4 Day Power Muscle Burn Workout Split

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
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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***    

3.1K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Fri, 09/14/2018 - 17:10
Brandon H

Should the power sets be performed together or should a full muscle group be completed before moving on to the next. Example.. Should I do power sets for shoulders then for triceps, then move on to all muscle sets then burn sets? Or do power muscle burn for shoulder, then the same for triceps..?
Thanks!

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Posted Wed, 08/29/2018 - 00:35
Mehdi Mollahosseini

I have been working out for 2-3 months now, trying to learn the correct form and fat loss/muscle gain. i weigh 244lb and 38yo. I lost 13lb in last two months. bench press 185, squat 220, deadlift 250lb for 5 reps. I was wondering if this routine is still a little early for me? since in the headline mentions intermediate level and i consider myself as a beginner. would you please suggest a proper routine for me? Appreciate it very much.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 08/29/2018 - 10:16
JoshEngland

Hi Mehdi,

We have a full beginner workout that has 3 phases. You can start the first phase here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/start-from-scratch-beginner-w...

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Posted Fri, 08/24/2018 - 22:09
Doni

hello i want to ask please answer
im already use PHUL program for 6 months , and I'm bored with this program, whether this program is suitable for muscle growth by losing fat or this program https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/4-day-maximum-mass-workout ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/27/2018 - 08:59
JoshEngland

Hi Doni,

Yes, that would be a fine program to transition into.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:56
Yasith

Hi
What's the rest period in between sets, specially the power sets?

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Posted Wed, 09/05/2018 - 07:43
Antonio

As regards power-sets, the rest period should be 2 to 4 minutes between each set. An average of 2,5-3 minutes should normally be enough.

As regards muscle-sets, the rest period between sets should be something in the range of 60 - 75 sec.

Hope this helps. Best regards.

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Posted Mon, 05/28/2018 - 05:19
Ivo

Hi,
I tried this program and for two months I gained only 2 kilograms and some muscle on the biceps(now I am 70, I gain vvery hard kg). I am athletic, no fat and mainly muscle on my body but I want to reach at least 75 kg which is very hard task for me. Since last year I gained 5 kg only from training. However, I feel that only when I heavily train my biceps I gain weight but I'm not sure if it's true.

So, my question is is this the best program for me for weight gain and why my results are so stalled (I try to eat a lot with high protein intake).

Thank you very much for your answer.
Ivo

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Posted Thu, 04/26/2018 - 11:16
DANIEL HARTLESS

I am currently overseas. I am planning to start this workout in about two weeks. The gym that I have access to is over populated and under equipped. I can do most of this on a regular basis, except for the deadlifts (I have tried so many times).. So my question for anybody being; what can I substitute in for the deadlifts? If it needs to be two or three different exercises that is fine...

Thanks in advance.

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Posted Wed, 04/18/2018 - 16:45
Chuck

I do not have access to cable equipment or a leg press. What exercised would be best to replace, the leg press, lat pull down, cable row and the leg curl?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 04/19/2018 - 10:47
JoshEngland

Hi Chuck,

Leg press - another squat variation

Lat Pull Down - a Pull up variation

Cable Row - A dumbbell or barbell row variation.

Leg Curl - a Deadlift variation or bodyweight leg curl variation (nordic hamstring curl/ SHELC)

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 04/17/2018 - 01:30
Gabriel

Hi,

Would you recommend an intermediate start this program or starting on stage 4 on this program. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/get-huge-fast-the-2-year-plan... Looking to mainly pack on muscle mass and weight.

Thanks,

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 04/17/2018 - 08:38
JoshEngland

Hi Gabriel,

Both are fantastic options... why not do them both a phase at a time?

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 04/10/2018 - 02:59
Harry

Just a question, i prefer training a 5 day split as it suits my structure with the sport i play.
Do you recommend adding another day to the 4 day split or doing something else which isn't part of your program? I have noticed there are no Traps or Forearms exercises. Can this somehow be added?
Also what alternatives are there to a Front Squat? These are very difficult to do even with light weights.
Thanks.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 04/10/2018 - 08:48
JoshEngland

Hi Harry,

Here is the 5 day split version: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/power-muscle-burn-5-day-power...

