HIML-4 Maximum Muscle Building Workout System

HIML-4 Maximum Muscle Building Workout System
HIML-4 is a highly effective four week muscle building workout system that cycles between heavy days, intense workouts, and moderate to light weight training days.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Split
Intermediate
4
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Male & Female

Workout Description

This system can be used with virtually any split, but I believe a 4 day split should be used for maximal results. You can also use a 3 day split variation, which will not be detailed in this workout article. I will present a 3 day version of HIML-4 at a later date.

The 4 Day HIML-4 Workout Split

You can perform this one of two ways: as structured, or using a 2 day on, a day off format.

  • Day 1 - Chest, Biceps and Abs
  • Day 2 - Quads, Hamstrings and Calves
  • Day 3 - OFF
  • Day 4 - Shoulders, Triceps and Abs
  • Day 5 - Back, Traps and Forearms
  • Day 6 - OFF
  • Day 7 - OFF, or restart using Day 1's workout.

The 4 HIML-4 Workouts

The HIML-4 muscle building system utilizes 4 different styles of training, rotated over a 4 week (or 6 day cycle) period.

  • Week 1 - Heavy week, focusing on 5-7 rep sets and the use of compound exercises.
  • Week 2 - Intensity week, focusing on the use of slow negatives, training to failure, pre-exhaust and drop sets.
  • Week 3 - Medium week, focusing on the 10 to 12 rep range with a mix of compound exercises and machines.
  • Week 4 - Light week, focusing on 15 to 20 rep sets and the use of isolation exercises.

As you can see, weeks 2 and 4 are lighter training days. They provide your body with a working break and active recovery from the stresses of heavy training, while allowing you to challenge the body and build muscle.

Week 1 - Heavy Training

Do not add exercises to any of these training days. The point is to lift heavy on basic exercises. Use the same weight for each set of an exercise. Push yourself for as many reps as possible on each set without training to failure. NEVER perform more than 7 reps per set. When you can perform 7 reps for ALL 4 sets, add weight the next time you perform this workout and exercise.

Rest about 2 to 5 minutes between sets. Wait until you feel "physically ready" before starting another set. The point of this week is to move heavy weight, so proper rest between sets is crucial! Don't rush.

Week 1 - Chest, Biceps and Abs Workout
Chest
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Bench Press 4 5-7
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 5-7
Hammer Strength Bench Press 4 5-7
Biceps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Standing Barbell Curl 4 5-7
Seated Dumbbell Curl 4 5-7
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Cable Crunch 4 20
Weighted Sit Up 4 20
Week 1 - Quads, Hamstrings and Calves Workout
Quads
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Squat 4 5-7
Front Squat 4 5-7
Leg Press 4 5-7
Hamstrings
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Stiff Leg Deadlift 4 5-7
Wide Stride Bulgarian Split Squat 4 5-7
Calves
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Standing Calf Raise 4 20
Seated Calf Raise 4 20
Week 1 - Shoulders, Triceps and Abs Workout
Shoulders
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Seated Barbell Press 4 5-7
Arnold Press 4 5-7
Cable Face Pulls 4 5-7
Triceps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Close Grip Bench Press 4 5-7
Weighted Dips 4 5-7
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Plank 4 60 Seconds
Weighted Crunch 4 20
Week 1 - Back, Traps and Forearms Workout
Back
Exercise Sets

Rep Goal

eadlift 4 5-7
Weighted Pull Up 4 5-7
Barbell Row 4 5-7
Trapss
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Barbell Shrug 4 5-7
Dumbbell Shrug 4 5-7
Forearms
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Pinwheel Curl 4 5-7
Reverse Grip Barbell Curl 4 5-7

Week 2 - Intense Training

During week 2 you will be performing a limited number of sets, but each set will be very intense. As with week 1, rest as long as possible before attempting subsequent sets. All sets are trained to failure, and beyond.

After the pre-exhaust sets, each exercise is performed using 4 second negatives. Perform all non pre-exhaust sets to failure. Once you reach failure, rest for 15 seconds, and then perform 3 drop sets at, or near failure, with no rest in between sets.

When you can perform 10 reps for any given non pre-exhaust set, add weight the next time you perform this workout and exercise.

