Shaun's 4 Day Muscle Building Split Routine

Shaun McEwan
Written By: Shaun McEwan
September 27th, 2009
Updated: March 18th, 2021
674.2K Reads
Man doing leg press in gym setting.
A solid 4 day split workout that is designed for those who want to build lean muscle mass and/or gain weight. Workout was developed by Shaun from the Muscle & Strength forum.
Workout Summary
  • Main Goal
    Build Muscle
  • Workout Type
    Split
  • Training Level
    Intermediate
  • Program Duration8 weeks
  • Days Per Week
    4
  • Time Per Workout45-60 minutes
  • Equipment Required
    Barbell, Cables, Dumbbells, Machines
  • Target Gender Male & Female
  • Workout PDF Download Workout

Workout Description

Welcome to Shaun's 4 day muscle building split workout! This workout was designed by Shaun and should be used by those looking to build muscle and/or gain weight.

Workout notes:

  • Remember as always to warm up properly 5-10 mins cardio and stretching,
  • Always complete warmup sets before the first exercise, one set little to no weight 15-20 reps and one set 50% of starting weight 15 reps.
  • I have listed some good supersets and drop sets in the notes to use in this routine, remember not to over use them!
  • 2-1-2 rep timing to be used with this routine.
  • Ab exercises on Mon and Thurs, 2 exercises 3 sets each exercise at the end of workout.

Workout Schedule

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

Recommended: Need help building muscle? Take our Free Muscle Building Course

4 Day Muscle Building Workout Split

Monday - Chest & Triceps

Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Dumbbell Press 4 8-10
Flat Bench Press 4 8-10
Incline Dumbbell Flyes 3 10
Cable Crossovers 3 10
Close Grip Bench Press 3 10
Overhead Rope Extensions 3 10
Reverse Pushdowns 3 10

Notes: Alternate between DB and Barbell for the incline bench press exercises. Alternate between flat bench and incline DB flyes. Superset: DB press with DB flyes.

Tuesday - Legs

Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Leg Press 4 10
Leg Extensions 3 12
Stiff Leg Deadlift 4 10
Leg Curls 3 12
Smith Machine Calf Raises 4 12
Seated Calf Raise 4 8

Notes: Superset leg press with leg extensions. Triple drop set on leg curl machine.

Thursday - Shoulders

Exercise Sets Reps
Military Press 4 10
Dumbbell Lateral Raises 3 10
Bent Over Reverse Crossovers 3 10
Plate Shrugs 3 10

Notes: Military press in front of head, use full range of movement right down in front of the shoulders. Superset Olympic bar shurgs and Plate shrugs for 10 reps on each 3 sets.

Friday - Back and Biceps

Exercise Sets Reps
Wide Grip Pull Up 4 10
Lat Pull Down 4 10
Seated Cable Rows 4 10
Bent Over Barbell Row 4 10
Standing Barbell Curl 3 8-10
Seated Alternate Dumbbell Curl 3 8-10
Hammer Curls 3 10

Notes: Try negatives if you dont have a spotter or assisted pullup machine. Dropset: Lat pulldowns

Saturday and Sunday - Rest Days

372 Comments
Zayd
Posted on: Sun, 07/05/2020 - 01:41

I can't do Incline flies . It hurts my shoulders badly . Please suggest an alternative exercise .

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Yoshi
Posted on: Wed, 08/19/2020 - 11:17

Hey Zayd

Try replacing incline dumbbell flys with incline cable flys. I find those to be easier on my shoulders.

Paul Kock
Posted on: Tue, 06/23/2020 - 20:29

Is it OK to try this routine (bro split) with about 1 year of lifting? Doing upper/lower and PPL routines prior. Try to put some mass on. Thanks

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Yoshi
Posted on: Wed, 08/19/2020 - 11:15

Absolutely, Paul.

This is a great program to help break things up and add some mass, as long as you're eating to support the growth.

Dan
Posted on: Wed, 02/27/2019 - 23:35

How many weeks should this be done before switching to a new routine?

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JoshEngland
Posted on: Thu, 02/28/2019 - 08:52

Hi Dan,

The program duration listed is 8 weeks.

Andrew
Posted on: Tue, 11/13/2018 - 04:28

Hi, can someone explain me what are drop and super sets? Thanks

Mike
Posted on: Tue, 10/23/2018 - 04:12

I’ve just begun this workout sheet and I was wondering about rest time. Is good 1min and a half between each sets and also between different exercises?

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JoshEngland
Posted on: Tue, 10/23/2018 - 09:52

Hi Mike,

Yep! That's a good duration for your rest periods.

