4 Day Power Muscle Burn Workout Split

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

Build Muscle
Split
Intermediate
12 weeks
4
60 minutes
Barbell, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Male & Female
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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***    

 

3.2K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Sat, 09/12/2020 - 10:12
Kor

I used this routine 4-5 years ago. I've gain the most amount of mass from this workout.
It has taught me how to indirectly working different body parts, the benefits of compound exercises, how important rest is, volume, basically, introduced me to the "science" side of gym workout.
Keep in mind I didn't have all the information in my days and I wasn't really trying to be a body builder. Just trying to keep fit so I didn't invest too much time in the theory side. I used the standard routines given to me by a instructor at my gym. 2 hours a day, 5 days a week. 10 years later, little results. With this routine, I was at my biggest and strongest while spending half the time at the gym. Just wanted to say thank you.

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Posted Wed, 09/23/2020 - 12:39
Abigail_M&S

Hey Kor - That's awesome to hear!

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Posted Wed, 09/09/2020 - 06:58
Peter Kirstein

Love the workout! Been at for 6 weeks now. What is a recommended workout to follow once one has completed the 12 weeks?

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Posted Wed, 09/23/2020 - 12:38
Abigail_M&S

Hey Peter - depending on your goals, feel free to choose one of our other workout programs: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workout-routines

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Posted Sat, 08/29/2020 - 17:39
Nick

What is rest period in between the power and muscle sets and also in between exercises?

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Posted Wed, 09/23/2020 - 12:01
Abigail_M&S

Hey Nick - Power sets are for strength, so rest periods between sets of 2-3 minutes will be beneficial. Muscle sets are for hypertrophy, and rest should be kept between 45-60 seconds. Rest between exercises can be 1-3 minutes.

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Posted Thu, 08/20/2020 - 05:23
Mayc

Hello from Spain. This workout for me has been fantastic. After almost two years of doing all kinds of routines, this one has managed to wake me up again. I love the combination and how you work on strength, hypertrophy and endurance. I don't know if it is the ideal routine for someone in competition, but for "normal" people like me who only want something aesthetic and improve our physical condition is perfect.

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Posted Wed, 08/26/2020 - 13:23
Marina_M&S

Awesome, Mayc! Glad to hear you are enjoying this program.

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Posted Wed, 08/19/2020 - 10:41
Michael

How should one warm up for this workout?

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Posted Wed, 08/19/2020 - 11:13
Yoshi

Hey Michael

Here's a great warm-up routine you can use for any program: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/6-warm-up-mistakes

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Posted Fri, 09/04/2020 - 18:52
marlon richards

Hey Yoshi,
Saw I answered this question and I wanna say thanks for the link to this warm up. However could you guys put it inna pdf form, it would be so easier to follow on your phone in the gym

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Posted Tue, 08/11/2020 - 12:02
Hamed talhouni

First... I thank you alot for that great workout.. I am thinking of doing it from next week...
But I wonder if yoy can advise me about changing some things if you agree that it is good for me
Sat :chest and biceps
Sun: back and triceps
Mon.. cardio (bicycle) & abs
Tue:shoulders and legs
Wen:chest and biceps
Ther: cardio again (bicycle) and abs
Fri.: rest
Is it too much the changing is that I made legs day with other muscle ..
Second question... can I take creatine with ashwagandha...

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Posted Mon, 08/03/2020 - 06:17
Karl

Hello, I am not much of a supporter of split training, I prefer training where I train the muscle part twice a week, but this split is very interesting, I want to ask if you can gain muscle mass with this training even if you only train once a week and I am not an AS user? thank you for answer.

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Posted Mon, 08/10/2020 - 13:06
Yoshi

Hey Karl

You can definitely gain some mass with this split. Your muscles will be getting a fair amount of indirect work on days that aren't "theirs". So it will be as if you're training them more than just once per week.

