4 Day Maximum Mass Workout

A mass building routine that features a great combination of effective compound and isolation movements along with intense, high impact five minute burn sets.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Split
Intermediate
8 weeks
4
45-60 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Dumbbells, Machines
Male & Female
download pdfDownload Workout

Workout Description

This is an intermediate muscle building workout for lifters who:

  1. Have experienced beginner gains and are confident they know how to build muscle.
  2. Have a solid grasp of exercise form on the major compound movements.
  3. Know how to set up an effective muscle building eating plan.

Overload. Overload is critical to the muscle building process. Push each set for the maximum number of reps, stopping that set either when you feel your form is slipping, or if you feel like you may fail on the next rep. Do not train to failure. The point is to stimulate growth, not annihilate your body and central nervous system.

Add weight to each exercise as frequently as possible, when it makes sense. I recommend using the same weight for every set of a given exercise, and when you are able to perform a comfortable number of reps on each set, add weight.

Rep Ranges. Rep ranges are simply a guideline. It's is ok to go over them, or a hair under at times. Again, the magic is overload. Rep ranges are simply a tool.

5 Minute Burn Periods. For each body part you will perform a 5 minute burn out period. These sets are brutal. Pick a weight that allows you to perform about 12-15 reps. Over a 5 minute period you perform as many reps as possible with that weight, starting and stopping sets as needed. Rest only long enough to catch your bearings and breathe, and then start knowing out more reps.

5 minute burn out periods are not about sets and reps. They are about finishing off an already fatigued muscle. Don't obsess (or even count)  over how many total sets you do. Instead, try to do as many reps as possible in 5 minutes using whatever rest periods you need to survive.

4 Day Maximum Mass Workout Split

Day 1
Back and Biceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift 2 5
One Arm Dumbbell Row 3 8-12
Wide Grip Pull Up or Lat Pull Down 3 10-12
Barbell Row 3 8-12
Seated Cable Row or Machine Row 5 Minutes Burn
EZ Bar Preacher Curl 3 10-12
Concentration Curl 3 10-12
Seated Dumbbell Curl 5 Minutes Burn
Day 2
Chest and Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 3 6-10
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8-12
Chest Dip 3 AMAP*
Cable Crossover or Pec Dec 3 12-15
Machine Press or Dumbbell Bench Press 5 Minutes Burn
EZ Bar Skullcrusher 3 8-12
Two Arm Seated Dumbbell Extension 3 8-12
Cable Tricep Extension 5 Minutes Burn
Day 4
Quads, Hamstrings and Calves
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 3 6-10
Leg Press 3 15-20
Hack Squat or Dumbbell Lunge 3 8-12
Leg Extension 5 Minutes Burn
Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 8-12
Leg Curl 5 Minutes Burn
Standing Calf Raise 3 10-15
Seated Calf Raise 5 Minutes Burn
Day 5
Shoulders, Traps and Forearms
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Barbell Press 3 6-10
Seated Arnold Press 3 8-12
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 10-15
Hammer Strength Press or Smith Press 5 Minutes Burn
Upright Row 3 8-12
Barbell Shrug or Dumbbell Shrug 5 Minutes Burn
Seated Barbell Wrist Curl 3 12-15
Barbell Static Hold 5 Minutes Burn

*AMAP = As many as possible.

Barbell Static Holds. Instead of performing reps you simply hold the bar as long as possible.

635 Comments+ Post Comment

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 11/27/2017 - 10:42
Niek

I just finished a 4 day split with a duration of 8 weeks. Is this a good split to begin with? Also why are there no abdominal workouts?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 11/18/2017 - 14:42
Phil

Duration 8 weeks , fine 2 months , then what you propose after we completed this one ?
Thx for this awesome routine !

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 11/20/2017 - 09:01
JoshEngland

Hi Phil,

Our 10 week mass is a very popular program and a decent progression program from this one.

You can check it out here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/10-week-mass-building-program...