Direct training for the traps, forearms, abs, and calves are not always necessary as they are involved in compound lifts, meaning they are hit indirectly.

Give goblet squats a try :)

Hoep this helps!

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Posted Wed, 04/11/2018 - 01:49
Harry

Thanks heaps Josh!!

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Posted Sun, 04/08/2018 - 00:17
Sam

Thanks for this guide, my goal is not for getting macho, just healthy lifestyle, i tried your guidelines its very effective for me. I tried diffrent program and after trying other program i stil going back in this program. I tried full body workout and still your program is the best, sometimes if i have busy sched or work i do FBW and then back again in your program. Sorry for bad english.

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Posted Mon, 04/02/2018 - 07:31
Brandon

Hello. Would doing the burn sets first as a warm-up, then moving to the heavy power sets be a good idea?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/02/2018 - 09:22
JoshEngland

Hi Brandon,

I'd recommend performing a warm up before your power sets and keeping the burn sets as is.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 03/19/2018 - 18:01
Ivo

Hello,
The training program is very good I will definitely try this one. My question is: is it possible that there can be expereinces of muscle catabolism or atrophy or danger of overtraining with the many burn reps even if we get proper sleep and eat good?
Thank you very much in advance for answer.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 03/20/2018 - 08:39
JoshEngland

Hi Ivo,

Possible? Sure, depending on your current conditioning and ability to recover.

Likely? No, I wouldn't say it's likely to happen, but everyone is different.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 03/16/2018 - 15:33
Marc

Are we supposed to do the all the power sets first for the muscle groups of that day? For example, is it better to do chest power followed by bicep power followed by respective muscle and burn sets, or is it better to do chest power/muscle/burn followed by bicep power/muscle/burn?

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Posted Wed, 03/14/2018 - 05:43
K.thomas

How much cardio do you recommend if any?with the four day split.please help!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 03/14/2018 - 09:13
JoshEngland

Hi K.thomas,

I recommend people perform some form of cardio every day. Whether that's HIT style or LISS style will depend on your personal preferences and capabilities. Personally, I go on fairly lengthy walks in the morning and at night with my dog.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 02/26/2018 - 15:24
Akis

Hello there!i found this post very interesting and i ll try it.i d like u to tell me how i can strengthen my wriata and forearma with iaolation excercises(not deadlifts).I would really appreciate it. Have a nice day!

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Posted Tue, 02/20/2018 - 02:18
Kewal

Hi,

According to the power, muslce and burn system, we should not increase weight until we are able to perform 5 reps for the 5 sets for power exercise (similar rule applies to muscle) and 25+ reps in burn exercise.

But then in the notes section under progression, you mentioned that we should we increase weights every set. So if you can clear this confussion for me, it would be great.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 02/20/2018 - 09:19
JoshEngland

Hi Kewal,

Increase weight used during your sets on your workout days (some call this approach ramping up), but don't increase them per set the next week until you're able to perform all of your 5x5 sets.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 04/12/2018 - 04:36
Ivo

Hi,
So, as far as I also understood, we should increase the weight every other set even if we don't reach the upper limit of 5 or 12 reps on all the sets(on power and muscle exercises). Is it correct?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 04/12/2018 - 08:41
JoshEngland

Hi Ivo,

Sure, feel free to increase weight used as desired to make the workout more challenging.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 02/12/2018 - 13:17
Vitaly Antonov

Hello,

Deadlifts is one of the only exercises that I can't perform (lower back issues).
I'm aware that substituting deadlifts with different exercises is nearly impossible..
Any recommendations?

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Posted Mon, 02/05/2018 - 10:13
Bryan Cavazos

Hello, i noticed it has a 12 week span. My question is should i alternate every other week to avoid a plateau?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/05/2018 - 10:16
JoshEngland

Hi Bryan,

No, that is not necessary. Progress isn't linear, everyone hits plateaus. Just be consistent and you'll over come them.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 01/24/2018 - 14:23
Magnus

Is this a good program for fat loss if you are on a low calorie diet?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 01/24/2018 - 16:31
JoshEngland

Hi Magnus,

Sure, this workout program can be used as a fat loss routine.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 12/05/2017 - 15:35
Matt

I am 2 months into this workout. My bench is up 30 lbs and my bicepts measure 2 inches larger. This routine is definately effective, ill update with pictures afte the 16week mark.

