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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3K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 05/29/2013 - 22:04
alvaro

its alright to finish each workout with 15-20min of cardio (running or bicycle)?

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Posted Sat, 05/25/2013 - 13:12
Cesar

Would it be okay to include Forearm and Traps exercises?

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Posted Thu, 05/23/2013 - 23:57
Zack Kaplan

What type, how much/often, and when do you recommend cardio sessions be performed if at all?

Thanks
Zack

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Posted Thu, 05/23/2013 - 03:16
Cesar

My guess is that in the Power exercises you have heavy weight, whereas muscle has medium weight, and burn is light weight?

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Posted Wed, 05/22/2013 - 20:50
Kyante

Hello, just wondering how you progress on the "power" part of the routine from week to week. How do you know when to add 5-10 lbs?

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Posted Fri, 05/17/2013 - 06:30
Rohitlhs

Hi Steve!! I am following the same split program and having been using the 4th day to train my weaker area which is upper pecs..the combination on the 4th day is upper chest and delts..
for pecs : incline dumbbell press incline flies alt..3 sets each..thn follow this with military press side lateral and dumbbell raises for rear delts all 3 sets..
Is the routine all right ?? should I incorporate Muscle Power and burn principle in my workout to get a better result ??
pls suggest..

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Posted Thu, 05/16/2013 - 08:24
Emzee

Hi Steve, i have been folowwing this plan for quite some tome now but i have difficulty in maintaining position while doing barbell exercises what other alternatives can I use for ez bar skull crusher and ways of maintaining my position while doing an exercise ?

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Posted Mon, 05/13/2013 - 03:54
Gilly

How much rest between reps and sets??

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Posted Fri, 05/10/2013 - 22:41
Ahmed

this workout is for cutting for summer ?
listen bro am about 74 KG with about % 13 BF , you know summer is comming what would you recommend for me ? , Thanks in advance.

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Posted Thu, 05/09/2013 - 08:24
Lee

Hi Steve

With the power exercises, I've heard that starting with a heavy weight isn't advisable as it can cause injury. But by only doing 3-5 reps, you are bound to lift heavier than the progressive or burn sets aren't you? I make a point of warming up with cardio and a warm up set of weights first. Just wondered what your thoughts were on the subject? Also, I'm trying to fit cardio in where I can but, by going on off days, I will end up going to the gym 7 days a week, but then if I did it on my weight days, they say your session shouldn't last any longer than an hour. what is your advice on this? Thanks

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Posted Wed, 05/08/2013 - 17:43
david

Hi steve
I love thi workout, just started it. Would you please give me adviceon howmuch i should increase the weight for power each week? Thanks a lot

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Posted Tue, 05/07/2013 - 14:37
Joe

Hi Steve,

My name is Joe, and I was wondering if there is an alternate to french presses or skull crushers for muscle reps.
However, my progress with this routine and the effect on my triceps is great. Just curious to see if there are other alternates that are able to hit the triceps with the same intensity the skull crushers and french presses do.

Many Thanks

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Posted Tue, 05/07/2013 - 09:20
Juan

Is it best to finish an exercise before moving to the next or alternate them?

mnsjason's picture
Posted Thu, 05/09/2013 - 17:08
mnsjason

Definitely finish the exercise before moving on to the next. For instance, if a routine calls for 4 sets of a given lift, perform all 4 before moving on.

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Posted Mon, 05/06/2013 - 16:44
JC

Should I add exercises to build my traps or will they get bigger as well with the routine as is? If I should add exercises for traps, what would suggest?

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Posted Mon, 05/06/2013 - 09:25
Eddy Q

any cardio associated w this or should I stay away from cardio completely?

mnsjason's picture
Posted Thu, 05/09/2013 - 16:46
mnsjason

That depends on your diet in relation to what your goals are. If you're looking to add mass, then you'll need to make sure to add calories daily when adding cardio to this routine. If you're looking to cut, then it's important that you're not undershooting daily calories. If your intake is too low, you'll start losing muscle mass. Cardio itself is perfectly fine, just be aware of the impact it has on your nutritional needs.

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Posted Fri, 05/03/2013 - 18:05
Srulyf

This workout only has each muscle group once a week that still works to gain muscle even though your only working each muscle out once a week?

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Posted Fri, 05/03/2013 - 01:56
Nick

What is a suitable power muscle burn routine for abs?

mnsjason's picture
Posted Fri, 05/03/2013 - 17:21
mnsjason

Feel free to add an ab routine of your choice on off days.

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Posted Thu, 05/02/2013 - 16:56
Jason

I am planning on doing this workout at home but i don't have a leg press so what exercise should i do instead?

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Posted Wed, 05/01/2013 - 21:31
ella

hi i would like to know for how much time i should be doing this in order to get some results, maybe a month?
and as for the cable preacher, i don't think i have that machine at my gym. is there another exercise to replace it?

thank you

mnsjason's picture
Posted Thu, 05/02/2013 - 18:28
mnsjason

You should start to notice strength gains after a month, but don't expect to SEE any major changes. it takes time to change your body, so stick with it for as long as you can. Feel free to perform dumbbell preacher curls instead of the cable preacher curl.

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Posted Wed, 05/01/2013 - 01:22
fransisco

Is this routine going to help you develop big arms?

mnsjason's picture
Posted Wed, 05/01/2013 - 17:10
mnsjason

With consistency and the right diet, this routine will certainly add size to your arms.

