Tank Top Workout: 4 Day Muscle Building Split

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

Build Muscle
6 weeks
45-60 minutes
Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Male & Female

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: Shoulder, 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.

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About The Author
Josh England is the Web Content Manager at Muscle & Strength. His goal is to provide M&S's readers with the most relevant fitness content available.

17 Comments+ Post Comment

No Profile Pic
Posted 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?


JoshEngland's picture
Posted 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!

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Posted 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.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted 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!

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

What is deload

JoshEngland's picture
Posted 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!

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

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

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

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

JoshEngland's picture
Posted 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!

No Profile Pic
Posted 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?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted 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!

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Posted 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.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted 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!

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

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

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

can i replace deadlift with pullups

JoshEngland's picture
Posted 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!

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

Thanks Josh