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 11/02/2017 - 01:01
anup

i go thrice a week and twice each day(morning and evening with a time gap of 7 hrs) for gym. please suggest me a good routine

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 10/28/2017 - 18:29
Andrew

Ive completed about 3 different workout routines off this website but this one is awesome. You can defiantly feel you have smashed your muscles groups after this one. After a few weeks into this routine and less rest between reps the 5 minute burn tests you big time.
Love this workout!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 10/21/2017 - 10:57
DAVE

Hi Josh, in my gym.i got all the equipment to get through the program but not machine for the leg curl.Any suggestions for an alternate exercise ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 10/30/2017 - 09:22
JoshEngland

Hi Dave,

Go with a Romanian deadlift or straight leg deadlift variation. You could also perform a Nordic hamstring curl or exercise ball leg curl, both of which are bodyweight versions of this exercise.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 10/11/2017 - 20:05
Kaleb

Hi Steve,I know you said in a different comment that this is a template and can be altered to suit the individuals wants and needs; but i was curious about the shoulder routine. Why do you start with the seated barbell press but also finish with the same thing for the burnout? This just wasn't the trend in any other muscle group so i was curious, would it be better to do a different exercise to better spread how much each head of the shoulder is being worked?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 09/23/2017 - 15:58
Milly

Hey Steve,

I'm currently just finishing a 28 day, fat burning 4 day split superset routine on a defecit diet. I'm looking for a new program that I can still shed some fat but start to pack on a bit of muscle as well. I'm curious if you'd advise against this program when Im on a defecit or if I should be able to accomplish both goals using this program, maybe add a little lose a little?

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 09/07/2017 - 15:34
Chris

Been doing this program for 3 weeks and it definitely kicks your a$$. I've been following it as written and have been feeling soreness since week one. I have been doing cardio on Day 3 and take Days 6 and 7 off. For the burnout sets I use a weight that lets me rep out the first minute, and then take 15-20 sec breaks between burnout sets (to catch my breath and gain a little more strength to continue). For the rest of it, I've been following a progressive overload scheme and have seen some weights increase already.

Lester, I would say try the program as is for a week and then ask if you feel the need for more sets. This workout takes roughly 60 minutes. I do a couple of warmup sets for bench, squats, shoulder press, and deadlifts to get things started.

So, this 57 yr old body is getting a good workout with this program. Be honest and use a timer for the burnouts and minimize breaks. Keep your rest periods between sets on everything else at around one minute or so. Oh yeah, I also added some ab work on Days 1, 2, and 5.

Have fun!!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 09/06/2017 - 05:35
Lester

Very excited to start this program next week! Quick question -- Thinking of bumping up most of the sets to 4, instead of just 3 (or just 2 for the deadlifts). Is that okay?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 09/02/2017 - 03:54
Mike

Is the order of any great importance or can i change one exercise with the other so i dont have to change rooms on my gym from one to the next?

Thanks and greetings from germany

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 09/05/2017 - 09:32
JoshEngland

Hi Mike,

This program is simply a template. You're more than welcome to alter it to better fit your needs and your goals.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 08/30/2017 - 20:42
Pat

What position should you hold the bar for the static hold on day 5?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 08/31/2017 - 08:53
JoshEngland

Hi Pat,

I'd go with a shrug set up and holding it either in front or behind your body. Personally I'd go with in front of your body. You can make it even more challenging if you have a thick bar or pair of fat grips.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 08/28/2017 - 20:38
Jon

I noticed that there aren't any ab workouts on here, my abs are kind of weak, when should I add in ab workouts? Also I did the first day's workout and I really wish I owned a pair of straps because my grip gave out so many times.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 08/29/2017 - 13:51
JoshEngland

Hi Jon,

You're abs are indirectly targeted through compound movements. If you feel the need to isolate your abs, you can always check out our ab workouts database:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/abs

Developing grip strength can take some time. Below is an excellent article to help out

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/build-better-grip-strength

Also, you certainly could use straps. We have a fairly inexpensive pair you could purchase:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/store/muscle-and-strength-padded-lifti...