Rest until you feel "physically ready" before starting another set. As with week one, do not add in sets. The point of week 2 is take to rest from volume and heavy weight, and to stimulate muscle growth using high intensity techniques.

Note: Do NOT train abs until failure.

Week 2 - Chest, Biceps and Abs Workout
Chest
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Dumbbell Flye (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Dumbbell Bench Press 2 6-10
Pec Dec 2 6-10
Dumbbell Incline or Decline Bench Press 2 6-10
Biceps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Concentration Curl (Pre-exhaust) 3 15 (Each arm)
Cable Curl 2 6-10
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Side Plank 3 60 seconds
Hanging Leg Raise (Use straps if needed) 3 15-30
Week 2 - Quads, Hamstrings and Calves Workout
Quads
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Leg Extension (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Leg Press 2 6-10
Hack Squat 2 6-10
Hamstringss
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Leg Curl (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Wide Stance Leg Press 2 6-10
Reverse Hack Squat 2 6-10
Calves
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Seated Calf Raise (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Standing Calf Raise 2 6-10
Week 2 - Shoulders, Triceps and Abs Workout
Shoulders
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Side Lateral (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Smith Machine Military Press 2 6-10
Front Plate Raise 2 6-10
Reverse Pec Dec 2 6-10
Triceps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Cable Tricep Extension (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Close Grip Bench Press 2 6-10
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Decline Sit Up 3 20-30
Lying Bench Leg Raise 3 20-30
Week 2 - Back, Traps and Forearms Workout
Back
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Seated Cable Row (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Lat Pull Down 2 6-10
Hammer Strength Row 2 6-10
Seated Cable Row 2 6-10
Traps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Smith Machine Shrug (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Dumbbell Shrug (With straps) 2 6-10
Forearms
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Wrist Curls Over Bench (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Hammer Curl 2 6-10

Week 3 - Medium Training

During week 3 you will be working with a slightly higher rep range and moderately heavy weight. Rest about 2-3 minutes between most sets. Do not train to failure. Stop each set when you feel like you may fail on the next rep. When you can perform 12 reps on a given set, add weight the next time you perform that exercise.

Week 3 - Chest, Biceps and Abs Workout
Chest
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Hammer Strength Bench Press 3 10-12
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 10-12
Dumbbell Flyes or Pec Dec 3 10-12
Bench Press 3 10-12
Biceps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
EZ Bar Curl 3 10-12
Standing Dumbbell Curl 3 10-12
Drag Curl 3 10-12
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Cable Crunch 3 30
Weighted Sit Up 3 30
Week 3 - Quads, Hamstrings and Calves Workout
Quads
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Squat 3 10-12
Leg Press 3 10-12
Leg Extension 3 10-12
Walking Lunge 3 10-12
Hamstrings
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 10-12
Leg Curl 3 10-12
One Leg Dumbbell Squat 3 10-12
Calves
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Leg Press Calf Raise 3 10-12
Hack Squat Calf Raise 3 10-12
Week 3 - Shoulders, Triceps and Abs Workout
Shoulders
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Seated Dumbbell Press 3 10-12
Upright Row 3 10-12
Cable Side Lateral 3 10-12
Bent Over Reverse Flye 3 10-12
Triceps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Skullcrushers 3 10-12
Two Arm Seated Dumbbell Extension 3 10-12
French Press 3 10-12
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Plank 3 60
Weighted Crunch 3 30
Week 3 - Back, Traps and Forearms Workout
Back
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Barbell Row 3 10-12
Wide Grip Pull Up 3 10-12
Dumbbell Row 3 10-12
Lat Pull Down 3 10-12
Traps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Power Barbell Shrug 3 10-12
Behind The Back Barbell Shrug 3 10-12
Forearms
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Reverse Grip Preacher Curl 3 10-12
Static Barbell Hold 3 60 seconds

Week 4 - Light Training

Week 4 is a lighter training week. Consider it an "active de-load". You will still train hard, but the rep ranges are very high and the weight fairly light. This week will allow your joints and connective tissue a chance to recover from the wear and tear that took place over the previous 3 weeks. Once again, do NOT train to failure. Stop each set when you feel like you may fail on the next rep.

You still want to push yourself during week 4. When you can perform 20 reps for a given set, add weight the next time you perform that exercise.

