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
12 weeks
60 minutes
Barbell, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Calf Raise - Muscle 2-3 10 to 15
45 Degree Calf Raise  - Burn 2 40
Exercise Sets Reps
**Perform Ab work of choice***    

3.1K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 09/28/2016 - 12:00

Is there anything that's more of a 4 day workout instead of full body

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 09/28/2016 - 12:10


The P.H.U.L program is one of our most popular workouts. It's a 4 day split.


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Posted Thu, 02/02/2017 - 09:14

dear josh
would you tell us about the rest periods in this routine
rest periods are not mentioned .

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 02/02/2017 - 10:03

Hi Reza,

Of course! For the Power exercises, rest for 3-5 minutes. For the rest of the workout, keep rest in between 60-90 seconds.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 08/09/2016 - 05:12

Can someone suggest me a split work out routine for just working on my saddlebags? for maximum efficiency and minimum waste of time. My whole body is slim with right curves except tough saddlebags on my thighs. I am 5 feet 48 kg Asian female.

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Posted Mon, 08/15/2016 - 16:25

You are at a good weight for your height, on the lower end of the spectrum for what is considered a normal, healthy weight in fact. Do you really have that much excess fat (saddlebags), or is it simply the natural shape that God gave you? Burning excess fat is a matter of decreasing your daily caloric intake (or increasing cardio). For fat loss you want to have a daily deficit of about 500 calories per day. This will be sufficient to lose about 1 lb. (.5 kg) a week. I wouldn't suggest losing too much though, maybe 2 to 3 kg. Are you on a program now? I suggest doing 30-45 minutes of cardio three to four days a week. You should also do some strength training. Lunges and squats are good for the hips and thighs. Do three to four sets of each for 10-12 reps each set. I would also do three sets of Romanian deadlifts to work your hamstrings and firm up the glute/hamstring tie-in. Do them with added resistance as able. Start light and increase the weight each workout. You should also do some upper body work as well to keep a balanced physique. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions.

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Posted Thu, 08/18/2016 - 10:42

I am not on the M&S team. I am 33 years old and have been lifting weights since I was 14. I do a good bit of reading about training, nutrition, and fat loss. I wouldn't consider myself an expert, but I would say I'm fairly knowledgeable. Six days is definitely too much to train legs. Larger muscles like legs need at least 48 hours to recover, meaning you shouldn't train them with weights more than three days a week. Usually an upper lower split like you are doing is done two days a week for lower body and two days for upper body. That is what I recommend. Your leg program seems o.k., but I suggest a few changes. For squats, warm up with a set of 20 with body weight and then do 3 work sets with the weight. You'll want to try to increase the weight each workout. If you can't make 20 reps on all three sets, then stay with that weight until you can before increasing it. Same with lunges, increase the weight as able. In order to lose the fat without getting too skinny, you need to increase your muscle mass. This is done by increasing the weight you lift. You won't get big and bulky, just add a little muscle to give your body a nice shape. I suggest adding three sets of stiff legged deadlifts to your routine to work the hamstrings (15 reps per set). On upper body days I would add in some back work. You want to keep the strength level and development between your back and chest fairly even. Do three sets of some kind of chin-up or lat pulldown, and three sets of some type of rowing motion. What exercise(s) are you doing for chest?
It sounds like those weight gain pills caused you to gain mostly fat. Since you say you just joined the gym two weeks ago I take it you were not working out when taking them. It also sounds like your outer thighs are the first place to gain fat, and likely the last place you will lose it. As far as other members of your family having fat all over, they likely have a higher percentage of body fat than you, so while they have a tendency to gain fat first on the thighs, they gain in other parts as well as the body fat increases.
It is debatable whether you can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. I have seen experts on both sides of this issue. I think it may be possible, but very hard to do and depends on a number of factors. In order to lose fat you have to have a caloric deficit, and to gain muscle you have to have caloric excess. You could try keeping your caloric intake at a maintenance level and see how that goes. Perhaps you will lose fat and gain some muscle, your overall weight staying the same. Personally, I would start with losing the fat (calorie deficit of 500 per day). After losing the fat, then start eating more. Slowly increase your calories until you are in a slight surplus (200 to 300 per day). This will allow you to put on some muscle without much fat. Use this calculator to get an idea of how many calories you need https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator. You may have to adjust based on your personal needs, but this gives you a good starting point.
What is your nutrition like? You want to make sure you are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, protein, and whole grains. Cut out sugar, white rice (unless eating post workout), and refined (white) flour (or at least keep it to a minimum).
So, four days a week with weights. Keep your ten minute warm-up. I suggest doing cardio for 30 minutes or so on the days you are not doing weights and resting completely on Sunday. I hope this helps, and I wish you success in your body transformation.

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Posted Tue, 08/16/2016 - 00:49

Hi David!
Thanks so much for your reply. Are you one of the M&S team?

