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***    

 

3.2K Comments
Bobby
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

Lewis
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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Roger
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.

Jack
Posted on: Mon, 06/20/2022 - 16:57

I've been working this routine for a while and it's been by far my favorite. Only problem is that I've started to plateau and plateau hard. My heavy sets have completely stalled and a couple started to get worse. Any suggestions for the logical next step from this routine?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 06/24/2022 - 10:12

What are your goals now, Jack? Let me know, and I'll find a new routine here on M&S for you to run with.

Walter
Posted on: Thu, 06/09/2022 - 23:04

Ready to move on from this workout. It was a blast. dropped about 30lbs and packed on some muscle. got the bench up to 225lb(questionably), Squat as high as 285lb, and 315lb for deadlifts. Power sets are not going as well anymore so I want to try a plan geared towards building muscle. Would this be a good one or is it too similar to what I'm already doing with PMB?

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/8-week-hypertrophy-workout

Cheers!

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 06/10/2022 - 09:22

Hi, Walter. The program you chose is a great one. I say go for it!

MikeJames
Posted on: Tue, 04/26/2022 - 19:35

I’ve been doing cardio on the rest days, but want to add a core routine to rest days as well. Is that okay?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 04/27/2022 - 21:57

Hi, Mike. Sure, you can do that as long as it isn't too intense. Got a program in mind or do you want a suggestion?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 05/19/2022 - 21:02

Here is a good ab workout for you, Mike.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/core-destroyer-8-week-home-ab...

Cardio - 20-30 minutes 3-4 days a week would work. Do it in the morning or after the weights.

MikeJames
Posted on: Tue, 05/03/2022 - 13:17

Would love some suggestions. Thanks. Also, how long should I do cardio for?

Christian
Posted on: Mon, 04/25/2022 - 11:04

Hello

I want to work out 4 days a week and hit all the muscle groups at the end of the week. I fell over this program but the mixed up numbers 1,3,4,6 got me wondering if I have to do it 1(Monday) 3(wednesday) 4(thursday) 6(saturday) or can I just do it Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday?

Regards,
Christian

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 04/27/2022 - 21:58

Hi, Christian! I don't suggest training all four days in a row. You can do it the first way you suggested, or you can do two in a row, take a day off, and then do the other two.

Ben
Posted on: Mon, 02/21/2022 - 12:59

On your day 3 Quads and Hamstrings you have Romanian Deadlift 2-4x3-5. Next exercise is RDL or Leg Curl 2-3x6-12 then Leg Curl 1-40 burn. How do you swap the Leg curl and RDL up?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 02/24/2022 - 20:18

Hey Ben, Steve is giving you options to use whatever is best for you. So, do what you feel is best for yourself. You can perform RDL with barbell then dumbbells, or you can do different versions of the leg curl.

Joseph hegarty
Posted on: Mon, 02/21/2022 - 07:54

Whats the rest period for muscle , power and burn?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 02/24/2022 - 20:12

Rest for 60-120 seconds between sets. If you want to focus on building muscle, then rest closer to the 120 seconds. If fat loss is the goal, try to keep it to one minute.

Hazel
Posted on: Sat, 02/12/2022 - 00:44

Any recommended meal plans for body building with this workout.

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 02/17/2022 - 18:37

Hi, Hazel. What is your main focus right now? Do you need to lose bodyfat, or are you looking to add mass?

Hvelez
Posted on: Wed, 02/02/2022 - 11:35

So I started this program a couple of weeks ago with no thought to it but Is is this a pure bulk workout Or can I Keep myself in a deficit so I could try to lose some weight

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 02/02/2022 - 18:41

You can do this one on a diet, Hvelez, but your strength gains may not be the same as they would with a higher caloric diet.

Hyokeun Choi
Posted on: Mon, 01/31/2022 - 19:59

Hi, that's great true workout programs. What if I would like to add "dip" on chest day, where should I put it?

Thanks.

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 02/02/2022 - 18:41

Replace the flyes with it, Hyokeun.

Hyokeun Choi
Posted on: Wed, 02/09/2022 - 15:08

Thanks alot!!!!!

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 02/17/2022 - 18:34

You might be doing too much with the front delts, so I would back off the front raise. Other than that, you're good to go.

Hyokeun Choi
Posted on: Wed, 02/09/2022 - 15:09

Alss for rear shoulder, where should I swipe or add on extra? Thanks.

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 02/11/2022 - 20:53

If you wish to add rear delts, swap face pulls or rear lateral raises in place of the seated rows.

Walter
Posted on: Fri, 02/11/2022 - 21:41

Roger! Walter here again. I added rear lateral raises right after the front raises. Is that too much to add to the shoulder routine? My routine looks like this: Military Press for strength. DB Shoulder press for muscle, Front Raise + Rear Lat raise for muscle, Lat raise for burn. Cheers!

Richard
Posted on: Wed, 01/05/2022 - 10:43

Just started this program and it is truly humbling, especially the burn phase. My question is are the days able to be swapped around? Example
Day 1 back and calves, 3 shoulder and tri, 4 quad and hamstrings, 6 chest and bi. Or is this not recommended since back is used for squats to stabilize?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 01/06/2022 - 17:56

Hello, Richard! Yes, you can switch the days to make it work on your schedule. Based on what you shared, you should have enough time between back and legs for the back to stabilize properly for squats. Hope this helps!

