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

Workout Description

Back in 1986 my mentor, Dr. Mike, taught me to train in multiple rep ranges. I was young, trusting and did what he said. After all, Dr. Mike was a big natural bodybuilder. And he was a professor. It just made sense to do what he said. Over the next 3 years I used his style of training and made amazing progress. I continued to use Dr Mike's training philosophies for nearly a decade, and they never let me down. This style of lifting made me big and strong. What more could you ask for?

This workout is based on the Dr. Mike system. I have tweaked it a bit over the years. I hope that you find some use for it, and if you do end up running it for 10+ years...well, feel free to make changes. No system is perfect unless you adapt it to your individual needs.

Dr. Mike was ahead of his time. He approached training routine design from a scientific standpoint in an era where everything was Weider Principles this and Weider Principles that. Simply stated, muscles tend to respond differently to different rep ranges. Dr. Mike believed that by training in all reasonable rep ranges, you could maximize muscle hypertrophy while boosting strength. This approach worked for me, and I hope it works for you.

For more information on the impact of rep ranges on hypertrophy, please read the article Hypertrophy and Muscle Growth.

For more information on the Power Muscle Burn training approach, please read:

The Power Muscle Burn System

My Power Muscle Burn training system will help you build muscle and strength by focusing on three different training approaches, all used in the same workout. You will be performing the following types of sets for each muscle group:

  1. Power. You will perform power sets to lead off the workout. Power sets are performed in the 3 to 5 rep range. Use the same weight for each of the sets. When you can perform 5 reps for all power sets, move up in weight. Major muscle groups will perform 2-4 power sets per workout, and minor muscle groups will perform 2 power sets per workout. Please note that for some minor muscle groups, power sets do not make sense, or they are not realistic. For example, it is difficult to perform extremely heavy resistance abdominal sets.
  2. Muscle. Muscle sets are performed in the 6 to 12 rep range. Use the same weight for each of the sets. When you hit the upper rep limit of 12 for all muscle sets, move up in weight. Major muscle groups will perform 4-6 total muscle sets in each workout, using 2 different exercises. Minor muscle groups will perform 2-4 total muscle sets in each workout, using 1 to 2 exercises. You can also perform a single exercise for 3 sets.
  3. Burn. You will perform 1-2 burn sets for each muscle group - generally using isolation movements. Pick a weight that allows you to hit 15 to 20 reps, and then perform 40 total reps. How? Do as many reps as possible, then take a slight rest and perform more reps. Rest only long enough to regain the energy and willpower to perform 1 to 3 more reps. Keep pushing yourself through the pain until you hit 40 total reps. When you can hit 25+ reps from the start without stopping, add weight. Major muscle groups will utilize 2 burn sets, minor muscle groups will use 1-2 burn sets.

Power Muscle Burn Notes

  • Failure - I do not recommend training to failure. Try to perform each set until you feel like you may fail on the next rep, then stop. It's ok if you occasionally fail on a set, but do not purposely try to train to failure on every set.
  • Progression - You must have the goal of progressing on every set of every workout. Sets performed with a half-hearted effort are wasted. If you lack energy or are pressed for time, it's better to perform fewer quality sets then it is to waste sets.
  • Splits - You can split this system numerous ways, but remember that training more then 4 days per week is generally not beneficial for natural bodybuilders. What is the best split? The one you will use and stick with.
  • Small Tweaks - What if I don't like training in the 6 to 12 rep range, and want to train in the 6 to 10 rep range? Then train in the 6 to 10 rep range. What if I don't like training in the 3 to 5 rep range? Then train in the 4 to 6 rep range. 40 burn reps are too difficult!? Then aim for 30 burn reps. Note: small tweaks are ok, as long as you are using the core mechanisms of this program. Don't obsess about the details - obsess about moving weight and getting bigger!
  • Alternating Exercises - It is not a bad idea to alternate exercises every other week. You can't possibly fit every exercise into every workout. For example: for muscle sets you could hit dumbbell bench presses one week and chest dips the next week.
  • Total Sets - It is better to start with the minimal amount of sets, and build in to this routine by adding sets if you find you need more work.
  • Calves - Please note that there are no power sets for calves. I am not convinced that calves respond effectively to lower rep training.
  • Quads - If you love pain, you can do a single 20 rep set of squats for your quad burn work.

