Doug's 4 Day Split Maximum Strength Workout

Doug Lawrenson
Written By: Doug Lawrenson
September 27th, 2009
Updated: January 4th, 2018
342.1K Reads
If you are looking for a pure strength training routine, then this routine is for you. This program will increase your strength is the shortest time possible.
Workout Summary
  • Main Goal
    Increase Strength
  • Workout Type
  • Training Level
  • Program Duration6 weeks
  • Days Per Week
  • Time Per Workout30-45 minutes
  • Equipment Required
    Barbell, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
  • Target Gender Male & Female
  • Workout PDF Download Workout

Workout Description

If you are looking to a pure strength training routine, then this routine is for you. Doug Lawrenson has designed this strength program to increase your strength is the shortest time possible. This is an intermediate strength training program. Beginners should not use this workout. We'll put one together for you. Good luck, stick with it and build some more strength!


  • 5 mins warmup and stretching before your workout
  • 2 warmup sets for each exercise
  • 5 mins of cool down and 5 mins stretching after each workout
Monday - Shoulders and Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Military Press 4 8, 6, 4, 2
The last set should be supersetted with side laterals (10-15 reps). You can also replace this exercise with seated barbell press.
Exercise Sets Reps
Lying Tricep Extension 4 8, 6, 4, 2
4 sets of  with the last set supersetted with tricep push down for 10-15 reps.
Tuesday - Back
Exercise Sets Reps
Bent Over Barbell Row 4 8, 6, 4, 2
Make sure you keep a wide grip. The last set should be a superset with wide grip pull down (10 to 15 reps)

Wednesday: day off/rest day

Thursday - Chest and Biceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Bench Press 4 8, 6, 4, 2
With the last set to be a superset with flat bench dumbbell flys (10 to 15 reps)
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Dumbbell Curl 4 8, 6, 4, 2
Last set superset with standing barbell curls (10 -15 reps)
Friday - Legs
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 4 8, 6, 4, 2
Last set superset with leg extensions (15 - 20 reps)
Leg Curl 4 8, 6, 4, 2
Last set double drop set to failure
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated calf Raise 4 8, 6, 4, 2
Last set double drop set (15 - 20 reps)

Saturday and Sunday: days off/rest days

Posted on: Thu, 10/08/2015 - 03:03

Good day.

I would like to know if I have to increase the weights if the reps get less?


Posted on: Sat, 10/25/2014 - 17:58

I am confused that this is called, "Maximum Strength Workout", and deads are not included? Deads are well know to build overall strength and help build strength in the individual areas by default. Why is it excluded here?

Javi Cruz
Posted on: Tue, 05/27/2014 - 07:02

Hello, is it okay to use and N.O fury , creatine x3 and whey protein for this work out,, and if it's OK how should I take them. Thank u!

Posted on: Wed, 05/21/2014 - 14:26

I'd say, I've been doing this program since January this year. I weigh 144 lbs. now and two of some of my goals are to strengthen the hell up and to barbell back squat my weight or more than my weight. When I first started, 70 lbs. was my 2 rep max. Alas! On Sat, I did an achievement to squat 4 reps of 160 lbs. and I'm absolutely happy about it. Unfortunately, I couldn't continue on the last set to do 2 rep max due to the fact that I pushed the earth so damn hard on the last set. I just did a drop set instead to do more higher reps to kinda compensate by muscle building. But all in all, I highly recommend this as a good strength builder. Tip: Consistency is key. I personally do cardio on Wed and Sat for endurance.

Posted on: Wed, 04/09/2014 - 20:24

Is it correct to do
Set1: 8 reps, short rest
6 reps short rest
4 reps short rest
2 reps medium rest
Set2: 8 reps, short rest
6 reps short rest
4 reps short rest
2 reps medium rest
Set3: ditto
Set4: ditto but superset after 8 and 6 and4 and2 reps

Posted on: Tue, 01/21/2014 - 13:46

Should you do supersets with every set? or the end of the set

Posted on: Wed, 01/15/2014 - 02:22

Hi I have a bench press of 80-90 kg one rep max
I have no hurry
But which is the best workout training routine for me to increase it to 200 kg
No matter it took 2-3 years or more please help me

Posted on: Wed, 01/08/2014 - 12:08

I've had joint pain and weak joint issues (and also have a damaged rotator cuff as a result) so I had to back off lifting for a while. Would it be beneficial to try strength training for a while, then moving back into higher reps for joints? Or does it not matter? Either way I'm working more on taking care of the joints now.

