You are here

4 Day Power Muscle Burn Workout Split!

4 Day Power Muscle Burn Workout Split

Average: 4.4 (982 votes)
4.4 5 982
This building workout by Steve Shaw is designed to maximize Progression and muscle gains by hitting each muscle group with power sets, muscle sets and burn sets.

Workout Summary

Main Goal:
Build Muscle
Workout Type:
Split
Training Level:
Intermediate
Days Per Week:
4
Equipment Required:
Barbell, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Target Gender:
Male & Female
Author:

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***    

 

Related Workouts View all Muscle Building Workouts

  • Share This Article
  • Rate & Share
    Average: 4.4 (982 votes)
  • About The Author
    Steve is a powerlifter who has also spent 20 years training in bodybuilding. He is a national level competitor training for an all-time over 50 raw world record.
Related Supplements View all Top Supplements
1.M.R Vortex

Unparalleled Focus Power & Long Lasting Energy!*

4.4
Average: 4.4 (13 votes)
Elite XT

Delayed Digestion Protein for Extended Muscle-Building Effects!

4.25
Average: 4.3 (37 votes)

Comments (2,866)

Add a comment

Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Wed, 06/02/2010 - 16:54

You will have to work hard for a year adding muscle, and then do a 12 to 16 week cut.

  • 1
  • 0
No Profile Pic
Blanco
Posted Wed, 06/02/2010 - 16:59

thanks!

  • 1
  • 0
No Profile Pic
Andrew
Posted Wed, 06/02/2010 - 17:23

Hey Steve? I would just like to say that this power power,muscle,burnsystem is excellent. I've been working out for sometime now but really I am a beginer in training. So my first question is, what is the weight I should be at if I am 5'6 1/2 to 5'7 if precise? I am currently 165/167 lbs. The supplements and energy I am takin are from athletic edge nutritio:preserve,intrabolic, and intraXCell. R these good if u ever heard of them? Now last the routine I am currently doing are:
Monday: chest,biceps,qaiuds
Tuesday: shoulders, triceps, hamstring
Wednesday: off
Thursday: back, calves, qlutes
Friday: cardio and abs

is this routine good? And if not pls I would appreciate it if u can help me with a routine that I can stick with. That's real
my main goal is to work out every part in my body possible and build muscle mass, strength, and difinition. Thank u for your time.

  • 2
  • 0
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Wed, 06/02/2010 - 17:29

At your height you are at a good weight. You probably could easily gain 15 pounds of muscle or more, and then do a cutting diet to get back down to 165 and you would look amazing.

As far as a routine, I would recommend this instead:

Monday: Chest, Biceps
Tuesday: Back, Calves and Abs
Wednesday: OFF
Thursday: Shoulders, Triceps
Friday: Legs
Weekend: Off

You really want to avoid hitting triceps and shoulders after your chest day, since your triceps will be tired from chest.

  • 0
  • 0
No Profile Pic
carlos
Posted Wed, 06/02/2010 - 18:23

I really like the program that you presented..........my question is regarding cardio ........I am currently going to the gym everiday and doing 30 minutes of cardio ......... and doing freeways for the chest eberyother day and for the back eberyother day as well.......I just want to find out what is the recomended cardio training time ......is it ok to do it everyday ..........

  • 1
  • 0
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Thu, 06/03/2010 - 08:41

For cardio you can do it first thing in the morning, or post-workout. I recommend doing cardio 3 to 5 days per week, either on or off workout days. It's nice to have at least 2 complete days off each week where you can rest fromc ardio and weight training.

  • 0
  • 0
No Profile Pic
Dario
Posted Wed, 06/02/2010 - 20:47

Hey Steve!

I'm very excited to start this new workout next week! I just have one question: at my gym, I don't have the equipement to do the "Cable preacher curl" (for the burn) in the bicep section. What exercice would you recommend me to do instead (not the concentration curl please ;) )?

Thanks!!

  • 2
  • 0
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Thu, 06/03/2010 - 08:44

You could simply burn with a lighter weight alternating dumbbell curl. And if you have a preacher bench, you could do barbell/EZ bar preacher curls.