4 Day Power Muscle Burn Split

The 4 Day Power Muscle Burn split:

Note: This is a sample template. Feel free to "swap" in any appropriate (and favorite) exercises.

Chest and Biceps
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***    
About The Author
Muscle & Strength's Content Team is a group of fitness industry experts dedicated to publishing the highest quality articles, workouts and guides on the M&S Website.

3K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Tue, 12/10/2013 - 02:46
juan diaz

Hey hi, how r u ..my names is J.D. and please if you can help me it would be so.gratful
The first set of 4 and 5 reps....should i start with the heaviest weight as
Long i can do 5 reps or how .....please...thanks.......so.much inlpveyour rutine thanks.

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Posted Mon, 12/09/2013 - 07:44

I am and intermediate and want to build my muscle. I have started following this 4 day split routine from today.
Mon - chest/bicep
Tue - Hamstring/quads
wed - OFF or abs/cardio
Thu - shoulders/triceps
Fri - back/calves/abs.

As I know that the warm ups should be reflecting the muscles that are going to be worked out on that day, but I start with a treadmill run for 8-10 mins and then use the stretch machine in the gym which has got almost major muscles to be stretched on it, then the plank, glute bridge and then start my main workout for that day.

I am wondering whether it is OK to follow the same warm up principle for all the 4 day split routine or should I concentrate the stretching etc specifically based on the muscles to be worked on that particular day? Thanks.

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Posted Mon, 12/09/2013 - 04:25

rear delts not even once ?

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Posted Wed, 12/04/2013 - 09:48

I did the back/lat workout two days ago. If my triceps are sore did I do the work out right?

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Posted Tue, 12/03/2013 - 15:07

hey Steve. Trying to put on mass, would using mass gainer be okay for this ?

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Posted Sun, 12/01/2013 - 08:12

Unless you're drug assisted or have freak genetics, I just don't see the usefulness of training each muscle group one time per week. I'd recommend Chad Waterbury's total body workout over this...no offense. Waterbury uses the same principles only with full body workouts. Much more practical and effective.

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Posted Fri, 11/29/2013 - 19:09

THIS IS BADASS thanks man

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Posted Sat, 11/23/2013 - 16:41

Hi guys, I've been doing this workout for a few weeks now, I just wanted to know if this is a good workout for losing weight and gaining muscle?

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Posted Fri, 11/15/2013 - 21:14
Joe Alessi

Can I down load the work out to my laptop so I can take it with me to the gym?

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Posted Thu, 11/14/2013 - 02:21

Looks good. Gonna get stuck into it next week. Ok to do abs more than once a week ? Is 2 or 3 times too much ?

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Posted Sat, 11/09/2013 - 20:35

I'm a sophomore in highschool and my baseball coach said I need to pack on some more mass. Will this workout be good for me. I also, want to try and stay lean

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Posted Mon, 11/04/2013 - 17:36

Hi Steve, just started this program today. I read through the guide on here about different types of hypertrophy and I'm left wondering, why would you ever want to do 40 reps on anything if going over 15 is supposedly reducing hypertrophy?

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Posted Mon, 11/04/2013 - 16:39

Quick question,

Is it okay to substitute Deadlifts with pull-ups for my power sets? I injured my back a while ago and although I love deadlifts, they aren't the right excersize for me right now. If not, can you maybe suggest another excersize that I can use. Thanks in advance.


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Posted Mon, 11/04/2013 - 10:07
dale robinson

Hi, I may have missed it but could see no reference to the rest intervals between sets, I am doing 30 seconds as that's what I did with my previous training cycle. Any opinions/abuse welcome :)

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Posted Mon, 11/04/2013 - 05:49

Is this good for cutting or just for bulking?

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Posted Sun, 11/03/2013 - 01:43

how do i determined the weight to use on each set?????

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Posted Fri, 11/01/2013 - 09:23

In the burn sets, say you are able to do 20 reps and decide to rest for 10 seconds... During this period, do you retain the tension on the muscles by holding on to the weights?

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Posted Wed, 10/30/2013 - 07:40

is it possible if i do it like this

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

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Posted Tue, 10/29/2013 - 10:48

Hey Steve, I’m very excited about this new approach, a friend of mine has achieved great results in just two weeks by following this, I’m starting next week with this routine but I have some doubts about the Dead lifting I heard that with time damages the lower back bones, I would highly appreciate your professional opinion on this one, and also what other exercise can I do that have the same or similar results as the dead lifting.


