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

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.

Day 1 - Chest and Biceps

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
Pinwheel Curls - Power 2 3 to 5
Standing Barbell Curl  - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Cable Preacher Curl - Burn 1-2 40

Day 3 - Quads and Hamstrings

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
Romanian Deadlift - Power 2-4 3 to 5
Romanian Deadlift or Leg Curl  - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Leg Curl - Burn 1 40

Day 4 - Shoulders and Triceps

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
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

Day 6 - Back, Calves, and Abs

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
Seated Calf Raise - Muscle 2-3 10 to 15
45 Degree Calf Raise  - Burn 2 40
**Perform Ab work of choice***    


Posted on: Mon, 04/22/2024 - 15:13

Hi, I have problems doing a deadlift. Is there a different excercise I can replace on day 6?

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Posted on: Sat, 04/27/2024 - 20:40

Hi Tamir, I would need to know what the problem is with the deadlift before I offer a replacement. I don't want to waste your time with suggestions that you also can't do.

Posted on: Thu, 03/28/2024 - 05:49

Hey I have a question, Shaw, I really like hammer strength row exercise for my back, could I alternate, every other week, some of the exercises with it. What do you think?

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Posted on: Thu, 03/28/2024 - 20:54

Hi Pavle, I think this would work because I like the Hammer row as well. Swap out either row on back day and replace it with the Hammer Strength row. Let us know it works for you.

Posted on: Thu, 02/08/2024 - 02:17

Due to my schedule, I have four days where I can train.
Can I condense this down into three training days? Sunday (Chest, shoulders, bis) Monday (legs), Tues (off), Wed (back, traps, tris)? Or would that be too much volume? Thanks team!

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Posted on: Thu, 02/15/2024 - 19:00

Hey Shawn, if you've been training for a while, then I think you will be okay doing a split like this. I like how you split them up, so my guess is you're not a gym rookie. We appreciate you being here and hope you'll share the results.

Posted on: Sat, 02/17/2024 - 16:00

Hey Roger, thanks for the comment!

I've been training for about 20 years consistently. I'd consider myself an intermediate to advanced lifter but I love using the programs on the website (the Brad Borland plans tend to be my favorite) and then I'll change some of the exercises to fit the plan. For example, I've been loving including "crazy bell" training for the additional core component (I'm sure you're familiar.)
Thanks again for the feedback!

Posted on: Tue, 01/16/2024 - 08:52

Can I use this programm with my basic lifting numbers?
Deadlifts: 10 reps 210 lbs
Bench Press: 10 reps 140 lbs
Squat: 10 reps 210 lbs
Didnt test max power so far.

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Posted on: Thu, 01/25/2024 - 06:47

Sure can, Mario! Go for it.

Posted on: Sun, 01/07/2024 - 14:00

Can this program be used with resistance bands that have enough tension to fail at the required rep ranges?

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Posted on: Tue, 01/09/2024 - 20:34

It can. May not yield the same results, but if that is all you have, do your best with what you got. Good luck, and thank you for reading M&S!

Posted on: Mon, 11/27/2023 - 02:55

Hi Steve, thanks for this program. I'm not sure if I have missed it or not, but what is the rest between set on this program. I'm about to start day 1 now, so I won't get your response before I start but I was thinking maybe 120 seconds for power, 90 seconds for muscle and 15 seconds like you hinted for burn? What do you think?

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Posted on: Wed, 11/29/2023 - 21:04

What's good, Gator? Steve didn't assign rest periods, but I like your suggestions and would suggest you go with them.

Posted on: Fri, 11/17/2023 - 17:53

How can i incorporate T bar Row on back day since i wasnt to grow the thickness in the back & also how can i incorporate leg Extensions on my leg days

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Posted on: Sun, 11/19/2023 - 19:09

Replace seated burn with T-Bar and leg press BURN with leg extension. Hope this helps!

Dale H
Posted on: Thu, 11/09/2023 - 11:28

When I first started looking for a workout a few years back I chose this one because it made sense to me and I've just stuck with it. I'm not shredded or anything, but I've become much stronger and feel good. I noticed that this along with a lot of other workouts have time frames attached to them, ex this one is a 12-week program. I've been doing it for about 4 years (minus my periods of absence at the gym). Is there a benefit to switching routines frequently for a regular guy not trying to sculpt himself competitively? Or is that more for optimization between cutting and bulking, which I'm not really concerned with.

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Posted on: Sun, 11/19/2023 - 19:08

Hi Dale, different programs challenge you in different ways so you can improve your overall fitness, regardless of what your priorities are. I would suggest changing to something else for a while before going back to this. We have plenty of programs to choose from here.

Posted on: Fri, 11/03/2023 - 19:59

Can I do this Mon,Tue,Thu,Fri? This is the only way I can consistently get the works in.

Also I have always been told that we should train a muscle twice a week to grow. I've never tried once a week before.

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Posted on: Wed, 11/15/2023 - 18:54

Hi Andrew, your schedule suggestion would be fine.

I think you'll find that training once a week would be effective because of the extra recovery time and intensity of the work you are doing while training. Let us know how it works for you. Thanks for reading M&S!

Posted on: Mon, 01/08/2024 - 10:32

You could always throw in a full body “pump” day on Saturday. Since it’s only a 4 day program, throw in a Full Body day at the tail end to stimulate the muscles one more time for the week.

Posted on: Sun, 10/08/2023 - 22:54

For the leg workout there's two RDL's or leg curls. What exercises can i replace with either the second RDl or leg curl?

