4 Day Maximum Mass Workout

A mass building routine that features a great combination of effective compound and isolation movements along with intense, high impact five minute burn sets.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
8 weeks
45-60 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Dumbbells, Machines
Male & Female
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Workout Description

This is an intermediate muscle building workout for lifters who:

  1. Have experienced beginner gains and are confident they know how to build muscle.
  2. Have a solid grasp of exercise form on the major compound movements.
  3. Know how to set up an effective muscle building eating plan.

Overload. Overload is critical to the muscle building process. Push each set for the maximum number of reps, stopping that set either when you feel your form is slipping, or if you feel like you may fail on the next rep. Do not train to failure. The point is to stimulate growth, not annihilate your body and central nervous system.

Add weight to each exercise as frequently as possible, when it makes sense. I recommend using the same weight for every set of a given exercise, and when you are able to perform a comfortable number of reps on each set, add weight.

Rep Ranges. Rep ranges are simply a guideline. It's is ok to go over them, or a hair under at times. Again, the magic is overload. Rep ranges are simply a tool.

5 Minute Burn Periods. For each body part you will perform a 5 minute burn out period. These sets are brutal. Pick a weight that allows you to perform about 12-15 reps. Over a 5 minute period you perform as many reps as possible with that weight, starting and stopping sets as needed. Rest only long enough to catch your bearings and breathe, and then start knowing out more reps.

5 minute burn out periods are not about sets and reps. They are about finishing off an already fatigued muscle. Don't obsess (or even count)  over how many total sets you do. Instead, try to do as many reps as possible in 5 minutes using whatever rest periods you need to survive.

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4 Day Maximum Mass Workout Split

Day 1
Back and Biceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift 2 5
One Arm Dumbbell Row 3 8-12
Wide Grip Pull Up or Lat Pull Down 3 10-12
Barbell Row 3 8-12
Seated Cable Row or Machine Row 5 Minutes Burn
EZ Bar Preacher Curl 3 10-12
Concentration Curl 3 10-12
Seated Dumbbell Curl 5 Minutes Burn
Day 2
Chest and Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 3 6-10
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8-12
Chest Dip 3 AMRAP
Cable Crossover or Pec Dec 3 12-15
Machine Press or Dumbbell Bench Press 5 Minutes Burn
EZ Bar Skullcrusher 3 8-12
Two Arm Seated Dumbbell Extension 3 8-12
Cable Tricep Extension 5 Minutes Burn
Day 4
Quads, Hamstrings and Calves
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 3 6-10
Leg Press 3 15-20
Hack Squat or Dumbbell Lunge 3 8-12
Leg Extension 5 Minutes Burn
Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 8-12
Leg Curl 5 Minutes Burn
Standing Calf Raise 3 10-15
Seated Calf Raise 5 Minutes Burn
Day 5
Shoulders, Traps and Forearms
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Barbell Press 3 6-10
Seated Arnold Press 3 8-12
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 10-15
Hammer Strength Press or Smith Press 5 Minutes Burn
Upright Row 3 8-12
Barbell Shrug or Dumbbell Shrug 5 Minutes Burn
Seated Barbell Wrist Curl 3 12-15
Barbell Static Hold 5 Minutes Burn

*AMAP = As many as possible.

Barbell Static Holds. Instead of performing reps you simply hold the bar as long as possible.

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755 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Thu, 09/10/2020 - 13:42

Training muscels twice is better it's a good program but it can be modified

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Posted Thu, 09/10/2020 - 10:36
Alexander Alcivar

What type of cardio, if any, can I do after weights?

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Posted Fri, 09/25/2020 - 16:30

Hey Alexander - you can do 30 minutes or so of steady-state cardio after strength training. Depending on your goals, you can do more or less cardio.

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Posted Thu, 07/23/2020 - 15:06

I really liked this training program, i wish all programs are the same
Some programs has too much efforts to do in fact i feel that they are not made to normal trainers
But this one i feel it fits me good, thank you very much for sharing

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Posted Tue, 06/02/2020 - 17:06

Are these super set at all?

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Posted Tue, 06/09/2020 - 10:18

Hey Kiel,

These are not supersets.

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Posted Fri, 01/24/2020 - 06:42

I was in the gym for 6 months, but only intermittently.
is it okay to follow this program?

my in body test:
weight: 85KG
SMM: 37.1 KG
Body Fat Mass: 20.7
PBF: 24.2%

Many Thanks

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Posted Wed, 01/08/2020 - 20:39
Jacob murcott

Is it ok to just do 2 days on 1 day off or do I need the full 2 days of at the end.

