Dougs 4 Day Split Workout

This muscle building workout is a tried and tested M&S muscle building staple! This workout was developed by trainer and forum member Doug Lawrenson.

Workout Summary

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

Workout Description

As requested by members on our forum we've added Doug Lawrenson's 4 day split muscle building workout to our database of workouts. This workout was designed by Doug and is aimed at muscle growth. It's important that you follow the correct diet program if you want to get the maximum results out of this program.

Important Notes:

  • Warm up with cardio for 5-10 minutes.
  • Stretches and flexibility exercises for 5-10 minutes.
  • Stretch the worked muscles at the end of the workout, and cool down 5-10 minutes.
  • Abdominals on Monday and Thursday

Daily Workout Schedule:

Monday - Shoulders and Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Smith Machine Shoulder Press 4 12,10,8,6
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 4 12,10,8,6
Dumbbell Reverse Fly 4 12,10,8,6
Dumbbell Shrugs 4 12,10,8,6
Exercise Sets Reps
Lying Tricep Extension 3 10,8,6
One Arm Cable Extension 3 10,8,6
One Arm Dumbbell Extension 3 10,8,6
Tuesday - Back
Exercise Sets Reps
Wide Grip Pull Up 4 12,10,8,6
Close Grip Pull Down 4 12,10,8,6
One Arm Dumbbell Row 4 12,10,8,6
Bent Over Barbell Row 4 12,10,8,6

Wednesday - Rest Day

Thursday - Chest and Biceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 12,10,8,6
Barbell Bench Press 4 12,10,8,6
Incline Dumbbell Flys 4 12,10,8,6
Cable Crossovers 4 12,10,8,6
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Dumbbell Curl 3 10,8,6
Preacher Curl 3 10,8,6
Standing Hammer Curl 3 10,8,6
Friday - Legs
Quads, Hamstrings and Glutes
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 4 12,10,8,6
45 Degree Leg Press 4 12,10,8,6
Leg Extension 4 12,10,8,6
Stiff Legged Deadlifts 4 12,10,8,6
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated calf Raise 3 10,8,8
Standing Calf Raise 3 15,12,10

Saturday and Sunday - Rest Days

About The Author
Doug is an ex-competitive bodybuilder with over 20 years fitness experience, specifically diet & nutrition, weight management and training techniques.

