4 Day Power Muscle Burn Workout Split

This building workout is designed to maximize progression and muscle gains by hitting each muscle group with power sets, muscle sets and burn sets.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Split
Intermediate
12 weeks
4
60 minutes
Barbell, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Male & Female
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Workout Description

Back in 1986 my mentor, Dr. Mike, taught me to train in multiple rep ranges. I was young, trusting and did what he said. After all, Dr. Mike was a big natural bodybuilder. And he was a professor. It just made sense to do what he said. Over the next 3 years I used his style of training and made amazing progress. I continued to use Dr Mike's training philosophies for nearly a decade, and they never let me down. This style of lifting made me big and strong. What more could you ask for?

This workout is based on the Dr. Mike system. I have tweaked it a bit over the years. I hope that you find some use for it, and if you do end up running it for 10+ years...well, feel free to make changes. No system is perfect unless you adapt it to your individual needs.

Dr. Mike was ahead of his time. He approached training routine design from a scientific standpoint in an era where everything was Weider Principles this and Weider Principles that. Simply stated, muscles tend to respond differently to different rep ranges. Dr. Mike believed that by training in all reasonable rep ranges, you could maximize muscle hypertrophy while boosting strength. This approach worked for me, and I hope it works for you.

For more information on the impact of rep ranges on hypertrophy, please read the article Hypertrophy and Muscle Growth.

For more information on the Power Muscle Burn training approach, please read:

The Power Muscle Burn System

My Power Muscle Burn training system will help you build muscle and strength by focusing on three different training approaches, all used in the same workout. You will be performing the following types of sets for each muscle group:

  1. Power. You will perform power sets to lead off the workout. Power sets are performed in the 3 to 5 rep range. Use the same weight for each of the sets. When you can perform 5 reps for all power sets, move up in weight. Major muscle groups will perform 2-4 power sets per workout, and minor muscle groups will perform 2 power sets per workout. Please note that for some minor muscle groups, power sets do not make sense, or they are not realistic. For example, it is difficult to perform extremely heavy resistance abdominal sets.
  2. Muscle. Muscle sets are performed in the 6 to 12 rep range. Use the same weight for each of the sets. When you hit the upper rep limit of 12 for all muscle sets, move up in weight. Major muscle groups will perform 4-6 total muscle sets in each workout, using 2 different exercises. Minor muscle groups will perform 2-4 total muscle sets in each workout, using 1 to 2 exercises. You can also perform a single exercise for 3 sets.
  3. Burn. You will perform 1-2 burn sets for each muscle group - generally using isolation movements. Pick a weight that allows you to hit 15 to 20 reps, and then perform 40 total reps. How? Do as many reps as possible, then take a slight rest and perform more reps. Rest only long enough to regain the energy and willpower to perform 1 to 3 more reps. Keep pushing yourself through the pain until you hit 40 total reps. When you can hit 25+ reps from the start without stopping, add weight. Major muscle groups will utilize 2 burn sets, minor muscle groups will use 1-2 burn sets.

Power Muscle Burn Notes

  • Failure - I do not recommend training to failure. Try to perform each set until you feel like you may fail on the next rep, then stop. It's ok if you occasionally fail on a set, but do not purposely try to train to failure on every set.
  • Progression - You must have the goal of progressing on every set of every workout. Sets performed with a half-hearted effort are wasted. If you lack energy or are pressed for time, it's better to perform fewer quality sets then it is to waste sets.
  • Splits - You can split this system numerous ways, but remember that training more then 4 days per week is generally not beneficial for natural bodybuilders. What is the best split? The one you will use and stick with.
  • Small Tweaks - What if I don't like training in the 6 to 12 rep range, and want to train in the 6 to 10 rep range? Then train in the 6 to 10 rep range. What if I don't like training in the 3 to 5 rep range? Then train in the 4 to 6 rep range. 40 burn reps are too difficult!? Then aim for 30 burn reps. Note: small tweaks are ok, as long as you are using the core mechanisms of this program. Don't obsess about the details - obsess about moving weight and getting bigger!
  • Alternating Exercises - It is not a bad idea to alternate exercises every other week. You can't possibly fit every exercise into every workout. For example: for muscle sets you could hit dumbbell bench presses one week and chest dips the next week.
  • Total Sets - It is better to start with the minimal amount of sets, and build in to this routine by adding sets if you find you need more work.
  • Calves - Please note that there are no power sets for calves. I am not convinced that calves respond effectively to lower rep training.
  • Quads - If you love pain, you can do a single 20 rep set of squats for your quad burn work.