Week 4 - Chest, Biceps and Abs Workout
Chest
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Cable Crossovers 4 15-20
Pec Dec 4 15-20
Hammer Strength Bench Press 4 15-20
Biceps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Spider Curl 4 15-20
Cable Preacher Curl 4 15-20
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Side Plank 3 60 seconds
Hanging Leg Raise (Use straps if needed) 3 15-20
Week 4 - Quads, Hamstrings and Calves Workout
Quads
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Leg Extension 4 15-20
Dumbbell Lunge 4 15-20
Hack Squat 4 15-20
Hamstrings
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Single Leg Curl 4 15-20
Standing Leg Curl 4 15-20
Calves
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
One Leg Seated Calf Raise 6 15-20
Week 4 - Shoulders, Triceps and Abs Workout
Shoulders
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Standing Front Lateral 4 15-20
Seated Side Lateral 4 15-20
Hammer Strength Shoulder Press 4 15-20
Triceps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
High Pulley Overhead Tricep Extension 4 15-20
Bench Dips 4 15-20
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Decline Sit Up 3 30
Lying Bench Leg Raise 3 30
Week 4 - Back, Traps and Forearms Workout
Back
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Reverse Grip Lat Pull Down 4 15-20
Incline Bench Cable Row 4 15-20
T-Bar Row 4 15-20
Traps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Cable Shrug 4 15-20
Seated Dumbbell Shrug 4 15-20
Forearms
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Zottman Curl 3 15-20
Reverse Grip Dumbbell Curl Over Bench 3 15-20

 

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About The Author
Ian Coleman has written over 150 articles on muscle building and fat loss, and is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable muscle building trainers on the planet.

1.2K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 04/06/2015 - 04:17
Bakir

Hey Steven, just to make sure... In week 2, on the non pre-exhaust exercises. By 2 sets you mean 2 of (one failure then 15 seconds rest, then 3drop sets?)

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Posted Fri, 03/27/2015 - 10:19
Rishi

In week 2, is the 4 second negatives for every rep after the pre-exhausts set? So for example with the 'front plate raise' will you do the first set of 10 reps ALL with a 4 second negative? And then would you do the drop sets ALL with a 4 second negative on each rep? Or is it just the last rep of each set you do the 4 second negative?

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Posted Thu, 03/12/2015 - 02:01
Aamir

hi, explain about abs exercise, 4 SETS, REP GOAL 20 . each set 20 rep, that mean total 80 approx per Exercise?
or total 20 in 4 sets?

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Posted Thu, 02/19/2015 - 13:00
Ben

Are the exercises preformed in the order listed or do you alternate muscle groups?

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Posted Sat, 01/24/2015 - 18:47
Michael

Is there a 3 day split variation of this routine?

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Posted Thu, 12/04/2014 - 00:44
Jonathan Wesley

This program, in addition to the 3 MONTHS TO SERVE THE WHOLE ''YEAR'' ALSO ? THANK YOU SENT FROM BRAZIL

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Posted Thu, 11/27/2014 - 10:20
anojan

In week 2 should I do drop set end of each non pre exhaust set or end of an excercise?

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Posted Wed, 11/19/2014 - 13:39
Thomas

I love this routine - out of the dozen or so I've done, this is my favorite. I suggest core (https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/core-training-workout-exercis...) on Wednesday, maybe Saturday, if you would like to go to the gym.

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Posted Mon, 10/20/2014 - 11:04
Cole

For weeks 2 through 4 do you add weight when you can do the max given reps (10,12,20) for one single set of the exercise?

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Posted Fri, 10/17/2014 - 11:23
Thomas

In week 2, the 4 sec negatives are for the non pre-exhaust sets only or including the drop sets?

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Posted Mon, 09/15/2014 - 08:12
D Ayala

On weeks 1 &2, do you only add weight on the next workoit ie, 4 weeks later and on 3&4, on the next set if you reach the prescribes reps?

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Posted Tue, 09/09/2014 - 12:30
Ben

Is this a good program to help gain some lean muscle mass? (Obviously assuming my diets in check)

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Posted Sat, 07/26/2014 - 11:01
Omri

How long do Is the rest time between sets on week 4?