  • 0
  • 0
No Profile Pic
matt
Posted Wed, 06/02/2010 - 21:23

isnt it really bad to start power first ?
Your not warm up yet and your joints .. to start with power seems absurd in a way could you explain why power is good to start with ?
you could pull a muscle basically starting with max weight to 3 to 5 reps ?

  • 0
  • 0
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Thu, 06/03/2010 - 08:51

Warmup before hitting power sets. This will require several sets on bench, squat, deadlift, etc., but it's really no different then warming up for these exercises and using a 6 to 10 rep set to lead off with. In essence, we're only talking a couple reps and a few extra pounds difference with the power sets.

If you try to do heavier weight later after your triceps and chest are taxed, you wouldn't get the same effect. The best way to push yourself on heavy weight sets is to do them while you're fresh.

Proper warmups are the key. I've trained heavy first for over 2 decades and never had an issue. It's all about warming up and listening to your body.

Bodybuilding in general requires you to maximize every set, pushing for progression. So in that sense, a proper warmup is key for any rep range, 4 to 6, 6 to 10, etc.

  • 0
  • 0
No Profile Pic
Adam
Posted Wed, 06/02/2010 - 23:47

I workout from home with dumbells(no barbell) and for hamstrings ive got romanian deadlift for power and muscle but I dont know what to do for burn. Can I do romanian deadlift for burn also?

  • 0
  • 0
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Thu, 06/03/2010 - 08:53

You could do lunges or side lunges. You could also do a wide stance frog squat:

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/frog-squat.html

  • 0
  • 0
No Profile Pic
Andrew
Posted Wed, 06/02/2010 - 23:52

This is off topic slightly, but what are good exercises or ways to get the excess fat or flab around my obliques to go? I can see my abs very well but its still on the sides.

  • 1
  • 1
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Thu, 06/03/2010 - 08:56

A cutting diet is the key to revealing obliques. Here's an article that addresses this issue:

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/the-great-abs-mistake-crunches...

  • 0
  • 0
No Profile Pic
Andrew
Posted Thu, 06/03/2010 - 12:28

Thanks! That clears it up a lot. Also another thing, several things I've read say that I should take 1g of protein per pound of body mass. Does that mean that since I way 190lbs. I should take 190g?

  • 0
  • 1
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Thu, 06/03/2010 - 18:28

190 grams would be good. A simple guideline to remember is to take at least 30 to 40 grams of protein every 2.5 to 3 hours. You want about 6 protein meals each day, starting first thing when you wake up.

  • 0
  • 0
No Profile Pic
Andrew Wright
Posted Thu, 06/03/2010 - 22:02

Ok. That sounds good. About the biceps workout, what might be an alternative to the pinwheel curls for the power sets? The muscle and burn sets with the barbell curls and preacher curls are awesome!

  • 0
  • 0
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Fri, 06/04/2010 - 15:46

I like to use both a barbell and dumbbell exercise, so you could do seated or standing dumbbell curls.

  • 0
  • 0
No Profile Pic
James Ferguson
Posted Thu, 06/03/2010 - 01:49

Hey now when you say muscle what exactly are you meaning by that for instance it will say Incline bench press and then next to it will say muscle I just needed a clearification on what that exactly meant.

  • 0
  • 0
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Thu, 06/03/2010 - 08:58

Check at the top on this workout for descriptions of set names. Muscle sets are:

"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."

  • 0
  • 0
No Profile Pic
Moe
Posted Thu, 06/03/2010 - 14:32

Hi Steve,

Thanks for your help earlier!
I need to know how I can get the Proper nutrition with this routines and you've mentioned that I should take at least 25gm protein every 3 hours... How can I do that do I have to take protein shake or so??

Thanks!

  • 0
  • 0
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Thu, 06/03/2010 - 18:32

Eat at least 30 to 40 grams of protein every 2.5 to 3 hours. You want about 6 small meals each day. The rest of your diet should be filled with nutritious foods including fruits, veggies and complex carbs. You need to eat more then it takes to maintain your weight, and if you have a hard time gaining weight, consider drinking more whole milk, snacking on almonds, and using natural peanut butter. A weight gainer is also helpful. A good guideline is that you would like to gain about 2 pounds per month your first year, and one pound per month your second year. If the scale isn't moving, eat more!