4 Day Power Muscle Burn Split

The 4 Day Power Muscle Burn split:

Note: This is a sample template. Feel free to "swap" in any appropriate (and favorite) exercises.

Chest and Biceps
Chest
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press - Power 4 3 to 5
Incline Bench Press  - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Dumbbell Bench Press - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Dumbbell Flys - Burn 2 40
Biceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Pinwheel Curls - Power 2 3 to 5
Standing Barbell Curl  - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Cable Preacher Curl - Burn 1-2 40
Quads and Hamstrings
Quads
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat - Power 4 3 to 5
Leg Press  - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Front Squat - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Leg Press - Burn 2 40
Hamstrings
Exercise Sets Reps
Romanian Deadlift - Power 2-4 3 to 5
Romanian Deadlift or Leg Curl  - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Leg Curl - Burn 1 40
Shoulders and Triceps
Shoulders
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Barbell Press - Power 4 3 to 5
Seated Arnold Press  - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Barbell Front Raise - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Dumbbell Lateral Raise - Burn 2 40
Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Closegrip Bench Press - Power 2 3 to 5
Seated French Press  - Muscle 2 6 to 12
EZ Bar Skullcrusher - Muscle 2 6 to 12
Cable Tricep Extension - Burn 1 40
Back, Calves and Abs
Back
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift - Power 2-4 3 to 5
Barbell Rows - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Lat Pull Down - Muscle 2-3 6 to 12
Seated Cable Row - Burn 2 40
Calves
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Calf Raise - Muscle 2-3 10 to 15
45 Degree Calf Raise  - Burn 2 40
Abs
Exercise Sets Reps
**Perform Ab work of choice***    

 

3.1K Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 02/24/2020 - 00:00
David

Could a female do this workout also?

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Posted Thu, 06/11/2020 - 12:28
Marina_M&S

David,

Absolutely!

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Posted Sat, 02/01/2020 - 15:21
Max

How much should I be resting in between sets

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Posted Sat, 02/08/2020 - 07:42
Moises DeJesus

No more than 3 minutes

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Posted Thu, 01/23/2020 - 04:56
Nadeem

I was in the gym for 6 months, but only intermittently.
is it okay to follow this program?

my in body test:
weight: 85KG
SMM: 37.1 KG
Body Fat Mass: 20.7
PBF: 24.2%

Many Thanks

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Posted Fri, 01/24/2020 - 06:43
Nadeem

I was in the gym for 6 months, but only intermittently.
is it okay to follow this program?

my in body test:
weight: 85KG
SMM: 37.1 KG
Body Fat Mass: 20.7
PBF: 24.2%

Thanks

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Posted Sat, 02/08/2020 - 07:48
Moises DeJesus

Yes. You just need to start with the minimum amount to sets and tweak the numbers in your favor. The main focus here is building the power (strength) of a muscle, the volume of the muscle (resiliency & endurance), and the definition of the muscle through burn.

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Posted Sat, 12/21/2019 - 16:10
Bruno Gomes

Can i do this without haviang a lot of muscle but having a good muscle mind connection or should i do begginers splits for example full bodies/upper lowers

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Posted Sat, 02/08/2020 - 07:55
Moises DeJesus

DEFINITELY do this workout. It's an EXTREMELY sound approach towards fitness. I'm sure you've heard " different strokes for different folks"; everything doesn't work for everybody. Well thus approach uses the three major approaches towards muscle development. YOU CAN'T LOSE. To make this more "beginner friendly do power in the 6-8 rep range, do muscle in the 12-15 rep range and burn in the 25 rep range. Any higher rep ranges and it's just cardio.

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Posted Thu, 10/17/2019 - 20:49
Matt

Which exercise would you recommend swapping for Weighted Chins/Pull-ups? The Power (deadlift) or one of the Muscle (Lat Pull Down) ?

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Posted Mon, 10/14/2019 - 15:32
Jack

Will this allow you to work in a body part twice a week

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Posted Fri, 09/20/2019 - 06:42
Alex

Can I rest on days 3, 6 and 7 and work out days 1, 2, 4 and 5?

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Posted Wed, 07/31/2019 - 03:56
Salih Karacali

Hi Steve, Sounds like a great workout. One question. Is this going to help to lose some fat but also gain muscle?

Thanks

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Posted Fri, 01/03/2020 - 08:58
Max Roegiest

Losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time is the trickiest way to train. For beginners this is absolutely possible. For people who've been training longer, that's where it doesn't really happen. Food becomes the primary influencer of losing fat or gaining muscle. You got to track your macros.