891 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Tue, 05/18/2010 - 18:22
When you show the reps start high and slowly decrease, does that mean you add on weight as you go lower reps?
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 05/19/2010 - 08:28
Yes. Add a bit more weight for each set if you can, to hit the stated rep range.
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Posted Wed, 12/22/2010 - 15:19
Hello Steve When you lower reps. Do you increase the weight or continue with the same weight? (since you grow fatigue). Wich example would be better? Example #1(continue with the same weight) 12 reps:12 lbs 10 reps:12 lbs 8 reps: 12 lbs 6 reps: 12 lbs or Example #2(increase weight by lowering reps) 12 reps:12 lbs 10 reps:14 lbs 8 reps: 16 lbs 6 reps: 18 lbs
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 01/05/2011 - 13:28
Hi Ric, In general as a muscle fatigues you will be unable to perform the same number of reps with a given weight, so most likely the weight will remain the same. Here is an article I recommend:
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Posted Sat, 12/15/2012 - 13:00
hoo ahh
i downvoted this because of how obtuse the answer is. if anyone else is reading this, what steve is trying to say is that both example 1 and example 2 are valid choices. the article that he links points out that for example 1, you should add weight when you are able to complete 12 reps for the first set with good form, and in example 2, you should add weight when you are able to complete 6 reps for the last set with good form. overall though, it's just important to note that you should not get hung up on rep numbers and instead work on form and constant progression.
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Posted Sun, 10/19/2014 - 23:25
Hi Steve, Was wondering if I could do dips instead of one arm cable extension? Thanks, Matt.
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Posted Sun, 06/27/2010 - 21:05
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Posted Fri, 09/24/2010 - 22:27
len b
i have to say your work out has way too much time of rest> how can you build like that?
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Posted Fri, 10/29/2010 - 12:41
look at the amount of reps that are listed. his one day is like being in the gym three days a week. the body needs agood 48 hours of rest any ways let alone pounding the muscles like his routine does
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Posted Sat, 03/26/2011 - 23:26
actually this workout has plenty of rest considering that he has took into consideration which muscles pull and push. for instance if you get someone to feel your bicep while you are doing dips for your triceps your bicep isn't flexed. thats because your triceps are pushing while you work you biceps mostly when pulling. I'm 14 and i even know that.
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Posted Tue, 07/26/2011 - 17:20
I disagree. I usually do 3 sets of 12 reps. If I can get 15, I increase weight, if I get just 12, I stay and If I get 10 or less, I decrease. There aren't that many reps and an okay number of excersizes. His one day is like being in the gym for an hour- an hour and a half. The 48 hours of rest are irrelevant because the excercizes are different muscles each day. You could even cycle through the upper body and give each group a 48 hour rest. Going every day with (Chest+Bis)-(Back)-(Shoulders+Tris)-(Legs+Abs) would give you 72 hours of rest between each group.
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Posted Tue, 08/23/2011 - 16:12
Tyler Petermeier
Resting is when your muscles grow. When you do chest on a monday, it works your secondary muscles (triceps/shoulder) when you do triceps on Wednesday, your triceps/shoulder haven't fully gotten to heal so that you can get the maximum amount of usage on your tricep/shoulder workouts.
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Posted Thu, 01/03/2013 - 00:10
Wednesday is a rest day
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Posted Mon, 01/03/2011 - 16:31
Wow dude, seriously, your body needs to rest, you can't go to gym everyday, if you do, your body can't rest and you'll destroy the muscle that you've build up the day before
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Posted Sat, 04/09/2011 - 23:32
Jason Whitford
Well rest is very essential to getting bigger. Has anyone ever told you that rest is key to getting bigger. Well resting while you workout is giving your muscles a little more strength each rest to go up in weight. Also if you don't rest you're working your muscles in a different way, you're teaching them to have some muscle endurance not build. You have to let your muscles rest, when you're done lifting in your third set you should feel some burn even with the rest. I don't like this workout much but it'll get you bigger if you're looking to gain muscle
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Posted Sat, 10/27/2012 - 11:42
Hey man i been working out for 2 years without gettin any results, my weight is 164, i think the problem is i workout 6 days a week can u give me a good routine to get bigger plz
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Posted Tue, 01/01/2013 - 16:36
Hi Joseph, I did the same thing that you are doing. I did my chest-3 times per week, my arms 3-times per week and so on... thinking I would grow in size. I was actually burning muscle off and I was able to lift more. But then I peeked. I could not lift anymore added weight. Example. I started bench pressing at 100lbs (to be safe). Then I increased each week with more weight, until I got to 200lbs. I could not lift anymore. I ended up benching 3X10 @ 200lbs. Where as my friend who was doing one body part per week, ended up benching 5 x 350lbs. His chest was growing in size and we were eating the same foods and protein powder. Example... he would work on his chest one day a week (and yes, on the same day he would do his tricepts and legs) and allow his chest to recover until the nest week. I hope this helps you. We are all made differently and respond differently to weight training.
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Posted Sun, 03/24/2013 - 10:53
Your problem is not your workout. Eat more.
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Posted Wed, 01/11/2012 - 22:42
should I do the workouts for triceps all at once or alternate with the tricep workouts??
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Posted Wed, 05/19/2010 - 15:02
Just wondering, instead of Monday and Thursday could I maybe do abdominals Tuesday and Friday....or are they monday and thursday for a reason?
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 05/19/2010 - 17:13
I would do abs on the days you prefer.
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Posted Tue, 01/08/2013 - 16:37
Mike.... I do crunches for 8 minutes... Every single day. "8 minutes abs " on you tube.... I do this 7 days per week.
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Posted Wed, 05/19/2010 - 16:00
Would you recommend eating lots of refined, wholegrain carbs to gain weight the fastest besides protein? Small guy looking to bulk...drastically
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 05/19/2010 - 16:38
