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 Thu, 05/15/2014 - 10:11
aaron isakov

hey steve, is it acceptable to add a work out program for one of the days in this program, for example their is this chest program that i am interested in trying out where i want to replace your chest day with that one for around 8 weeks and then switch back to yours, would that be possible, or do you not recomend that at all.

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Posted Thu, 05/15/2014 - 09:38

Instead of leg press can i stick with squats? I don't have a leg press machine in my gym

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Posted Tue, 05/13/2014 - 09:45
Alejandro A. Aguilar

I started this routine yesterday and WOW I leave the gym and walk around feeling awesomely dead! Oxymoron completely intended. Thank you for this. I've been sharing it with several co-workers trying to get them to commit to a work out plan and get off the "what ever I feel like doing" plan.

One thing that I've enjoyed about this is that it really forces me to give all I can. After doing the Quad portion of the leg day this morning I was ready to go home but pushed through it and knocked out the hamstring piece. I think I forgot to do one of the leg curl sets but I was definitely leaving via bambi mode. I needed the change of pace from the previous routine and really feeling the effects of 110%.

Can't wait to see the effects of the routine as I continue this. Thanks again Steve!!

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Posted Sat, 05/03/2014 - 01:07
neil joshua

Sir steve im 18yrs old and an ectomorph i workout full body training 3 days for nearly 2 weeks In my 1st week i gained 0.50 lbs but in the 2nd session of the 2nd week i change the reps of my pyramid sets to 14,12,10 the default is 12,10,8 for the weigth of 7,10,12 kg first i notice that i get tired of my 5 mins cardio bike machine for my warm ups and i cant complete my military presses whats my problem is my body adapted the 12,10,8 reps or overtraining or a plateau or i need rests this is my program:
compound lifts
bench press, squat, deadlift, shoulder press, close grip bpress ,t-bar row
isolation lifts
ez bar biceps ,curl shrugs ,leg press ,machine bench dips ,standing calf raises

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Posted Thu, 04/24/2014 - 10:14

Why are the burn exercisses needed.?.I am a newbie..

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Posted Tue, 04/22/2014 - 16:19

Hey Steve
I would like to combine this program with some cardio (3 days) . What would be the best moment to fit in the cardio. should I do it on the same day? If so,What would be the best timing (directly after fitness, other moment)? Or is it better to do it on the days I am not doing fitness. in that case will this not result in overtraining as there will be no day left to rest?

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Posted Sat, 04/19/2014 - 09:40

Hello Steeve. Can i mix this workout week with this one https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/intermediate-muscle-building-...? I mean one week the burn week and the other week the intermediate one? is it problem?

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Posted Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:23

so burn sets mean u have to do 40 reps without hard stop only few seconds the recovery the energy for 1-3 more reps then u rest again few second right?

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Posted Fri, 04/18/2014 - 11:45

Hello Steve. So 2 burn sets mean 40+40=80 right u just have to rest a lil bit to make 1-3 reps and reach 40 without hard stopping right?

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Posted Sun, 04/13/2014 - 05:13
Tom Josham

Really enjoying this workout, crawling out of the gym after those burn sets!
I want to add some running/cardio to my routine, what is your opinion on this please?
Running won't be an option after day 2 for sure, but I feel less sore at the end of the week.
Thanks for your help

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Posted Thu, 04/10/2014 - 06:50
Alex Gallen

First off thank you for the workout plan! I have been using it for a while but was taking three doses of whey protein (only protein i can digest) usually one around 45min before workout then one after and the evening... Anyway I have started to use a pre-workout mix (force fx plus by scietec), it is recommended for use on an empty stomach, so my question is would it be better to skip the pre-workout protein shake and have it later or use the two in combination? I usually workout in the mornings and need to eat anyways, but am not sure if it would just be a waste to have the two...

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Posted Tue, 04/08/2014 - 17:16


I got a question that bothers me since a long time now and I can't find a proper answer: If I work out with this split training, is it enough to only train every muscle (e.g. tricep) once a week as recommended by this training? my gym trainer told me that training every muscle group twice a week is a lot more efficient when trying to gain muscle mass than only training every muscle group once a week.

Best regards! ;-)

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Posted Sun, 04/06/2014 - 23:10

Hi Steve.
Would u recommend super setting the work out.for example, for chest and biceps day, I do the first chest power set, and then do the first bi power set ( back to back) then I rest, and then repeat it for the whole sets !! Thx

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Posted Sat, 04/05/2014 - 21:24

I have a bad lower back is there a substitute for dead lifts on back day?

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Posted Mon, 03/31/2014 - 01:22

Hey Steve, Can I split each workout into two sessions? I have weight training before lunch and I go to the gym around 5 or 6 pm. Just wondering if I could divide each workout and work on one muscle per session ex. chest in the morning and biceps at night?

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Posted Sun, 03/30/2014 - 02:00

Is it ok to add exercise to the routine. For example on chest day I do all those exercises but want to add decline chest press. Also would I add it as power, muscle or burn? This program is great. Thx

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Posted Thu, 03/27/2014 - 06:15

Hi Steve just wondered when the best day of this routine is best to add traps in? Regards terry.

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Posted Tue, 03/25/2014 - 11:42

I wanted to say thank you SO much Steve!! I have embraced this routine to the T for the last month (along with proper diet), and I have noticed considerable gains. Big step up from what I was doing previously. You rock!

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Posted Tue, 03/25/2014 - 09:15

Could this program be done off of a 6 day week?
Day 1: chest and bi
Day 2: back calves and abs
Day 3: off
Day 4: shoulders and tris
Day 5: quads and hams
Day 6: off
Then repeat

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Posted Wed, 03/19/2014 - 16:08


What else can I do instead of front squats? Thanks

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Posted Wed, 03/19/2014 - 14:33
Diego gandarilla

How long should you do this work out? Month , 2 months , a year? Or can I do this forever

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Posted Thu, 03/13/2014 - 05:57

How long should I use this program for? Also, how long should my rests between sets be? I usually go on 1 minute.

