Upper/Lower 4 Day Gym Bodybuilding Split Workout

Reach your muscle building goals with this balanced 4 day training split that mixes heavy compound exercises, machines, cables and incorporates 3 second negatives.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Split
Beginner
10 weeks
4
45-60 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Male & Female
download pdfDownload Workout

Workout Description

This is a muscle building workout that I have been using lately now that I am training more often at commercial gyms. It works well both with, and without a training partner. If training with a partner, I recommend keeping rest periods brief. After your partner's set is finished, you should waste little time before hitting your next set.

Each training day is balanced. You start by challenging major muscle groups with 3 sets of compound or taxing machine exercises. Next, you follow up by finishing a muscle group with a more isolation-style movement that typically focuses on the use of 3 second negatives. Lastly, you work smaller muscle groups with 3 sets each, using 3 second negatives when it makes sense.

Here is the training schedule:

  • Day 1 - Upper Body
  • Day 2 - Lower Body
  • Day 3 - Off
  • Day 4 - Upper Body
  • Day 5 - Lower Body
  • Day 6 - Off
  • Day 7 - Off

Intense Dumbbell Curls

Upper body training days

Upper body training days follow this scheme:

  • Chest - 3 sets, compound
  • Back - 3 sets, compound
  • Shoulders - 3 sets, compound
  • Chest - 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Back - 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Shoulders - 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Triceps - 3 sets, isolation or machine/cable exercises. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Biceps - 3 sets, isolation or machine/cable exercises. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.

Lower body training days

Lower body training days follow this scheme:

  • Quads - 3 sets, compound
  • Hamstrings - 3 sets, compound
  • Calves - 3 sets, taxing machine or isolation
  • Quads - 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Hamstrings - 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Calves - 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Abs - 3 sets, isolation or machine/cable exercises.
  • Abs, Lower Back or Obliques - 3 sets, isolation or machine/cable exercises.
Day 1
Upper Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 3 6-12
Barbell Row 3 6-12
Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press 3 8-12
Pec Dec - 3 sec negative 2 10-12
V-Bar Lat Pull Down - 3 sec negative 2 10-12
Side Lateral Raise 2 10-15
Cable Tricep Extensions - 3 sec negative 3 8-12
Cable Curls - 3 sec negative 3 8-12
Day 2
Lower Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats 3 6-12
Stiff Leg Deadlifts 3 8-12
Standing Calf Raise 3 10-15
Leg Extensions - 3 sec negative 2 10-12
Leg Curl - 3 sec negative 2 10-12
Seated Calf Raise - 3 sec negative 2 10-12
Cable Crunch - 3 sec negative 3 10-12
Cable Pull Through w/Rope 3 10-12
Day 4
Upper Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8-12
Rack Deadlifts - 3" to 5" off ground 3 5-8
Military Press 3 8-12
Machine Chest Press - 3 sec negative 2 8-12
Pull Ups or Machine Rows - 3 sec negative 2 8-12
Machine Shoulder Press - 3 sec negative 2 8-12
Dumbbell Curls - 3 sec negative 3 8-12
Machine Tricep Dip - 3 sec negative 3 8-12
Day 5
Lower Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Press 3 10-20
Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlifts 3 8-12
Leg Press Calf Raise 3 10-15
Hack Squat 2 8-12
Seated Leg Curl - 3 sec negative 2 10-12
Seated Calf Raise - 3 sec negative 2 10-12
Planks 3 60 sec
Hyperextension 3 10-12

130 Comments+ Post Comment

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 10/04/2017 - 18:41
Bibo

I see many differences from the previous table as I started implementing the previous table ... Does this table achieve better results than the previous ??

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 10/04/2017 - 11:19
Grey

Do you think it's alright to substitute flat dumbell press with barbell benchpress?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 10/04/2017 - 13:40
JoshEngland

Hi Grey,

Absolutely. It's fine to sub dumbbell bench press with barbell bench press.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 09/25/2017 - 12:15
Daniel aldgatecool

Is this better than a 5 day split for building muscle

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 09/26/2017 - 11:44
JoshEngland

Hi Daniel,

I believe I kind of answered your question on another page. If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to reach out.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 09/23/2017 - 04:16
Sam

Hi, my age is 39 years old. I have been playing regularly for many years and I suffer from shoulder and back injuries. Can I do this program?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 09/26/2017 - 11:43
JoshEngland

Hi Sam,

Tough to say over the internet. I'd recommend working with a personal trainer one on one, even if it is only for a couple of sessions. Injuries tend to lead to muscle imbalances and faulty movement patterns. Without knowing how you perform each exercise, it's tough to recommend a program blindly without the risk of further or re-injury.