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 08/23/2017 - 09:21
Ollie

Hi how long shall i rest between each set roughly

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 08/24/2017 - 10:15
JoshEngland

Hi Ollie,

Rest periods should be between 30-60 seconds.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 08/07/2017 - 20:02
John

My wife is overweight. We're both starting g at the same time. Would this be good for her to build fat and tighten loose skin?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 08/08/2017 - 09:02
JoshEngland

Hi John,

This is more of an intermediate based workout program. Some beginners might be able to perform it if they've been exposed to weight training before. If you guys are brand new to the weight room, I'd highly recommend working together with a trainer for a couple of workouts so they can introduce you to all the lifts as well as an appropriate program suitable for your goals.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 08/07/2017 - 09:57
Danny

Hey josh,

for each compound movement, would it be alright if i reduced the rep range to a lower range? like for flat bench press, doing 2 mid range reps and the last set to 4-6 reps.
and another question, can i apply what i i just said above to the barbell shoulder press and changing that compound to a standing military? thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/07/2017 - 10:15
JoshEngland

Hi Danny,

Yes, depending on your goal that should be fine.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 07/18/2017 - 03:05
Rz

Hey Josh!

I been on this program for two weeks. I tend to do the higher end of reps for the compound movements that leaves me gassed towards the isolation exercises. Also, I did start the program as a beginner. Would you advise switching the program at this stage or persist with the plan following the lower end of reps. Cheers.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 07/18/2017 - 09:14
JoshEngland

Hi RZ,

That's awesome ! Congrats on your success so far!

You can do either or. If you're enjoying this program, I'd recommend sticking with it and trying to make it harder by either switching up the rep ranges or increasing the weight you're using (or both). If it's becoming stale you could look for a new program to try out.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 07/13/2017 - 05:31
Andrei

Do we have to do the exercises in this specific order?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 07/13/2017 - 10:04
JoshEngland

Hi Andrei,

No you don't. But it's generally a good idea to do compound exercises (big lifts - squats, bench, deadlift) at the beginning of your workout. Then, you can do more isolated exercises (chest fly, bicep curl) towards the end.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 07/02/2017 - 11:07
Kim

How about the warm ups? is there any specific warm ups i should do before the workouts? or should i just use lighter weight before the actual workout and follow the sets and reps after my usual warm ups

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 07/05/2017 - 09:23
JoshEngland

Hi Kim,

This article is a great starting point: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/warming-up-for-dummies

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 07/02/2017 - 06:58
sherif

Many thanks for the great workout routine.. could we add cardio to this mass building program

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 07/05/2017 - 09:22
JoshEngland

Hi Sherif,

Of course! Just be sure to pick a form of cardio that doesn't negatively affect your ability to recover from your workouts or your performance in the weight room.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 07/01/2017 - 10:08
Mustafa

Hi josh
How to do Barbell Static Hold
There is no video to learn
Or some pictures

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 07/05/2017 - 09:17
JoshEngland

Hi Mustafa,

To do a static hold you hold a barbell in front of you or dumbbells to the side of you until you can no longer hold the weight any more. We will try to get a demonstration video online in the near future.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 06/28/2017 - 02:41
Iasoka

Dear Josh,
I have been doing this awsome Workout plan for 5 weeks and I can see a Clear progress. Thanks again for your support. I need to ask you a question please....

In the morning I'm having a Pea protein shake and in the evening after my intense gym workout I'm having Gold standard whey protein isolate with 1 BCAA capsule (1000mg). Is this ok? Please advise me.

Cheers!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 06/28/2017 - 09:37
JoshEngland

Hi Iasoka,

Awesome! Congratulations on your progress!

This supplement stack seems good to me, but it's always best to consult with your medical practitioner on your specific supplementation needs.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 06/28/2017 - 09:59
Iasoka

Thanks Josh. You guys are the best!!!

