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
4
Barbell, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Male & Female

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***    

 

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2.9K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Tue, 05/05/2015 - 11:53
Matt

Hi,

I have been doing this programme for 6 months now and have noticed a good difference from when i started. I'm lifting 10-15kg more, and even more for legs. Although i've not lost weight, i'm sure i've lost fat and gained muscle. But i'd like to now loose some weight but ensure i retain the muscle i've worked hard to build.

Can anyone recommend a good programme to progress on to from this one that would aid in continuing to build SOME muscle, but mostly lose fat?

3-4 days a week works for me.

Thanks in advance.

Matt

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Posted Fri, 04/10/2015 - 18:59
Ben

First off I want to tell you I really love this method of training. I'm seeing gains and have only been lifting about 6 months. I'm wondering if you would describe your recommendation to alternate exercises every other week? Does that mean I should change exercises every workout for every body part?. also, I'm not sure witch exercises to alternate (Power, Muscle or Burn)? And Finally, if I'm alternating exercises, how do I decide which exercises should be Power, Muscle or Burn sets?
Thanks. Love this site.

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Posted Fri, 04/03/2015 - 15:07
Parker

Why do you pair Bench press and biceps? And then back with calves and abs? Back and Biceps have always worked together, chest triceps and shoulders are muscles that work together. When you push a bar up you're pushing with your chest, and a little bit of your rotator in your shoulder and triceps. When you do a row you're pulling with your back and biceps. So I guess i'm just confused by certain pairings in this. I still love this workout routine though!

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Posted Sat, 03/21/2015 - 16:27
Charles

Is this routine appropriate for those of us who are naturally lean/hardgainers?

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Posted Thu, 03/19/2015 - 03:54
Ulises

For burn can i use fst 7 or rest pause

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Posted Sun, 03/15/2015 - 09:51
Lee

Hi Steven! i just started workout and i was wondering that is it possible to change the workout days to
Day 1 : Workout, Day 2 : workout, Day 3: rest : day 4 workout, Day 5 Workout, Day 6 rest, day 7 rest.
is it possible to do it like this? or it will affect the workout for not enough rest?

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Posted Thu, 03/12/2015 - 17:47
Scott Mitchell

I've been trying this routine out for a couple weeks, My gym is 3.8 km away and I've been trying to train cardio on the way there and back by jogging as much as I can and keeping my heartrate up. I'm 5'10 270lbs (quite sure I'm an endomorph, got strong legs, am a wide dude, and have never been skinny in my whole life) and it's tough on my lungs having recently been a heavy smoker. I wan't to lose my tire and gain muscle at the same time (I'm not worried about the 8 pack yet). I was wondering if you could help me optimize my routine. I'm unsure if I should be pushing myself hard both on the way there and back, would it be better to save intense cardio for after my weight lifting session? Does doing cardio before the workout hurt at all? I've read the nutriton section and am eating complex carbs with a couple grams of protein 30mins-1hr before I start running to the gym and at least 40 grams of protein when I get home. I usually get up at 7-8am and eat breakfast, then have a couple more complex carbs (mostly oatmeal) before I go to the gym at 11-12 which I consider my lunch including the protein after the gym. Dinner is always pretty well rounded with a good portion of lean protein, vegetables and a few carbs. If I find myself hungry at night around 10-11pm, what would be the least harmful thing to eat?

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Posted Tue, 03/10/2015 - 21:19
Kris

Hey used to train for many years (6+) and this approach was the most amazing and successful during my bodybuilding times conditioning me for subsequent MMA training. Unfortunately been a lazy ass for the last three years! Ready to get back in shape (still young 24) I was wondering whether it is a good idea to restart with this program; or is it more reasonable to start slower for a couple of months; e.g. Max Riley HIT Workout.
Article: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/hit-workout-high-intensity-tr...

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Posted Mon, 03/09/2015 - 04:18
Logan Norm

How long between sets?

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Posted Mon, 02/23/2015 - 07:32
Dom

Hi
I've gotten good results with this program, actually enjoying it but i want to add some plyometrics for martial arts. Would that be something you can recommend for this program? Like...substitute the burn set for a plyometric set, and do double cardio? eg. as a warm up and between chest and biceps?

