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

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.

About The 4 Day Workout


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.

Recommended: Need help building muscle? Take our Free Muscle Building Course

4 Day Maximum Mass Workout Split

Day 1 - Back & 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 & 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

Notes: AMRAP = As many reps as possible.

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

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

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Posted on: Tue, 02/14/2023 - 11:28

Hello. I wanted to know if my shoulder and traps exercise is good:
Lateral raises
Shoulder press
Reverse Pec Deck Fly
Dumbbell shrugs
Face pulls
Incline Dumbbell Row

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Posted on: Fri, 02/24/2023 - 08:29

Incline Dumbbell Row is more for the back, but other than that, I like it.

Posted on: Sun, 02/05/2023 - 17:12

Any reason for deadlift on Back day? I thought that would be more suited to legs day?

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Posted on: Tue, 02/21/2023 - 20:39

It works the entire posterior chain. Many people associate it with back because of the lower back working, traps assisting, lats supporting, and spinal erectors throughout.

Posted on: Fri, 01/20/2023 - 09:46

I really enjoyed this program and ran it out for a couple of months. Highly recommend it! Going to run 4 day full body now.

Good luck to all!

Posted on: Mon, 02/06/2023 - 09:15

I actually had the same idea! About to make the switch. Hows it going for you? Could you post the link to the program pls?

Posted on: Wed, 01/04/2023 - 10:34

Hi anyone can recommend me a starter 3-4 days per week training routine?

If you could provide links . Would be great thanks

Used to train under a personal trainer but thinking to do it myself. Its sooner or later anyways

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Posted on: Sun, 01/15/2023 - 11:00

Training at a gym or home, Eugene? If at home, what equipment do you have? I want to make the best recommendation possible,

Jordi Grau
Posted on: Mon, 01/02/2023 - 16:03

I liked this workout so much! Thanks for it!
I've been doing it for 3 months and I think I wanna step up to a 5 days, my goal is about strength and aesthetics, so which would be a good next workout?
Thanks again!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 01/15/2023 - 10:59

Glad you liked it and got results. This should help you pick the next one based on your goals.


Posted on: Thu, 12/22/2022 - 10:47

Started using this program a few weeks ago and I'm really enjoy it. Gets me through a workout efficiently and am really liking the results. Any suggestions for what to do once the 8 weeks is complete? I'm thinking using the same format just switching up the exercises. Thanks again for posting a program that doesn't take 3 hours to do at the gym!

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Posted on: Fri, 12/23/2022 - 12:23

This can help you figure out your next program, Matt. Thanks for reading M&S!


Jeffrey Curtis
Posted on: Wed, 12/21/2022 - 02:42

I'm a WNBF Masters Pro Bodybuilder, trust me Steve Shaw knows his stuff. If you include warm up sets this routine is around 130-135 sets a week not including abs and calves. That is plenty of work for almost anyone. This routine works as I have used it myself. It's an advanced routine no doubt. Hit it hard, follow Steve's mass diet (which can be found by using Google and typing in Steve Shaw mass diet), get your sleep and you'll get the results you are seeking. Enough said.

Lee Sirois
Posted on: Thu, 12/22/2022 - 13:18

It's not the only routine you're doing though is it ? Nope ,enough said ,nobody was questioning weather it worked because I know it does but i highly doubt thatathe only routine he's doing and probably why he labeled it intermediate because he probably has an advance routine as he progressed .

Lee Sirois
Posted on: Thu, 12/22/2022 - 13:22

And tbh no pro body builders are using this .it's not a bodybuilders workout .it's missing lots as I've actually lost muscle in certain places but gained in others .he's a PowerBuilder not a body builder. I know pro body builders coming in at 6'2 297 8% bf , and no they're not using this routine .

Posted on: Sun, 12/18/2022 - 16:01

For the barbell static hold are we just holding the bar with arms extended down and an overhand grip?

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Posted on: Fri, 12/23/2022 - 12:22

Correct, Josef.

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Posted on: Wed, 03/22/2023 - 16:38

Yes, doing this at the end and squeezing with all your might will do its job.

Posted on: Wed, 03/08/2023 - 12:31

so literally just standing an holding the dumbbell at our sides, straigth arms?

Lee Sirois
Posted on: Mon, 12/05/2022 - 11:41

This program helped me put some decent muscle on , I had plateaued for about a year or so before I took this program on , in the ten weeks I put on about 7 lbs lean muscle ,thanks for the help ,very much appreciated,
I like to change up routines and can't find one in-between that's comparable so I'm wondering if you have an advanced program ? I just would like to try it if this is considered intermediate

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Posted on: Tue, 12/06/2022 - 06:41

We don't have an advanced version of this one, but I will make the suggestion to my editor. In the meantime, hopefully this will help.


Posted on: Mon, 12/05/2022 - 09:39

Can you use this plan for weight/fat loss?

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Posted on: Mon, 12/05/2022 - 09:56

You can, Ejay. As long as your nutrition is on point, and your recovery is optimal, you can see good results. This fat loss guide can help if you need nutrition guidance.


Posted on: Thu, 11/24/2022 - 15:08

My principle exercise effort is trail running, but I’ve found strength training to be beneficial for balance and agility. I’m just finishing a 10-week 4-day mass building program I’ve really enjoyed and am considering taking on this program next. I’m not looking to get huge, but enjoy building strength (In my 50’s, so working with some body limitations). I work in the 4-day strength programs as follows:
Day1: Strength (chest, tri’s), run (4-5 mi.), core
Day 2: Strength (back, bi’s), row (20-30 min)
Day 3: Run (8-10 mi.), core
Day 4: Strength (legs), row (20-30 min)
Day 5: Strength (shoulders, lats, wrists), run (6-8 mi.), core
Day 6: Rest
Day 7: Run (12-15 mi.)

