Summer Strength: 4 Day Strength Building Workout Split

Josh England
Written By: Josh England
May 17th, 2017
Updated: December 28th, 2017
184.7K Reads
Summer Strength: 4 Day Strength Building Workout Split
Build some serious strength this summer break with this Summer Strength workout plan. If you're looking to simply get stronger, this is the program for you!
Workout Summary
  • Main Goal
    Build Muscle
  • Workout Type
  • Training Level
  • Program Duration12 weeks
  • Days Per Week
  • Time Per Workout75 minutes
  • Equipment Required
    Barbell, Bodyweight, Dumbbells
  • Target Gender Male & Female
  • Workout PDF Download Workout

Workout Description

If you’re looking to build strength this summer, then this 4 day strength split is going to be perfect for you.

The program outlined below is ideal for anyone who has a lot of time to dedicate to their lifts and has the goal of building maximum strength over the next few months.

The overall volume of this program will be on the lower end, but the intensity will be extremely high.

For each lift, you will want to use 85-100% of your 1 rep max. For this reason, your rest periods will be quite long and will fall within the 3 min – 5 min range.

While performing this workout program, it is ideal to be in a slight caloric surplus (~250-500 calories). You’ll also want to be sure to get at least 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Since working with heavier loads can be demanding, this will help ensure you are recovering properly both from a muscular standpoint as well as a nervous system standpoint.

The program includes all of the major lifts and is comprised of mostly compound movements. Since we are focused on increasing strength and not muscle size, isolation work has been kept to a minimum.

If after you’re done performing this program you feel it necessary to focus on one body part to help a specific lift (or your goals change) you’re more than welcome to include isolation work.

Day 1: Lower
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Squat 4-6 2-5
2. Trap Bar Deadlift 3 6-8
3. Stiff Legged Deadlift 3 6-8
4. Bulgarian Split Squat 4 6
5. Glute Ham Raise 3 6
Day 2: Upper
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Bench Press 4-6 2-5
2. Dumbbell Incline Press 3 6
3. Barbell Row 4 5
4. Weighted Pull Up 4 6
5. Military Press 3 5
Day 4: Lower
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Deadlift 4-6 2-5
2. Front Squat 4 6
3. Walking Dumbbell Lunges 4 8
4. Barbell Hip Thrusts 4 6
5. Farmer's Walk 3 20 yards
Day 5: Upper
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Strict Overhead Press 4-6 2-5
2. Dumbbell Bench Press 4 6
3. Floor Press 3 4
4. Heavy Dumbbell Row 4 6
5. Weighted Chin Up 4 5

This program is meant to be utilized throughout the whole summer, but it’s understandable that goals change. To get the most out of it, be sure to utilize it for at least 6-8 weeks before taking a week to deload and reassess your goals.

If after 6-8 weeks, you decide you’ve built as much strength as you want to and desire to add lean muscle mass or lose fat, check out some of the workouts specific to those goals within our workouts database.

If you want to continue on with this program for another 6-8 weeks to build even more strength, go for it. At that point, you’re also more than welcome to make exercise substitutions to make the program better fit your needs.

If you’ve got any questions about this workout, leave them in the comments section below and we will happily answer them!

Posted on: Thu, 10/05/2023 - 17:30

I’ve seen a ton of progress in my first couple months of using this program! Thank you, Josh England.

Posted on: Sun, 11/12/2023 - 16:50

UPDATE: Week 18, just deadlifted 315 and squatted 225 in the same week. All after being a skinny guy my whole life. I might name my child after Josh England.

Posted on: Thu, 04/20/2023 - 09:37


I am looking to cut some weight but would like to maintain strenght and muscle. I like the volume and intensity of this programme, would it be OK to do it as part of a fat loss plan, alongside low intensity cardio and a caloric deficit of course.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 04/30/2023 - 15:12

Hey James, sure you can! Take it on and let us know how you do with it. Thanks for reading M&S!

Johnson Flavio
Posted on: Sat, 01/08/2022 - 13:35

This program is great. It builds me very good strength & packed very good muscle mass. It gave me my expected physique. I followed it so many times after break. And also the program duration is 12 weeks but i followed it for 24 weeks. After i followed this routine i became a fan of Josh England.

Lars Bosch
Posted on: Wed, 08/11/2021 - 18:54

hi, i have a question. I would like to add more biceps and I personally also added calf extensions and dumbell lateral raises. But I'm not really sure how many reps and sets I should do with this. triceps exercises. Which do you recommend. And how many reps and sets should I do for these biceps and triceps exercises.
I personally also added calf extensions and dumbell lateral raises. But I'm not really sure how many reps and sets I should do with this.

can you help me with this?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 08/13/2021 - 10:00

Lars - you can start with 2 sets of 8 reps for the accessory exercise (biceps, calves, triceps, etc)

Posted on: Fri, 06/25/2021 - 21:22

I'm not clear about why most of the exercises don't have a range. For example if I can do 6 reps of 3 sets of Dumbbell Incline Press using 100 lbs, what would be the progression? It's not possible to infinitely increase lifting heavier with the same reps each week. Would I proceed to 110 lbs and maybe get 4 or 5 reps or continue with 100 lbs for 7 reps?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 06/28/2021 - 09:30

Hey Auston - you can add in rep ranges if you feel they're necessary.