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 06/22/2017 - 18:27
Tarek

Hi Josh ,
Thanks a lot for this good workout . but i was wondering what is the best workout after 8 weeks ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 06/23/2017 - 09:10
JoshEngland

Hi Tarek,

I'm glad you're enjoying the workout, but I can't take credit for it as it isn't mine. Best is relative as everyone will react differently to the same workout. It's really about experimenting and finding what works best for you and sticking to it. With that said, below are a couple of my favorite 4 day splits:

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

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/fast-mass-program

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 06/05/2017 - 23:17
Akshadraj

This is an awesome workout routine since I can't dedicate 7 days of the week due to a busy schedule! Thank you so much. But I was wondering, if you could give me some abs exercises and not a workout routine for core. I'd like to do abs after every gym day.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 06/06/2017 - 09:46
JoshEngland

Hi Akshadraj,

Sure, check out our ab exercise database with dozens of ab exercise demonstration videos. You can then decide which you'd like to include in your workout program.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/abs

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 06/07/2017 - 00:43
Akshadraj

Thanks a lot. But I'm stupid when it comes to abs workouts. I'll do abs alternate days. In that case could you tell me which ones to take in the workout or how to decide which ones to do. Also how many? Thank you

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 06/07/2017 - 10:20
JoshEngland

Hi Akshadraj,

Core training is going to be highly individualized. So it's tough to make recommendations over the internet not knowing your movement patterns and pain points.

We do have an excellent article on understanding core training. It should help put things in better perspective and provide recommendations on a couple ab exercises everyone could benefit from.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/understanding-core-training

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 05/28/2017 - 15:15
Gustavo

Awesome routine thanks for sharing!
Deadlift and stiff leg deadlift seem to really hurt my back, is there other exercises i could perform instead that are easier on my back? , thanks in advance .

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 05/30/2017 - 09:57
JoshEngland

Hi Gustavo,

For the time being - you could easily remove those 2 exercises and still see progress with the amount of volume in this program.

That being said, I'd highly recommend seeking out a good professional strength coach or trainer who will take the time to study your movement patterns and help you work on those movements until you get to the point where you can do them without feeling pain. These movements are foundation movements and being proficient in them will pay dividends as you get older.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 05/24/2017 - 00:16
Jacob

Thanks for the workout plan, I just commenced my first day yesterday! Yes - the 5 min burn workouts were hard!! Though I'm wondering if you can please expand on the reasoning for these? Does this assist with building mass like overloading does? What are the benefits to working off an already fatigued muscle? Any comments would be appreciated!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 05/24/2017 - 09:10
JoshEngland

Hi Jacob,

The idea behind the burn sets is to create a muscle pump. You can learn more about "The Pump" here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/pump-broscience-muscle-builder

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 05/17/2017 - 14:10
Iasoka

Hi there,
Thank you so much for the fantastic workouts plan. Love it. Could you please tell me is it ok to add some extra workout on each day. Eg: chest day can I add two more workouts including your workouts? On biceps day can I add EZ bar biceps curl and hammer curl to your workouts?

Cheers!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 05/18/2017 - 09:10
JoshEngland

Hi Iasoka,

Sure, you're more than welcome to add additional volume to this workout if you like. Although, it is not exactly necessary and probably won't lead to additional muscle gain (if that is your goal in doing it).

Gaining muscle is a very long term goal. Giving workouts consistent effort, maintaining a proper diet, and getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night is going to help you achieve muscle growth a lot more in the long run than adding additional exercises to a workout will.

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 05/20/2017 - 07:41
Iasoka

Hi Josh,
Thank you so much for your prompt reply. You guys are amazing. I think this is my favourite website now. Something great articles to explore. I really appreciate your support!!
Cheers!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/22/2017 - 09:20
JoshEngland

Hi Iasoka,

You're very welcome! That makes me so happy to hear! We really appreciate your support. Keep crushing your goals!!

If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to reach out!