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.

899 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Thu, 10/01/2015 - 09:24
Tristan Speaker

What would you recommend for ab exercises on Tuesday's and Thursday's?

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Posted Mon, 09/21/2015 - 12:44
Ryan Campbell

I'd like to do the close grip bench press what tricep excersice should I replace that with

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Posted Fri, 09/18/2015 - 03:38

I work overnights starting 12am Fri, sat sun, and i don't like lifting after my midnight shift, so can i do monday-thur without break and within my 3 days off, i will do some cardio?

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Posted Mon, 09/14/2015 - 12:27
Ryan Campbell

I'd like to do the close grip bench press what tricep excersice should I replace that with

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Posted Mon, 08/24/2015 - 10:51
Matteo Vitale

what is the recovery time between a series and the other?

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Posted Fri, 08/07/2015 - 17:36
Matthew A Thompson

so im in to this 2 weeks now. i did it to change things up. i work construction ind it isn't conducive to power lifting now. i like the split i think it would be awesome for a beginner.
but i think i want to lean out a little and still be good to work, so ive added some reps and active recovery sets for the previous says session. any thoughts?

MikeWines's picture
Posted Mon, 08/10/2015 - 12:32

Alot of the answer to your question is: "it depends". Your additional volume and "recovery sets" might actually be deleterious in the long run if you can't recover from it given the demands of your job.

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Posted Wed, 12/17/2014 - 12:22

Hi Steve

Sorry if this is shown somewhere on the workout but in the introduction to the workout it says "make sure you follow the correct diet program"

Is there a link to the diet program somewhere?


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Posted Mon, 11/03/2014 - 06:11

Hey Doug, been training about 7 years now and just wondering if I can throw in a set of deadlifts on back day? been doing the stronglifts 5x5 the past month, squats were going through the roof but started losing upper body size especially in my arms(and I want big ****ing arms) so thought i would give this a go plus training three days a week wasn't enough for me.

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Posted Wed, 10/22/2014 - 20:13

The Military Press and Bench both use Triceps as a secondary.
Mon - Shoulder and Tri's -----------Thursday - Bench and Bi's.

The workout is set up to get the most muscle gains. You will get less for your effort if you change it.
The D4D split is well thought out. I do it "as is" so I get the best results for my efforts.
You definitely get more bang for your buck with this one.

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Posted Sat, 10/18/2014 - 20:55

Is it okay to change the order of days in the program. ex: Switch Thursday and Monday

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Posted Wed, 10/22/2014 - 20:06


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Posted Wed, 10/08/2014 - 07:55


Why do you recommend using the smith machine for the OHP here yet bash it so hard in your article here, .Does it work better with the surrounding exercises or something in this case?


Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 10/08/2014 - 08:50


This isn't my workout. It's created by Doug Lawrensen.

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Posted Wed, 10/08/2014 - 08:52

Gotcha, thanks for the quick reply!

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Posted Fri, 09/12/2014 - 10:13

Any recommended or suggested supplements to go with this workout to encourage muscle gain and fat loss ?

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Posted Sun, 09/07/2014 - 08:16

Hi there, when do this workout should I stick to it constantly and just increase the weight as usual or change it now and then? If so when is a good time to alternate workouts in order to increase size?


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Posted Tue, 09/02/2014 - 21:54

I am 5'6" and weigh around 188. My goal is to get lean but muscular. I am finding it a challenge to figure out if I should lose weight while weight training to eat to maintain my current weight? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Posted Mon, 09/01/2014 - 21:49

How would you recommend working pushups into the routine? I'd like to do them on more than just chest day (about 200 per day, 3 days per week)

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Posted Mon, 08/18/2014 - 17:48
cristian aguilar

sorry about my english but my question is in every set i have to add more weight?

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Posted Thu, 07/31/2014 - 03:17

Hi, would it be okay to do this routine Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs and rest Fri, Sat, and Sunday?

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Posted Sun, 05/10/2015 - 05:41

Hi! In training we got folds of outcome, progression and regression. Resting 3 days in a row is leading to regression.

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Posted Sun, 07/27/2014 - 14:44

A good 4 day split workout goes like this
M chest/tri
T legs
W rest
Th shoulders
Fri back/bi
Sat n sun rest

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Posted Sun, 07/27/2014 - 14:30

Been lifting for over 2 years n the best 4 day split that I have seen progress from goes like this monday chest/tri tuesday legs wednesday off thursday shoulders friday back/bi sat n sunday off

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Posted Sun, 06/29/2014 - 08:15
Raechel Frantom

Hello, I was just reading Doug's 4-day split workout routine. I have a question regarding this program. How is it possible to build any type of muscle when only working each body part just once per week? I thought that it was necessary to work each body part preferably 3-times per week? I do need a 4-day consecutive workout because I work 3-12 hour shifts per week and I cannot workout on those days but this workout that he has suggested doesn't seem beneficial. Could I please get an explanation to this. Thanks, Raechel

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Posted Tue, 05/06/2014 - 12:18

Do you do each exercise set back to back or do you move from one to the next with 12 reps and then start the cycle over with 10?

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Posted Wed, 04/23/2014 - 10:11

When you're doing a workout, for example, shoulders and triceps on Monday, why are there less reps for the tricep workout? Can i incorporate those extra sets/reps?