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Posted Mon, 10/28/2013 - 17:43

How would I adjust the exercises so that I'm working each muscle group 2x a week?

I'm afraid that training each muscle group only once a week will lead to detraining.

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Posted Mon, 10/28/2013 - 16:33

Just started your routine in the last few weeks and like the results so far! I have had lower disc surgery years ago and am careful with my back. I have concerns with the squats and some of the back exercises as well. Just want to protect my disc. Can you give me some alternative exercises in each routine? Still want the results that this routine should give. I would appreciate your help and thanks again for sharing this routine.

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Posted Mon, 10/28/2013 - 11:04

Hi there, I've been doing weights for a few months, a programme set by a gym instructor. However, this one seems like a good workout I'd like to have a shot at. One thing, and probably a stupid question, but when you say power sets, does this mean to life as heavy weight as you can life for fewer reps? Reason I ask is that on another website is says power sets involve lighter weights but more and faster reps? Thanks

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Posted Sun, 10/27/2013 - 01:54

I really want to try this workout my question is I can't workout Friday and Saturday. It's too hard with my work schedule. So if I did Monday, Tuesday off, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday off, Saturday off and Sunday would that be ok?

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Posted Sun, 10/20/2013 - 14:55

Sorry if this has already beeen asked but how are you supposed to do this, eg
or chest & bicep day for example
all chest moves then all bicep moves?

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Posted Fri, 10/18/2013 - 13:33

Can you please give more description on power sets?

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Posted Thu, 10/17/2013 - 11:13

hay steve...
What did you mean by 6-12 rep range..
a small explanation please

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Posted Thu, 10/17/2013 - 08:11

Hey Steve,
how do you think it would work if I used Wave Ladders for the power movement?
As in, 1st wave starting @ around 85%RM, goin 1 rep, rest, 2 reps, rest, 3reps, rest, add 5-10lbs and repeat. Waves are done when you can't reach your replimit..
This is supposed to be a great way to increase maximal strength/power and is something I would love to incorporate.. Thanks man, great work!

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Posted Tue, 10/15/2013 - 21:06

Is this a good routine for natural lifters. I just turned 18 and I have had some experience in lifting from football but i have so many people tell me that lifting each muscle once a week isnt enough. I am currently doing stronglifts 5x5 but I want to get big as well as strong. So would this be a good routine for me?

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Posted Wed, 10/09/2013 - 16:30

What is the rest times between all sets and exercises above??

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Posted Tue, 10/08/2013 - 22:23

Hey I started this 4day split workouk and was wondering... Are you supposed to do all power workouts first then move to the next exercise. For example on chest and biceps day am I supposed to do the 4 sets of bench press first or can I alternate from bench to dumbbell press back to bench etc.

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Posted Mon, 10/07/2013 - 12:45

How much cardio should be done with this workout? I prefer to do cardio before my workout is that ok or should it be done after or on a different day? Also I follow a whole food plant based diet. Do you have any recommendations for a meal plan to follow? And are there any all natural veggie/tofu based supplements that are for muscle building?

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Posted Sun, 10/06/2013 - 14:45

Hi, Steve!

I've been doing this workout for two months and I'm really loving it. I have two questions. Where and how would you fit more ab work into this split. And second, what would you recommend for a deload week.

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Posted Sat, 10/05/2013 - 04:44
M. Shoaib

Hey Steve, i am looking to loose 4 5 kg off my weight. Do you advise i use any fat burner ?and because of that should i take some protein gainers as well to keep the muscle and loose fat. ?

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Posted Thu, 10/03/2013 - 13:44

I have been working out for almost a year now.
I follow a three day split-
1- back , biceps
2- shoulder, legs
3-chest, triceps
I have lost significant body fat, but haven't gained much muscle.
I have protein shake twice a day + the regular meals.
Please suggest for rapid muscle growth, coz i am losing patience!

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Posted Thu, 10/03/2013 - 05:57

Steve, just a question. Because of my busy schedule, I sometimes workout 4 straight days using the 4 day PMB because and resting 3 days straight. is that bad or am I doing this okay?

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Posted Mon, 09/30/2013 - 20:18

Hi Steve,

Excellent job. Really appreciate it. I live in Shanghai as a expat and your articles and blogs are really helpful for guys like me as we hardly find any advice here because of language problem.

