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

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.

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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

Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Bench Press 4 5-7
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 5-7
Hammer Strength Bench Press 4 5-7
Standing Barbell Curl 4 5-7
Seated Dumbbell Curl 4 5-7
Cable Crunch 4 20
Weighted Sit Up 4 20

Week 1 - Quads, Hamstrings, and Calves Workout

Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Squat 4 5-7
Front Squat 4 5-7
Leg Press 4 5-7
Stiff Leg Deadlift 4 5-7
Wide Stride Bulgarian Split Squat 4 5-7
Standing Calf Raise 4 20
Seated Calf Raise 4 20

Week 1 - Shoulders, Triceps, and Abs Workout

Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Seated Barbell Press 4 5-7
Arnold Press 4 5-7
Cable Face Pulls 4 5-7
Close Grip Bench Press 4 5-7
Weighted Dips 4 5-7
Plank 4 60 Seconds
Weighted Crunch 4 20

Week 1 - Back, Traps, and Forearms Workout

Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Deadlift 4 5-7
Weighted Pull Up 4 5-7
Barbell Row 4 5-7
Barbell Shrug 4 5-7
Dumbbell Shrug 4 5-7
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

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
Concentration Curl (Pre-exhaust) 3 15 (Each arm)
Cable Curl 2 6-10
Side Plank 3 60 seconds
Hanging Leg Raise (Use straps if needed) 3 15-30

Week 2 - Quads, Hamstrings, and Calves Workout

Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Leg Extension (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Leg Press 2 6-10
Hack Squat 2 6-10
Leg Curl (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Wide Stance Leg Press 2 6-10
Reverse Hack Squat 2 6-10
Seated Calf Raise (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Standing Calf Raise 2 6-10

Week 2 - Shoulders, Triceps, and Abs Workout

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
Cable Tricep Extension (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Close Grip Bench Press 2 6-10
Decline Sit Up 3 20-30
Lying Bench Leg Raise 3 20-30

Week 2 - Back, Traps, and Forearms Workout

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
Smith Machine Shrug (Pre-exhaust) 3 15
Dumbbell Shrug (With straps) 2 6-10
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

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
EZ Bar Curl 3 10-12
Standing Dumbbell Curl 3 10-12
Drag Curl 3 10-12
Cable Crunch 3 30
Weighted Sit Up 3 30

Week 3 - Quads, Hamstrings, and Calves Workout

Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Squat 3 10-12
Leg Press 3 10-12
Leg Extension 3 10-12
Walking Lunge 3 10-12
Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 10-12
Leg Curl 3 10-12
One Leg Dumbbell Squat 3 10-12
Leg Press Calf Raise 3 10-12
Hack Squat Calf Raise 3 10-12

Week 3 - Shoulders, Triceps, and Abs Workout

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
Skullcrushers 3 10-12
Two Arm Seated Dumbbell Extension 3 10-12
French Press 3 10-12
Plank 3 60
Weighted Crunch 3 30

Week 3 - Back, Traps, and Forearms Workout

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
Power Barbell Shrug 3 10-12
Behind The Back Barbell Shrug 3 10-12
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

Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Cable Crossovers 4 15-20
Pec Dec 4 15-20
Hammer Strength Bench Press 4 15-20
Spider Curl 4 15-20
Cable Preacher Curl 4 15-20
Side Plank 3 60 seconds
Hanging Leg Raise (Use straps if needed) 3 15-20

Week 4 - Quads, Hamstrings, and Calves Workout

Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Leg Extension 4 15-20
Dumbbell Lunge 4 15-20
Hack Squat 4 15-20
Single Leg Curl 4 15-20
Standing Leg Curl 4 15-20
One Leg Seated Calf Raise 6 15-20

Week 4 - Shoulders, Triceps, and Abs Workout

Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Standing Front Lateral 4 15-20
Seated Side Lateral 4 15-20
Hammer Strength Shoulder Press 4 15-20
High Pulley Overhead Tricep Extension 4 15-20
Bench Dips 4 15-20
Decline Sit Up 3 30
Lying Bench Leg Raise 3 30

Week 4 - Back, Traps, and Forearms Workout

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
Cable Shrug 4 15-20
Seated Dumbbell Shrug 4 15-20
Zottman Curl 3 15-20
Reverse Grip Dumbbell Curl Over Bench 3 15-20

 

1.2K Comments
Haokan
Posted on: Fri, 02/26/2021 - 05:38

Most discussed workout, check what is it, and oohh OK... Hundreds of same question but no clear answer... Pass

Haokan
Posted on: Fri, 02/26/2021 - 04:57

Hey guys !! Hammer Strength Bench Press = Normal bench machine :)) sit or lie down, most gyms have it.