Posted on: Sun, 02/28/2021 - 02:38

I have a question about when there is a set and rep range, for example: Squat with 4-6 sets and 2-5 reps, how are we supposed to approach this? Are we supposed to vary our sets and reps or do we select a grouping and stick with it, such as 4 sets with 5 reps or 6 sets with 2 reps?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 03/01/2021 - 10:56

Hey Auston - the sets and rep ranges allow you to vary your weight each week. You can do a heavier squat day of 6 sets of 2 one week and then the next week, you can do a lighter session of 4 sets of 5 reps.

Posted on: Wed, 01/27/2021 - 04:14

I have a question about why this routine has a listed time frame of 12 weeks. Is there a reason why it can’t be continued indefinitely?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 01/27/2021 - 08:57

Hey Auston - yes, you can continue this program after the 12 weeks. You will most likely want to take a deload week. Check out this article for more info:

Posted on: Wed, 01/15/2020 - 11:17

i was working out and teared my pec and how am i supposed to heal it so i can bench again

Stephen Gibbs
Posted on: Thu, 01/09/2020 - 18:17

Instead of lower upper lower upper could I do upper lower upper lower. Basically just switch 2 and one and 5 and 4

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 01/10/2020 - 10:58

Hi Stephen,

Yes, that would be fine.

Posted on: Sun, 12/29/2019 - 16:07

Hi Josh

This program looks awesome. Just 2 questions.

1) I enjoy doing power cleans (usually 5 sets of 3 reps, once a week). Is there any way I can incorporate these?
2) Is it acceptable to do 25 minutes of cardio (treadmill 5 minutes of warm followed by 15 minutes of jogging with 5 minutes of cool down). usually I cover about 3 kilometers in those 25 minutes so nothing too extreme. I usually do the cardio all 4 days

Foluwa Magbagbeola
Posted on: Thu, 12/19/2019 - 16:04

Hello, I've got about 20kg i need to get rid of. Currently I weight 109kgs and would like to get to 90kgs

My best lifts are as follows
Squats 5x3 with 152.5kgs
Deadlift 5x5 with 170kgs
Bench 5x3 with 112.5kgs

If I wanted to maintain this numbers or even get stronger while in a calorie Deficit. I've calculated my fat loss daily average to be 2000 calories a day.

Should I just follow the above program to the tee or should I make some changes (I get very little sleep daily ~3.5 hours a day)?

I'd also like to work on some muscle ups and handstands and l sits.
Also, how many days per week is optimal for proper powerlifting routine to make the most out of it. Once I get to my target weight how would I progress from there, in addition getting my cardiovascular up too through conditioning? (I'm asking cause I've seen some routines requiring 6 days a week, low volume high intensity high frequency)

I look forward to your response.

Posted on: Sun, 07/14/2019 - 12:34

I was wondering how and where could I add some cardio?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 07/15/2019 - 12:32

Hi Sonny,

Sure, you can add in cardio on either you rest days, post-workout, or a combination of the two. I'd recommend performing a form of cardio you enjoy most as it'll help you be more consistent with it.

Jules Sabourin
Posted on: Mon, 05/13/2019 - 12:06

I was just wondering how should progress on these lifts ? For example with the squats, just I increase the weight by 5 lbs only when able to do 6 sets for 5 reps with a certain weight ??

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 05/13/2019 - 16:42

Hi Jules,

That is correct. Once you are able to perform all of the reps and sets with perfect form, increase by 5lbs or so.

Alex B
Posted on: Thu, 04/11/2019 - 19:28

I’m thinking about switching floor press with maybe some flyes since there’s no fly exercises with this workout, is it a good idea?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 04/12/2019 - 10:08

Hi Alex,

I personally wouldn't recommend it, but you're more than welcome to alter the template in whatever way you see fit.

Posted on: Sun, 01/06/2019 - 13:31

My gym doesn`t have a trap bar. what should i do instead?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 01/07/2019 - 12:21

Hi Ryan,

You can use the traditional barbell instead.

Posted on: Sun, 09/02/2018 - 10:57

Hi josh
I injured my back during deadlift what should do instead of deadlift?