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Posted Mon, 07/22/2019 - 20:04
Rahul Gupta

Hi guys
My question is that I perform these same exercises for the period of next 12 weeks.
So I'll be doing the same weekly routine for the next 12 weeks. Cause I have been doing workouts where there are changes every week .
Pls reply some one .
Thanks

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Posted Thu, 07/04/2019 - 12:15
Jon

I have a question on the placement of Biceps and Triceps on Day 1 and Day 4 respectively. To me seems more logical if CHEST was matched with TRICEPS since bench and inclines you are already working Triceps a lot, yes? Another example...What if you wanted to add some Dips into this workout? Again, that would work mostly chest and triceps. If there is other logic I'm missing I hope to know about it.

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Posted Sun, 09/01/2019 - 11:20
Mikael

Hi Jon,
This is how I think about it so it could be wrong but just to give you another side.

So when you hit triceps on chest day to with the bench press for example you hit tricep so thats an extra
But there is a special tricep day so you hit yoir triceps 2 times a week (same with back and biceps) and thats good because you gotta hit your arms at least twice. Thats my point of view. Hope this helps

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Posted Wed, 06/26/2019 - 04:41
michael

im tempted to do this program but what about all the research saying that its best to hit each muscle group twice a week? this only hits them one time

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Posted Sun, 09/01/2019 - 11:15
Mikael

I thought the same but i just did it, believe me its a good problem. Especially the burn feeling and the pump are amazing. good luck

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Posted Tue, 06/25/2019 - 17:41
RAUL M PALACIOS RDZ

Thank you very much for making this information public.

I have a couple of questions:

1 - Do you have recommended stretching routine pre and post working out?
2 - Do you recommend small aerobic routine in between sets? suchs as jumping jacks or so, to keep the heart beat high?
3 - Is it OK to walk or jog on off days?

Thank you again!

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Posted Thu, 06/20/2019 - 13:08
Josh Collins

Is cardio needed in this workout? If so what is the recommendation

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Posted Sat, 06/15/2019 - 04:44
Eilay Dror

How much rest I should take between sets?

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Posted Mon, 06/03/2019 - 13:37
Billy Dance

I’ve been doing this workout for 2 weeks now and i keep seeing comments about getting your macros? What are they and could you link a macro workout?

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Posted Wed, 07/03/2019 - 13:01
Ryan Whitlock

Macros are Macronutrients. They're basically saying get proper nutrition. The 3 Macronutrients are Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats. Macro diet indicates your ratios of Carbs:Protein:Fats in your caloric intake. If you Google "macro diet" you can find all sorts of helpful information to curtail a meal plan for your goals, including a calculator to figure out what your needs are based on your goals. Hope this helps.

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Posted Mon, 06/03/2019 - 12:12
Paddy

Hiya there.
Simple question, if I'm unable to train any time because of holiday/illness, how does it effects my training, especially any gains I may have made the weeks previous?
And is it simply a case of carrying on where I may have left, or does it knock my training back weeks and weeks?
BTW, I'm not planning to have any breaks.
Thanks from Paddy

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Posted Mon, 04/15/2019 - 09:55
Rich

Love this workout. I’m at the one month mark and would love an alt day for each of these? I’ve swapped some stuff out on my own but these workout seem to compliment each other so nicely id love other sets that do the same...

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Posted Sun, 05/05/2019 - 00:26
Anthony

I'm in the same boat. If love to see some alt days

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Posted Mon, 02/11/2019 - 01:28
Matt S.

I have been doing this workout plan for three months and have seen dramatic results. My only issue is how long it takes me. Both upper body days normally take me atleast an hour and 45 minutes. That's with the recommended reps and wait times, all tracked and timed on a stopwatch. Is this normal?

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Posted Tue, 01/22/2019 - 11:29
Karl

I’m just starting out this program and was wondering if I should do any warmup before jumping into power bench pressing.

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Posted Fri, 01/25/2019 - 09:47
JoshEngland
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Posted Fri, 01/18/2019 - 14:35
Matt

Hi. This sounds like a great workout for me. Would it be a good idea to add any kind of cardio to the off days or before I start my sets?

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Posted Wed, 01/23/2019 - 02:44
Yaa-jonirs

I did this program years Ago with good results. Will do this now again, Well in lack IF spare/gym-time i Will probably do the Three Days a week and a couple IF kettlebell fullbody sessions every other day...