Also make sure to never waste a set. Always be pushing for more strength.

  • 0
  • 0
No Profile Pic
Moe
Posted Fri, 06/04/2010 - 00:41

Thanks Steve!

I am 32 years old Am I still have to do what you've adviced above?

  • 0
  • 1
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Fri, 06/04/2010 - 16:04

Yes.

  • 0
  • 0
No Profile Pic
Anthony
Posted Thu, 06/03/2010 - 19:02

Im 17 and weigh 135, 5'10" and am trying to put on a lot of weight. Would you recomend protein for someone my age and if so, what kind?

  • 1
  • 1
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Fri, 06/04/2010 - 11:27

Absolutely! You want to eat at least 30 to 40 grams every 2.5 to 3 hours. Whey protein is good first thing in the morning, and post-workout. Casein protein is great in between meals and before bed. And weight gainers can help you bulk up and gain weight. Try to eat plenty of whole foods for protein, such as beef, chicken, fish, turkey and pork. Also drink whole milk, and don't forget cheese as a snack.

  • 1
  • 0
No Profile Pic
Gareth
Posted Fri, 06/04/2010 - 11:18

Hi Steve, i've completed the first week of the Power, Muscle, Burn split and i absoloutely love it. Im a little sore but its well worth it. Im doing this workout to mainly gain mass and strength but i am also in mixed martial arts and ive been in that for over a year now. Do you think this workout will make me gain too much mass to maintain my speed and agility for mma?

  • 0
  • 0
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Fri, 06/04/2010 - 18:09

Not at all. It's hard for most men to even master gaining mass. You might add 10 to 20 pounds over the course of several years, but being natural and in shape it's hard to gain much more then that unless you're easting a lot and gaining a lot of fat.

  • 0
  • 0
No Profile Pic
Mike
Posted Fri, 06/04/2010 - 21:19

Hi! What's a good exercise to replace the leg press and leg curl, for I do not own a press machine.... I have a power rack with a lat attachment and a bench.

  • 0
  • 0
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sat, 06/05/2010 - 13:57

Instead of leg presses you could do walking lunges, dumbbell squats or front squats. Instead of leg curls you could do wide stance squats, lunges or side lunges.

  • 0
  • 0
No Profile Pic
Taahir
Posted Sat, 06/05/2010 - 13:35

Hi steve,

Just a quick question. would it be ok to do exactly the same sets/reps etc but do the each body part on one day...for e.g do bench press,shoulder press,deadlift all on one day.. basically working the entire body each time i has a had a workout but choosing 3 completely diff exercises from the previous day workout. Would that work?

  • 0
  • 0
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sat, 06/05/2010 - 14:00

That would be possible. As long as you aren't adding any volume in it should work well. It might be taxing, but fullbody routines are very effective.

  • 0
  • 0
No Profile Pic
Taahir
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 06:45

Sorry Steve. When you say don't add volume what exactly do you mean? And how do you think i could progress each time with this particular workout? Thankyou.

  • 0
  • 0
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 09:59

Volume means adding in additional sets.

For progression, you always try to do as many reps as possible on every set. When you can do the highest number of reps prescribed for each set, add weight the next time in the gym.

  • 0
  • 1
No Profile Pic
marcos
Posted Sat, 06/05/2010 - 23:48

so ive been trying to loose fat for about 3 months and so far lost about 17 pounds. i have alot of stamina, endurance and strength but my body still has alot of fat. i am 18, 5'7, and weigh at 214 right now. i use to be at 264 four years ago went down to 190 then got injured last year and went back up to 230. i started working out serious again 3 months ago and been using this work out for a few weeks now and so far has been my favorite. My question is if can combine the leg and back days together to make it a 3 day workout?. starting next week i am going to be really busy and need to change my routine to a 3 day lift for about a month. if i lift 3 days a week can it be enough to still get gains and results? also, i want to burn more fat and my goal is to go down to 180 by october. if i do change my routine to a 3 day weight lifting session and the other days do nothing but cardio would it be enough to reach my goal if i stay on track and eat right? and will doing that make me lose muscle and strength by doing more cardio?

  • 0
  • 2
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 10:02

You could combine the leg and back workout, but it will make for an extremely long workout and it's not an optimal approach.

