A 4 day split workout routine is one of the most effective, most superior and all around best weight training routine you can follow for building muscle. There is a reason why it’s one of the most popular resistance training routines amongst serious bodybuilders, it simply works. Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty
Two important things to remember
There are many different variations of a four-day workout routine and I will go through them below but the two most important factors to remember in whatever variations or modifications you choose to do, you have to make sure you are lifting at least 4 days out of every 7 days and that different muscle groups are trained on each day. Got it? Ok good, then we shall continue.
Why the 4 day Split trumps all other split routines
When your goal is to build muscle, there is one factor that takes precedence over everything else in your weight training: The intensity of your sets. The intensity here refers to the amount of optimal tension you put on your muscle during your training session. And your ability to train at a high level is best achieved when you train each muscle group once a week at a high intensity. And..
The 4 day split is the optimal frequency for that
This split allows you to focus one one large muscle group like the legs during each training session. It also permits enough rest for your muscles to heal, grow and be ready for the next session, which is also a crucial part to building muscle. Rest is as important as intensity for muscle growth. If you disregard this part of the game, you will soon become a victim of overtraining and you will soon hit a plateau and regress on both strength and growth. So don’t go crazy, it’s not that easy. Ok let’s continue..
The multiple variations of the 4 day split and their advantages and disadvantages
1) 4 days on 3 days off. You can train on four consecutive days and then take three days off and repeat. You might think that you risk overtraining if you train 4 days in a row but have no fear. You are training different muscle groups on each day, there is nothing to worry about. Rest days means not targeting the same muscles on consecutive days, it doesn’t mean avoiding any exercising. As a matter fact you can and should do some sort of cardiovascular exercise like walking, swimming, playing sports, and even high rep light weight sessions, etc, on your rest days. It’s good to be active every day.
The true benefit of this variation is the fact you get 3 full days of rest from resistance and strength training where you can relax and work on your cardio.
2) 2 days on, 1 off, 2 days on , 2 off. This is the second best variation of this routine. The most obvious advantage to this training frequency is the fact that you’re not training on consecutive day thus you may have bit more strength to have a more intense workout session the day after resting. This is a great routine for the average bodybuilder. A more advanced lifter will normally prefer a 4 day on 3 off split or even a 5 day on 2 off workout split. ( this 5 day split will have its own article, be on the lookout for it).
3) Every other day , ex: sun – tues -thurs – sat . This is the split you will find the average hobbyist bodybuilder following. This routine works but in order to meet the requirements of always training four days out of the week, you will have to train on consecutive days certain weeks other wise you will run into issues of only training three times a week on certain weeks. That is the reason why this routine is not recommended if you really want to follow a true 4-day split routine.
Ok now that you know the benefits, the dos and don’ts, It’s time for the feature presentation.
The 4-day split training routine
Monday: Chest and Triceps
Bench Press: 4 sets of 8-12 reps
Incline Dumbbell Press: 4 sets of 8-12 reps
Machine Flies: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
Dips: 4 sets of reps to failure
Tricep extensions (cable, straight bar): 4 sets of 8-12 reps
Tricep extensions (cable , curved bar) 3 sets of 8-12 reps
Skull Crushers : 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
Tuesday: Back and Biceps
Wide Grip pullups: 4 sets to failure
Deadlifts: 4 sets of 5-8 reps
Lat Pulldowns: 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps
Cable Rows: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
DB curls: 4 sets of 8-12
Close Grip Chinups: 4 sets of 8-12 reps
Hammer Curls: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
Wednesday: Shoulders and Abs
Military Press: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
Lateral Raises: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
Front Raises: 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Situps: 4 sets to failure
Crunches: 4- sets to failure
Planks: 4 sets of failure
Thursday: Legs and Abs
Squats: 4 sets of 8-10 reps
Leg Press: 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Leg Curls: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
Calf Raises (standing): 4 sets to failure
Calf Raises (sitting): 4 sets to failure
Ball Oblique twist: 4 sets to failure
Leg raises: 3-4 sets to failure
Bicycle Kicks: 3-4 sets to failure
Friday:Rest, light cardio
Saturday: Rest , light cardio activities
Sunday: Rest, light cardio activities
Stretching: Stretch before and after your workout . Dynamic stretching before you begin lifting and static afterwards. I will write a detailed article on stretching soon. Keep checking back.
Rest Between sets: Try to keep your rest in between sets to under 2 minutes and above 30 seconds. Listen to your muscle to decide when you’re ready. Understand the difference between good soreness and muscle fatigue.
Intensity: After your warmup set, use weights that you can only lift for a maximum of 12 reps. If you’re able to keep going after 12 reps , increase the eight in increment of 5 or 10 lbs until you’re only able to get 8-12.
That’s it. Feel free to send me your feedback or any fitness questions you may have.