Rishubh Shah
Posted on: Sun, 12/12/2021 - 23:49

Hey! If i have scoliosis and I'm not super comfortable doing deadlifts or squats, what variation should I do?

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 12/14/2021 - 18:25

Hi, Rishubh. Because of your scoliosis, you should speak to your doctor about what exercises you can or can't do.

De Sousa
Posted on: Sat, 11/13/2021 - 09:05

I love this Workout routine. I use some variations in the exercises sometimes, but I love to follow it for my training.
Thanks.

Walter Perez
Posted on: Fri, 11/12/2021 - 12:25

What kind of deload would you recommend for this routine? I went 5 months straight doing PMB and hit a nasty wall. Felt terrible during my workouts. Little to no progress, terrible sleep, unmotivated, and felt weak. Did some research and found out about the deload. Interested to hearing your take on it for this particular routine. I love PMB and planned to stick with it for a substantial amount of time. I basically built my home gym around it best I could! Appreciate any feedback. Cheers!

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 11/12/2021 - 18:01

Hey Walter, if you haven't done so already, take a complete week off of training. Seriously, no weights at all. Then take the next two or three weeks to gradually increase the workload.

Week 1 - 50-60% weight
Week 2 - 60-70% weight
Week 3 - 75% weight

Then go back to the regular volume you've done before. Hopefully you notice greater improvements. Let us know how it goes.

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 11/15/2021 - 18:30

I would agree with that, Walter. Eight weeks at most, but if your body is telling you something, listen.

Walter Perez
Posted on: Fri, 11/12/2021 - 19:13

Roger, wilco!

I stopped last week on Wednesday. I was not deadlifting with the way I was feeling. I took 5 days off and started the deload week just as you described. I wouldn't have even thought to do the 2nd and 3rd weeks.

How often should I do this in the future? When it comes to delaods, I've read about 3:1 ratios, every 4-8 weeks, or just when you feel your body is telling you to take a break.

lol Don't wanna try that last one again!

Walter Perez
Posted on: Wed, 11/24/2021 - 16:16

Rogerrrr! Hopped back into it this week during the back end of a nasty cold (no worries, home gym) and still felt so much better than those last couple weeks before resting. I was so anxious and worried about lost progress and whatnot, but it was minimal.
I saw some minor decreases in my muscle sets, but my power sets were solid. I think previously I was worrying more about adding weight to my burn sets out of habit than really focusing on solid consistent reps. They feel way more affective now that I'm not feeling like crap.
I'm sleeping better, feeling better, and can't wait till next week. I should be fully over this cold and ready to rock.
I'm also getting back on a decent supplement stack. I remember when it used to look like GNC puked in my cupboards. I was trying to stay away from that this time around but I was still missing some of the essentials. I did some research during the deload and I was surprised to see that creatine had cemented it's place in the fitness community. In the loading phase as we speak!
As far as deloading goes, I'm going to try the 3:1 approach. I’m in it for the long haul and interested to see how it goes for me. Roger, thanks so much for taking the time! I really appreciate it. I love training, I love Power Muscle Burn and I’m grateful for Muscle & Strength!! Enjoy the holidays everybody!

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 11/24/2021 - 20:00

I appreciate the report, Walter! Hope you're able to get back to dominating the iron again! Enjoy the holidays!

Aaron
Posted on: Mon, 10/18/2021 - 01:53

Hi, if I wanted to do hip thrusts could I use them as a muscle category during quads and hamstring day?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 10/20/2021 - 16:18

Hey, Aaron! You sure can. That's actually a great idea!

Nicole
Posted on: Wed, 09/22/2021 - 15:42

Hello,
I am reverse dieting. I am currently consuming 1800 calories and plan to decrease to 1600 calories in 1.5 weeks. I want to lean out and gain strength. Can I do this by being in a caloric deficit? Also, when do you recommend cardio? On off days, after or before the training session?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 10/07/2021 - 11:32

Hi, Nicole. You will get lean for sure. The strength gain will be more difficult since you're in a deficit. In regards to cardio, do it on off days if possible. If not, get it in after you train.

Amrit Pannu
Posted on: Wed, 09/22/2021 - 10:30

Thank you muscle and strength for providing the great content for free

Samuel
Posted on: Wed, 09/08/2021 - 18:38

How do I increase weight for each exercise, like for day 4 if I increase the weight for seated barbell press, am I supposed to increase the weight for everything else on that day? Or should I increase it one by one every week. I only increase it when I hit max rep on all sets listed for that exercise.

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 09/23/2021 - 12:34

Hi, Samuel. Increase the weights that you can. Don't force yourself to do more on any exercise than you're capable of. It is ok if you can add weight to one movement but need to stay the same on another.

Akreyi
Posted on: Fri, 06/25/2021 - 07:57

Can I keep doing this program for more than 12 weeks? I feel if you can progressively overload and maybe change up a few exercises, sets, or periodize every few months, you can stay on this for a few years until you become advanced.

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Abigail
Posted on: Mon, 06/28/2021 - 09:08

Hey Akreyi - yes, you can definitely do this program for longer than 12 weeks!

Bencp
Posted on: Wed, 06/09/2021 - 22:58

Can I get away with hitting all four days in a row then three days off? Work commitments only enable me to work out 4 days in a row.

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Abigail
Posted on: Fri, 06/11/2021 - 09:42

Hey Bencp - yes, you can do that.