Posted on: Mon, 11/04/2013 - 17:04

I've been working out 4 days a week for about 10 months now and was very skeptical of how minimal this workout is ...... but i was wrong. Great workout for anyone in a more advanced work out because you can really concentrate on the muscle you are working out and not worry about cashing out ur muscles to early. I added deadlift and 2 ab workouts but other then that kept it the same and feeling it! thank you!

Posted on: Tue, 08/06/2013 - 00:06

What if I made this a one day, full body routine and did it every 3-4 days (twice a week)? I have lifted seriously as a college athlete, but have gotten lazy since finishing 2 years ago. I want to gain my strength and mass back. Thanks

Posted on: Fri, 07/12/2013 - 23:29

Can you switch up the body parts for example instead of chest and biceps you could do chest and triceps

Posted on: Fri, 07/12/2013 - 18:00

hi steve
should i make every set and remove the weight between reps

Posted on: Fri, 06/28/2013 - 07:17

I have maxed out my calf press machine, what can I do I move up ?

Posted on: Fri, 05/24/2013 - 00:38

I've been using this workout for about 4 months solid now and have seen some real results. I went from 185lbs on my last set with bench to 245lbs just the other day. 205lbs to 245lbs on squat for my last set and all other sections have increased tons also, 70lbs to 110lbs on triceps, etc. I do feel I'm now at a plateau however and was thinking about switching it up to either a mass building or fat cutting routine. I'm still over-weight and have a bf % of about 35. Wondering if I should cut weight first or build mass. I also have recently started a running routine with my wife this last week.

Posted on: Sat, 04/27/2013 - 13:23

Are you suggesting only 1-2 exercises per muscle group?

Koorosh Roodbaraky
Posted on: Wed, 04/03/2013 - 08:52

Strength program with no deadlift. Are you crazy?

Posted on: Wed, 03/27/2013 - 00:23

No deadlifts?

Posted on: Tue, 02/19/2013 - 12:38

Hey Steve is it okay to do normal bench press on chest day instead of incline bench? and also I'm mostly going for strength right now would you recommend this or the power muscle burn work out?

Posted on: Fri, 02/15/2013 - 17:01

You mentioned military service.. can I ask what branch? We've got a small group of dudes here in Afghanistan that use your workouts religiously and have thus far been very happy with the results!
Thanks for sharing with us.

Posted on: Thu, 02/14/2013 - 16:22

Can I combine the exercise of Doug's Mega Cutting Routine with the exercise of the above routine(Doug's 4 Day Split Maximum Strength) making a 6 day regimen working for each body part exclusively?

Posted on: Tue, 01/29/2013 - 18:24

I'm wondering is there anything I can add to work out my back on tuesday?

Posted on: Sun, 01/27/2013 - 22:21

What would be considered a superset?

Aditya Upadhyay
Posted on: Thu, 01/17/2013 - 15:05

will this program stunt my height in any ways

Rob Maust
Posted on: Wed, 01/16/2013 - 23:48

I have a quick question because I am sort of puzzled. Are we supposed to do the 5 min cool down and 5 min of stretching after each exercise or after the entire workout?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 01/17/2013 - 11:35

After the entire workout...

Posted on: Thu, 01/10/2013 - 20:46

Hey! I have a question. I'm 15 years old and a basketball player so i'm looking for a good strength training for my tricep and leg and this one look really cool but i want to lose fat on my leg. I know this one is a strenght workout but will i gain muscle with this? i don't want to have a huge leg ;( pls answer and give me some suggestions.

Posted on: Tue, 01/01/2013 - 12:25

Can you really see gains from doing one workout out with a superset per body part?