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Posted Sun, 02/22/2015 - 15:25
Nick

When and how often should you incorporate cardio training. Is it better to do during off lifting days or just after your workout?

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Posted Sun, 02/15/2015 - 16:30
B.Benchikhe

Hi Steven!
I wonder if I use the same weight for each set or every set has different weigh,
Thank you

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Posted Fri, 02/13/2015 - 16:43
tomi

hi. can i use this program for losing fat? or is this program just for building muscles?

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Posted Tue, 02/10/2015 - 16:51
cory

Is this a program for a certain amount of weeks or just on going?

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Posted Fri, 02/06/2015 - 00:48
shredher

I have 15days left on another strength program I've been following. Been looking for a follow up strength program, besides another I have, this looks the goods!

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Posted Sat, 01/31/2015 - 12:55
Dan

This program has a week rest in between the muscles worked (except for legs). 5x5 or 3x5 would probably be the way to go and add a few hypertrophy workouts at the end of each session. done.

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Posted Tue, 01/27/2015 - 10:30
Billy

Where would I add my workouts for traps?

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Posted Mon, 01/26/2015 - 10:22
Kevin

Can this workout be downloaded?

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Posted Mon, 01/19/2015 - 10:30
Tom

Great workout. I've really noticed a difference using this routine. I was wondering if this can be a long term plan or whether it would be better to alternate with a different plan every so often, or would adding weight when ready be enough?

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Posted Tue, 01/13/2015 - 14:15
Billy

When would be best to add in a few workouts for my trapezious?

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Posted Sun, 01/11/2015 - 12:06
John Kirkham

I like the idea of power,muscle and burn! Thinking of doing calves with quads and hams and doing traps with shoulders and triceps with back! But will follow the basic principles of the routine I.e. Power muscle and burn

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Posted Thu, 01/08/2015 - 02:53
jacob

I only been lifting for 2 months that started with bill stars 5x5. I bench around 225 squat 260 deadlift 260 and press 136 is this program okay I weigh 120

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Posted Sun, 01/04/2015 - 14:57
Ali G

Would it be okay to add an extra muscle exercise for each of the main muscle groups? So 3 muscle exercises for chest, legs, shoulders and back instead of 2? or would you advise against this?

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Posted Mon, 12/29/2014 - 07:52
Farshad

If for any reason I could not have any leg exercises, then how should I divide this plan in 4 days?
can I put Biceps & Triceps in one day instead of Quads and Hamstrings.

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Posted Mon, 12/15/2014 - 19:48
Luke

Hey steve!
Would it be alright if I did this monday-thurday and do cardio and sleds on the weekend?

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Posted Fri, 12/12/2014 - 23:37
SlimJim1951

Steve, I am "test-driving" your 4-day split. I have a very weak left shoulder with rotator cuff issues. Doctor says no overhead/military-type presses. The only Compound shoulder exercise I can find to do is the Arnold Press, which for some reason doesn't bother me. Can you recommend one more Compound exercise to replace the Seated Barbell Press you list in your routine? Thanks!

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Posted Thu, 12/11/2014 - 14:22
Fat2Fit4Life

Steve, I read the Hypertrophy and Muscle Growth article you referenced. Would appreciate your thoughts on this statement:
"So to achieve maximal hypertrophy I recommend you use 2-3 week long microcycles e.g.
•Week 1: Strength training, 4 day split.
•Week 2: Fatigue training, 5 day split.
•Week 3: Recovery, 2 day full body split."
I am a beginner (using machines & DBs for about 12 months). I was planning on doing your 4-day split for 6 months. Is that a mistake considering that statement?
Thanks!

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Posted Mon, 12/08/2014 - 06:24
Steve Koch

On power sets; if you can do more than five on the first or second set, should you? Or do you stop at 5 even if you could get 1 or 2 more?

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Posted Mon, 12/01/2014 - 16:49
Jaunius

Hi Steve,

I work 3 days in a row and then i have 3 days off. How would you recommend to split? If its not much possible than i can make one of the trainings before work in the morning on work day..

Thank you in advance..

