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
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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.

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722 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Tue, 04/16/2019 - 10:27
Robin

What is the recommended rest time between sets for the max mass 4 day workout split?

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Posted Sun, 04/14/2019 - 08:09
Bunny

Hello muscle and strength,
Could I replace stiff leg deadlift with sumo deadlift.
Also, is this program alright for muscle gain and fat loss?

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Posted Thu, 04/11/2019 - 08:28
Noah

Hey muscle and strength,

I’m sixteen years old and trying to build a lot of muscle, and gain more weight. Can I use this workout split to help me out? It fits in my schedule perfectly.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 04/11/2019 - 10:49
JoshEngland
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Posted Wed, 04/10/2019 - 11:34
Jay

Thank you for your hard work with this article! Please tell us how much rest between sets is optimal for this sort of program. A number of individuals have asked this question but no response. Please help.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 04/11/2019 - 10:55
JoshEngland

Hi Jay,

60-90 secs on everything outside of the burn sets should do the trick.

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Posted Thu, 04/11/2019 - 12:05
Jay

Thanks Josh!

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Posted Wed, 04/10/2019 - 05:32
John Wayne

Hi Muscle&strength,

I've using this split for more than 8 weeks and I can tell it is indeed effective but a short question. Does the order of the exercises for each day matter?
I mean for example for the Back & Biceps day can I do first the lat pulldowns and leave the deadlifts after or should we respect the above order?

Thanks,
John

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 04/10/2019 - 11:21
JoshEngland

Hi John,

Do your best to perform the exercises in the order they are listed.

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Posted Thu, 04/04/2019 - 10:52
Jesse

I want to add more squats to my workout, like 8-10 sets slowly moving down. How will this affect the workout routine

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Posted Sun, 03/31/2019 - 11:08
Florian

Where is the difference between the seated barbell and the smith press?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/01/2019 - 09:20
JoshEngland

Hi Florian,

Barbell presses will require a greater degree of muscle activation from supporting muscle groups compared to the smith machine.

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Posted Sun, 03/10/2019 - 07:03
Richard Gray

How long is rest period between set?

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Posted Thu, 03/07/2019 - 15:56
Ameur

Hi
I would like first to thank you for these awesome exercises.
I was wondering, how much time do we have to rest between each set ?
Thank you

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Posted Sun, 03/03/2019 - 07:11
sulaiman

hi josh
I'm a skinny guy with a weight of 108 lbs. I started going to the gym when my weight was 92 lbs I had been lifting weight for 3 months
my question is
is it okay to use this plan to bulking for a year?
by the way my age is 20yo this year

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/04/2019 - 10:54
JoshEngland

Hi Sulaiman,

Sure, you can use this program to bulk.

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Posted Sun, 03/03/2019 - 04:42
David

Hi,
For the barbell static hold is it just the bar itself or how much weight should be on it?
For the machine press burn which machine is it? Is it the hammer strength press flat or incline? Or is it the lifefitness bench press machine.
Do we use the same weight on the burn that we originally can get 12-15 reps on first set for the entire 5mins or should we drop weight?
Thanks

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Posted Tue, 02/26/2019 - 15:39
Yus

Hi completed this, put on size.
Been training for 3 years. Now I want to put on size but also get cut but very slowly so I can keep as much muscle as possible and keep my strength that same or increase.
After completing this program, what should I move into now and why?

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Posted Sat, 02/16/2019 - 16:24
Fatlind Bytyqi

Hi.
I've been working out for about 5 months.
So i'm looking for a program which helps me to build more muscle mass.
Should I still use a 'split program' or a plan which contains every muscle trained 2x per week?
Thanks

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Posted Tue, 02/12/2019 - 21:46
Ivan

Hi Josh

Can I do the routines like this? Monday wednesday friday and sunday? Being tuesday thurs and saturday rest day?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 02/13/2019 - 11:34
JoshEngland

Hi Ivan,

Yes, that is fine.

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Posted Thu, 02/07/2019 - 13:32
Luis

Thak you for the routine. It’s fantastic specially the 5 min burning part. At first I thought it was so easy but after the first minute it really hits me.
I’m going on my fourth week but my problem is that no abs are listed here.
Can you recommend me also a complementary abs routine for abs please!!!

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Posted Wed, 01/23/2019 - 09:36
SILVERIO SANTOS

How do you incorporate abs in this training?

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Posted Tue, 01/08/2019 - 14:03
Soulaiman

What about the rear delt ?

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Posted Tue, 02/05/2019 - 04:29
Joshua Lombard

I would personally add face pulls to end every workout. It's a smaller muscle so 3 sets 12_15 reps. If you feel this is too much for you try twice a week instead of 4 times.

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Posted Mon, 01/07/2019 - 04:28
David

Also just another question what is the hammer strength press(for shoulders), can you provide me a link to that machine?
Thankyou

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/07/2019 - 12:45
JoshEngland

Hi David,

Sure, here you are: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0SteQbRbCo

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Posted Sat, 02/16/2019 - 22:47
David

Thanks for your response. Just wondering if you had a chance to look at the previous questions below. Cheers

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Posted Thu, 01/03/2019 - 01:48
David

Hi,
For the barbell static hold is it just the bar itself or how much weight should be on it?
For the machine press burn which machine is it? Is it the hammer strength press flat or incline? Or is it the lifefitness bench press machinw.
Do we use the same weight on the burn that we originally can get 12-15 reps on first set for the entire 5mins or should we drop weight?
Thanks

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Posted Wed, 01/02/2019 - 20:43
Ryan

This is just a list of exercise you COULD do, not a program by any means. Should be hitting legs and back to some extent at least 3 days a week imo...