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Posted Tue, 12/17/2019 - 11:03
Mike Flaherty

I am on the final week of this eight week program. Not that rated for buliding. The burn sets give you a good rip but that is about it. Not one of the best programs I have tried.

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Posted Fri, 11/29/2019 - 22:23

Where is the Abs in this program

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Posted Mon, 11/25/2019 - 16:51
Mike Raghu

Hello thanks for the 4 day workout routine it's going great so far after I'm finished with this routine what's next thanks Mike

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Posted Tue, 11/19/2019 - 23:28

How long are rest periods?

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Posted Tue, 10/22/2019 - 07:20
Alexander Ludwick

Why do none of these training plans ever include Core training?? Absolutely don't get it?

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Posted Wed, 10/23/2019 - 11:05

Hi Alexander,

Because for the majority of body composition related goals, core training is unnecessary.

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Posted Wed, 01/08/2020 - 22:07
Jacob murcott

Is it ok to train 2days on 1 day of or should I do the 2 days on 1 day of 2 days on 2 days off at the end .

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Posted Thu, 10/10/2019 - 11:49

Hi Steve - I've really enjoyed this workout. Thanks for putting it together and making it available. You indicated this is an 8 week program. I'm coming up on 8 weeks. Should I keep going or is there an alternative workout you would recommend? Thanks.

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Posted Sun, 10/06/2019 - 12:19

Is it ok to swtich day 1 with day 2 and/or day 3 with day 4? or will that mess it up?

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Posted Fri, 09/20/2019 - 13:33

I don't know man...
I always keep coming back to this routine. It seems that nothing else works for me. I know this is only a 8-week program....but when I'm doing this I really get big.
Winter is coming so probably will switch back to this while bulking and will choose 6-day program with more cardio in the spring.
I don't know who exactly is Mr. Steve Shaw but keep them coming.
Or even better ... can someone point me to a 5-day / 6-day split program that will have similar results?
What I tried didn't really work for me.

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Posted Wed, 09/18/2019 - 07:49

Hi, I love the 4 day work out routine, is working out one muscle group every 7days enough to see substantial muscle growth and strength gain ? I read a lot of other articles that say it’s to much time in between to gain really good results , I have only been doing for two weeks, but was wondering myself.

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Posted Fri, 08/09/2019 - 06:15

Can you please provide me link for Barbell Static Hold and alternate exercise for chest dips?
What is 5 minutes burn can you explain?

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Posted Wed, 08/21/2019 - 21:38

Barbell static hold is exactly what it sounds like. Pick up a barbell, dumbells, kettlebells, farmer bars any hold it for 5 minutes. Your forearms will burn and you will struggle to wipe your butt for few days afterwards.

Chest Dips
Technically there are two ways to perform dips - neither is wrong, just different movement with different purposes:
Staying upright and keeping the elbows in close to increase tricep recruitment.
Leaning forward with elbows wider to increase chest recruitment.
If you are struggling with them you can use rubber bands to support your weight and help you push yourself up.

5 min burn
Pick a weight that allows you todo 10-15 reps (15th rep should be difficult) and try to lift/push/pull that weight as much as possible. Don't worry about counting reps just try to do as many as you can for 5min.
Example: 15reps, rest for 15s, try to get 10 more reps, rest 10-20s, try todo as many reps as you can, rest for 10-20s and continue that for 5min.

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Posted Mon, 07/29/2019 - 08:34
Chad Silich

Hey Steve,
I need to know how much whey protein to take and should it be taken before or after my workout. Also I am on a keto diet is this an alright diet to use with this workout.

Thanks Chad

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Posted Mon, 01/06/2020 - 18:27

No, keto doesn't work very well for building muscle, as it's FAT focused. You need protein focused for muscle building. You will ruin your gain potential by sticking with keto. Switch it around so the majority is protein, and fat second, instead of the opposite for keto, and you have a perfect plan.

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Posted Fri, 06/14/2019 - 17:54

Hey steve ,
Will you please explain me the 5 minutes burn period ? Is it same as AMAP ? because in description it is written that choose the weight from which you can do 12 - 15 reps and in the last it is written that instead od count sets just do the reps as you can , so im bit confused kindly guide me for this

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Posted Thu, 06/20/2019 - 16:36
Arska Majuri

Pick a weight that you can perform 12-15 reps and start doing with that weight as many reps as you can in 5 minutes

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Posted Thu, 05/23/2019 - 04:40

Where are you adding your abs and cardio? Off days or in the morning and performing routines in the evening. I’m currently on a 1-1 routine lift one day and cardio abs the next with one to two complete rest days. I’m trying to see where cardio and abs would be best suited in this routine. Thanks

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Posted Wed, 05/15/2019 - 12:46

Hi Yosh,

I see that there are no abs included. Whats the best way to add them to my workout? I really like your workouts btw(:

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Posted Wed, 05/08/2019 - 17:29
Iain Rudd

I really like this workout. 4 days fits my weekly schedule. I went 8 weeks and had muscle gain and a little definition. I love feeling like I got a workout.