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Posted Thu, 03/13/2014 - 01:51
itamar 27

Maximum muscle recovery it seven days? If I work out 3 to 4 times a week, this program is correct for me is a must 4 days all the time?

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Posted Thu, 03/13/2014 - 00:37
Scott Mitchell

Hey Steve, I started going to this gym close by, real cheap, but they don't have incline bench press, they do but it's not free weight. Any suggestions what I could replace as a chest muscle set? Or should i simply do incline with the guiding mechanism (my weight lifting jargon is non existent)

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Posted Fri, 03/07/2014 - 17:22
Mark Dykoff

Some background to add to my previous question:
I'm 5' 10" 270 lbs and my working weights on the main lifts on the 2 yr program are:
BP 235
Squat 305
Btn press 155
Dl 325

My goals are to hit 1 rm's of 450/300/500 and for the first month of stage 6 I'm struggling to maintain the above weights let alone make progess. I was wondering if that might be due to the lower volume. I'm still progressing on the higher rep work and my diet is pretty well dialed in for growing about 1 to 2 pounds a month.

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Posted Fri, 03/07/2014 - 13:01
Mark Dykoff

I'm in year 2 stage 6 of the get huge in 2 year plan you also posted on this site. I've seen incredible gains and love the plan but I'd like to do more volume of heavy lifts to meet my goals. What would you think of switching over to this PMB split with the higher volume of heavy work as an alternative to stage 6 of the 2 year plan?

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Posted Thu, 03/06/2014 - 04:44

Can you use the powertec leverage machine for the bench and inclined presses?

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Posted Wed, 03/05/2014 - 23:38

And wat bout the forearm exercises .... ? Wen to do that....?

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Posted Wed, 03/05/2014 - 23:35

I just wanted this programme is fo how long???... Like in weeks....???

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Posted Sun, 03/02/2014 - 23:49

i.would like.to know what's a good workout.to.done Monday to.friday

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Posted Tue, 02/25/2014 - 13:16


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Posted Sun, 02/23/2014 - 23:31

I dont understand why the first workout is chest and bicep. Shouldn't it be chest and triceps? Is there any benefit to doing it this way?

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Posted Mon, 02/17/2014 - 14:50

This article is very complete, as well as the workout. Just one question Steve, could you name some altenate exercises to avoid boredom? Thank you

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Posted Mon, 02/17/2014 - 06:57

What about wrist curls? Are they needed?

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Posted Sun, 02/16/2014 - 00:48

Hi Steve,
This my be highlighting my ignorance, but how is a deadlift related to a back workout? Also, can I add pull ups to back day too?
Thanks in advance for your tips,

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Posted Fri, 02/14/2014 - 11:00

Hey I Steve I really like doing chest and triceps together. What do you think about swapping out triceps routine and combining it with chest and doing biceps with shoulders?

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Posted Sat, 02/08/2014 - 03:06

Is it really enough to train each muscle group only 1 time per week?

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Posted Tue, 02/04/2014 - 00:28

Hey Steve, I love the workout, I've been doing the split for a while now. I was just wondering if it would be smart to try a new split that looks like this:
Monday- Chest/triceps

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Posted Tue, 01/28/2014 - 21:44
Mathew C

Hey Steve, just curious, are the burn exercises purpose to burn body fat? Or is it body builder jargon for something else?

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Posted Thu, 01/23/2014 - 01:39
Wilson Sanchez

hey stevewould plyometrics go under burn or hypertrophy? or are they there own section?

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Posted Wed, 01/22/2014 - 14:55

Steve can add exercises in the workout

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Posted Mon, 01/20/2014 - 15:12

Could this be a good workout for basketball players for the off season and if so what in season workout could i also do? Im 15 years old.

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Posted Mon, 01/20/2014 - 14:45

Hi Steve,

I have started this routine and it is great. I know that you cannot cut fat and gain muscle at the same time. But I would like to see ab definition as well. Will this workout add ab definition along with a proper diet?

Would cardio be required?

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Posted Fri, 01/17/2014 - 17:10

Hey Steave! Your the best!
Can I do cardio with this routine? If so, when?

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Posted Thu, 01/16/2014 - 09:00

If i do this routine can i get a body that's ripped like most celeberties, like Ryan Gosling. Or do you get a more bulk body?

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Posted Wed, 01/15/2014 - 12:14


Should I alternate all the exercises every other week or just one or two per day.

For example chest and bicep day. Should I keep the bench press but alternate the rest?

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Posted Tue, 01/07/2014 - 09:10

No shrugs?

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Posted Mon, 01/06/2014 - 14:43


I'm regular 17 yrs old teen with experience in powerlifitng. I'm 188cm tall and weigh about 85 kgs. I used to workout at home, but my weight were to light so i decided to go to gym.
I wanna bulid muscle and lose fat that i have. I will follow your workout split but on the rest days i will do 30 - 45 min cardio.

Is that a good idea?

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Posted Mon, 01/06/2014 - 07:11

would swapping the (burn) cable preacher curl to (muscle) closed grip preacher curl, and (muscle) standing barbel to (burn) cable standing bar curl be just as effective?

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Posted Sun, 01/05/2014 - 07:16

Hello Steve. This program will grow up muscle mass good? For how much time i can use this program till change to another? Which exercises i should change/remove to alternative if i have a small problem with my back? Thank you. Also would be nice to get your contacts for live chat.