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
Split
Intermediate
4
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
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***    

 

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2.9K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Thu, 08/01/2013 - 02:30
Bruno

Dear Steve,

I know Rome wasn’t built in one day but I need your advises.
I’m 29 and my height is 179cm.
I started to train again 3 months ago (early May 2013) and dropped my body weight from 88kg to 80kg today but I’m stagnating at this weight (80kg) for almost 3 weeks even though I do provide the same efforts. I barely get rid of this fatty tissue layer I have been carrying for the past 6 years.

In order to better understand my training, here is the detail of a typical day:
5:00 am----------1 cup of Dymatize Elite Whey (with water) + 1 cup of oatmeal with milk + 1 caps of Dymaburn + 1 caps of Fish oil + 1 caps vitamin C 500mg + 1 caps vitamen E 400mg.
5:50 am----------14km bicycle ride to the gym (35min, avg. of 140bpm)
6:30 am----------50min Workout + 2 cups of Dymatize Elite Whey (with water) right after
9:00 am----------1 cup of oatmeal with milk
12:00 am-------- White rice with meat or noodles with meat + 1 egg always + 1 yogurt
4:00 pm---------- Glass of soy milk
6:00 pm----------16km bicycle ride back home (35 to 40min avg. of 150bpm)
8:00 pm---------- White rice or noodles with meat (always as I leave in Asia)
9:30 pm---------- Bed time (avg. of 7h sleep/night)

I perform this routine 4 days a week (Mon-Tue-Thu-Fri)
+ Cycling = avg of 30km/day with bpm ranging from 130 to 160 (70 to 90% of max heart rate) as I need fair accelerations to flow in Bangkok’s mad traffic.

Monday
Morning: -Cycling –Chest –Biceps -Abs
Evening: -Cycling

Tuesday
Morning: -Cycling –Shoulders-Triceps-Abs
Evening: -Cycling

Wednesday
REST

Thursday
Morning: -Cycling –Back -Abs
Evening: -Cycling

Friday
Morning: -Cycling –Legs -Abs
Evening: -Cycling

Saturday & Sunday
REST (maybe a ride on some Sunday)

Details:
I follow this routine but only as normal sets and reps, i.e. only muscle (no power or burn).
Do you have any advice? Btw, Saturday is usually my cheat day but nothing crazy and no alcohol.
My goal is to become lean but not too bulky. Square & flat chest with good shoulder proportions.

Thank you in advance for your help!
Best regards,
Bruno

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Posted Tue, 07/30/2013 - 06:26
Theo

Hey Steve,

I was wondering why there is no excercise in the 4 day split for the traps. In your 5 day split you do have 3 excersises for the traps. Can i in some way also include them in the 4 day cycle. I think that the are essential to do at least once a week.

Thanks for your time.

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Posted Tue, 07/30/2013 - 00:22
Dr.Mohammed alhyali

Hi steve.. I liked this workout program, but i had to use leg extension instead of leg press , i wanted to ask you if i have to do any cardio exercise to avoid extra fat deposit?

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Posted Mon, 07/29/2013 - 23:52
Dr.Mohammed alhyali

Hi steve.. I liked this workout program but i had to use leg extension instead of front squat, but i wanted to ask you if i have to use cardio to avoid any extra fat deposit?

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Posted Mon, 07/29/2013 - 03:11
daniel

no traps? you have traps for 3 day work out :p

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Posted Mon, 07/29/2013 - 02:59
Daniel

How long should I wait in between reps?

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Posted Mon, 07/29/2013 - 02:23
daniel

hey steve,been doing this program for a week. Hope it will works.

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Posted Wed, 07/24/2013 - 12:20
rooster0210

Steve (or any1 that's been doin this routine)
I'm gonna be usin the 5 day and 4 day split. I work wk on wk off so when @ home ill b doin the 5 and @ work ill b doin the 4. With my schedule I think this'll b the best way to work it. Do u have a good example for a deload wk? I figure to run this about 8wks then deload.

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Posted Wed, 07/24/2013 - 10:09
G.T.

Steve, I have been doing this workout for 8 months and it worked great for the first 3 and I have not gained much since. Can you lead me in the right direction to another 4 day workout to move onto? Thanks.-G.T.

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Posted Tue, 09/10/2013 - 12:42
nabil

hello man .. did u get any reply ... I am in the same situation :)

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Posted Tue, 07/23/2013 - 16:32
BMillz

What about rear delts and traps?

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Posted Mon, 07/22/2013 - 01:29
Pras

Steve,

First of all great workout - I am trying out the 4 day split and am loving the intensity. This after someone who is used to doing multiple rounds of triples in P90X/Insanity in a one day. So great job - loving it!