Diet is the key to losing fat. If you aren't losing it as rapidly as you like, try dropping your daily calories by 300 per day, and watch the scale.

As long as you are pushing yourself on every set, you shouldn't be losing much if any strength while cutting.

  • 1
  • 0
No Profile Pic
David
Posted Sat, 06/05/2010 - 23:48

Would I be overworking if I did this?

Monday - Back and Biceps

Wednesday - Chest, Shoulders and Triceps

Friday - Legs, Back and Biceps (not as much as Mon)

Sunday - Chest, Shoulders and Triceps (not as much as Wed)

My legs have always been thick and somewhat cut so I'm not inclined to hit them as hard.

  • 0
  • 0
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 10:05

I wouldn't suggest an approach like this. Too much weekly volume per muscle group. if you would like to train each bodypart more frequently, I suggest a fullbody workout:

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/forget-steroids-5-fullbody-wor...

  • 1
  • 0
No Profile Pic
Rick
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 00:48

I just started this workout and I love it. However, I had to take a hiatus from lifting for a couple months and some muscles regressed more than others, specifically my chest. It's not far behind, but it definitely needs more work than the rest of my upper body. I was wondering if you recommended adding more exercises/sets on the chest days, or possibly adding a couple exercises on a different day. Right now I'm doing Mon-Chest&Biceps Tues-Quads&Hammies Weds-Cardio Thurs-Shoulders&Triceps Fri-Back&Calves. I'm also doing abs and cardio throughout the week. Thanks for your help

  • 0
  • 0
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 10:06

I wouldn't add in any more sets. This is a fairly intense approach, and your chest should progress rapidly with the presented set volume.

  • 0
  • 1
No Profile Pic
Rick
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 14:55

Thanks for the tip

  • 0
  • 0
No Profile Pic
sean
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 02:21

What do you think about women doing this program my sister wants me to put her on a routin? if not do you have one you recomend? p.s. I am loving the burn workout and I am using it to train some friends of mine and the word is spreading.

  • 0
  • 0
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 10:07

If she's just starting out I might recommend a more basic routine. Does she have any lifting experience?

  • 0
  • 0
No Profile Pic
tom
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 09:48

hi steve im a beginner at all this and i want to build muscule do you have any tips on starting plz

  • 0
  • 0
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 09:58

Beginners can gain muscle very quickly. it is best for them to stick with a simple routine that uses basic heavy compound lifts. The real keys are to always try for more weight on every set using good form, and eat more then it takes to maintain your weight. If you do these to things, and continue to be persistent about hitting the gym, you will make very good progress.

  • 0
  • 0
No Profile Pic
tom
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 10:34

thanks for that quick reply i'll be startin the gym 2moz my routine will be mon chest and arms and abs. tues back and shoulders and abs wed off thurs legs and abs and sat just a mixed set do you think thats ok and wat foods do you recommend and how often thanks for the help

  • 0
  • 0
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 11:41

I wouldn't recommend heavily taxing your arms and them working back and shoulders the next day.

  • 1
  • 0
No Profile Pic
Matt
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 16:45

Ok, let me explain my situation. I'm 6'2", and I weight about 175 pounds, and I seem to have fat around my belly, and chest area (to the point where i have man boobs). I am interested in losing the moobs, but I want to get stronger in all areas. I am also using protein shakes, and regulary lifting with upper body one day, then lower body the other day. I just alternate everyday with upper body (chest, shoulders, triceps, etc.), and lower body (quads, abs, etc.) the next day. I want to get stronger and add muscle, will this routine be ideal for me?

  • 0
  • 0
Steve's picture
Steve
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 17:11

I built an incredible amount of muscle and strength on this routine. This routine focuses on staple strength and muscle building exercises, so if you push hard and eat right you will make great progress.

  • 0
  • 0
No Profile Pic
Matt
Posted Sun, 06/06/2010 - 17:40

Ok, I understand, but how does this workout compare against The Muscle & Strength 5x5 Full Body Routine (http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/forget-steroids-5-fullbody-wor...). My main goal is to eliminate man breasts, and stomach fat and at the same time, becoming stronger and adding muscle mass.

  • 0
  • 0

Pages

Add new comment