Chuck
Posted on: Tue, 08/21/2018 - 19:04

Are drop sets in week 2 performed with a 4 second negative?

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JoshEngland
Posted on: Wed, 08/22/2018 - 08:53

Hi Chuck,

Yea, it's not very clear and this is a pretty old article - so not sure what the author's original intent was. Personally, I'd say no, perform the drop sets as regular sets as you'll already be fatigued from the working set of the workout.

Hope this helps!

Chuck
Posted on: Fri, 08/24/2018 - 18:01

Thanks.

Umar
Posted on: Sun, 03/18/2018 - 13:45

Hi Ian,
Really enjoyed my first 4 weeks. I'd like to eventually cycle into another routine, but I feel that this might be the one for the next two months. Would you think this is just as effective if used for a 3 month period?

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JoshEngland
Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2018 - 09:03

Hi Umar,

Yes, absolutely. You can run this program for however long you'd like so long as you're enjoying it and seeing gains.

Hope this helps!

Antho
Posted on: Thu, 03/15/2018 - 15:47

Hi,
The way i read this article, the pre exausht sets are 3 sets of 15 reps and every other set of a muscle group is perform this way : 4 second negative each rep until faillure, then 3 dropset.

So, in fact, each exercice is 2 sets of 6-10 4 second negatibe reps immediatly followed by a 3 x dropset
Until failure?

Is that ok?

Bilal
Posted on: Sat, 01/20/2018 - 17:04

Hi,

What would be the Diet Plan for this routine.

Thank you

Jonathan
Posted on: Tue, 11/21/2017 - 11:20

If I wanted to hit every muscle group twice in a week, I could add in a full body routine. Nothing too crazy, just some additional volume. My question, where could I put it?

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JoshEngland
Posted on: Wed, 11/22/2017 - 08:58

Hi Jonathan,

I wouldn't recommend it with the way this program is set up. If you truly want to hit each muscle group multiple times a week look into a traditional push/pull/legs, upper/lower, or full body routine.

I've provided some popular ones below:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/total-package-workout

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/phul-workout

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/6-day-powerbuilding-split-mea...

Hope this helps!

Charles Blake
Posted on: Thu, 08/12/2021 - 03:20

I cheked out the programs you suggested and it's cool!

Hamid
Posted on: Fri, 07/21/2017 - 09:28

Hi.me and my friend start this program .just a question... does useful this program for us who star 3month exercise??

marcus ray
Posted on: Fri, 03/31/2017 - 14:03

what's the major difference between four days a week with two body parts vs training five days a week with one body part? The goal is to kill the body fat and build lean mass. which one would be better?

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JoshEngland
Posted on: Mon, 04/03/2017 - 09:08

Hi Marcus,

The only real difference is in the frequency you train. Some people can only train 4 day per week, thus a 4 day spit is better for them. Others can train 5 days a week, so a 5 day split is better for them.

You'll see results from both if your diet is in check and you do all the right things (sleep, foam roll, etc) to promote recovery.

Some people choose to train multiple body parts per session so they can target those muscle groups more than once during the week. Of course, when you do this you must lower the overall volume used to train the muscle group.

Short story: Both will help you attain your goals.

Hope this helps!

Anthony
Posted on: Mon, 03/27/2017 - 07:50

After the 4 weeks can you start the program over again? Or do something new?

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JoshEngland
Posted on: Mon, 03/27/2017 - 09:53

Hi Anthony,

After the 4 weeks, I'd recommend taking a week to deload or to perform some form of active recovery. During that week ask yourself the following three questions:

Are my goals the same?

Is this workout still helping me get to those (or your new) goals?

Do I still enjoy performing this workout?

If you answered yes to all three, stick with this workout. If you answered no to any of them check out our workouts database (link below) for a new workout.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workout-routines

Hope this helps!

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

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?)

Big
Posted on: Tue, 11/22/2016 - 17:17

Yep

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

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?

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

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?

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

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

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

Is there a 3 day split variation of this routine?

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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?

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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

Hi, Steve! Classy article!

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

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

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

"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?

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

John
Posted on: Fri, 10/30/2015 - 03:00

Once you reach failure, rest for 15 seconds, and then perform 3 drop sets at, or near failure, with no rest in between sets.

for example, db bench press I do 2 set, then I do 3 drop sets? how many reps for drop set?

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

looks gud wil try it.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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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