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Posted Tue, 04/30/2013 - 20:25
nick s

hey what is a good replacement exercise for front
squats

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Posted Tue, 04/30/2013 - 20:22
Robert

Hi Steve I had a simple question. Is it ok to introduce power sets for some of this routine? Thanks

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Posted Tue, 04/30/2013 - 20:21
nick s

hey what is a good replacement exercise for front squats

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Posted Tue, 04/30/2013 - 10:54
Jonathan

Just wondering if this is how it works (Sorry, new to this)
Say you take Day 1: Chest and Biceps as an example. Would this be how the workout works?

1st exercise. Bench Press - 4 sets in a row
2nd exercise. Incline Bench press - 2~3 sets in a row
3rd exercise. Dumbbell Bench Press- 2~3 sets in a row
4th exercise Dumbbell flys - 2 sets in a row

5th exercise- Pinwheel curl -2 sets in a row
6th exercise- Standing Barbell curl- 2~3 sets in a row
7th exercise Cable Preacher curl -1~2 sets in a row

I understand that there is rests between sets. But is this the order that should be followed?

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Posted Mon, 04/29/2013 - 19:25
Jay Oz

I have a hard time with squats cause of a shoulder surgery. Can't grab the bar comfortably. Could I replace the squats with 45 degree leg press? Thanks really like this workout....2 weeks in and have seen nice gains.....

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Posted Sat, 04/27/2013 - 20:34
Jonathan

I'm new to this and I was wondering

1) (Using Day 1 as an example) I understand that you're supposed to finish the chest workout before moving on to the bicep workout, and to progress from power to burn. In the chest workout, do you complete 4 consecutive sets of bench press before moving on to the next exercise? Or do you alternate exercises after every set completed?

2) How much rest is needed between power-power, power-muscle, muscle-muscle, muscle-burn, burn-burn, and burn-power?

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Posted Sat, 04/27/2013 - 08:48
DanielKotas

Tried this workout for the first time today, and must say that it is hilarious! I enjoyed every single rep. It is not too short nor is too long. It includes everything important for great results, yet it is simple to understand. It has been tried by pros, hope it will help me too. Thanks much for this! :)

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Posted Wed, 04/24/2013 - 01:50
zaman imtiyaz

Hi Steve!!
It would be okay this way?

1st Week

Day 1 - Chest and Biceps,Abs
Day 2 - OFF
Day 3 - Shoulders and Triceps,Abs
Day 4 - OFF
Day 5 - Chest and Biceps,Abs
Day 6 - OFF
Day 7 - Shoulders and Triceps,Abs
Day 8 - OFF
Day 9 - Back, Calves and Forearms
Day 10 - Chest and Biceps,Abs
Day 11 - OFF
Day 12 - Quads and Hamstrings
Day 13 - OFF
Day 14 - Shoulders and Triceps,Abs
Please advice me

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Posted Tue, 04/23/2013 - 18:20
Avery

my left pec and shoulder are a little bigger than the right one. Should i switch some of the barbell exercises to dumbbell exercises so both arms do the same amount of work or will this even out over time?

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Posted Tue, 04/23/2013 - 13:03
abdulla

i would like to clarified what does the split workout mean weather doing two muscle group doing morning and evening are any thing else

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Posted Sat, 04/20/2013 - 18:16
Santiago Ayala

Hi STEVE, thanks for this routine, is working awesome for me.
Why you dont include an FOREARM workout ??
Do you recomend a workout?

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Posted Sat, 04/20/2013 - 03:11
Leigh

Hi Steve I've just finished your beggener workout and I really enjoyed it . I'm just about to start the 4 day split power , muscle , burn . I'm going to be training Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday . My question is I'm a kickboxer and I train for 2 hours on Wednesday . Would I still putt mass on doing my kickboxing on this workout ? And is training 5 days a week in a row over training ? My diet is really good and my weight is 183lb with just under 10% body fat

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Posted Thu, 04/18/2013 - 13:08
Nimster

Hi Steve,

I was wondering when performing the power sets, should it be the maximum weight that i could lift??

Appreciate your feedback on the matter.

mnsjason's picture
Posted Tue, 04/23/2013 - 19:14
mnsjason

It should be close to your 1 rep max, though obviously your goal is to perform 3-5 reps. Pick a weight that barely allows you to perform 3 reps with good form, and once you're able to hit 5 per set, increase the weight.

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Posted Thu, 04/18/2013 - 05:53
manoop

hi steve i have a doubt about this workout
on the first week i can follow this workouts
what i do in the second week?
perform the same workouts? eg for chest
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
repeat the same workouts? wat about changing workouts like vertical press, declined bench press instead of given?
please help me

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Posted Tue, 04/16/2013 - 19:41
Santiago Ayala

Steve, how are you, thanks for the routine. i HAVE A QUESTION, WHAT IS THE DIFERENCE BETWEEN THE DEADLIFT FOR THE BACK AND THE DEADLIFT FOR THE HAMSTRINGS, DONT GET ANY DIFERENCE, ??? THANKS A LOT

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Posted Tue, 04/16/2013 - 15:22
Ryan

Thanks Steve, feeling the burn already!

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Posted Tue, 04/16/2013 - 15:22
Ryan

Thanks Steve, feeling the burn already!

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Posted Tue, 04/16/2013 - 03:32
Saumya

How many weeks should we do this work out for? Or how many times should we repeat this workout?

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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?