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 Sat, 04/13/2013 - 16:33
regev

which workout is better for size? this one or "Doug's Mass Building Routine for Ectomorphs" or maybe you have a better suggestion?

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Posted Tue, 04/09/2013 - 18:50
Randy

I weigh about 180 and am 6ft tall. I don't really want to get that much bigger than this doesn anyone have any advice on which of these workouts would work best.

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Posted Mon, 04/08/2013 - 03:36
Raymond

Hi, do you recommend this program when one is on IF?thanks

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Posted Sun, 04/07/2013 - 14:48
David lee

Hey Steve is there a way I can use this work out routine in a 3 day split instead of 4?
Its hard for me to get to the gym 4 times a week sense my son has autisim and my wife drives me crazy lol

I love doing the burn sets because I have a blast doing them

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Posted Sun, 04/07/2013 - 02:03
Elshimy

How long for the break between sets and is it constant for all sets or depends on the set type?

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Posted Sun, 04/07/2013 - 02:03
Elshimy

How long for the break between sets and is it constant for all sets or depends on the set type?

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Posted Sat, 04/06/2013 - 06:50
builder1390

can you do HIIT training on the off days? or what would be the best cardio routine to follow with this workout program?

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Posted Fri, 04/05/2013 - 05:54
Andrew Santisteban

hey steve im just starting this workout im in week 2 and i dont think im eating right i never really learned proper nutrition im doing this routine with 20 min of cardio after each day im 5'6 225 about 30% fat my diet is about 200 grams protein and 1800 calories threw six meals a day and about a gallon of water

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Posted Tue, 04/02/2013 - 17:53
Roman

Would it be to much to go 4 days followed by 3 of rest? If so could I do back following shoulders instead of a day of rest in between?

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Posted Tue, 04/02/2013 - 17:24
Roman

Would it be to much to go 4 days followed by 3 of rest? If so could I do back following shoulders instead of a day of rest in between?

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Posted Tue, 04/02/2013 - 17:16
Roman

Would it be to much to just go the 4 days straight with 3 consecutive days off? If so could I do day back/ect. the day after shoulders and tris?

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 08:42
stephen

what is the rest time for the power,muscle and burn sets??

mnsjason's picture
Posted Wed, 04/17/2013 - 17:01
mnsjason

Power sets: 2-3 minutes
Muscle sets: 1.5-2
Burn sets: As short as possible (2-3 second breaks).

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 07:09
mod

Hey all, i was wondering if the workout program can be rearranged into dividing the 3 legs workouts (calves, hamstrings, and quads) between the chest, shoulders and back, and having the arms alone on the 4th day.

I'm not quite sure if this will be a good idea, but can it be rearranged into something like this:

Day1 - Chest and (either Calves, hamstrings, or quads)
Day2 - OFF
Day3 - Arms and abs
Day4 - Shoulders and (either Calves, hamstrings, or quads)
Day5 - OFF
Day6 - Back and (either Calves, hamstrings, or quads)

if so, can you please help me and suggest which one of the leg muscle groups would fit better with each of upper body muscles( the back, chest, and shoulders)??

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Posted Sun, 03/31/2013 - 22:58
Steven

How many weeks should this be run I've been training. Awhile and was going to run 4-6 weeks 8-12 then 4-6 weeks 4-6 reps then cut the last month for summer

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Posted Wed, 03/27/2013 - 12:25
Nicholas Rivers

Would this schedule work: mon: shoulders,triceps. Tue: off. Wed: back, calves. Thur: chest, biceps. Fri: off. Sat: legs, cardio. Sun: HIIT

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Posted Tue, 03/26/2013 - 06:00
Abraham

Hi. Is it ok too rest 4min for pwr, 2min muscle and 1min for pump or is it better to rest 2min for pump and 3 minutes for power? Thanks

mnsjason's picture
Posted Tue, 04/16/2013 - 17:22
mnsjason

I'd recommend 2-3 minutes of rest between power sets, 1.5-2 minutes for muscle sets, and only a few seconds between reps on burn sets. The idea on burn sets is to perform the recommended reps in as short a time as possible.

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Posted Tue, 03/26/2013 - 00:00
Adam

Any chance I can take out anything to put in Power Cleans and Dips? Maybe some pull-ups?

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Posted Mon, 03/25/2013 - 12:01
Jamie Binger

(on quad and ham day)Would a set of power leg press have the same results as a set of power squats?

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Posted Sun, 03/24/2013 - 12:16
Jordan biffen

On the two off days during the week could I do cardio and abs? I already know it's okay to do cardio but just need to know if it would okay to do and Aswell? Thanks

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Posted Sat, 03/23/2013 - 09:27
james

why not a military press for shoulders?

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Posted Fri, 03/22/2013 - 10:00
Bon Q.

hello Steve ,
thanks a lot for sharing this program to us...
ahm.
Is this program also for strength? i'm looking forward for my strength gains and at the same time muscle building.

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Posted Thu, 03/21/2013 - 08:01
james

Why not train to failure? I can't help not going to failure because if i dont, i feel like i havent pushed myself hard enough.

