you mean by "4 sets of  with the last set supersetted with tricep push down for 10-15 reps." for triceps?
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 10/25/2010 - 10:08
Steven
Hi Alvin, On the last set, without resting you immediately start perform tricep push downs.
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Posted Tue, 10/26/2010 - 03:21
Alvin
thanks for the reply. may I ask why there's no abs exercises in this workout?
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 10/27/2010 - 08:34
Steven
Hi Alvin, You can perform abs 1-3 times per week after lifting.
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Posted Thu, 10/28/2010 - 01:50
Alvin
Oh. Will you recommend any abs exercise for this workout?
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 11/03/2010 - 11:30
Steven
Hi Alvin, Here are some good choices: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/ab-workouts.html
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Posted Tue, 11/09/2010 - 11:30
Andrew
Steve, when it says superset. Does that mean. After work out would u do an extra set with high reps. And for the incline bench. Every week could u alternate. Incline one week and bench another week?
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 11/09/2010 - 14:43
Steven
Hi Andrew, You could alternate each week between bench press and incline bench. As for a superset, read this: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/guide-to-advanced-muscle-building-training-techniques.html#4
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Posted Mon, 11/22/2010 - 14:29
jakir
hi is this workout for muscle gains as well as strenth because i want to stay the same weight but get stronger. thanks
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 11/22/2010 - 15:05
Steven
Hi Jakir, Weight gain is all about diet. If you don't eat more than you need, you won't gain weight.
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Posted Mon, 11/22/2010 - 14:31
jakir
also if i do cardio after the workout will i lose gains in strenth
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 11/22/2010 - 15:05
Steven
Not if you're easting properly. Many strength trainees do quite a bit of GPP - which is cardio in nature.
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Posted Tue, 11/23/2010 - 11:04
jakir
ok thnaks.
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Posted Wed, 12/01/2010 - 20:40
Peter
Steve, I've been doing the power/muscle/burn, meaning I've been doing about 20 sets total per workout. I need to gain strength, but this one looks so short, and consists of a lot of the workouts in power/muscle/burn workout. How is this going to help build strength? I feel like I'll leave the gym unsatisfied by the brevity of this workout.
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 12/07/2010 - 10:45
Steven
Hi Peter, Strength building can occur with as little as 5-6 sets per bodypart per week. There really is no right or wrong amount of weekly volume. It's best to play around and see what works for you best. Some guys respond better to less work per week. In any case, always stay focused on progression. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.
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Posted Mon, 12/06/2010 - 22:25
John
Could I replace squat with leg press?
Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 12/07/2010 - 10:45
Steven
Hi John, I wouldn't recommend that. Squats are the king of strength and muscle building.
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Posted Sat, 12/11/2010 - 01:03
Ron
Hi Steve, In the warmup sets, what should we be doing for weight/reps?
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 12/20/2010 - 16:34
Steven
Hi Ron, I'm not the author of the article, and tend to recommend a few more warmup sets. Here is how I generally warmup. Let's say your first bench press set is with 225 pounds...my warmup sets would be something like: Bar x 15 reps 135 x 10 reps 185 x 5 reps 225 x 1 rep The last warmup set I use to prepare my central nervous system for the challenging set to come. I use it to get "the feel" for the weight.
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Posted Fri, 12/17/2010 - 17:16
kampara
howmany week sould ı do this workout 4-6 ?
Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 12/20/2010 - 16:34
Steven
You can run this as long as you are making good progress.
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Posted Fri, 01/21/2011 - 10:20
christian
Hi steve i was wondering how long does it take to see results from any program?
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Posted Fri, 01/28/2011 - 13:48
martin
4th set 10-15 reps or 5th set supersetted 10-15 reps?

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