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
  • Main Goal
    Build Muscle
  • Workout Type
  • Training Level
  • Program Duration8 weeks
  • Days Per Week
  • Time Per Workout55 minutes
  • Equipment Required
    Barbell, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
  • Target Gender Male & Female
  • Workout PDF Download Workout

Workout Description

As requested by you guys, 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.

Workout 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

Workout Schedule

  • Monday - Shoulders and Triceps
  • Tuesday - Back
  • Wednesday - Rest
  • Thursday - Chest and Biceps
  • Friday - Legs
  • Saturday - Rest
  • Sunday - Rest

Doug's 4 Day Split Workout

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
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

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
Incline Dumbbell Curl 3 10,8,6
Preacher Curl 3 10,8,6
Standing Hammer Curl 3 10,8,6

Friday - Legs

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
Seated calf Raise 3 10,8,8
Standing Calf Raise 3 15,12,10


Chris Smith
Posted on: Sat, 12/21/2019 - 16:18


I normally do a decent 12-20k trail run on Sundays, so would like to swap the leg day to either Monday or Tuesday.

What would be the best suggestion order with the switch around?

Kind Regards,


Nick B
Posted on: Mon, 06/10/2019 - 16:16

I like the structure and layout of this workout. But how do I prevent stalling?

You can only add reps and more weight for so long, usually for me its like 3-4weeks.

Do I just change exercises every 8 weeks and change up the rep scheme? Instead of 12/10/8/6 then do sets of 8-12?

Posted on: Tue, 01/01/2019 - 06:47

Hi is there a food plan to go with this

musa yavas
Posted on: Sun, 07/22/2018 - 11:28

Hi Doug
Is it fine if I sort the routine like that:
Monday: chest.calves
Tuesday: back.biceps
Thursday: shoulders.triceps
Friday: legs

Posted on: Tue, 12/19/2017 - 11:37

Hi, are you supposed to increase the weight as the rep range goes down ? Thanks.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 12/19/2017 - 15:13

Hi Simon,

Yes, that is correct.

Posted on: Fri, 03/03/2017 - 09:15

After doing this 4 three or four weeks is there any other Ford a plan that Doug has made or a changeup I try to follow is Sue the most I can sometimes I do ad and another thing if I'm just completely exhausted I skip one of the exercises for the day. If you do can you give us a link

Mike se7en
Posted on: Wed, 06/08/2016 - 10:59

Is it fine if I sort the routine like that:
Monday : chest.biceps

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

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

Posted on: Mon, 02/22/2016 - 03:55

Situps, Crunches, Leg Raises, Decline Leg Raises, Plank. Pretty much anything you feel like that train upper & lower parts of your abs. I do lower abs on tuesdays and upper abs on thursdays.
For lower you can do crunches and leg raises.
For upper I do cable crunches, bicycle crunches, overhead situps with weight, rollouts with a barbell.

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

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

Posted on: 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?

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

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

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

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

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

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?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: 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.

Posted on: 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?


Posted on: 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.

Posted on: 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.

Posted on: Sat, 10/24/2015 - 17:16

whats the reason

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

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

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


Mike butts
Posted on: Thu, 06/03/2021 - 13:46

It is only in the hopes of distribution of work so you have ample time to recover from every workout

Posted on: Sat, 10/24/2015 - 17:09

is there a reason it should not be switched ?

Posted on: 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?


M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 10/08/2014 - 08:50


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

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

Gotcha, thanks for the quick reply!

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

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

Posted on: 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?


Posted on: 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.

Posted on: 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)

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

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

Posted on: 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?

Posted on: 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.

Posted on: 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

Posted on: 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

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

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

Posted on: 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?

Posted on: 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?

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

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?

Posted on: 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!

Posted on: 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 ?

Posted on: 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)

Posted on: 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

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


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

can i change the order of the workout?

Posted on: 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?

Posted on: 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

Posted on: 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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