I have started using your 4 day split workout 3 weeks back & I need some advice. I am 5"7 & 67 kg, 27 years old Male with good form but little bit of fat in the belly area.

1. I want to take supplements now. I am thinking of taking Creatin & Whey Protein. Please advise about the timing of taking both these supplements. I know for Whey I will take after work out but what about Creatin, shall I take it with Whey or pre-workout. Most importantly during my off days do I still need to take supplements? I read somewhere I don't need to take creatin in off days what about Whey. Please advise.

2. As I said before I have some fat, so I have to do cardio & abs. I am thinking twice per week during my off days. Is it okay or is it important to take complete rest during off days. Also when only doing cardio & ab in a day what should I do with supplements. Shall I take supplements only on strength training days or on cardio days is also okay.

I know there are lot of questions, but as I said I don't have any other way of knowing these answers of these questions & I totally rely on your advise.

Keep up the good work.



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Posted Sat, 09/28/2013 - 14:07

can i add just the burn workout to my workout routine ???

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Posted Tue, 09/24/2013 - 19:14

Hello Steve!

This is a great routine and I am getting very good result but I need help as I have a very weird work shift pattern:
4 days morning shift (7am-7pm)
4 days off
4days night shift ( 7pm-7am)
4 days off
I cannot workout after my night shift as I feel completly destroyed but after morning shift I am good and on my off days I am working out always!
Please can you advise me how to fit this program into my working shift pattern?

Thank you Steve u doing a very good job helping out!!!!!

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Posted Tue, 09/24/2013 - 14:56

hi steve i want to speak personaly plz give your email address or send me your address

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Posted Sun, 09/22/2013 - 19:14

This muscle sets are like superset?

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Posted Sun, 09/22/2013 - 00:08

Kick ass workout!

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Posted Mon, 09/16/2013 - 11:28


Thanks for your insight into split training, especially one that incorporates a full range of repetitions. I am a firm believer in varying volume and intensity.

I have read and re-read this article over the past few years, but have yet to try a split routine. A few questions came to mind regarding this training.

Have you, or anyone you know, varied your reps by week with this routine? I am wondering if it will be just as effective to do Power, Muscle, Burn by week rather than by set. For instance, Week 1 will be Power Training - so the rep range for all sets on all exercises is 3-5. Week 2 is Muscle Training, Week 3 is Burn, then repeat.

Or even vary the rep range by day: Day 1, Power; Day 2, Muscle; Day 3, Burn; Day 4, Power. Then continue into the next week: Day 1, Muscle; Day 2, Burn; Day 3, Power; Day 4, Muscle. And so on in Week 3...1/Burn, 2/Power, 3/Muscle, 4/Burn. Week 4 returns to 1/Power, 2/Muscle, 3/Burn, 4/Power.

My mentor was also a professor. And I was taught to never incorporate multiple rep ranges in the same workout because muscles cannot respond to multiple stimuli (rep ranges) anyway. So I "periodize" my training. But I am considering adapting my training if a better method exists. Before I begin a program similar to this I want to ensure I am executing it with precision.

Thanks for your time!


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Posted Mon, 09/16/2013 - 05:01

Hi Steve, i used to compete at boxing to a high standard, i'm looking at getting back into it. do you think doing a 3 mile jog would be ok before the training or just jog on my rest days?

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Posted Sat, 09/14/2013 - 12:20

Hi Steve, will this workout work if your diet is not so great but are still eating enough calories to gain weight? When I mean not so great I mean I like to eat white pasta with 90/10 beef almost everyday, fast food 2 times a week, home cooked meals by my dad, and eating out with the girlfriend on the weekends?

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Posted Tue, 09/10/2013 - 12:25

can I do this program for 3 month ?

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Posted Mon, 09/09/2013 - 14:48
Cannibal Corpse

Can i switch out one of them for dips? or weighted dips for strength?

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Posted Mon, 09/09/2013 - 04:07

What would be the rep timing for each section? for Power, Muscle, and burn?

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Posted Tue, 09/03/2013 - 16:14

So for the power and muscle it says to use the same weight for each set
so does that mean i increase by the week?
i dont increase on the same day right ?

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Posted Tue, 09/03/2013 - 04:46

Hello, Its normal some reps are 40? o.O

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Posted Mon, 09/02/2013 - 18:33

Hey steve im 43 and ive got a bad left rotater cuff can i swap out heavey bench with somethin else, the pain goes away after its warmed up.