Hope this helps!

Mike
Posted on: Thu, 10/25/2018 - 04:04

Thanks, just one last question: 2 1 2 timing means (i.e. in a squat) 2 sec going down 1 sec stop 2 secs going up?

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JoshEngland
Posted on: Thu, 10/25/2018 - 08:55

Hi Mike,

Yes, that is correct.

Hope this helps!

Mike
Posted on: Mon, 10/29/2018 - 05:04

Hi, what do you mean in alternating barbell and DB during incline press?

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JoshEngland
Posted on: Mon, 10/29/2018 - 09:01

Hi Mike,

One set/day do barbell, the others do dumbbell.

Hope this helps!

Mike
Posted on: Wed, 10/24/2018 - 03:44

Thanks.. I have another question: since my biceps are quiite small do you think I should add another bicep exercise? If so which do you recommend?

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JoshEngland
Posted on: Wed, 10/24/2018 - 10:09

Hi Mike,

There's actually plenty of bicep work within this program. I wouldn't add an additional exercise. Just give yourself time, they'll grow.

Hope this helps!

jack
Posted on: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 05:03

Do we maintain the weight for squats 12,10,8,6?

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JoshEngland
Posted on: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 10:01

Hi Jack,

You'll want to increase the weight you're using as the reps decrease.

Hope this helps!

Nick
Posted on: Tue, 10/20/2015 - 15:24

I find the workout is not enough but I do like it. Would it be wise to add on exercises ? or just switch programs entirely ?

Steve
Posted on: Wed, 07/22/2015 - 04:14

This is the second of your routines where there are no deadlifts on back days. Is there a reason for this? Aren't deadlifts amazing for gains? Should I add them to the routine?

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MikeWines
Posted on: Wed, 07/22/2015 - 09:46

Steve,
Sure, I would recommend you add them in on the back day before the pullups.

Lb
Posted on: Tue, 01/06/2015 - 06:55

Hi, I'm a college kid who was very active in highschool but since being at school have gained the freshman 15 and am about 170 lbs and 6ft tall so Im by no means fat or overweight, but I am no longer cut or toned as I used to be. I was wondering if this work out with the correct diet will bring that back or if this is purely for puting on mass and I need to find another work out to get cut again. Id like to do both but I'm not very knowledgeable about work outs

Asim
Posted on: Wed, 12/10/2014 - 20:10

Hi,
I want to be lean and build some muscles as well. I am 37. Will this workout routine help me as well?

Stevenson
Posted on: Fri, 10/31/2014 - 00:44

Hi,

I don't really understand the chests notes, where alternate between flat and dumbbell flues and also the superset.

And I am not familiar with the 2 1 2 rep timing?

Can you elaborate on both?

Thanks

Robb
Posted on: Tue, 08/05/2014 - 11:46

I need help with my dier

Robb
Posted on: Tue, 08/05/2014 - 11:45

I also need help with my diet

Andy
Posted on: Fri, 07/04/2014 - 17:32

Hi Steve,is this a good bulking routine

Viktor
Posted on: Wed, 06/25/2014 - 00:36

No deadlifts? Where do i put them if i want to add them to the routine?

sattar
Posted on: Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:14

Hi Steve 5'50" 158lbs ,I like to get muscles and lose fat, is this routine good for me, and I want to build more muscle in my legs can I work out legs 2 times a week if yes,can you tell me which days, please .
thank you

Jordan
Posted on: Wed, 05/07/2014 - 05:35

Hi Steve,

This workout looks great and im looking forward to give it a go. Just a few things I don't quite understand though.

The reps and sets seem to vary a lot ... 4 sets 10 reps, 3 sets 12 reps, 3 sets 10 reps etc. Why is this and what is the benefit? ALso how do I know when to up the weight for maximum gains?

Also I train at an official Hammer Strength gym and they have some really nice specialist equipment to use, would It be ok to as a few more addition exercised in there as it seems to let all the equipment go to waste. But if I was to do this what sets and reps would I be looking at for the additional exercises?

Thanks Steve, love the site.

angel garcia
Posted on: Sun, 03/30/2014 - 13:08

what type of diet u recommend steve

angel garcia
Posted on: Sat, 03/29/2014 - 23:21

How much u test between sets and when move onto a new exercise

ant
Posted on: Mon, 02/10/2014 - 14:50

Hi I've been doing this 4 day split for about 4 months now and seen some good gains, tweeted it slightly along the way but is it a good idea to carry on or should I think about changing my workout?

johny from india
Posted on: Sun, 02/09/2014 - 09:25

Hi steve I m johny from india I m 5.8in my weight 85kg I want lean body wat do u recommend for me in diet I m 39year old thnx steve

Bryce
Posted on: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 16:30

Hi Steve, how can I incorporate abs and core into this?