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Posted Tue, 11/25/2014 - 04:09
Alex

Hey Steve,

Do you think I can swap the burning exercises with 1/2 body pump classes/week at the gym? Does it make sense? And if I do that should I simply erase those exercises from the other days or should I add muscle/strength load? Or maybe combine 3 groups of exercises in one day for the sake of time?

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Posted Wed, 11/19/2014 - 13:31
louis

What if i did
chest/biceps
shoulders/traps
back/triceps
legs

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Posted Wed, 11/19/2014 - 12:18
TropicalGal

44 year old girl...just really discovering my love of weights. Any suggestions to look toned/cut/built without hulking out?

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Posted Tue, 11/18/2014 - 20:45
Thilak Rao

I'm following this workout plan to the book, but I have a question Steve. I'm not a pro bodybuilder. My goal is to add muscle and cut fat. I'm currently at 12% body fat. Can i do 30 minutes of heavy cardio on the days off (for fat loss) or would I be overtraining?

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Posted Tue, 11/11/2014 - 22:55
carl

Is there a printable log to go along with this workout?

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Posted Tue, 11/11/2014 - 15:29
Charlie

Hi Steve and thanks for the great program. I'm just wondering if you wouldn't advise doing the four sessions four days in a row?

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Posted Tue, 11/11/2014 - 05:18
mr.m

Nice its helpfull advices and a schedul

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Posted Mon, 11/03/2014 - 12:12
Yaz

Hi Steve,

I started this schedule two weeks ago. I see improvements. My height is 5.9 weight is 60KGs. Whey protein Gold standard (Blend) or Serious Mass, which supplement do you suggest out of these two? If not for these two, which will be the best to gain weight?

Thank you!

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Posted Wed, 10/29/2014 - 21:54
Jerome

Hi.

Is it okay if I use this workout for cutting? There are 4 days in this workout and I'm planning on doing cardio on the off days.

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Posted Tue, 10/28/2014 - 14:41
Michael B

How does this look
• Day 1 - Chest and Biceps
• Day 2 - Legs
• Day 3 - OFF
• Day 4 - Shoulders and Triceps
• Day 5 - Back and abs
• Day 6 - OFF

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Posted Mon, 10/27/2014 - 20:45
Michael

What is the downfall of instead of taking day 7 off, starting up again

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Posted Mon, 10/20/2014 - 03:02
Jeff

I'm having a hard time accepting the lack of chest volume/week. What's up with that?

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Posted Sun, 10/19/2014 - 05:22
Abdullah Karahan

Hi Steve

My question about the rep ranges.When we do this program up to 8 weeks or more,Can we change the rep ranges?For example after 4 weeks changing the some exercise's rep ranges.Do we need that or not?

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Posted Fri, 10/17/2014 - 23:41
Ruben

Steve, I find it interesting that you did this for 10 years, good for you. Did you find a time in that span where you gained more muscle than other times, or did you maintain your frame over time? To be clear, do you believe in the art of plateauing. Did your body not adapt to this over time? If it did what did you change? Thanks, simply impressed to hear the length of time you committed to your method. Good stuff.

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Posted Thu, 10/16/2014 - 17:44
Garry2018

Could you throw an all body fat burner workout into this, or would that be over training? If so what would be the best way to work one in?

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Posted Mon, 10/06/2014 - 11:25
Stig Johnny Hansen

do i have do do each set after one another and continue to the next exercise after i've completed one exercise or do i have to try to do it in a cirkle???

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Posted Fri, 09/19/2014 - 12:36
elie salhany

can i do it from monday to thursday?

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Posted Fri, 09/19/2014 - 12:34
elie salhany

is it okay if i do my 4days in a row? from monday to thursday?

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Posted Fri, 09/26/2014 - 15:44
Brad

You probably could, but the program is laid out the way it is so that your muscles recover properly. Food and rest is half the battle!

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Posted Fri, 09/12/2014 - 11:52
Adnan

Dear sir.
Me adnan from Pakistan and want to start this 4 days workout but tell me that how much continue thee duration I means that 3 months r four months..and tell tell me also that how a best proteins for me to continue these duration..

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Posted Tue, 09/02/2014 - 13:52
wahab amir

Do I have to repeat all my sets when im done once or is it enough if I complete it just once