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Posted Thu, 05/09/2019 - 12:10
Iain Rudd

As a side note, I am experimenting with this program. The first 8 weeks I did the max reps listed. The next 8 weeks I am going to do the min reps listed at more weight. I am always trying to mix things up so as not to get bored with a routine. Hoping it will drive results.

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Posted Sat, 06/22/2019 - 18:18
Tyler Parker

Hey Iain, you might want to check out the similar workout by the same author: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/4-day-power-muscle-burn-worko...

You aren't really choosing which rep range to do, rather you pick up a weight that you can, for example, do the given lift 3 sets 6 reps each. Next week shoot to do 3 sets 7 reps each, and so on. When you reach 10 reps for each set, then move up in weight where you can only do 3 sets of 6 again. Hope this helps. (Amount of sets and reps are just an example)

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Posted Sat, 04/20/2019 - 10:04

Sorry, I meant, "Josh". Not "John". Anyway, seems like Steve is far away from this program already... :)

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Posted Sat, 04/20/2019 - 10:02

Hey, guys!

I liked this program. But now I've tried PHUL, which is good too. But still not sure if such "Bro Splits" are better, to "upper/lower" are better...

What do You think: should I repeat with this one, or better try this:

I don't even know why is it being marked "beginner", since it looks pretty solid.

John, what do You think? This split actually has more sets per muscle group per week... or it's better just to switch every 2 months from "bro split" to "upper/lower" and so on?

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Posted Tue, 04/16/2019 - 10:27

What is the recommended rest time between sets for the max mass 4 day workout split?

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Posted Sat, 04/20/2019 - 10:03

60-90 for non-burning sets. Read comments.

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Posted Sun, 04/14/2019 - 08:09

Hello muscle and strength,
Could I replace stiff leg deadlift with sumo deadlift.
Also, is this program alright for muscle gain and fat loss?

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Posted Thu, 04/11/2019 - 08:28

Hey muscle and strength,

I’m sixteen years old and trying to build a lot of muscle, and gain more weight. Can I use this workout split to help me out? It fits in my schedule perfectly.

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Posted Thu, 04/11/2019 - 10:49
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Posted Wed, 04/10/2019 - 11:34

Thank you for your hard work with this article! Please tell us how much rest between sets is optimal for this sort of program. A number of individuals have asked this question but no response. Please help.

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Posted Thu, 04/11/2019 - 10:55

Hi Jay,

60-90 secs on everything outside of the burn sets should do the trick.

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Posted Thu, 04/11/2019 - 12:05

Thanks Josh!

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Posted Wed, 04/10/2019 - 05:32
John Wayne

Hi Muscle&strength,

I've using this split for more than 8 weeks and I can tell it is indeed effective but a short question. Does the order of the exercises for each day matter?
I mean for example for the Back & Biceps day can I do first the lat pulldowns and leave the deadlifts after or should we respect the above order?


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Posted Wed, 04/10/2019 - 11:21

Hi John,

Do your best to perform the exercises in the order they are listed.

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Posted Thu, 04/04/2019 - 10:52

I want to add more squats to my workout, like 8-10 sets slowly moving down. How will this affect the workout routine

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Posted Sun, 03/31/2019 - 11:08

Where is the difference between the seated barbell and the smith press?

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2019 - 09:20

Hi Florian,

Barbell presses will require a greater degree of muscle activation from supporting muscle groups compared to the smith machine.

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Posted Sun, 03/10/2019 - 07:03
Richard Gray

How long is rest period between set?

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Posted Thu, 03/07/2019 - 15:56

I would like first to thank you for these awesome exercises.
I was wondering, how much time do we have to rest between each set ?
Thank you

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Posted Sun, 03/03/2019 - 07:11

hi josh
I'm a skinny guy with a weight of 108 lbs. I started going to the gym when my weight was 92 lbs I had been lifting weight for 3 months
my question is
is it okay to use this plan to bulking for a year?
by the way my age is 20yo this year

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Posted Mon, 03/04/2019 - 10:54

Hi Sulaiman,

Sure, you can use this program to bulk.

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Posted Sun, 03/03/2019 - 04:42

For the barbell static hold is it just the bar itself or how much weight should be on it?
For the machine press burn which machine is it? Is it the hammer strength press flat or incline? Or is it the lifefitness bench press machine.
Do we use the same weight on the burn that we originally can get 12-15 reps on first set for the entire 5mins or should we drop weight?