Juan Rozo
Posted on: Sat, 12/22/2012 - 12:47

I love this routine. Can I do stiff leg deadlifts instead of leg curls? Thank you

Mark Hunt
Posted on: Mon, 11/26/2012 - 19:11

I got a 16 yr old that just started lifting a little this year. I'd say he's a beginner. He wants to gain strength and weight. He's 5'9 and 130lbs. What would be a good lifting program for him for this?

Posted on: Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:57

What is supersetted? Still unclear about this

Posted on: Sat, 10/06/2012 - 05:03

Hi, is this like the whole workout? Meaning you only do Barbell rows on Back days, nothing else? Or could I add some excercises of my own? Don't want to ruin your a routine by doing something I shouldn't. And is it ok to do the incline bench on a smith?

Posted on: Thu, 09/06/2012 - 22:38

Is there any workouts to substitute the incline dumbell curl! i dont feel it working it may be my posture but if i use a big dumbell i feel like im not doing it right and if i use a more manageable weight i dont feel like it does anything!! any help would be greatly aprecieted

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 09/07/2012 - 10:37

You can pretty much use an equal curl exercise.

Posted on: Wed, 08/15/2012 - 07:56

So it this routine just one set of each exercise 8 6 4 2 or is it 4 sets of 8 6 4 2??????

Posted on: Wed, 08/15/2012 - 01:24

Will I also gain muscle mass from this workout as well as strength? Because im looking for a workout that does both

Posted on: Mon, 07/30/2012 - 11:14

is it set 1. 8,6,4,2reps.set 2. 8,6,4,2 reps and so on OR set 1.8 rep.set 2 6 reps.set 3 4reps and so on

Posted on: Thu, 07/05/2012 - 23:12

As a beginner I made the mistake of following another intermediate workout program that I have been following for the past 5 weeks. I have done extensive research and have tried to learn every form to the best of my ability. I have made significant gains so far, would it be a good idea to follow this program or would it still be better to find a beginner program? I'm pretty athletic and have not felt overworked on my current workout program, which is higher volume than this maximum strength program.

Jarrett Lettieri
Posted on: Sat, 06/16/2012 - 11:45

I am trying to put together a routine for a 14 year old kid with joint problems. he is overweight but i want him to build muscle and gain strength instead of burning all of the fat away without utilizing it. he has never worked out before and i cold some pointers on how to decide exercises for him. thank you

Posted on: Sat, 03/31/2012 - 03:42

I stick with this program without resting on Wednesday, is it possible to repeat the excercises performed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday on Fridays?
Friday - Shoulders, Triceps,Back,Chest, Biceps and Lats
Is it possible to sometimes participate in other physical activities such as climbing 7 hours after (climbing/bouldering 1-3 hours on Tuesday & running Saturday or Sunday).
Is this possible or don't I get enough rest if I do?

Posted on: Mon, 03/26/2012 - 19:15

hi Steve Im 14 and been working out for 2 years and im wondering if im still a Beginner

Posted on: Sat, 03/24/2012 - 17:17

Is there any need to add abs in this workout and if so what exercises would be good for strengthening my core?

Posted on: Sun, 03/18/2012 - 05:06

Is it possible to stick with this program without resting on Wednesday?
As for now I can only work out Mon Tue Wed Thu

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2012 - 15:44

That should be ok.

Posted on: Mon, 02/13/2012 - 02:45

I don't workout much but when i do for each muscle i do at least 2-3 exercises maybe i didn't get the points of this workout but according to this each day takes me 10-15 minutes to finish all my workout is it enough?

Posted on: Wed, 01/11/2012 - 15:53

you may have answered this, but what do you mean by "supersetted"?

Posted on: Thu, 09/06/2012 - 22:41

as soon as you finish the last set you go to the superset with out resting (IE set of 2 reps then immediately the superset)

Posted on: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 07:39

i train in muay thai / mma and i was wondering is it ok to use this workout for my sport??........ also will i gain size from doing this workout??

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 12/14/2011 - 14:53

What is your lifting background?

Posted on: Mon, 11/21/2011 - 17:51

Can I do HIIT cardio for 30 mins and then do this workout? Please advice. Thanks.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 12/13/2011 - 13:38

Cardio after lifting is preferable.