Dont forgett to get your macros.

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Posted Thu, 01/03/2019 - 16:21
isaac

would i be able to re-arrange the days into the traditional "two-on, one-off, two-on, two-off, repeat" format? i just prefer not to work out on weekends and it doesn't seem like it would make the difference to me. i was also wondering this about the five day workout.

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Posted Thu, 01/03/2019 - 16:33
JoshEngland

Hi Isaac,

That should be fine.

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Posted Sat, 12/29/2018 - 13:43
DStet

GREAT WORKOUT...THANK YOU!!!
I've been on this program for a little over a year and love it! I've always thought of myself as a "hard gainer" but clearly was just never on the right program. At age 50 I'm in the best shape of my life and gained 20 lbs of muscle I never thought I could. I've recommended this workout to many people who have all seen similar results. Thank you for the background on the program and the clear and easy to follow exercises!

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Posted Sun, 12/23/2018 - 13:23
Kevin

Hi - I like the workout, but I can't workout on Friday's and Saturday's due to my schedule. Is it crucial to have the off days where you have put them? Or can I follow the workout with an off day on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday?

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Posted Wed, 01/02/2019 - 14:05
JoshEngland

Hi Kevin,

That should be fine with this particular workout.

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Posted Fri, 12/21/2018 - 03:45
Griselda

For the leg press part of the routine, would I be able to do leg extensions instead. I have a home gym and don't have access to a leg press.

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Posted Thu, 11/29/2018 - 22:36
Chuck

What shoulder exercise could I replace to add barbell shrugs?

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Posted Fri, 11/30/2018 - 16:36
JoshEngland

Hi Chuck,

I'd just add it to your back day.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 11/11/2018 - 21:25
Logan

I have been working out for about 3 months after a few years hiatus. Would incline dumbbell presses be a good substitute for incline bench. When working out previously I only had two bad injuries and both came from incline bench with a barbell. Needless to say coming back into working out and fitness I avoid that exercise. Also I am only 12 weeks into working out again after 3 years off. I’m 205lbs 27 years old with benching 205, squaring 265 and deadlifting 315 for 3 sets of 8. Should I stick to my 3 day split or move up to this 4 day split. I tend to do a lot of single arm exercises what is the benefit to using both at the same time. For example cable row as opposed to one arm rows. I’m trying my hardest to lose weight and look decent. What approach should I take?

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Posted Sat, 10/27/2018 - 07:42
Thomas

What do I do for rear delts?

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Posted Thu, 10/04/2018 - 11:57
F.Diaz

if I wanna add dips on chest day or triceps day, what exercise should I subs?.

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Posted Fri, 10/05/2018 - 11:11
JoshEngland

Hi F.Diaz,

I'd go with Dumbbell Flys on chest day or CG bench press on tricep day depending on if you want to do them bodyweight or weighted.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 09/25/2018 - 06:33
Mike

I've been on this workout for 9 weeks and have really enjoyed it. Is there a a good follow up workout you could recommend that is similar to this?

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Posted Wed, 09/26/2018 - 16:57
JoshEngland
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Posted Fri, 09/14/2018 - 17:10
Brandon H

Should the power sets be performed together or should a full muscle group be completed before moving on to the next. Example.. Should I do power sets for shoulders then for triceps, then move on to all muscle sets then burn sets? Or do power muscle burn for shoulder, then the same for triceps..?
Thanks!

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Posted Fri, 11/30/2018 - 13:12
Nixk

I am also looking for help with this question. Has anyone found an answer yet?

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Posted Thu, 01/03/2019 - 16:34
isaac

i would finish the muscle group and follow with the burn sets for it; it can be beneficial for metabolic stress to be placed on the muscle group before moving on. that being said, ift could go either way so your rotator cuffs aren't burnt out while doing triceps. in summary, i would say it is up to your discretion which technique you tend to use, and how they feel for you. if one feels better than the other, go with it; the point of the burn out exercise is the same as a finisher: to fill the muscle with blood and induce higher quality recovery.

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Posted Wed, 08/29/2018 - 00:35
Mehdi Mollahosseini

I have been working out for 2-3 months now, trying to learn the correct form and fat loss/muscle gain. i weigh 244lb and 38yo. I lost 13lb in last two months. bench press 185, squat 220, deadlift 250lb for 5 reps. I was wondering if this routine is still a little early for me? since in the headline mentions intermediate level and i consider myself as a beginner. would you please suggest a proper routine for me? Appreciate it very much.