I'm sure this probably isn't the answer you were hoping for, but it is the best I can provide.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 09/17/2017 - 14:06
Pøssyslayer123

Hello sir. I am 15 and whey 150 kg pure muscle mass, is this program good for a girl around 30 kg?

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 09/15/2017 - 03:34
Marcel

Im 17 and 280 pounds.....im sick of being the weight i am.would this be a good Starter routine to lose fat and gain muscle?if so how fast would i be loseing fat?not to important because i have the rest of my life lol.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 09/12/2017 - 16:26
Anwar

Hey, I'm 15, 171cm, 67kg, 19.4% bf, 30.5kg muscle mass and 13kg fat mass (most of them in my belly), is this program suitable for me to build muscle? been training for 3 months though and made a quite good progress but the gym coaches are demotivating me to pay for PT saying that I need PT to build muscle because if I workout alone I won't do any shit, so this will help me?
And, can I add some exercises for chest because I feel like they aren't enough for me?
Thanks in advance.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 09/13/2017 - 08:51
JoshEngland

Hi Anwar,

At 15, you shouldn't concern yourself too much about building muscle. Your body isn't primed for it yet. It will be soon in the coming years.

For now, focus on getting the basics down. Learn how to do the lifts, educate yourself on proper nutrition and sound sleeping habits. These are what will eventually help you to maximize your genetic ability to build muscle.

Working with a trainer is a great option at your age, but you've got to find the right one. It is possible to build muscle without one, but they are very knowledgeable and can help you maximize your muscle building potential in the long run.

This program is simply a template. You're more than welcome to alter it however you see fit.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 09/13/2017 - 10:38
Anwar

About that my body is primed for it yet, I don't think so because I know few people in my age have a very good muscle mass and a body physique, and I've been training for 3 months and I know how to do most of the exercises properly and I'm already building muscle but I want to change the program but I don't know if it will help me build muscle like the 5 day split or not because I heard from different people that some programs doesn't work for everybody. I'm also hesitating to the start the PHUL program because it's written for "Intermediates" so, can you give me your opinion about it?
Thank you for time.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 09/13/2017 - 11:31
JoshEngland

Anwar,

Everyone hits puberty at a different time in their life. That's what I meant about no primed. Some of your classmates might already be going through it, but you are all still young and will continue to go through it until you are in your 20s.

In the next couple of years you'll experience a lot of biological changes that will make it VERY easy for you and those around you to put on muscle if they're weight training.

Again, as I mentioned, I wouldn't worry too much about what program you do. A lot you'll find on the internet are fairly similar and will work in the same way. It is important that you learn more about what actually works at a young age.:

Getting high quality sleep.
Eating a nutritious and balanced diet
Getting enough rest in between workouts to grow
Perfecting your form so you can go heavier as you age
Working on mobility so you can prevent injury and have a long training career

Do those things now and you'll have no trouble putting on muscle for years to come.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 08/18/2017 - 13:05
Fatima

Hello, Im 20 years years old weigh 43 kg and Im around 165 tall. And I stopped working out for maybe 2-3 years. Are these workouts suitable for me and to gain weight ?

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 09/11/2017 - 16:46
Jerry

Yes,these exercises are suitable for you.Eat healthy with big amounts and you will gain weight.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 07/22/2017 - 00:15
Enrique

Hi, I'm 36 years old, weigh 177 pound and 5,6 feet tall. According to some measures my fat% is 25. Will this work out plan help me to lose fat and gain muscle or should I try something different. I attend the gym 4 times a week (mon-tue-thu-fri) In case this work out plan fits to me, what meal plan wouuld you recommend me? Thanks for your work

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/24/2017 - 09:21
JoshEngland

Hi Enrique,

This program can help, but the important part of fat loss is being in a calorie deficit.