You want to add in as many quality carb sources as you can, such as quinoa, oatmeal, etc. I would also recommend milk, natural peanut butter, almonds, and any other healthier, high calorie food you can find.
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Posted Tue, 02/08/2011 - 19:03
i would suggest that you get a good weight gainer and eat high carb 5-6 meals aday and 2 of these can be replaced 2-3 buy protien shakes or your weight gainer witch should have portiens and high calories also good one should have amino aicds, this helps repair torn muscle.. allmax quick mass is alright check em out.. other then that 5-7 meals high carbs and cals
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Posted Thu, 05/20/2010 - 10:01
How long should you rest between sets? Also, Is it okay to do one cardio day a week on either Wed, Sat, or Sun for like 30 mins?
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 05/20/2010 - 11:06
Rest about 2 minutes between sets. You may need top rest longer for exercises such as squats and deadlifts. And cardio is fine.
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Posted Thu, 05/20/2010 - 11:59
hii,,,is thit workout program for mee pls , Im 3 month in gym,I have progress but want even more, im 1,88cm-83 kg ....What would you suggest me...? thnx byee
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 05/20/2010 - 12:30
Focus on progression of weight and make sure you are eating enough to support muscle mass gain.
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Posted Thu, 05/20/2010 - 15:22
what should be done, in each reps need to put weight or what...for ex. 12,10,8,6 reps with diferent weight ..? this program is fit to me ,in your opinion ...yepp eating is primary im focused ok thx Steve
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 05/20/2010 - 16:31
I would recommend using the same wight for each set. You will most likely drop reps from set to set as you grow fatigued.
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Posted Thu, 05/20/2010 - 16:32
Hi, I was just wondering what order you should do the exercises. For thursday chest and bicep for example, would you recommend doing all the chest exercises first then bicep or alternate them?
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 05/20/2010 - 18:08
I would perform the exercises in the order that they are listed.
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Posted Thu, 05/20/2010 - 17:49
Hi Steve, I' m pretty new myself to bodybuilding so my question may be a little bit naive. I was wondering about doing shoulder and triceps one day before back. Wouldn't make your triceps very fatigued when you do your back? Thanks
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 05/20/2010 - 18:02
Your back muscles are "pulling" muscles and when you work them they don't utilize the triceps when is a "pushing" muscle. i hope that makes sense.
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Posted Sat, 05/21/2011 - 17:39
I have to agree, although you are not isolating the triceps when you do rows or lat pull downs you are working the triceps secondary. I would maybe swap a day on the routine because you will burn your triceps so hard if you do the monday/teusday part of this routine. That's my suggestion, let me know what you think. Back exercises require the tricep to pull not push like you stated even on the row machine it even shows the triceps as a main target area along with the back.
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Posted Fri, 10/21/2011 - 14:43
Pretty the secondary muscle being used in back exercises is biceps not triceps. Not sure how your tricep "pulls".
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Posted Thu, 05/20/2010 - 18:20
hii Steve , can i work together for ex. biceps and day, day 2 chest and triceps..or shoulders and legs..etc .in different day ,or separately is better...? byee hava a nice time thnx.
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 05/20/2010 - 19:35
Just make sure you have a few days rest between chest and shoulders. They are both "pushing" days and can both target delts and triceps.
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Posted Fri, 05/21/2010 - 17:07
Hi, I am bit confuse here. I had a baby 4 months ago and before that i was training for 2 years more less, i was trying to build lean muscle and i was doing very well till i became pregnant.With the pregnancy i lost most of my muscle tone as i had issues with my hips and had to take it easy,so now i don't really know if i should do; follow the 6 days cutting work out That i though would be brilliant but i am afraid that if i do cardio 6 days a week i won't build up or to follow this work out with a bit of cardio each day. I am 5.2/132 pounds and last time i checked my bodyfat was like 6 weeks ago and i was on 25%. In these 6 weeks i havent put on or lost any pound at all. What do you recommend me, please?? I want build lean muscle. Thank you so much
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Posted Tue, 08/23/2011 - 10:54
Beatriz, First thing is to check your body fat since you haven't checked in 6 weeks. You might be surprised at what you find. If you are the same we need to look at your nutrition. It is 80% if the game. -Joshua
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Posted Sat, 05/22/2010 - 07:47
Hi. I have been following the 12 week beginners training routine and I would like to start your 4 day split workout. I am not looking to add huge mass since I am already 178cm/84kg, but I definitely want muscle mass that is toned, and that helps me burn any excess fat. I will follow follow the above workout as is, ok? Any modifications I need to make?
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Posted Mon, 05/24/2010 - 18:52
Tony Gonazalez
I have been doing this workout for 3 months, I have seen very good results. Thanks a lot, but now it is time to switch it up to something new and keep the muscles guessing!
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Posted Wed, 05/26/2010 - 03:01
Hi Iam just wondering how long should you train each day for? What foods do you recommend i eat, iam 21, 85 kg 180cm and training 3 to 4 times a week. trying to loose my belly to show my abs. thanks craig
Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 05/26/2010 - 09:11
In general you would like your training sessions to last no longer then 60 to 75 minutes. As far as nutrition, here are some articles that might help:
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Posted Thu, 05/27/2010 - 10:01
i dont have acess to a gym on tuesdays so what should i replace narrow grip pulldown with? I have a pullup barf and dumbells and barbells
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 05/27/2010 - 10:17
I would do narrow grip pullups. And if those are too tough, do them with your feet suspended on a chair.
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Posted Fri, 05/28/2010 - 00:42
alrigth, thanks
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Posted Thu, 05/27/2010 - 17:32
the exercises are those specifically or is necessary to vary those exercises every week?
Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 05/27/2010 - 19:39
No need to change exercises.