Shaun's 4 Day Muscle Building Split Routine

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 M & Strength forum.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
8 weeks
45-60 minutes
Barbell, Cables, Dumbbells, Machines
Male & Female
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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.

Daily Workout Schedule:

Monday - Chest and Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Dumbbell Press 4 8 to 10
Flat Bench Press 4 8 to 10
Incline Dumbbell Flyes 3 10
Cable Crossovers 3 10
Exercise Sets Reps
Close Grip Bench Press 3 10
Overhead Rope Extensions 3 10
Reverse Pushdowns 3 10
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
Quads, Hamstrings and Glutes
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
Exercise Sets Reps
Smith Machine Calf Raises 4 12
Seated Calf Raise 4 8
Superset: Leg press with Leg extensions. Triple Drop set on leg curl machine.

Wednesday - Rest Day

Thursday - Shoulders
Exercise Sets Reps
Military Press 4 10
Dumbbell Lateral Raises 3 10
Bent Over Reverse Crossovers 3 10
Plate Shrugs 3 10
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 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
Exercise Sets Reps
Standing Barbell Curl 3 8-10
Seated Alternate Dumbbell Curl 3 8-10
Hammer Curls 3 10
Try negatives if you dont have a spotter or assisted pullup machine. Dropset: Lat pulldowns

Saturday and Sunday - Rest Days

356 Comments+ Post Comment

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

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

JoshEngland's picture
Posted 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!

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Posted 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 ?

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Posted 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?

MikeWines's picture
Posted Wed, 07/22/2015 - 09:46

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

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Posted 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

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

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

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


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?


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

I need help with my dier

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

I also need help with my diet

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

Hi Steve,is this a good bulking routine

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

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

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Posted 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

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Posted 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.

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

what type of diet u recommend steve

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

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

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Posted 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?

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

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

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

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

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Posted 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.

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Posted 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.

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Posted 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!

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Posted 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.


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Posted 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.

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Posted 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..

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

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

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

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

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Posted 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

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Posted 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.

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

is working out best in morning an what should u eat

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

hey is there any substitute for the Romanian dead lift?

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Posted 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

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Posted 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

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

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?

mnsjason's picture
Posted Thu, 02/07/2013 - 19:25

This shouldn't be a problem for you as long as you're getting plenty of rest and eating A LOT. In order to pack on mass, you need to consume more than you burn consistently.

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Posted Fri, 02/01/2013 - 02:04
Javier avelar


I am quite inexperienced on working out...although my question to you is would your chest/triceps for example get bigger as your technically only working them one day a week? Along with all of the other exercises in this routine?...rather than doing chest/ triceps every other day for example.


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Posted Mon, 01/28/2013 - 13:16


I would like to add at least one day jogging and/or one day swimming to this routine. When would you say would it be the best to do it? Should I extend the routine over 8 days and do

Day1: pec/triceps
Day3: swimming
Day4: Rest day

What do you think?

Also I am tall (6.5 - 6.6 feet, 2 meters), and I have a hard time getting mass on my biceps, would you recommend working out my biceps twice a week? If yes, which day?

Thank you

mnsjason's picture
Posted Fri, 02/01/2013 - 18:03

You can simply add swimming/jogging on the rest days recommended in the split. As far as working your biceps twice a week, give them about 48 hours to recover before hitting them again. Make sure to add calories to your diet if you're planning on adding the extra workout and cardio sessions.

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Posted Sun, 01/20/2013 - 10:13

hi i was wondering if i can throw dips into tricep workout and if how often should i do elliptical for 20 min on workout days or on off days along with abs

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Posted Mon, 12/24/2012 - 06:53

for how long i have continue with this workout?

Joey's picture
Posted Wed, 12/26/2012 - 15:44

You should keep it up as long as you're seeing results.

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Posted Fri, 11/30/2012 - 18:32

hey shaun
rest time what would u say 30 sec and 100 min for supersets

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Posted Sat, 11/24/2012 - 01:18

Hey guys, I've been doing this workout for about a month and a half now, and I'm already starting to see some decent gains! I was talking to a friend who does bodybuilding as a sport, and he suggested that I do my workout over 5 days instead of this split. His reasoning was that in this way I can exert myself more than if I'm hitting two groups on the same day. Would something like Monday:Chest Tues: Legs Wed:Biceps Thurs: Rest Fri:back and tri sat: Shoulders and Sun: rest be a good workout regime? Or is this a better way to go? Thanks guys!

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Posted Wed, 11/21/2012 - 15:22

hey steve what would you say for rest times

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Posted Mon, 11/12/2012 - 16:14

Hi what do you mean by drop set? Also how long should the daily workout take

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Posted Fri, 10/19/2012 - 03:00

Can anyone tell me why is it that he focuses one day just for shoulders?

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Posted Thu, 10/11/2012 - 19:17

Hey Steve! Im scared that im over training my biceps on Back and Bicep day. After all the back exercises my biceps seem to be worked already. Any solution, or am I okay continuing?

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Posted Tue, 09/18/2012 - 09:17

hi steve
i want to no if i can use this same workout but do legs on day1 , back and bis on day 2 and chest and tris on day3 , is this fine? , will i still gain the muscle? , the reason why i want to do chest on day 3 is because i can train it hard and got the weekend to recover

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Posted Mon, 09/10/2012 - 13:47

Would this routine be good if i want to lose fat and gain muscle and tone? If not which workout would you prefer? Thanks love this site!!!!

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Posted Wed, 08/22/2012 - 13:17

He shaun! I have been doing your program for 4 months. However as i am not satisfied the increase of the weights i lifted, will have some questions. I developed my bench, deadlift, squat, military press only about %15 in 10 rep range. So i showed my program to the trainer, and asked for any advice for to gain some strenght. He told me to keep the same program, but change the rep from 10 to 6, and increase the weight for 1 month. Then turn to endurance rep 25 for one month after all turn again to HypErtrophy with the increased weights. How legit it sounds? Reducing rep increasing weight is enough to gain strenght? Is 1 month enough? Finally 1 month endurance, 1 month hypertrophy, 1 month strenght makes sense?