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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
Male & Female
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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***    

3K Comments+ Post Comment

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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.

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

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 Mon, 06/01/2015 - 00:27

This is common practice not targeting all the muscles in the compound movement together to ensure that those smaller body parts get sufficient work. You'll often find people that follow chest/tri/shoulder, back/bi routines have lagging triceps and biceps.

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

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

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Posted Mon, 06/01/2015 - 00:28

There's no such thing as "naturally lean" or "hardgainers". This is just due to eating habits, you may think you eat a ton, but you eat a ton for 1 meal then don't eat much the rest of the day. Also, these people who think they're hardgainers or naturally lean tend to fidget A LOT which ends up burning an extra ~500 calories a day. Ensure that you're accurately tracking macros for a surplus and I guarantee it doesn't matter what program you do, you'll gain weight.

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

For burn can i use fst 7 or rest pause

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

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

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 Wed, 02/01/2017 - 10:37

60-90 second rest between sets is common practice in any workout routine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where would I add my workouts for traps?

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

Can this workout be downloaded?

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

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

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

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Posted Mon, 09/07/2015 - 00:22

Do it when you perform the back exercises since the traps are part of the back

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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

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 Mon, 06/29/2015 - 19:58

How do you weight 120 and bench 225? Are you like 4 feet tall?

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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

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

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