Tank Top Workout: 4 Day Muscle Building Split

Josh England
Written By: Josh England
March 10th, 2017
Updated: June 13th, 2020
228.6K Reads
Tank Top Workout: 4 Day Muscle Building Split
Sun's out, guns out! Get in prime condition for the warmer months with this tank top workout program so you can hit the beach and pool with confidence!
Workout Summary
  • Main Goal
    Build Muscle
  • Workout Type
  • Training Level
  • Program Duration6 weeks
  • Days Per Week
  • Time Per Workout45-60 minutes
  • Equipment Required
    Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
  • Target Gender Male & Female
  • Workout PDF Download Workout

Workout Description

Spring is upon us.

Pictures and videos of people heading to the beach are popping up all over social, which can only mean one thing.

The tank is back! And it’s here to stay throughout the summer months (all the way through Labor Day depending on which region of the country you live in).

Wait, you’re not ready to hit the beach/pool in a tank? No worries bro(ette)! We’ve got your new workout plan outlined below.

This workout is a muscle building workout that hits all the muscle groups with a focus on the main muscles needed to optimally fill out a tank top.

We’re going to hit arms, back, and traps twice a week to promote growth so you can look good in your tank, and all the other muscle groups once a week so all your muscles pop when the tank comes off.

Grab yourself a tank, give the workout a shot, check out the FAQs, and leave us your comments/questions below!

Related: Fast Mass Program - The 4 Day Superset Split Workout

Day 1: Back & Biceps
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Deadlift 3 10
2. Pulldown 3 10
3. Dumbbell Row 3 10
4. Preacher Curls 3 10
5. Incline Dumbbell Curls 3 10
Day 2: Shoulders, Chest, Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Seated Dumbbell Press 3 10
2. Dumbbell Bench Press 3 10
3. Incline Dumbbell Press 3 10
4. Lateral Raise 3 10
5a. Pec Dec 3 10
5b. Reverse Pec Dec 3 10
6. Dumbbell Skullcrushers 3 10
7. Dumbbell Shrugs 3 10
Day 3: Off/ Active Recovery / Ab Circuit
Exercise Sets Reps
1a. Ab Crunch 3 15
1b. Side Crunch 3 15 per side
1c. Lying Leg Raise 3 12
1d. Russian Twist 3 10 per side
1e. Plank 3 20 secs
Day 4: Legs
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Squat 3 10
2. Reverse Lunge 3 10
3. Hamstring Curls 3 10
4. Leg Press 3 10
5. Calf Raise 3 10
Day 5: Back, Biceps, & Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
1. Pullup 3 10
2. Seated Row 3 10
3. Dumbbell Pullover 3 10
4a. Hammer Curl 3 10
4b. Tricep Overhead Extension 3 10
5a. Cable Curls 3 10
5b. Tricep Pushdown 3 10
6. Dumbbell Shrugs 3 10
Day 6 & 7: Off/ Active Recovery/ Ab Circuit
Exercise Sets Reps
1a. Ab Crunch 3 15
1b. Side Crunch 3 15 per side
1c. Lying Leg Raise 3 12
1d. Russian Twist 3 10 per side
1e. Plank 3 20 secs


How long should I run this program?

As long as you want really (min 6 weeks). You’re more than welcome to run it throughout the summer if you like (or longer), or you can change things up if your goals change between now and then.

Perform the program for 6 weeks before taking a week to deload or to perform an active recovery routine. Doing so should give you plenty of time away from the gym to enjoy the spring/summer weather and vacation months.

Once the week is over, hit the gym for another round of this routine.

How should I progress with this program?

So, you’re going to perform the listed exercise using the same weight on each set for that exercise throughout this program. Each week add an additional set to each exercise.

Once you’ve finished a week where each exercise has 5 sets, the following week drop back down to 3 sets and increase the weight used on each exercise by 5 pounds.

How long should I rest in between sets?

Aim to keep rest periods between 30-90 seconds. You’ll be able to recover quicker from some exercises, so whenever you’re ready to go, go for it!

On the weeks you’re doing 3 sets per exercise, try to keep the rest closer to 30 seconds. On the weeks you’re doing 5 sets, you might need to take the full 90 seconds on the latter sets as you fatigue.

M&S Female Athlete Performing Cable Curls

Do you have a diet plan for this workout plan?

Not one in particular, but you should check out our BMR calculator here to get your maintenance calorie needs.

Once you have those, add in ~250-500 calories on top of that to build lean muscle.

If you’re not at the body fat percentage level you want to be going into summer, subtract ~250-500 calories from your maintenance and aim to eat that many calories daily.