To answer your questions, yes, these saddlebags pop out of my overall figure and are wobbly, layered fat with cellulite. I used to be all skinny, underweight and flat some years back until I took some capsules to gain weight. They made me hungry and I was able to eat. That really helped bring shape to my body and I started loving it. These bags were there before too but they just keep increasing while the rest of the body stays same. Moreover, my mother also does have saddlebags and it seems to be in the family but their bodies have fat all over whereas mine has fat in just the saddlebag area so it stands out really loud.
To let you know the significance, if I stand with my legs together, my maximum hip measurement is 36 inches. and if I come down to the point between my knee and my hip and measure on my thighs, I am 36 inches again. So basically from hips down to thighs I am 36 iches, hips protruding backwards and thighs protruding sideways, making it look very odd. if I measure a single thigh where my saddlebags have the max pointed shape outwards, right thigh is 23.5 inch and left is 23 inch.

Since my weight is perfect for me, I try not to do too much cardio as that brings down my weight and my already slim face down.

Since 2 weeks I have joined the gym with serious dedication. The coaches there said I can do same leg work out every day 6 days a week and so for a week I did legs muscle building exercises (for about an hour including 10 mins elliptical for warm up and around 10 mins aerobics of legs). But then I read online that working on a muscle everyday might not help tone, so since my priority area for now is just saddlebags, I do 3 days legs and 3 days shoulder, chest and belly (if i dont have a choice but to give rest to legs). My coach said 12-14 hours is enough for muscle rest.

For my legs, I do squats with 5kg about 4-5 sets of 20, abductor exercises for inner thighs, about 3-4 sets of 20 with some weight, and side leg raises and side leg raise with circular movement with 1kg each ankle weight about 3-4 sets so altogether 120 reps. I also do walking lunges with 1kg each dumbell. I basically do a 45 minute weight training work out in which i do these exercises (might not do all of these but I alternate). but my total number of reps for each day on leg day is around 300-400. so far in 2 weeks (1 week I did 6 days leg and 2nd week I did 3 days leg due to my online reading), I havent seen even a little difference in the thigh or hip measurement.

Should I keep going like this? Is this split 3 day for leg and 3 for shoulder, chest, belly good for my case? or can I work on my thighs 6 days a week? For a body like mine, how long can it take to see even a little difference?


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Posted Wed, 06/08/2016 - 06:31
Kevin Brennan

Can you perform regular deadlifts instead of stuff leg deadlifts? Does it make a difference?

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Posted Thu, 07/21/2016 - 13:36

You Could... but the stiff leg deadlift will hit the hamstring more, that is why is on the leg day. You will be preforming regular deadlifts on back day anyways so it is probably better to just leave it as it is structured.

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Posted Sun, 01/31/2016 - 21:25
Aravintha Kumar

Is it ok to do HIIT Cardio after Training Weights in this routine?

MikeWines's picture
Posted Mon, 02/01/2016 - 10:35


That depends on your frequency of training. If HIIT influences the intensity of your next workout by hampering your recovery then I would not recommend it after training.

Training is your first priority (depending upon your goal), don't let your choice of cardiovascular activity hamper that if you can help it.

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Posted Wed, 01/06/2016 - 14:35

How come there isn't any trap exercises in this routine?

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Posted Fri, 07/08/2016 - 23:57

There is.... Deadlifts, Barbell Rows, Overhead Press and side laterals all hit traps.

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Posted Wed, 02/01/2017 - 10:32

Just super set some shrugs.

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Posted Wed, 12/09/2015 - 13:37

is can i add more "muscle" exercise... like decline bench press..

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Posted Wed, 12/09/2015 - 13:37

is can i add more "muscle" exercise... like decline bench press..

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Posted Sun, 12/06/2015 - 12:41

I'm slightly overweight, just barely. will this be a good workout to help me get toned and chiseled , or is it just for getting big?

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Posted Tue, 11/17/2015 - 21:17
Jared MB

Is this good for weight loss?

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Posted Wed, 11/18/2015 - 16:44

I am almost done with this workout for the month and this is great workout I believe for muscle gain, but any workout would be appropriate if you add some cardio. BUT trust me on this. THIS IS NOT NOT NOT EASY WORKOUT and you will SWEAT like a dog for sure !!

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Posted Wed, 02/01/2017 - 10:31

I almost cried after the leg curl burnouts. I couldn't walk or lift my feet for a minute, It was great!

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Posted Thu, 11/19/2015 - 10:36
Jared mb

Thanks! I just did leg day and it was brutal... I was on the Stronglifts program before and this kills it! I just have to find time for cardio.

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Posted Wed, 02/01/2017 - 10:29

You're spending too much time on your phone between sets then. You should only take 60-90 seconds of recovery time between each set. This workout should take around an hour and a half at most.

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Posted Wed, 08/31/2016 - 17:28

how long does it take you on average? i'm going over 2 hours.

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Posted Wed, 10/21/2015 - 20:59

I only have 4 days in a row...... Availability can ido this 4 days in a row? o

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Posted Sun, 11/08/2015 - 06:13

Go for it. Chris Jones on YouTube does 4 days in a row then rest. Now his is 4 days on 1 day off though. Try it and tweak it if need be.