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Posted Wed, 01/02/2019 - 08:03
Nakul

Hello,

Thanks alot for this routine! Could you recommend an alternative for the Hammer Strength Press/Smith Press. My gym doesn't have either

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 01/02/2019 - 11:58
JoshEngland

Hi Nakul,

Any free weight variation will do the trick.

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Posted Mon, 01/07/2019 - 08:24
Nakul

Hi Josh,

Thanks for the quick reply.

I was also wondering if it would be ok to change the order slightly? I tried the routine for the first time today and noticed that when it came to the barbell rows on day 1, I was too fatigued to complete my reps (which I could do on other days for the same weight). Can I do the barbell rows after the deadlifts and finish off the remaining exercises after it? Or would you recommend dropping the weights and sticking with the order?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 01/07/2019 - 12:41
JoshEngland

Hi Nakul,

Feel free to change the order of the exercises to whatever best fits your needs.

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Posted Sat, 12/29/2018 - 14:42
Sway

Bad split - has 3 days upper body only 1 lower. Should be upper, lower, upper, lower or vice versa NOT upper upper lower upper. This bad recommendation is how you end up looking lopsided.

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Posted Fri, 01/04/2019 - 09:16
Sole

This is the classic “hit each muscle group once per week” routine. Pretty hard. Has nothing to do with the upper/lower split.

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Posted Sat, 12/15/2018 - 22:45
tommy

is it ok to add the deadlift on first day to 3 sets even 4 sets?
2 sets seems too less

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Posted Thu, 12/06/2018 - 08:57
Rick

Hey,
Any excercise to replace leg curls?
Have a bad machine at my gym, cant really do those.
Thanks!!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 12/06/2018 - 12:17
JoshEngland

Hi Rick,

And hamstring focused deadlift variation or potentially bodyweight leg curls will do the trick.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 11/26/2018 - 23:13
Kaden

Hey Steve,
I am just wondering about scheduling. Am I okay to change the days that I go to the gym, so that I am alternating days, and my only consecutive are Saturday and Sunday? My desired days to workout are: Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Also, if I'm to miss a day at some point, should I do whichever muscle group coincides with the day that I missed the next time I work out, or should I stay with the same muscle schedule and just skip those groups? Thanks!

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Posted Mon, 11/26/2018 - 19:31
Miguel

Hi Josh,

how many acconditioning or warming up sets/reps should we do in each exercise? For instance: I used to do 3, maybe 4 warming up sets in deadlift (e.g: 30kg x10, 40kgx8, 50kg x 8 and then the effective ones).

Another question is; sometimes I feel I can reach one more set for the strength exercises like the deadlift, squats etc... Is it good if I do 4 efective sets instead of 3 or 2?

The same for hypertrophy, how many warming up sets/reps and how many effective sets? 3? Could I do 4? Maybe 5 would be so much?

I know the answer is to listen to my body, but sometimes if I'm doing a biceps curl and it's my first exercise I feel I can do 4 sets, (after the warming up ones) but maybe I'm gonna feel so exhausted to do properly the next biceps exercises.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 11/27/2018 - 11:31
JoshEngland

Hi Miguel,

For warm ups, start here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/warming-up-for-dummies

In terms of your question about sets, I'd recommend keeping them as written. If you feel you have more gas in the tank, focus on increasing the weight you're using instead of the set count. Once you've maxed out on weight, then begin to add in additional sets.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 11/22/2018 - 08:28
Florin

Hi,
I have adapted this program and doing 4 sets where it says 3. And 3 sets where it says 2 (ex: deadlift)
When I was doing only 3 sets it didn't seem to wear me out.
Also, for burnouts, i decrease the weight every 1.5-2 minutes because i was not able to do more than 5-6 reps on the second part of the burnout (after 2-3 minutes), so i figured it is better to lift some more, rather than pause to often.
What do you guys think about that ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 11/23/2018 - 11:00
JoshEngland

Hi Florin,

That is completely fine! Especially if it's helping you accomplish your individual goals.

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Posted Mon, 11/19/2018 - 15:45
Logan whitaker

What are recommended rest periods? 1:30 -2 minutes between sets?

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Posted Sat, 11/17/2018 - 22:18
Ayush Raina

Is creatine necessary and why only monohydrate? Why others not? I am just only 17. Will it have any side effect on me. I already eat whey protein isolate only 25g of 30g scoop with a good diet.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 11/19/2018 - 10:35
JoshEngland
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Posted Mon, 11/12/2018 - 00:36
John

Hi Josh. Just wondering if 3 sets of 5 for deadlifts would be better than 2.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 11/12/2018 - 11:22
JoshEngland

Hi John,

It depends. It depends on how intense you're performing the sets independently. And what your individual threshold for recovery is.

You can certainly do an additional set if you deem it necessary for your goals.

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Posted Tue, 10/30/2018 - 07:57
Amish Kanabar

hey quick question. wanted to know will it help you build size aswell as well as muscle?