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Posted Thu, 04/17/2014 - 18:32
Zain Bobat

Can I workout like for 4 straight days without any rest day in between (wednesday in this case) and then rest for straight 3 days?

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Posted Tue, 04/15/2014 - 22:57

Hello Steve, as far as the order of exercises, I assume I should go down the list and get 12 reps in on each exercise and then start over again. Not to be confused with doing all 4 sets in a row of each individual exercise then moving to the next? Thanks!

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Posted Tue, 04/08/2014 - 10:08

Hi steve

My gym only has a smith machine would it be ok to do squats and deadlifts on them ?, also i can only perform one of the calf raise exercises so should i just do 6 sets ?.

Was wondering aswell how there isnt dips in this workout as i have always used them as a good mass builder.

I have been working out for 2 years and been following a split very similar to this most of the time would i be better to start a more advanced 4 day split with say a little more sets or should this work for me as it is classed as a intermediate workout ?

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Posted Mon, 03/24/2014 - 21:43

Also, I like doing it like this.

3 sets of 8-10
1 set of 20 at HALF the weight as the previous 3 sets.

For example

225 lbs - 8-10
225 lbs - 8-10
225 lbs - 8-10
112.5 lbs - 20 (basically a fail set)

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Posted Mon, 03/24/2014 - 21:37

Instead of the order you have, can I move them? For example
Monday - Shoulders and Triceps
Tuesday - Back
Wednesday - OFF
Thursday - Chest and Biceps
Friday - Legs
Weekends - OFF

Monday - Back
Tuesday - Chest and Biceps
Wednesday - OFF
Thursday - Legs
Friday - Shoulders and Triceps
Weekends - OFF

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Posted Wed, 10/22/2014 - 20:05


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Posted Mon, 03/17/2014 - 10:57

can i change the order of the workout?

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Posted Fri, 02/28/2014 - 09:51

What is a good amount of time to rest between reps? I usually do 30 seconds, what do you guys think?

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Posted Tue, 02/18/2014 - 00:05

Steve, don't you include forearms in your workout plan? Secondly can I go for HIIT on rest days say in the morning? Thanks

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Posted Sun, 01/19/2014 - 15:28

Hello Steve,

Is it a bad thing if I move leg day from friday to sunday?

Thank you.

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Posted Sat, 12/21/2013 - 20:32

How many weeks should you do these workouts before you start getting results?

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Posted Fri, 10/25/2013 - 16:03

Steve ,thank you for this article.I have been working out a full body workout 3 times a week for 2 weeks,but now i am planing on going with this workout. i weight 79 kg with 172 cm what i am trying to say is that can i do carido before /after workout or during the rest days,because am planing on losing some weight too??btw am a beginner :)

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Posted Wed, 10/16/2013 - 07:49

Hi Steve,
Is the 4 day split good as this
3exercise chest 3sets
2exercise shoulder 3sets
1-2 exercise triceps 3 sets
Back biceps shrugs
3 exercise back 3 sets
2 exercise biceps 3sets
1 exercise shrugs 3sets
Wednesday. Off
Thursday same as Monday with different exercise
Friday same as Tuesday with different exercise
Sat -Sun off

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Posted Tue, 10/08/2013 - 19:36

Because of a restrictive schedule, I can only work out Monday through Thursday. Is it okay to use Friday through Sunday as a rest period?

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Posted Tue, 10/08/2013 - 00:26

So how much time should be between each rep? Between each set? And do I do all 4 sets of each individual exercise at once?

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Posted Wed, 10/02/2013 - 14:16

Can i alternate the days im thinking : sun, Thursday... Fri- legs

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Posted Thu, 09/19/2013 - 15:06
Steven Cogdell

I weigh 175 pounds, 6'5 and I am trying to build muscle. My goal weight is 190 pounds. Is the Doug 4 day split program for me?

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Posted Thu, 09/12/2013 - 11:06

Hey Steve,
I've been doing this routine for four weeks now. I used to do another that worked muscle parts more often than once a week. I feel I'm losing size in my arms. Will I continue to lose size or gain it back with this once a week program?

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Posted Wed, 09/11/2013 - 23:16

Hey guys, I have been doing this routine for the past three weeks; I"m on my fourth now. I was doing another routine where perhaps I overworked the muscle, but my arms were bigger. I feel (and see) that they're getting smaller from this routine. What's wrong?

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Posted Tue, 09/03/2013 - 22:25

Any objection to moving the rest day to Thursday AND moving Legs to Wednesday? I don't mind fucking my legs up, just not Friday. Saturday is my only day to cycle with my friends.

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Posted Wed, 08/14/2013 - 13:15

Hi Steve, I'm recovering from a shoulder impingement, and although I'm almost there, my physio was not confident that it is still wise to do the incline dumbbell flys, an you suggest a suitable substitute?
Thanks, Neil.

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Posted Sun, 08/11/2013 - 23:02

Can a man and women do thw routine? ?

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Posted Sun, 08/11/2013 - 02:23

Wwould it be a problem if I did this workout every other day, rather than a split? I'm 44 and I want to give myself plenty of time befor I get back to the same musle group, without going to long I just completed 6 weeks of the 3 day a week beginners program!!