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Posted on: Sun, 10/22/2023 - 10:56

Do RDL for one, then leg curl for the other. If you can't do either option, let me know why and what equipment you have and I can offer replacement suggestions.

Posted on: Sun, 10/22/2023 - 22:45

Power set RDls and muscles sets. Can i replace the muscle set with smith machine lunges or dumbell RDLs

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Posted on: Mon, 10/23/2023 - 20:59

Yes, you can make those changes.

Cole Havens
Posted on: Sun, 09/10/2023 - 16:38

Love this workout. Do it all the time. However, I’d like to mix it up. Is there anyway to do this as and upper/lower split, and if so, how would you propose the best way to go about that?

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Posted on: Wed, 09/20/2023 - 19:44

Hi, Cole. If it was me, I would mix up the exercises so you have upper and lower days. Compound movements are for power and muscle while isolation exercises would be for burn.

Posted on: Sun, 09/03/2023 - 15:19

Is it possible to add cardio days without messing up my progression through this program? Maybe I’m over thinking it. Help please

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Posted on: Wed, 09/20/2023 - 19:42

You can add cardio, DeAndre. What do you usually do for cardio?

Ed Briscoe
Posted on: Sat, 07/29/2023 - 22:08

Interesting work out however I want to keep something between Monday-Friday. Is this possible?

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Posted on: Tue, 08/15/2023 - 09:43

Train on Monday and Tuesday, take Wednesday off, then train again Thursday and Friday. Weekends off. Hope this helps, Ed. Thanks for reading M&S!

Posted on: Thu, 07/20/2023 - 07:15

Would this routine work well for someone in their early 50's who's in good shape with no joint pain?

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Posted on: Sun, 07/23/2023 - 09:37

Absolutely, JC! If you do it, let us know how it goes for you. Thanks for reading M&S!

Posted on: Mon, 07/10/2023 - 11:32

I’m getting ready to start this program, really excited to get started with it. Just wondering if you have a substitute lift for deadlifts.

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Posted on: Sun, 07/23/2023 - 09:22

Why can't you do deadlifts, Andy? I want to make the best suggestion possible.

Posted on: Sat, 05/06/2023 - 10:17

This is a wonderful program. My default go to. I love the combination of heavy sets and burn sets. I feel amazing after every workout.

For me results are measured by how consistently I can go to the gym for the year. So I might as well do something I love! And I love this program!!

Posted on: Tue, 03/07/2023 - 10:42

Hello, I've been running this program for almost 3 and a half months now and I think progress is non existent at the moment.
Is it time to move on ? I do eat enough, sleep is good too.

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Posted on: Wed, 03/22/2023 - 16:23

It is time to move on, Alex, and this may help you choose that next step to take.

Posted on: Fri, 03/31/2023 - 10:31

Thanks a lot!!!

Posted on: Sat, 02/04/2023 - 07:06

I put in a lot of hours at work during the week so I don't have much time to work out except for weekends. Can I move the workouts to something like:

Chest and Biceps on Saturday
Shoulders and Triceps on Sunday
Back, Calves and Abs on Tuesday
Quads and Hamstrings on Thursday or Friday?

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Posted on: Mon, 02/20/2023 - 21:27

It beats not doing anything at all, Jeff. Props for finding a way. Let us know how it goes for you.

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2023 - 11:20

Greetings Steve !, Could you please tell me how to warmup for power sets ? I am a bit of a beginner,do i need to work up to the desired weight ?

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Posted on: Sat, 01/28/2023 - 10:21

Hi, Bassem. Perform multiple light sets to focus on form and muscle activation. Also, keep moving in between sets so blood is flowing. After a few light sets, you should be ready to go. Hope this helps!

Posted on: Mon, 11/28/2022 - 19:45

What kind of warmup should I do for power sets? I’ve been doing endless cycles of 5/3/1, and I’m thinking of changing it up. If all power sets are the same weight, how do you work up to that weight? My current TM’s are 160/205/350/390. What would would be a good starting point to transition, like 80-85%?

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Posted on: Thu, 12/01/2022 - 08:19

Hey Andrew, 80% would be what I choose to go with. Hope this helps.

Posted on: Wed, 11/23/2022 - 09:07

Hey Steve!
I was wondering If we could add another day maybe? 3 days rest is too much for me.

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Posted on: Fri, 11/25/2022 - 21:15

We're always going to advocate for more rest, Alex. If you wanted to do cardio, that would be ok, but the rest is in there for a reason.

Lee Sirois
Posted on: Thu, 01/19/2023 - 21:00

I kept reading and found the exact same title but under a five day routine .if that helps more .

Posted on: Sun, 08/14/2022 - 21:21

This is an awesome workout. My first 8 months or so of lifting I was following a standard full body progression to get to a base level of strength. Afterwards I used this program and its been awesome. Great gains and I love that I can focus on each muscle group fully once per week. I feel like every body part is getting the attention it needs. Shout out to Steve - he has great YouTube content as well

Posted on: Wed, 08/10/2022 - 05:22

I did this routine last year and it helped more than any other. After a couple other programs (and a couple injuries) I'm back to my favourite. I practice Brazilian Jiujitsu 2-4 times per week and like to run 1-2 times per week too. Should I adjust this program to compliment BJJ? If so what should I change?

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Posted on: Mon, 08/15/2022 - 10:12

You might want to stick to the minimum sets when you have ranges. For example, if it says 2-3 sets, do two. Other than that, go by how you feel and monitor those previous injuries. If you notice anything you don't like, stop and talk to a doctor.