Posted on: Tue, 08/21/2018 - 15:11

Hi josh
i should add 1-3 arms and calves exercises per week or per day?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 08/22/2018 - 08:54

Hi Arman,

Depends on your goals. Personally, I'd say it's not necessary for this workout program. But, it is only a template and you're more than welcome to alter it however you see fit.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Thu, 07/05/2018 - 12:48

Do I need to increase the weight during the program or just stick to the weight I set from the beginning?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 07/05/2018 - 12:54

Hi Peter,

Try to increase the weight used as you go through the program.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Thu, 05/24/2018 - 20:56

I've had some lower body injuries and have alot of trouble doing conventional deadlifts but I can do sumo and the trap bar. Do you recommend I do sumo or trap bar twice a week or is there another exercise you can recommend?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 05/29/2018 - 11:38

Hi Adam,

I'd recommend subbing in sumo for traditional.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2018 - 14:11

hey guys, nicely done, as always !

quick question: what is the difference between military press (day 2) and strict OHP (day 5)?


M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 05/29/2018 - 11:39

Hi Zehef,

No difference. One you'll be performing with a heavier rep range than the other.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Thu, 05/03/2018 - 06:43

Barbell Hip Thrusts alternative ?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 05/03/2018 - 10:00

Hi Racem,

Any bridge variation will do the trick. Preferably weighted.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Wed, 04/25/2018 - 07:36

Hi. I am also wondering about extra core workout. How should i blend it in the routine, or should i just do it on one of the rest days? I am a skinny guy looking to grow some muscle and strength. I think this routine: Summer Strength: 4 Day Strength Building Workout Split, might be the best. Is 6 and 7 days a rest day? or do the days flow?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 04/25/2018 - 08:41

Hi Edgar,

Core work isn't necessary with this program. Your core is strengthen indirectly through the compound lifts within the program.

Days 6 and 7 are indeed rest days.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Thu, 04/26/2018 - 03:40

It does. Thank you so much. About this program though. In my opinion that might be the best option.
I am looking to grow some muscle and increase strength since i am skinny and with very fast metabolism. What do you think? Will this routine work or do i have to look for something else? What would you suggest? Thanks

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 04/26/2018 - 10:09

Hi Edgar,

This program can certainly help so long as you make sure you are eating in a slight calorie surplus and are getting plenty of rest each night.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Tue, 04/24/2018 - 04:49

hi josh
is it necessary to add arms exercises?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 04/24/2018 - 08:44

Hi Arman,

No, additional arm work is not necessary for this program. They will be worked indirectly though the compound lifts.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Thu, 03/29/2018 - 15:59

I have back problems due to weak core. So i was wondering if there is any core work with this?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 03/29/2018 - 16:55

Hi Simon,

Sure, you can add in additional core work to this program.

Check out some of these:

Might be worth starting here:

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Thu, 11/09/2017 - 17:28

Should I include core work ?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 11/10/2017 - 09:28

Hi Joe,

You certainly can if it will help you with your goals. However, the core is trained indirectly through several of these movements, so it isn't exactly necessary.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Thu, 06/29/2017 - 13:51

Hi guys,
I'm hoping you can give me a little guidance in what programme you would find most appropriate for myself.
I'm 29 years old and for the last 4 years (first 3 years workout 4-5 days a week) and the last year on and off so probably 2-3 times a week... Now i never had a personal trainer and my apartment in Melbourne has a private gym for the residents so thats where i train and have no problem in the motivation area as i find it my time of zen somewhat. The thing is for the first 3 years i was getting bigger thus gaining a healthy but not what you would call solid core and i was happy with this. Now with work restructuring my business i have noticed that i've lost alot of body mass and muscle - being 187cm in height and weighing on average between these stress affecting slimming, on a good Quarter (3 months) i'll be at 85kgs - 90 at most, however during the stress affected quarter lets say i can drop down to 74-76kgs in a matters of a few days and this is eating correctly etc.. no abuse of my body just dropping weight.
muscle mostly too.
So firstly...
1. If im slimming because of stress - what is the best program to build a solid core strength to start and after 8 weeks move into some muscle gaining with the desired outcome of being an evenly balanced athletic guy all based from the core as its the most integral strength to produce correct?
As i have always been slim i have previously just gone crazy on the weights and how tall i am with big frame I found i was top heavy, so if you could list a few programs you think would do the trick i will give them all my 100% dedication when i'm working out..

Thanks guys sorry for the long message but had to explain my circumstance much Appreciated..
Kind Regards,

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 06/30/2017 - 10:18

Hi Samuel,

It is tricky to say not knowing you in person or working with you in the gym.

The stress could definitely be a factor and if that's the case, frequent long weight lifting sessions aren't going to help you out much as this will contribute to additional stress fatigue.

Make sure you're getting enough calories each day. Make sure you sleep enough each night. Make sure you take a few moments each day to develop a sense of head space and meditate. And exercise just enough to help you with your goals.

Personally, in your situation, I'd test out some 3 day splits. This will help give you more time to recover from your workouts and less time putting yourself through additional stress.

Here are some solid choices:

Also, you could look into seeking the advice of a personal trainer. They will be able to give you a much more individualized approach than I or anyone over the internet can.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Fri, 06/02/2017 - 01:28

Hi. When it says 6 sets of 2-5 reps, do you mean 6x5 or 6x2 then as you go up in reps does the sets go down? Thanks