Khai
Posted on: Tue, 11/12/2013 - 19:10

Hello Steve,
Now, I am having semester break. Is it okay if I do this workout twice a day? Thank you.

dcolumbus
Posted on: Sat, 10/19/2013 - 21:38

I've decided to work with this routine. I love the fact that Monday's is for chest and Fridays is for biceps.

I'm new to all of this, though, so when it comes to weight, should I be aiming for a specific type of weight? For example, should I stick with one weight for all sets, or start lighter working my way up to a weight that I can barely do and then drop back down to a 50% weight and bust out as many as possible?

What's the recommendation, specifically on Mondays and Fridays.

chris
Posted on: Wed, 09/11/2013 - 19:16

Hey Steve my name is Chris i'm a 20 yr old college student and i've been trying to gain weight/ solid muscle since H.S however after finding this routine I'm highly motivated to start it .. my question really is as i incorporate the program into my lifestyle what is your best suggestion for suplementation that i could take to sart seeing gains asap?? im 6'1 about 140-150lbs im going to say that I'm an ectomorph so you might understand better my life situtation i wont say im a beginner because I've really just been in and out of the gym since my sophmore year of H.S so I've come to be very farmiliar with alot of the workouts its just that when i go back to the gym it's like starting all over in terms of stregth , progress and ultimately results..... I'm using the winter to change my body and my life around! I still look like an 18 yr lol ! but yes that's what i wanted to know also what i can do in terms of eating??I mean i already eat alot and not junk food really just alot of rice and pasta etc. I believe I'm old enough to use the big boy stuff now "optimum whey , and creatine" and how often should i move up the weight with my workouts?? every week or 2weeks ?? appreciate the help

Thanks again!

Khaibary
Posted on: Tue, 08/27/2013 - 14:06

Hi Steve, I was wondering how long do I need to repeat the above workout for? says 2 month or 3 months to perfom good result.

Thanks,

Khaibary
Posted on: Tue, 08/27/2013 - 13:53

Hi, I was wondering how long do I need to repeat the above workout for? says at least 2 months or 3 months.

Ty
Posted on: Wed, 08/21/2013 - 23:02

Hey guys, since Steve is MIA anyone feel free to answer this..

When doing the drop sets, say the lat pull down for example, if I go 67 kg, then 57, then 47, then 37 for the 10 reps. Is that one set or 4? To be honest doing that 4 times after 4 sets of pull ups completely ruins me haha..

Murphy
Posted on: Tue, 08/13/2013 - 11:25

When I'm alternating flat bench and incline flyes, am I doing them every other set

Shwana
Posted on: Tue, 08/13/2013 - 11:24

When I'm alternating flat bench and incline flyes, am I doing them every other set

An
Posted on: Sun, 08/11/2013 - 23:15

Hi, since I have only about 1 hr to workout, can I alternate between muscle groups such as chest and triceps. Can I do only 3 sets instead of 4 sets
Thanks

Abraham
Posted on: Fri, 08/02/2013 - 18:34

How long should I wait before moving onto the next exercise?
and... Should I do two of each excercise and then switch the muscle I should work on?
For example, on Monday it's chest and triceps...

Should I do all chest exercises before I begin on my triceps?
or... should I do two chest-one tricep or one chest-one tricep?

I've had this doubt for a while now.
All replies are appreciated.
Thanks!

russia
Posted on: Wed, 06/05/2013 - 21:21

is working out best in morning an what should u eat

kingKong
Posted on: Fri, 05/31/2013 - 23:49

hey is there any substitute for the Romanian dead lift?

mark
Posted on: Thu, 05/30/2013 - 04:31

Hi Steve ive been doing the ectomorph work out about 5weeks now and I can see the results but I was thinking to switch on this work out do you think I will grow much bigger muscle on my previous work out?
Regards, Mark

Tapsz
Posted on: Sun, 03/03/2013 - 07:00

Hey man I have been working out for 5 months now and I have been hitting chest,shoulders,bicep 2 times a week but I feel like I really need to change my routine. The point is which one is better hitting each muscle once a week or twice a week. Thanks

Hani
Posted on: Mon, 02/04/2013 - 14:43

Hi,
I just started to train again after a couple of months of "rest", i've lost alot of strength, can't lift as much as i could.
I'm 17 years old, pretty small and want to gain muscle mass and weight, do you think this workout works for me?

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