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Posted Tue, 07/28/2020 - 10:29
Terri

Should the 2 power exercises be done first (for ex., shoulder and tricep day - seated bench press and close grip bench press), and then move on to all of the other exercises? Or should all of the exercises for shoulders be done first and then move on to the triceps ?

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Posted Tue, 07/28/2020 - 10:52
Yoshi

Hey Terri

You would perform each group separately. Shoulder power > shoulder muscle > shoulder burn, triceps power > triceps muscle> triceps burn.

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Posted Wed, 06/17/2020 - 16:32
Vann

I’ve been in the gym 4 times a week for 2 years (minus 3 months cus of covid) but I did powerlifting for a while, and although I was as strong as I’d ever been, I was fat and could barely go on a run. I’ve gotten back into more cardio and wondered if this Would this be a good program to restart my strength and also burn excess fat or should I focus on a fat loss/shredding program?

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Posted Tue, 07/28/2020 - 10:50
Yoshi

Hey Vann

This would be a great workout to help kick start your routine back. Just be careful not to push too hard your first few weeks back in it. You can't keep getting stronger if you're injured.

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Posted Mon, 02/24/2020 - 00:00
David

Could a female do this workout also?

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Posted Thu, 06/11/2020 - 12:28
Marina_M&S

David,

Absolutely!

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Posted Sat, 02/01/2020 - 15:21
Max

How much should I be resting in between sets

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Posted Sat, 02/08/2020 - 07:42
Moises DeJesus

No more than 3 minutes

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Posted Thu, 01/23/2020 - 04:56
Nadeem

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 Fri, 01/24/2020 - 06:43
Nadeem

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%

Thanks

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Posted Sat, 02/08/2020 - 07:48
Moises DeJesus

Yes. You just need to start with the minimum amount to sets and tweak the numbers in your favor. The main focus here is building the power (strength) of a muscle, the volume of the muscle (resiliency & endurance), and the definition of the muscle through burn.

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Posted Sat, 12/21/2019 - 16:10
Bruno Gomes

Can i do this without haviang a lot of muscle but having a good muscle mind connection or should i do begginers splits for example full bodies/upper lowers

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Posted Sat, 02/08/2020 - 07:55
Moises DeJesus

DEFINITELY do this workout. It's an EXTREMELY sound approach towards fitness. I'm sure you've heard " different strokes for different folks"; everything doesn't work for everybody. Well thus approach uses the three major approaches towards muscle development. YOU CAN'T LOSE. To make this more "beginner friendly do power in the 6-8 rep range, do muscle in the 12-15 rep range and burn in the 25 rep range. Any higher rep ranges and it's just cardio.

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Posted Thu, 10/17/2019 - 20:49
Matt

Which exercise would you recommend swapping for Weighted Chins/Pull-ups? The Power (deadlift) or one of the Muscle (Lat Pull Down) ?

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Posted Mon, 10/14/2019 - 15:32
Jack

Will this allow you to work in a body part twice a week

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Posted Fri, 09/20/2019 - 06:42
Alex

Can I rest on days 3, 6 and 7 and work out days 1, 2, 4 and 5?

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Posted Wed, 07/31/2019 - 03:56
Salih Karacali

Hi Steve, Sounds like a great workout. One question. Is this going to help to lose some fat but also gain muscle?

Thanks

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Posted Fri, 01/03/2020 - 08:58
Max Roegiest

Losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time is the trickiest way to train. For beginners this is absolutely possible. For people who've been training longer, that's where it doesn't really happen. Food becomes the primary influencer of losing fat or gaining muscle. You got to track your macros.

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Posted Mon, 07/22/2019 - 20:04
Rahul Gupta

Hi guys
My question is that I perform these same exercises for the period of next 12 weeks.
So I'll be doing the same weekly routine for the next 12 weeks. Cause I have been doing workouts where there are changes every week .
Pls reply some one .
Thanks

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Posted Thu, 07/04/2019 - 12:15
Jon

I have a question on the placement of Biceps and Triceps on Day 1 and Day 4 respectively. To me seems more logical if CHEST was matched with TRICEPS since bench and inclines you are already working Triceps a lot, yes? Another example...What if you wanted to add some Dips into this workout? Again, that would work mostly chest and triceps. If there is other logic I'm missing I hope to know about it.