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Posted Sun, 07/06/2014 - 21:43
chris howe

For week 3 can I do superset, or should I stick with one set at a time?

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Posted Wed, 06/18/2014 - 23:08
matthew hand

hi. I just need some clarification for week 2. so after the pre exhaust set each set is one regular set(with slow negatives) followed by immediatly removing weight then doing a set till failure three times? (the four sets all couting as one set?). if this is right what rep range and i aiming for on the drop sets?

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Posted Wed, 06/11/2014 - 06:30
Vladimir

Hi, Steve! Classy article!

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Posted Tue, 05/06/2014 - 13:25
Tony

I do a CrossFit style workout on Monday and Wednesday nights (lighter weights or body weight resistance; how can I incorporate this 4 day workout into my program? I want to build muscle and need to add some heavier lifting. Thanks, T

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Posted Tue, 04/29/2014 - 21:54
J

"After the pre-exhaust sets, each exercise is performed using 4 second negatives." What does this mean? also on the drop sets am I dropping weight all three times?

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Posted Mon, 04/28/2014 - 18:28
Thomas

I bounce around routines and continue to come back to this one. It's excellent for me and I really enjoy it, as well as having extremely positive results.

It may not be for everyone but I love it.

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Posted Fri, 04/25/2014 - 12:34
Manolis

I dont understand one specific thing that you say,,You say to use the same weight on all the excerises per muscle group..How is that possible given the fact that some will be easier to lift than others..ex. you can lift more with bench press than with incline bench press because of the added gravity you have to withstand on the incline

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Posted Mon, 06/16/2014 - 09:36
Joe

The article states, "Use the same weight for each set of AN exercise". Note the keyword, "an". Not all. This means, if you're doing 175 lbs on bench press, then use that same weight for all 4 sets of the bench press exercise. If you're doing 225 lb back squats, then use that same weight for all 4 sets of the back squat exercise.

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Posted Fri, 04/25/2014 - 12:31
Manolis

I dont understand one specific thing that you say,,You say to use the same weight on all the excerises per muscle group..How is that possible given the fact that some will be easier to lift than others..ex. you can lift more with bench press than with incline bench press because of the added gravity you have to withstand on the incline

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Posted Tue, 04/22/2014 - 02:02
Guice

Anyone have any suggestions on what to do or what they do for warm up sets? Obviously you don't wanna jump right in to the first set, especially on the heavy week.

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Posted Mon, 04/21/2014 - 19:58
Guice

Anyone have any suggestions on what to do or what they do to warm up? Instead of jumping right in to the first set

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Posted Mon, 04/21/2014 - 00:30
Lamar

On this workout can I switch leg days up or keep everything the same?

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Posted Tue, 04/15/2014 - 17:34
Keith

Hi, I really rate this workout and I'm currently in week 2 my gym does not have a hack squat machine or a leg curl machine what else would you recommend I use or do ?
Thanks in advance
Keith

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Posted Thu, 04/03/2014 - 10:45
Makusha

looks gud wil try it.

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Posted Thu, 04/03/2014 - 08:02
waiyip po

Can i keep doing the week2 for intensity?Still follow the 4days workout. Will my muscle growth faster? thank you

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Posted Tue, 04/01/2014 - 14:37
Tom

I have been doing this workout routine for about eight months. Is this a good routine to do long-term or should I change up after a period of time for maximum strength and muscle building.

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Posted Mon, 03/31/2014 - 05:52
jason

hey Steve,

I have been working out for 8 month now and I weight about 161 and I'm 5' 10'' tall and looking to gain more weight, and I'm an ectomorph, is this workout plan suitable for me?
Thanks

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Posted Sun, 03/30/2014 - 00:43
Mike

Hello Steve I have been doing this routine for 3 weeks now, I am really liken it. I'm 6'0" 170 lbs how long do you think until I'm ripped?

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Posted Tue, 03/04/2014 - 17:31
Ben

I love this workout. I just hate the 4th week. Would it be a bad idea to just to weeks1-3 and skip the 4th week. Or maybe just do the 4th week every other cycle?

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Posted Fri, 02/28/2014 - 08:58
Jason

For week 2, after the pre-exhaust exercise, are all sets done with 4 second negatives or just the first set? Thanks!