Question for you though - I am having a major problem in getting definition and losing weight in lower back outer part - towards waist and lats. I have tried everything "consistently" from squats, deadlifts, lat pull down - you name it but compared to my front part of my body which has decent definition, my lower back area etc sucks big time and is a bit flabby and loose! I am on a 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% fat diet - maybe 5% more proteins on cutting days.

Any thoughts?

Pras.

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Posted Fri, 07/19/2013 - 19:42
Marwan

6 to 12 ! 6 first or 12 ?

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Posted Thu, 07/18/2013 - 19:09
Mark An

Anyone know if i can do Bicep/Tricep on Monday and Bicep/Tricep again on Thursday?

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Posted Mon, 07/15/2013 - 20:35
Lucas

IF I wanted to do Chest/Bis Wednesday, Quads/Hams Thursday, Friday off, Saturday Shoulder/Triceps, Sunday Back/Calves/Abs, Monday Off, and Tuesday Off. Would that work??

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Posted Sat, 07/13/2013 - 22:32
Dean

Just about to start this program Steve, I may have missed reading it somewhere, how many weeks is this designed to be done for?

Thanks dean.

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Posted Sat, 07/13/2013 - 13:34
Evo

Hi Steve, I am just about to start your program. You did say 2-3 min rest between sets and even 4-5 min between heavy sets. What about rest between reps?The description mentions short rests between reps in "Burn" but what about rest between reps in other sets(muscle,power)? Thanks!

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Posted Sat, 07/13/2013 - 10:39
Tim

Steve, can I use 5/3/1 from wendler as the power component?

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Posted Thu, 07/11/2013 - 00:43
Steven

Hello steve Im 17 and weight 130 I was wondering if I could use this work out to gain mass? Or is this work out for cutting down?

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Posted Wed, 07/10/2013 - 01:40
mako

Hi- I noticed that abs are performed on calves day. Am I correct in my understanding that abs are only worked one day a week?

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Posted Tue, 07/09/2013 - 21:30
Beach

hey steve I've substituted chest dips for my burn sets instead of flies what do you think. are flies more beneficial?

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Posted Tue, 07/09/2013 - 21:19
Frank

Hi Steve, awesome workout! I've been doing the PMB 4 day split for a week by now and already see some results.

I've bought a CellMass 2.0 creatine from BSN to supplement but don't really know how to take it. I workout on monday, tuesday, wednesday and friday.(in the order that the template suggests) Also, i train soccer on mondays, wednesdays and fridays right after i finish working out.
On non training days i think i am supposed to have 2 servings of CellMass and on training days one immediately after workout and the other one 6/8 hours before/after.

Would it be better to have a serving after the training or right after workout, before training?

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Posted Mon, 07/08/2013 - 17:53
Brandon

Alright so I've heard that if you do the same workout routine for about 3-4 weeks you'll Plateau and the workout will no longer be affective I don't want that could u help me avoid that ?

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Posted Mon, 07/08/2013 - 17:49
Jared

Hey Steve, I'm a young 20 years old and i wanted to know if this workout would be the best recommended workout for me to gain mass but also remain lean, im 5'10 184 but 12% BodyFat i want to get it into single digits along with being 190 in weight, would you recommend this workout to help reach my goal?

Thanks

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Posted Mon, 07/08/2013 - 01:19
safwan

hey, im 16 and just started working out again. I've had experience working out in the past and want to get back to routine, and especially build muscle. Im not a natural gainer (i've usually struggled to put on weight) and have been pretty undersized for my age, is this workout still appropriate, or is it specifically targeted towards natural gainers?

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Posted Sun, 07/07/2013 - 09:39
bfergu7

I am going to start this program but I was wondering if their is a more advanced program thats similar to this one

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Posted Sat, 07/06/2013 - 09:15
Jason Woroschuk

I've been doing this workout for some time and do enjoy it but I need a bit of change. Have you ever used supersets in it for variation with the same results? Possibly just on all muscle sets?

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Posted Sat, 07/06/2013 - 09:05
Jason

I've been using this variation for a while now and must say I do enjoy it but its time for a change. Is it possible for me to safety incorporate supersets/dropsets or possibly even trisets into this? Possibly all muscle sets? Is it recommended?