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Posted Tue, 11/28/2017 - 10:19
Bryan

Could I change the days so it would look like this?
Day 1: Back & Traps
Day 2: Chest & tri
Day 3: REST
Day 4: Legs
Day 5: shoulders & biceps
Day 6: rest
Repeat

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 11/28/2017 - 16:55
JoshEngland

Hi Bryan,

Sure, I don't see why not.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 11/29/2017 - 15:01
Bryan

Is that enough frequency?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 11/29/2017 - 15:33
JoshEngland

Hi Bryan,

Definitely, especially if you are relatively new to this style of training. However, there are better ways to train for muscle growth for natural lifters.

Personally, I'm a fan of full body workouts and upper/lower routines. My current split features a 3 day split. 1 day off, full body, 2 days off weekly schedule. That's not to say this workout program wouldn't work for you as everyone is different.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 11/29/2017 - 15:41
Bryan

I’ve tried to run a upper/lower split but I felt like I was either doing too much or too little on upper days. I started training about 2 years ago and I dropped a total of 50lbs and I’m trying to put it all back as muscle but it’s taking awhile like I expected and I can’t seem to find the right program to stick with.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 11/30/2017 - 08:37
JoshEngland

Hi Bryan,

In my experience, most programs you will find on the internet will have plenty of volume. In fact, some may argue a lot of them have too much volume.

A lot of the muscle building process takes place outside of the gym, as I'm sure you are aware of. Make sure you have your diet and sleep on point and are sticking to programs for longer than a couple weeks at a time, tracking your numbers to ensure you are consistently achieving progressive overload.

It is also important to have realistic expectations. 50lbs of muscles is a lot of muscle mass to put on, and truthfully nearly impossible for a lot of natural lifters. Those who are natural and do put on that kind of mass were either underweight to begin with or did it over a lifetime of dedicated working out.

I'd recommend reading this piece we recently published on genetic potential. It will help put things in perspective and give you plenty of realistic muscle building goals for the future.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/are-genetics-preventing-you-f...

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 11/10/2017 - 10:26
Pim

Hi there!

Do you think it would be beneficial to change up the muscle / burn groupings between the workout? For instance, do burn lateral raises on odd weeks and burn front raises on even weeks?

Thanks

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Posted Fri, 11/10/2017 - 09:03
Hameed Ali

Hi Sir
what kind of supplements do you recommend for me?
I workout for five months. someone recommend me to have whey portion, bcaa and glutamine.

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Posted Tue, 10/03/2017 - 20:04
Sal

Seems legit. I have a few questions. First, does this workout also apply to building strength by having those power exercises? Second, can I change the days so that I can do it like this?:
Monday:Chest and Triceps
Tuesday:Shoulders and Abs
Wednesday:Off
Thursday:Back and Biceps
Friday:Legs
Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 10/04/2017 - 08:36
JoshEngland

Hi Sal,

Yes, this workout will build strength. I personally wouldnt recommend performing your back day before your leg day or your chest day before your shoulder day. I'd recommend switching those around a bit so that you have a couple of days in between legs & back and Shoulders & chest.

Hope this helps!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 10/10/2017 - 09:38
JoshEngland

Hi Sal,

More than happy to help. Go for 3-5 minutes of rest on your power exercises and 60-90 seconds of rest for all of the other exercises.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 10/10/2017 - 11:30
Sal

Thanks for all the help!

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Posted Sun, 10/08/2017 - 12:47
Sal

Thanks for the reply! One more question. I know I’m asking a lot of questions but how many seconds or minutes of rest between every exercise? Does it matter between what type of exercise like longer rest periods for power and shorter rest periods for muscle and burn exercises? Thanks!

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Posted Thu, 10/05/2017 - 20:33
Sal

Thanks for the reply! Also one more question. Can I switch out the French Press for a muscle Tricep Pushdowns and then just do the burn set right after the muscle set?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 10/06/2017 - 09:00
JoshEngland

Hi Sal,

That substitution should be fine.

Hope this helps!