Find out your calorie needs here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator

Then subtract ~250-500 calories from that number to create a calorie deficit and aim to eat that number of calories each day.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 07/14/2017 - 23:41
Khoa

I'm sorry , i already send you my comment but i miss somthing , can i use this workout for get bigger and stronger ( upper and lower body by M&S Team) or intermediate ( upper and lower (P.H.U.L ) workout by Brandon Campbel )
My Weight just 117 ( i want to get bigger ) please tell me which is good for me ( i'm a teenager) 14 years old
Before 9 month i workout really really heavy and i have muscle but nothing changed much , now i want to started again ( Beginner or Intermediate )
Thanks for help me

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/17/2017 - 09:14
JoshEngland

Hi Khoa,

At 14, I wouldn't stress too much about your ability to add muscle. You'll be going through some changes soon enough that will help out in that regard. For now, I'd recommend learning the basics. Look into resources on proper nutrition, proper sleep hygiene, and proper form for movement patterns.

If you start researching on those things, you'll be a lot further ahead than most of the other teens your age when you near the end of puberty and building muscle becomes easier.

Here's a good place to start: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/expert-guides/teenage-bodybuilding

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 06/30/2017 - 01:03
ABID

You've added Rack Deadlift on Day 4 - Upper Body split. May i know, why? Shouldn't it be included in the lower body workout routine?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 06/30/2017 - 10:22
JoshEngland

Hi ABID,

The rack deadlift eliminates the lower portion of the motion which would be more hamstring focused. It focuses more on the upper portion of the motion which is more lower back focused.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 06/29/2017 - 15:43
Chirag Patel

Is the volume enough for arms, or can i add more exercises or more sets.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 06/30/2017 - 10:20
JoshEngland

Hi Chirag,

Yes, there is enough volume to increase arm muscle growth.

However, everyone is different. If you feel like you need more, feel free to add some in.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 06/14/2017 - 14:46
Marshall

I'm 37 years old and only been lifting seriously for about a year. I've had some recent set backs due to bad lifestyle decisions I've made but I'm looking to get back in the gym and get serious. I've got a goal weight in mind and need to lose around 50 pounds to hit it. I'm no where near as strong as I should be at my size and even when I lifted hard I found it difficult to build lots of strength. With fat loss as my primary goal is this program a good choice or should I build a base of strength first with something like 5x5?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 06/11/2017 - 21:31
Steve

Hi Josh
I'm 56 years old been lifting off and on for years. Looking to ge shredded. My question is would you recommend this workout to an advance lifter.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 06/14/2017 - 09:56
JoshEngland

Hi Steve,

Absolutely. The way I see it, and so long as the individual is healthy enough to exercise and doesn't have compensation with the movements, a program that consists of:

Squating
Pushing
Pulling
Hinging
Lunging
Carrying

is suitable for every lifter and can be adapted to fit any level of experience.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 06/05/2017 - 18:05
Aliraza

Hey!
Would u recommend this program for loosing weight ? if not then do u have such a program?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 06/06/2017 - 09:38
JoshEngland

Hi Aliraza,

Sure you can use this program for weight loss. The most important factor in determining whether you reach your weight loss goals is making sure you are in a calorie deficit. This program can help you burn calories to assist with creating that deficit.

Find out how many calories you need here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator

Then subtract ~250-500 calories from that number to create a deficit.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 05/14/2017 - 14:53
Coltom

Also. Where am I able to find a complete setup of this workout ? Like an excel file with it all graphed up?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/15/2017 - 09:28
JoshEngland

Hi Coltom,

Downloadable versions of all of our programs should be available in the very near future. Hang tight and I apologize for the inconvenience in the meantime.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 05/14/2017 - 14:47
Coltom

Hello. I have been doing the madcow 5x5.. and it doesn't seem like it's enough for me. I'm 19, 155, 5'9. And I don't get any kind of burn with the madcow after a couple weeks. Which, I am looking for a burn and increase in size. This a good workout for that? I'm also wondering. What is the process in which you increase weight from workout to workout ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/15/2017 - 09:29
JoshEngland

Hi Coltom,

Yes, this program is geared towards building muscle mass. Finding the perfect program for yourself takes a lot of trial and error. Test it out, see how you respond and how you like it, then determine if it is a good program for you.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 05/13/2017 - 14:06
Khansahib

for how many weeks, i have to follow same routien until i changed to next level??