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Posted Sat, 07/06/2013 - 05:09
Julian

Hey. I want to know good split for muscle mass.
I have done 3 day whole body split for abit .
Now im doing 4 day split
Day1 legs
Day2chest triceps abs
Rest
Day3 back biceps abs
Day4 shoulder calf

I got some good gains, but my back is lagging and my triceps is abit weak.
I was woundering to start training back 2 times aweek, one day thickness and one day v-taper
Something like this
Day1 back and bi
Day 2 chest and tri abs
Rest/ cardio
Day 3 legs
Day4 shoulder traps and back

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Posted Wed, 07/03/2013 - 18:44
Andre

Firm believer in this workout... In the shortest time, I started at a 225 lb bench press and am now repping 295lbs just as easily. I know I'll e able to do more next week. One thing I need to implement is cardio or spe other form of fat cutting. Personally, when I gain mass and strength, I have a much harder time losing fatty body mass. It doesn't help that, being deployed, the food choices leave much to be desired for dieters. I can't complain about free meals though!!

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Posted Tue, 07/02/2013 - 13:42
Luis Cabrera

Greetings Steve! during last two months I used your power muscle burn routine (a version very closer to that which appears in the upper sample). I have felt awesome, but... would it be necessary to change my routine? or insteat of it, Should I change some workouts while keeping the main power muscle burn routine?
I just want to keep focus on my goals (increase my strength and gain aditional muscular mass, while lossing fat).

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Posted Mon, 07/01/2013 - 23:07
abu walid

For how many weeks I have to work on this program?

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Posted Sun, 06/30/2013 - 10:42
mark

Why is there so many dislikes on these pages even when people are just asking questions there seems to be a ton of dislikes I just don't get it....

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Posted Thu, 06/27/2013 - 04:20
ahmad

hey steve im looking to tighten up n build muscles will this work out plan help

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Posted Thu, 06/27/2013 - 04:17
Praveen

Hi Steve.

Thanks for the routine. I've been doing the 3 day split with good results but am shifting to the 4 day split as I can't seem to stay away from the gym! Was just wondering if it's ok to sub the lat pull downs for pull ups. And also is it ok to do pull ups everyday or every other day. Thanks.

Praveen

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Posted Tue, 06/25/2013 - 19:38
Matt

Should I be concerned there is no direct trap work?

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Posted Tue, 07/09/2013 - 21:39
Beach

I had the same question I just added 3 sets of shrugs 8-12 reps. I didn't feel satisfied unless I did.

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Posted Tue, 06/25/2013 - 17:32
JuJu

Quick question! When you do power sets, using a challenging weight, and go to the muscle sets do you go up on weight, or use lighter weights than you were using on the power sets?

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Posted Tue, 06/25/2013 - 06:58
Kevin

How do you determine what exercises are for power/muscle/burn? Thanks!

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Posted Mon, 06/24/2013 - 14:52
Ryan

Hey Steve thanks for the program.
Is it ok to add a calf exercise to glute/ham day?
And should cardio be performed on, on or off day?

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Posted Sat, 06/22/2013 - 23:13
Anonymous

I'm trying to lose weight but also gain muscle. How can I incorporate cardio with this?

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Posted Tue, 06/25/2013 - 16:23
TJ

Do your cardio after your workout - weight training depletes glycogen stores and then cardio after will help burn fat.

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Posted Sat, 06/15/2013 - 06:45
Dore

Can you use this workout to lose fat and develop lean muscle? I don't want to put on weight, rather turn what I have into lean muscle. Thanks for posting.

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Posted Sat, 06/15/2013 - 06:40
Dore

Hi, Thanks for posting this. Can you use this workout to lose weight? Not get skinny, but lose fat and develop lean muscle. Thanks in advance for your response.

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Posted Wed, 06/12/2013 - 17:29
red71rum

I started this last week, except I do it M-Thursday and take Friday-Sunday off and do cardio on the off days.

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Posted Wed, 06/12/2013 - 13:10
cary wright

I have been using this workout for 12 weeks so far so good. How much time should I take in between sets? Is it different length of time for power, muscle, burn sets? can I ad decline bench to my chest day?

mnsjason's picture
Posted Thu, 06/13/2013 - 17:09
mnsjason

2-3 minutes between power sets would be appropriate, with 1-2 minute rest periods between muscle sets. Burn sets do not really include rest time, as you're meant to hit the rep goal with as little rest as possible.

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Posted Tue, 06/11/2013 - 23:44
Samuel

I really like this workout,
I think it will work better with my schedule.

But my main thing is, will each day hit every part of each
Major muscle group that is being worked on?

How long in between sets?

I'm in the military so when should I add cardio in?

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Posted Tue, 06/11/2013 - 15:28
DeNiro

HI Steve - I'd love to do the 5 day version of this workout but my business travel makes it difficult - will I get the same gains by doing the 4 day version?

Thanks. DeNiro

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Posted Mon, 06/10/2013 - 19:37
Ray

Steve,
I just finished a cycle of exercise to get me to a comfortable body weight. I'll be on a short military assignment and look very much forward to utilizing your awesome 4 day power muscle burn split routine!

Sergeant Hernandez
Gresham, Oregon