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Posted Mon, 11/09/2015 - 13:48

Thanks !!1

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Posted Sat, 09/26/2015 - 16:18

A 4 day EDT workout has been working really well for me. Tricky part with EDT is keeping track of reps and sets. Can't wait for this app to be published to help with it: http://splitworkout.com

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Posted Tue, 09/01/2015 - 12:38

could you please tell me how long to rest between the power and muscle sets and between exercises? I was thinking something like 2 minutes between the power sets, 1 minute between the muscle sets and something like 3 minutes between exercises? Would that be alright? I know I shouldn't obsess about details but I'd like to know what you, as the creator of this workout, recommend.

Thanks, Danny

MikeWines's picture
Posted Wed, 09/02/2015 - 09:43

The author addresses rest periods in the paragraphs below the title "The Power Muscle Burn System".

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Posted Mon, 09/07/2015 - 00:14

With the exception of the burn phase the author does not mention rest periods. They explain what you are doing in each phase of the workout but nothing about how long to rest in between sets.

MikeWines's picture
Posted Tue, 09/22/2015 - 09:38

I would shoot for 60-90 seconds rest. You can time it or allow it to happen organically if you have a fairly good grasp on your body's recovery capabilities.

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Posted Mon, 09/21/2015 - 09:54

I've read the article a dozen times and I still cant find the rest periods.. I think Im going blind..

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Posted Thu, 07/30/2015 - 14:51

Hi guys im turning 19 im a MMA fighter and rugby player im thinking of injecting myself but i only want to buy one bottle and injct but im not gaining muscle what do you recomnd i inject thnx in advance

MikeWines's picture
Posted Fri, 07/31/2015 - 09:29

I would focus on improving your nutrition, training, and lifestyle rather than turning to synthetic anabolics. At 19 you've got ALOT of training and eating in front of you before you should even consider PEDs.

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Posted Tue, 07/28/2015 - 16:51

I currently do some mma training, but I currently do not compete but I'm looking to use this program to bulk up and gain some strength and as well learning how to fight. You think this program would supplement my strength over to mma? In order to get faster as well? Please let me know thanks

MikeWines's picture
Posted Wed, 07/29/2015 - 09:54

MMA training needs to be specific for the sport and contain certain elements that other training programs usually don't contain - i.e. grip work, specific work to rest ratios, and certain core work. I would look into the work of Joel Jamieson to get a better idea of what would be beneficial.

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Posted Sat, 07/18/2015 - 07:52
kyle mclurkin

I work away from home monday to thursday and only have access to a gym on these days, is there anyway to fit this workout into those days?

MikeWines's picture
Posted Mon, 07/20/2015 - 10:45

Sure, if you can handle 4 days straight in the gym then go for it.

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Posted Mon, 07/13/2015 - 00:14
Mike V


Used this routine about two years ago, and it had allowed me to have the most gains I had ever received in the gym. I finally found it again, and was wondering if this routine could be split into a 5 day split between Monday-Friday. If so, what would the split look like? My schedule now would not permit me to workout on the weekends. Your help is appreciated, and once again - great routine!!

MikeWines's picture
Posted Mon, 07/13/2015 - 10:13

Hey Mike,
We do indeed have a 5 day split, you can find it here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/power-muscle-burn-5-day-power...

MikeWines's picture
Posted Tue, 07/14/2015 - 09:58

Just eliminate the rest day (DAY 4) from the 5 day split and train M-F.

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Posted Mon, 07/13/2015 - 12:23
Mike V

Thank you for the prompt response, but I think I may have worded the question incorrectly. The 4 day split, as well as the 5 day split, is split over the course of 6 days. Is there any way these routines could be modified to work between 5 days? As in, workout 1 will begin on Monday, and the last workout will end on Friday?

Thank you for you time.

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Posted Sat, 11/28/2015 - 13:11
Daniel T

I am currently doing m-f with a rest on Wednesday. Cardio on the weekends. Seems to be working good for me.

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Posted Mon, 06/22/2015 - 15:25

turned 55 , been lifting on and off since my 20s....not happy just working out and not seing muscle gains, what routine can i use at my age to still build muscle.

MikeWines's picture
Posted Tue, 06/23/2015 - 09:21

You results from the gym will be determined primarily by your nutritional intake. If you're looking to get bigger then you must make sure that you're taking more nutrient than you're burning. At the opposite end of the spectrum, if you're looking to get leaner then you must be in a caloric deficit. Regardless of your goal, nutrition is how you get there.

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Posted Mon, 06/15/2015 - 09:57

I was just curious how you break up the muscles in a workout. For the chest bicep day for example, would you do all of the chest exercises and then all of the bicep exercises? Or would you want to alternate between the two muscles?

MikeWines's picture
Posted Mon, 06/15/2015 - 15:31

Hey Mike,
Complete the exercises in the order they are displayed, no need to alternate.

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


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.


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

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.