Shaun's 4 Day Muscle Building Split Routine

Shaun McEwan
Written By: Shaun McEwan
September 27th, 2009
Updated: March 18th, 2021
772.6K 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
  • Training Level
  • Program Duration8 weeks
  • Days Per Week
  • 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

Posted on: Wed, 06/19/2024 - 15:44

What would be a good diet plan to follow during this routine?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 06/20/2024 - 08:40

Hi John, what is your goal at the moment, and do you have any food allergies I should be aware of?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 06/24/2024 - 06:04

Everyone wants both, but since you mentioned losing weight first, my guess that is the priority at the moment, so I will share this link with you to check out. This should help you create your own plan that will suit you.

Posted on: Fri, 06/21/2024 - 10:46

I would like to lose weight but also build muscle at the same time. I'm ultimately trying to advance my diet todo so. I have no allergies

Posted on: Thu, 06/13/2024 - 01:56

Is there any porblem with changing the days like ;
Monday - Chest and Triceps
Tuesday - Back and Biceps
Thursday - Soulders
Friday/Saturday - Legs

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 06/17/2024 - 07:38

I like it, go for it Naseef!

Ryan B.
Posted on: Wed, 10/11/2023 - 13:17

Just wanted to say I've had this workout bookmarked and have been using it since 2010. 13 years (with occasional variations) and still going strong!

Posted on: Mon, 09/25/2023 - 09:55

Hi can i add some lateral raise on chest and tricep day I’m lacking in the shoulder department thanks

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 09/28/2023 - 14:49

Solid idea, Andrew. Go for it, and let us know how it helps! Thanks for reading M&S.

Posted on: Wed, 09/06/2023 - 08:09

How many reps for the ab exercises?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 09/17/2023 - 09:30

Choose from any of the abs workouts here.

Posted on: Sat, 09/02/2023 - 12:19

Abs workouts sample sets and reps

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 09/17/2023 - 09:30

Choose from any of the ab workouts here.

Posted on: Sun, 04/16/2023 - 07:09

What should be the break time between sets?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 04/27/2023 - 11:58

45-60 seconds between sets and exercises.

Posted on: Wed, 02/15/2023 - 15:30

Can I add 3 sets of 10 of machine shoulder press after the military press?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 02/25/2023 - 14:29

You can if you like, Ryan.

Posted on: Mon, 10/04/2021 - 19:35

What RPE / percentage should we be working at?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 10/15/2021 - 22:13

Brianna, go for a RPE of 7 or 8. Form over weight for a program like this. If your form gets compromised near the end, go lighter.

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

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

M&S Team Badge
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

M&S Team Badge
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.

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

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

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 02/28/2019 - 08:52

Hi Dan,

The program duration listed is 8 weeks.

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

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

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?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 10/23/2018 - 09:52

Hi Mike,

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

Hope this helps!

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?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 10/25/2018 - 08:55

Hi Mike,

Yes, that is correct.

Hope this helps!

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

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

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 10/29/2018 - 09:01

Hi Mike,

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

Hope this helps!

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?

M&S Team Badge
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!

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

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

M&S Team Badge
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!

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 ?

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?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 07/22/2015 - 09:46

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

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

Posted on: 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?

Posted on: 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?


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

I need help with my dier

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

I also need help with my diet

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

Hi Steve,is this a good bulking routine

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

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

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

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