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/15/2017 - 09:26
JoshEngland

Hi Khansahib,

Perform the program for 6-8 weeks before taking a week to deload. During that week, ask yourself:

Is this program still helping me achieve my goals?

Am I still seeing progress with this program?

Do I enjoy doing this program?

If you answered yes to all three questions, you dont necessarily have to change your program. If you answered no to any of them, it may be time to move on to something new.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 04/21/2017 - 13:33
Alex

What about adding some deadlifts (3 working sets of 3-5 reps) every other workout on the second lower body day ? Perhaps as the first exercise, then continuing with the leg press, leg press calf press and so on.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 04/21/2017 - 14:46
JoshEngland

Hi Alex,

Instead of adding them in, I'd recommend subbing them for one of the other deadlift variations already listed within the program. This program contains 3 different deadlift variations. Adding any more might be a bit much for the movement pattern.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/18/2017 - 19:52
Christopher winstel

I plan on using this program for 3 months, what intermediate plan from muscle and strength would you suggest after that. I like to change my programs every 3-4 months.
Thank you

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 04/19/2017 - 09:28
JoshEngland

Hi Christopher,

You could go with something such as our PHUL program. It is one of most popular 4 day Upper/Lower splits and has an intermediate training level difficulty. The link can be found below.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/phul-workout

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 04/15/2017 - 13:31
georgr

im not familiar with negative sets and i dont have a training partner, what changes should in order to switch the negative sets for normal ones instead?

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 04/12/2017 - 16:02
Steve

Hey Steve. I'm going into an 8 week transformation contest. First would this routine be good for that. And second I know everything is about diet now would you do a kinetic diet or a moderate carb diet or a high carb diet or would you do a carb cycle diet. Also in this routine you have sets of 2 is that enough or do you think I should add another set to the set of 2's

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 04/08/2017 - 19:37
daniel

can i use this workout for like 4-3 months to lose weight with a diet?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/10/2017 - 09:59
JoshEngland

Hi Daniel,

Of course! Pairing this program with a sound diet plan and a caloric deficit will help you lose weight.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/04/2017 - 14:41
RAFAEL

WOULD YOU RECOMMEND FOR A PERSON WHO NEEDS TO LOSE 80LBS, THIS PROGRAM OR A FULL BODY 3 DAYS A WEEK PROGRAM.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/04/2017 - 05:14
kumar

I was just wondering, is it bad to have a cardio day on one/two of the rest days if I'm trying to put on muscle mass? I have fat around my belly and chest which I want to get rid of for the summer.

I was thinking to do swimming one day and 30mins running on the other?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 04/04/2017 - 09:13
JoshEngland

Hi Kumar,

You should be fine doing that amount of cardio. Personally, I like to do some form of cardio either day (either low intensity or HIIT). Cardio keeps you heart healthy and as long as you are eating in accordance with your goals and recovering properly in between workouts, you should be fine.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 04/03/2017 - 16:12
Scott

Hi can I swap the sldl for conventional DL?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 04/04/2017 - 09:12
JoshEngland

Hi Scott,

Sure, I don't see why not.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/04/2017 - 09:34
Scott

Thanks for the reply. Just didn't know if it would be to much, I like to dl

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 03/29/2017 - 13:36
Jeff

This is a 2 part question.

1). Could you do pyramid sets for the compound lifts, (ie. 20,15,12 or 15,12,10 or 12,10,8 etc etc)?

2). Could this be done 6 days a week, (ie. U,L,U,L,U,L rest)? If so, what changes would need to be made to make something like this work?

Please and thank you.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 03/30/2017 - 11:24
JoshEngland

Hi Jeff,

Yes, feel free to pyramid your sets.

Sure, this program can be done 6 days a week. If you plan to do so, I'd recommend lowering the overall volume (sets) you do per workout. I'd also say it's not exactly necessary depending on your goals. You should still see plenty of good adaptations performing 4 weight training sessions per week. Use the additional days to do some active recovery outdoors or other recreational activities you enjoy performing.

Hope this helps!