Once you’ve hit a good body fat percentage, give reverse dieting a try.

What should I do on "Active Recovery Days"?

Everyone is different and leads different lifestyles, but the main goal is to be active and enjoy the warmer weather.

Related: Playground Workouts - Having Fun While Building Your Body

Head outside and hike, head to the pool and swim, head to the beach and run in the sand. Enjoy life and being shredded in that tank of yours!

Can I substitute or add exercises to this program?

You’re more than welcome to alter this program to better fit your needs or the equipment that is accessible to you.

Although, be careful about adding in additional exercises to this program. Sure the weeks where you only have 3 sets per exercise will seem easy, but the weeks you have 5 sets will be challenging.

Posted on: Mon, 05/01/2023 - 06:56

Hi Josh!
I Will transform my body so that my body fat sink from 25% to 15-14% which one program is better for me ?
Is possible at send my photo for you?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 05/06/2023 - 06:53

Hi, Hugo. This workout will help you lose bodyfat as long as your diet supports that goal.

Josh has actually moved on. You can share your photo on social media and tag M&S to keep us posted on your progress.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 05/09/2023 - 07:02

There are many resources here on M&S to help you continue making progress along the way. You can also ask questions on the articles as you did here. It may take me a bit, but I will reply.

Posted on: Sat, 05/06/2023 - 07:37

Thanks Roger
I will transform my body under 6-8 week
How can you help me at the situation

Posted on: Sat, 04/01/2023 - 08:37

Hi Josh, I’m just about to start the 6 week programme after trying my own routines in the gym and feeling a bit lost! Is it good for a female looking to lose some fat and tone but not bulk too much? I seen your 12 week PPL workout for woman, but opted for this one as the 4 days per week suits me, I also spin 20-30km once per week. Thanks

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 04/05/2023 - 10:55

This would be a great one for you, Michelle. This along with spinning would make a great fat loss combo. Let us know if you have questions along the way, and we hope you'll share your results. Thanks for reading M&S!

Ian Irvin Agner
Posted on: Wed, 02/16/2022 - 17:54

Hi. Is it advisable to add cardio at the end of each day? Or should I reserve it to the active recovery days?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 02/19/2022 - 10:56

Depends on the goal, Ian. What is the main priority? Fat loss or building muscle?

Posted on: Mon, 03/29/2021 - 13:19

thanks for the routine, i am into fourth week, will keep posted on the progress

Arska Majuri
Posted on: Thu, 06/20/2019 - 15:56

Hi, There is "a" and "b", so should I do them as a superset?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 06/21/2019 - 15:23

Hi Arska,

Yep, it's a superset.

Steve G
Posted on: Sun, 05/26/2019 - 14:42

Josh on the last workout of the week can you do a full body workout. Or just keep it he routine the way you have it

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 05/28/2019 - 14:40

Hi Steve,

Sure, you could morph that last workout into a full body if you wish.

Posted on: Sun, 03/24/2019 - 13:00

This program has you working each bodypart once a week. I always thought for natural lifters you should work each bodypart 2-3 times a week due to protein synthesis. What is your take. Thanks

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 03/25/2019 - 09:53

Hi Steve,

I personally like using all sorts of styles at different phases and for different durations: full body, upper/lower, ppls, bro splits.

My take is do whatever form of training you actually enjoy to do. You're going to be far more successful with your program(s) if you actually enjoy your training.

Posted on: Thu, 11/29/2018 - 05:23

Just started and good break from my other workout. I’m in week 2 but struggling to finish the 4th set on some exercises. Should I go to 5 sets in week 3 and drop the weight or stay at 4 sets?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 11/29/2018 - 10:32

Hi Bart,

You can perform another week at 4 sets using the same weight. Afterwards, if unable to perform all the sets, you may want to consider lowering the weight.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Sun, 11/05/2017 - 07:37


Is there an excel sheet that can be used with the workout?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 11/06/2017 - 08:50

Hi Eric,

We are currently working on downloadable PDFs for all of our workouts. This one should be available in the very near future. I apologize for the inconvenience in the meantime.

Hope you enjoy the program!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 11/06/2017 - 15:41

Hi Eric,

The downloadable PDF for this program is now available!

Hope this helps! Let us know how your training goes!

Posted on: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 08:44

Hi Josh I am 51 years old and this is my first attempt and body building,I've been following your program for 3 months now , with the aim of losing weight i.e. Body fat and I've lost over 12kgs in fat and gained muscle mass , excellent program thanks

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 09/06/2017 - 10:10

Hi Paul!

