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 Sun, 10/08/2017 - 13:30
Jordan C Tredway

The only problem I would see here is doing back and legs on consecutive days. If you deadlift on back day, you will be working legs two days in a row. That's generally considered bad practice. I've always tried to put three days or so between those days. If you don't think that'd be a problem, then by all means, go for it. It's just something to consider.

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

Yes I’ve made it so that on Monday it’s legs, Tuesday it’s Shoulders and Abs, Wednesday it’s a Off day, Thursday Chest and Triceps, Friday Back and Biceps. I will be doing deadlifts on Monday and Friday.

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Posted Tue, 09/19/2017 - 11:24
Alexandre Canaff

Is there a way i could change the double leg press for one exercice of leg press (6-12) and leg extension (burn) in the quads workout ?

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Posted Mon, 09/18/2017 - 17:17

Great workout, is there a workout where I hit the muscle twice per week with this similar style of powerbuilding, maybe over a 6 day split? Looking to squat, bench, deadlift twice a week.


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Posted Sat, 09/16/2017 - 08:51
Brandon Godden

Where could we fit rear delts into here? I know most back movements work them but I always enjoy doing some facepulls or something in my routine.

Thanks in advance,

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 09/18/2017 - 08:41

Hi Brandon,

You can add them to either the back day or shoulder day (your choice). Perform them utilizing the muscle set and rep range.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 09/10/2017 - 02:48

Can the rest days of this workout routine be changed to this:

Day 1 - Chest and Biceps
Day 2 - OFF
Day 3 - Quads and Hamstrings
Day 4 - Shoulders and Triceps
Day 5 - Back, Calves and Abs
Day 6 - OFF
Day 7 - OFF

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 09/11/2017 - 08:54

Hi Jehan,

Yes, while not ideal (normally you'd like a day between shoulders and back), this should be fine.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 09/07/2017 - 09:19
jp johal

Does this workout really works to build muscles? Has anyone tried it and noticed gains ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 09/07/2017 - 09:38

Hi jp,

Yes, performing this routine will build muscle mass, but only if you pair it with proper nutrition and quality hours of sleep each night.

Hope this helps!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 09/11/2017 - 08:53

Hi jp,

There are a lot of different training philosophies out there and all of them work, but they vary from individual to individual. My best piece of advice is to experiment a little.

Start off by picking a muscle building workout from our database and stick with it through its duration. If you find it works, stick with it, if not, move on to something new.


As for diet plans, they will also vary from person to person. I'd recommend starting off by figuring out your caloric needs here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator

To build muscle, add ~250-500 calories to that number and try to eat that many calories each day from whole food sources.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 09/10/2017 - 13:33
jp johal

Hi Josh ,
Thanks for you reply .I am very confused as to which workout should I choose . I can workout 4 to 5 days a week and I want to build muscle.i looked at a lot of different plans and spoke to few different people they all advice different .Someone told me for bulking up use the 5x5 technique with heavy weight.I donno what to do . I am currently wasting my time at the gym as I go in without any plan and just do the exercises I no .Would you recommend any special program to build muscle ? I'm an intermediary when it comes to weight lifting .I no with every work out you need a diet plan and none of these plans come with diet plan.

Any recommendations

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Posted Wed, 08/02/2017 - 06:10
James Churchard.

Would it hurt throwing in weighted pull ups when training back on this workout?

If possible, what rep range and ammount of sets would you suggest?


JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 08/02/2017 - 09:28

Hi James,

No, that should be fine. Perform them with the muscle rep range (6-12).

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 08/02/2017 - 09:56
James Churchard

Also where could I include rear flys? (sets and rep range please)

I don't want to feel like I'm neglecting my rear delts.

Thank you.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 08/02/2017 - 13:02

Hi James,

Rear Delts can be tacked on to shoulder day utilizing a muscle rep range.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 07/05/2017 - 10:02

During the hamstrings, can I do sumo deadlifts for power then romanian for muscle because I like doing sumo when I deadlift heavy.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 07/05/2017 - 10:17

Hi CJ,

Absolutely! That sounds like a fine adaptation to the program.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 06/07/2017 - 19:02

Hi josh.
When can i do cardio in this plan
How many days in rest time?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 06/08/2017 - 09:01

Hi Parham,

You're more than welcome to add in cardio to this program. I'd recommend finding the form of cardio you most enjoy doing and then adding it to the days you see fit. Personally, I like to do long recovery walks, so I add short walks in during the mornings of my workout days and longer walks on my rest days.

Everyone is different in what they enjoy and how they react to certain forms of cardio, but everyone can benefit from adding some form of cardio to their program.

For rest periods, you'll want to limit it to 30-90 seconds in between sets and exercise.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 04/25/2017 - 16:36
Warren Cox

Hi Josh
Can I do this work out for 4 consecutive days then 3 days off or does it need the rest days in between??


JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 04/26/2017 - 09:33

Hi Warren,

While it's not ideal, you certainly can perform this routine that way if that is all your schedule will allow.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 04/18/2017 - 13:59

Any suggestions on combining days to make this a 3 day split? For example, would be combining day 3 and 4 into one day be a good idea?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 04/19/2017 - 09:15

Hi Mark,

Below is the link to the 3 day version of this split.


Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 03/29/2017 - 15:55

How can I add isometrics to this? Do I do isometrics first or last.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 03/29/2017 - 16:06

Hi Jackjoe,

Below is an article that may give you some ideas on how to apply isometrics into your workouts:


Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 01/03/2017 - 15:00

hi guys can I arrange this workout to do all my power exercises on Monday, all my muscle exercises on Wednesday, and finish off the week with all burns on Friday?

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Posted Mon, 12/12/2016 - 13:22

The routine looks great, I have a question about set/rep progression. The way I'm reading it appears to be like this:

Start of doing sets of 2x3, then work that to a 4x3, then progress it to a 4x5.
Advance weight, start over.

Is this correct? It seems like it would be more difficult to advance weight with the bigger numbers. Would deadlift be: 2x3, 4x3, 5x3, advance sets 3x3, 3x4, 3x5, advance sets, 4x3, 4x4, 4x5, advance weight and start over.

Basically what's the proper advancement method?

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Posted Wed, 12/07/2016 - 17:39

The leg day is killer.. I felt like a baby giraffe fresh out the womb afterwards

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Posted Sun, 11/13/2016 - 07:00
Jeremy C.

Can someone who has done this tell me the length of this per workout... Looks like a helluva workout!

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Posted Tue, 11/08/2016 - 18:13

I'm curious how long this takes per day... looks pretty long.

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Posted Tue, 11/08/2016 - 00:03
Chris E

So I've been doing this workout regime and I love it. I noticed if you click chest for instance it has a whole list of all the chest exercises. More than the ones in the workout layout. Is it okay to use other exercises and if so which ones for power which ones for muscle and burn?

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Posted Wed, 09/28/2016 - 10:02

I'm 16 and trying to gain muscle and was wondering if this is a good workout plan or is there another one you suggest

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 09/28/2016 - 11:03


This is a great workout to help you gain muscle. I'd also recommend checking out our Teenage Bodybuilding Expert Guide. The links below:


Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
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..