Joey's picture
Posted Thu, 03/21/2013 - 13:02
Joey

Going to absolute failure puts you at an increased risk for injury, and it's not necessary to get a good workout. Having said that, there is a time and place for it.

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Posted Wed, 03/20/2013 - 19:51
Jimmy P

Could I use this as a cutting routine? Trying to get from 22% body fat to around 12.5%. Im looking for a good routine to go with my diet and cardio...

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Posted Tue, 03/19/2013 - 03:51
Hugo

Hi Steve, can i swap biceps for triceps? in day 1 can i do chest and tricep or is it better if i do chest and bicep?

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Posted Mon, 03/18/2013 - 18:25
Joseph

Steve,

Each day has a one power exercises per muscle group and then the few muscle excursuses and one burn exercise per muscle group. Everything in the schedule is listed by what muscle each lift focuses on ex. day 1 starts with Chest. 1 power lift, 2 muscle lifts, then one burn lift, then the same kind of system for biceps on the same day. Should I complete all of the lifts for chest then move to the bicep lifts? or should I integrate them, starting with both power lifts, mixing up the muscle ones and then ending with both burn lifts?
Also I noticed in your workouts that I have looked at, none of them include any sort of decline bench. Why is this? and would it be okay to either add in decline or what would it best replace?

Thanks!

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Posted Mon, 03/18/2013 - 13:12
Thiago T

How much time should I rest between sets and exercises? 1 minute for sets and and 2 to start new exercise?

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Posted Mon, 03/18/2013 - 11:49
jordan

would it be okay to do cardio and abs on day 2 and day 5?

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Posted Mon, 03/18/2013 - 11:23
Joe

Hey what if i do not have a spotter for things like power bench?

mnsjason's picture
Posted Thu, 03/21/2013 - 18:22
mnsjason

The notes on the routine recommend that you not train to failure (unable to complete a rep), and this is even more important in your case. If you feel that you would be unable to complete another rep, then it's time to rack the weight.

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Posted Mon, 03/18/2013 - 09:21
Thiago T

how many seconds between each set ? and exercise?

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Posted Fri, 03/15/2013 - 12:06
max

Hey Steve, thank you for this great workout. One question: Do you think it's fine if I replace the Seated French Press with the Two Arm Dumbbell Extension? Thank you in advance!

Joey's picture
Posted Fri, 03/15/2013 - 12:30
Joey

Totally fine!

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Posted Fri, 03/15/2013 - 12:55
max

Thanks!

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Posted Wed, 03/13/2013 - 23:32
Eugene G.

Hi, Steve,
I have gain some weight back after a few years of not working out. Is there anything I can do other than dieting to up my metabolism and regain the muscle that I have lost.

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Posted Tue, 03/12/2013 - 01:51
Joe

Hi Steve, I am very thank ful to you for this kind of work out, I want to know if I can workout DAy abd Day 2 and take off on Day 3 and Continue on Day 4 and Day 5 ?.

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Posted Mon, 03/11/2013 - 08:17
Tom

Steve,
I switched to this workout 6 weeks ago and must say, i'm pleased with the results thusfar, however, after doing my leg day (Friday), I find it hard to go down stairs. My quads are sore for 3-4 days. Any ideas?
Tom

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Posted Sat, 03/09/2013 - 05:36
J.D.

What is a good breakfast, lunch, and supper diet to use while weight training?

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Posted Thu, 03/07/2013 - 12:58
sankar

should we ad shrug to this routine..if soo how can we??? no workout is mentioned for shrug in this routine i guss....

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Posted Fri, 03/08/2013 - 09:52
Jake

I added two shrug workouts to the shoulder day right after shoulders and before triceps

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Posted Wed, 03/06/2013 - 19:40
Greg

How about traps and rear delts?

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Posted Sat, 03/02/2013 - 00:27
Troy

Read old posts regarding traps...

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Posted Sat, 03/02/2013 - 00:25
Troy

Yeah there's about a million posts regarding traps and training them on this routine.

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Posted Sat, 03/02/2013 - 00:25
Troy

Yeah there's about a million posts regarding traps and training them on this routine.

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Posted Fri, 03/01/2013 - 15:22
Alex

I only have a bench at home with leg curlers on the end. So I have no cables!
What can I replace the following with?
Cable preacher curls
Leg press (something to replace both with as there are burn and muscle sets of these)
Cable tricep extension -(I know you have mentioned skull crushers for this- I was thinking kickbacks?)
Lat pull down
Seated cable row

Also I see no exercise targeting traps ? Am I wrong? If not what do you recommend doing to target this area in a couple of exercises?
I know I am asking a lot here but I really would appreciated some guidance, I have been training for 6 months and have seen little progress. I am beginning to get disheartened and I think this regime with a few tweaks could work wonders for me!!! Thanks in advance for any advice offered! Cheers

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Posted Fri, 03/01/2013 - 14:50
Alex

Traps ?

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Posted Fri, 03/01/2013 - 10:34
Alex

Is there anything for traps in this workout?

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Posted Thu, 02/28/2013 - 15:52
Gaz

okay thanks