That is awesome!! I love hearing stuff like this, you've made my day. Congratulations on all of your success!

Keep it up and keep me posted on your future successes!

Posted on: Wed, 07/19/2017 - 07:11

Hi, sorry if this has been covered above.
Am I working to failure or to just about completing the reps on the last set?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 07/19/2017 - 09:02

Hi James,

Pick a weight that is challenging to complete the reps listed, but you should finish the sets feeling as though you have one rep left in the tank.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Sat, 07/15/2017 - 08:16

hi josh
for reverse lunge i should do 10 reps for each side or 10 reps in total?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 07/17/2017 - 09:15

Hi arman,

It should be 10 reps each side.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Mon, 07/10/2017 - 05:46

hi josh
can i do cardio on off days?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 07/10/2017 - 10:23

Hi arman,

Yes, absolutely! Personally I like to do long walks in the form of hiking on my days off for any program. Find a form of cardio you enjoy doing and feel free to add it to your workouts as well.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Wed, 05/03/2017 - 00:13

Couple questions. 1) I tried to do deadlift, not sure if it is bad form, too much weight or a combination of both, but I will not be able to do that just yet. What would be a good exercise to replace it with in order to strengthen those muscles. 2) I do not have access to do the reverse pec dec, what can I replace it to supersede with the pec dec?


M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 05/03/2017 - 09:22

Hi Daniel!

Thanks for reading! How have you been liking the program so far?

Here's a good article to start off with regarding deadlift variations: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/pain-free-deadlifts

For the reverse pec dec fly substitution, you could do a rear delt lateral raise (bent over), face pulls, or band pull a parts.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Wed, 05/03/2017 - 22:31

Have only done a week, but so far really like it. The only thing I am doing different right now is on two of the rest days I do a full weighted ab workout and take the third completely off.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 05/04/2017 - 09:49

Hi Daniel,

That's awesome man! Keep it up!

It's always great to tailor workout templates to fit your goals and specific needs. Glad to hear you've done that with the ab workouts.

Best of luck!

Jerome Nels
Posted on: Tue, 04/18/2017 - 15:02

What is deload

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 04/19/2017 - 09:20

Hi Jerome,

Great question! So there are 2 main ways you can deload:

1. You can cut your volume in half by doing either half the reps per set, half the sets per exercise, or both. With this option, you'd keep the weight you use the same.

2. You can cut your intensity in half. So you'd use half the weight per exercise, but keep overall volume the same.

Deloading is a great way to give your nervous and muscular system a break from training while still being able to be active.

Hope this helps!

josue amaya
Posted on: Tue, 04/11/2017 - 00:16

thank you for your answer. i am going to start this routine tomorrow.

josue amaya
Posted on: Sat, 04/08/2017 - 18:51

on day 5 it says back and arms can i replace dumbbell pullovers for straight arms pulldowns?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 04/10/2017 - 09:55

Hi Josue,

Yes, that should be a fine substitution.

Thanks for reading and for your question. Hope you're enjoying the workout!

Posted on: Sat, 04/01/2017 - 10:20

Hello. What does exercise separation into a and b means? for example:
4a. Hammer Curl
4b. Tricep Overhead Extension

Does that mean i have to do a one week and b part another?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 04/03/2017 - 09:17

Hi Vytas!

That represents a superset or compound set. So, you would preform a set of Hammer curls, then a set of Tricep Overhead Extension with no rest in between. After you do a set of both, you'd then take your rest period before performing another superset.

Hope this helps!

Posted on: Tue, 03/14/2017 - 21:57

Do I use same weight between each exercise. Because on some exercise I can lift more but on other I can't follow that same.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 03/15/2017 - 09:01

Hi Zack!

Good question, I didn't explain that very well. You use different weight exercise to exercise, but the same weight for each set for a given exercise.

Hope this helps! Let me know what you think of the workout if you give it a shot!

Posted on: Thu, 03/16/2017 - 13:11

Thanks Josh. I just start doing a program will see how it goes.

sudarshan roy barman
Posted on: Sun, 03/12/2017 - 03:10

can i replace deadlift with pullups

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 03/13/2017 - 09:40

Hi Sudarshan,

You could, but I'm not sure I would unless you've been advised not to perform the deadlift by a medical practitioner. The hip hinge is a vital movement pattern and the deadlift is a great mass builder because it involves so many muscle groups. It'd be more beneficial to replace the deadlift with another hip hinge movement. If you're avoiding them because they hurt your back, below is a good resource to read:


Hope this helps!

sudarshan roy barman
Posted on: Wed, 03/15/2017 - 12:18

Thanks Josh