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Posted Sun, 09/01/2019 - 11:20
Mikael

Hi Jon,
This is how I think about it so it could be wrong but just to give you another side.

So when you hit triceps on chest day to with the bench press for example you hit tricep so thats an extra
But there is a special tricep day so you hit yoir triceps 2 times a week (same with back and biceps) and thats good because you gotta hit your arms at least twice. Thats my point of view. Hope this helps

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Posted Wed, 06/26/2019 - 04:41
michael

im tempted to do this program but what about all the research saying that its best to hit each muscle group twice a week? this only hits them one time

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Posted Sun, 09/01/2019 - 11:15
Mikael

I thought the same but i just did it, believe me its a good problem. Especially the burn feeling and the pump are amazing. good luck

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Posted Tue, 06/25/2019 - 17:41
RAUL M PALACIOS RDZ

Thank you very much for making this information public.

I have a couple of questions:

1 - Do you have recommended stretching routine pre and post working out?
2 - Do you recommend small aerobic routine in between sets? suchs as jumping jacks or so, to keep the heart beat high?
3 - Is it OK to walk or jog on off days?

Thank you again!

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Posted Thu, 06/20/2019 - 13:08
Josh Collins

Is cardio needed in this workout? If so what is the recommendation

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Posted Sat, 06/15/2019 - 04:44
Eilay Dror

How much rest I should take between sets?

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Posted Mon, 06/03/2019 - 13:37
Billy Dance

I’ve been doing this workout for 2 weeks now and i keep seeing comments about getting your macros? What are they and could you link a macro workout?

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Posted Wed, 07/03/2019 - 13:01
Ryan Whitlock

Macros are Macronutrients. They're basically saying get proper nutrition. The 3 Macronutrients are Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats. Macro diet indicates your ratios of Carbs:Protein:Fats in your caloric intake. If you Google "macro diet" you can find all sorts of helpful information to curtail a meal plan for your goals, including a calculator to figure out what your needs are based on your goals. Hope this helps.

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Posted Mon, 06/03/2019 - 12:12
Paddy

Hiya there.
Simple question, if I'm unable to train any time because of holiday/illness, how does it effects my training, especially any gains I may have made the weeks previous?
And is it simply a case of carrying on where I may have left, or does it knock my training back weeks and weeks?
BTW, I'm not planning to have any breaks.
Thanks from Paddy

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Posted Mon, 04/15/2019 - 09:55
Rich

Love this workout. I’m at the one month mark and would love an alt day for each of these? I’ve swapped some stuff out on my own but these workout seem to compliment each other so nicely id love other sets that do the same...

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Posted Sun, 05/05/2019 - 00:26
Anthony

I'm in the same boat. If love to see some alt days

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Posted Mon, 02/11/2019 - 01:28
Matt S.

I have been doing this workout plan for three months and have seen dramatic results. My only issue is how long it takes me. Both upper body days normally take me atleast an hour and 45 minutes. That's with the recommended reps and wait times, all tracked and timed on a stopwatch. Is this normal?

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Posted Tue, 01/22/2019 - 11:29
Karl

I’m just starting out this program and was wondering if I should do any warmup before jumping into power bench pressing.

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Posted Fri, 01/25/2019 - 09:47
JoshEngland
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Posted Fri, 01/18/2019 - 14:35
Matt

Hi. This sounds like a great workout for me. Would it be a good idea to add any kind of cardio to the off days or before I start my sets?

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Posted Wed, 01/23/2019 - 02:44
Yaa-jonirs

I did this program years Ago with good results. Will do this now again, Well in lack IF spare/gym-time i Will probably do the Three Days a week and a couple IF kettlebell fullbody sessions every other day...

Dont forgett to get your macros.