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Posted Mon, 02/17/2014 - 06:02
Lieselotte

While getting a bunch of quality protein, you also have to get good dietary fats into your body. Californians know that great white sharks are not uncommon near Manhattan Beach but one mom wants to know if her shark photobomb does indeed show a great white. Grab a water resistant bean bag and you can use it in the garden when the weather is hot.

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Posted Sun, 02/16/2014 - 16:27
John Bollis

What does ore exhaust mean?

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Posted Sat, 02/01/2014 - 21:59
reinaldo

I really like the sequence in this work out program will follow Thur and see what will happen!

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Posted Sat, 02/01/2014 - 08:24
Noah

On the intense week do I perform a 4 second negative on the drop sets?

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Posted Tue, 02/04/2014 - 18:35
Raymond

Every rep you do during week 2, except for the pre-exhaust sets, should be executed using a :04 negative, ie: DB Chest Press: aim for 6-10 reps using a :04 neg. on every rep, drop the weight, aim for 6-10 reps using a :04 neg, drop the weight.....etc.

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Posted Fri, 01/31/2014 - 16:41
Josh

I know you said you'll put up or modify this workout for a 3 day plan opposed to a 4 day plan. Unfortunately it's a bit difficult for me to work out 4 days a week since I take classes at night. Could you please let me know when you do that? Or should I check back frequently?

I'm looking to add muscle mass/size as well as strength. I'm a slim and cut guy at 5'10 and about 140 lbs. I go to the gym on a usual basis but am looking for a proven and legit program to add muscle mass/size and strength. Will this work well for me?

Thanks.

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Posted Thu, 01/30/2014 - 14:49
Jon

Are you supposed to do the workouts in order or can you jump around?

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Posted Mon, 01/27/2014 - 02:26
ola

hey steve,can you please explain the week 2 instructions.after the pre exhaust ones,when do i do drop sets?for each exercise after the pre-exhaust ones??

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Posted Mon, 01/27/2014 - 02:05
Carlos Quiñones

Hi Steve, is it ok to do some cardio on the days off? Thanks!

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Posted Sat, 01/04/2014 - 18:07
Greg

Can you elaborate more on what to do for week 2, it says rest as long as possible between subsequent sets. However, it then mentions rest 15 seconds after performing sets to failure. Yet it says 2 set of 6 to 20 reputations on the table? Also it says to perform 3 drop sets until failure. But again on the table it only says 2 sets of 6 to 10 reps. Thank you

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Posted Mon, 01/06/2014 - 19:55
Hamid

Here's how to tackle week 2.

Do a set of an exercise in the prescribed rep range. Finish. Wait 15 seconds.
Drop the weight, do as many as possible.
Drop the weight, do as many as possible.
Drop the weight, do as many as possible.

That's 1 set (with 3 drop sets). Repeat for another cycle.

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Posted Sat, 01/04/2014 - 12:50
David Gray

I am a hs football player and trying to really pack on some muscle because I've recently dropped 20 pounds and want at least some of it back in muscle. Is this a good routine for me? If not then what would be?

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Posted Fri, 12/20/2013 - 16:26
Jonathan Salazar

After the 4th week do I start the program again at week 1?

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Posted Wed, 12/11/2013 - 17:35
jeremy

I was wondering how this workout compares to the power muscle burn and which one in your guys opinion would be the best of the two. Thank you.

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Posted Tue, 02/04/2014 - 18:46
Raymond

Structured workouts like these are beneficial in a multitude of ways. Your choice of a workout is extremely subjective in nature. I suggest trying both of them and finding out which one works better for you. I have done both of these workouts but, personally, I use this workout because of the variety from week to week. Not only rep range and amount of sets but the arsenal of workouts involved, ie: machines, cables, dumbbells, barbells, body weight, etc. It keeps your body from adapting to a weekly regimen and is constantly confusing your muscles.

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Posted Thu, 12/05/2013 - 16:47
Elias

I just want to do it for just 4 weeks ... Can i ? Or it's recommended to do it for 8 weeks ?

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Posted Wed, 12/04/2013 - 08:52
András

I am working out at home, and I don't have machines or cables. Is there a guide to replace machine exercises with weights (dumbells or barbells) ?