Curious for your thoughts on this program’s fit as a replacement for the 10-week program I’m finishing up.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 11/26/2022 - 12:52

Hey Rob, I like it and think it could be a good next step. Let us know how that works for you, and thanks for reading M&S!

Posted on: Wed, 01/04/2023 - 20:30

Hey Roger. Following up here. I really enjoy this program. Have noticed the benefit of the strength in my trail running. Perhaps it’s associated with my enjoyment of endurance exercise, but I particularly like the burn sets. Unfortunately, got four weeks deep then had to take a break due to a surgery. Starting back now. Gonna do a week at about 80% then start the 10 weeks over. Will let you know how it progresses.

Lee Sirois
Posted on: Sun, 12/04/2022 - 18:02

I find it personally to be the best routine I've found on muscle and strengths site , I've done their advanced 10 week mass program designed by the team and it's nowhere as intense to this intermediate one , Wich has left me wanting an advanced version of your training

Posted on: Fri, 10/28/2022 - 11:56

i can only work out 4 days a week.
i have been doing arms-legs on Thursday&Sunday, chest and back on friday & monday .Now i am thinking of changing it to chest-triceps-shoulder on thursday and sunday then back-biceps-forearm on friday and monday .is it doable?

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Posted on: Fri, 10/28/2022 - 18:53

Need to do legs in there somewhere, Joji.

Posted on: Tue, 10/18/2022 - 20:33

Can we do the routines of each day in other order?

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Posted on: Wed, 10/19/2022 - 08:16

Just don't all three upper body days in a row. Other than that, you should be okay if you want to change the order, Antonio.

What was the split you had in mind?

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Posted on: Fri, 11/25/2022 - 21:01

Love it.

Posted on: Mon, 11/21/2022 - 14:48

Due to my work schedule, I can train (2/2), now I do:
Day 1 - Chest, triceps
Day 2 - Shoulders, traps and forearms
Day 5 - Back, biceps
Day 6 - Legs

Posted on: Tue, 10/18/2022 - 07:22

I am a very determined 43yr old 5'11" 257lbs with a lumberjack kind of build as I've been told. I currently and have been doing this program for 4 weeks. I have lost 12 lbs. But I'm not sure as what my calorie intake should be. Should I stay in a deficit? How much protienper day should I have? I feel a diffrence but i know its going to take time to see a diffrence just want to make sure I'm on the right track.

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Posted on: Wed, 10/19/2022 - 08:08

Congrats on the progress so far, Ray! This guide should help you answer your questions in detail.


Aaron W
Posted on: Sun, 10/16/2022 - 12:43

Hi there. I work Monday-Friday, 7:00am-3:30 pm as an office manager. I wake T 5:30, get to work by 6:45, and get to the gym by 4:15pm. I am currently 6’3”, 212 pounds. I am trying to bulk up as much as possible. I have found that it is very hard for me to gain. Is this workout going to be one that is plenty of workout time/intensity each day to see positive gain with the type of schedule/work I have through the week? If so, how should I be eating?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 10/16/2022 - 19:45

It will serve you well, so long as you eat big to get big and recover well. This guide may help you out.


Posted on: Wed, 10/12/2022 - 13:10

Hi! Why aren't there any exercises for the rear delts in the workout program?

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Posted on: Thu, 10/13/2022 - 08:30

Upright rows hit the rear delts, Yuri, but you can add face pulls and rear lateral raises to the program if you like. Follow similar sets and rep schemes that are listed for the other shoulder exercises. Hope this helps!

Posted on: Sun, 10/09/2022 - 17:52

Hey..My Plan
Thursday-Full Legs
Its alright ?
And when should i do abs workout ?

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Posted on: Mon, 10/10/2022 - 17:06

Looks doable to me. Throw abs in either on an off day or with back and triceps. Or you could do one abs exercise for 4-5 sets after each weight training day.

Posted on: Fri, 10/07/2022 - 23:13

What's the rest time after each set

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Posted on: Sun, 10/09/2022 - 15:54

Generally, 60 seconds should be plenty. If you feel strong, go for 45, but take up to 90 if you need the extra time. 90 should definitely be the max.

shane cook
Posted on: Mon, 10/03/2022 - 11:59

started to work out few months ago. But I need to figure out a schedule so I get all the different parts of the body but am not sure on how to do that

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Posted on: Fri, 10/07/2022 - 06:56

Are you having trouble figuring out when to train around work or school, or is it something else, Shane? Let me know, and perhaps we can come up with a solution.

Callum Waugh
Posted on: Tue, 09/06/2022 - 06:44

Is this good for beginners? How long should a beginner use this routine for? Thank you.

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Posted on: Tue, 09/06/2022 - 08:51

Yes, Callum. Beginners can do this one. Run it for eight weeks and gauge where you're at after.

Callum Waugh
Posted on: Tue, 09/06/2022 - 08:54

Then would I continue this routine if I'm making gains? Or would I move on to something else? Thank you

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Posted on: Tue, 09/06/2022 - 08:58

Depends on how pleased you are with the results. If you notice a lot of change, keep running with it.

Posted on: Fri, 09/02/2022 - 03:32

It Is ok yo train legs Just a time at week? Its my weakenest muscolar group