Upper/Lower 4 Day Gym Bodybuilding Split Workout

Reach your muscle building goals with this balanced 4 day training split that mixes heavy compound exercises, machines, cables and incorporates 3 second negatives.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Split
Beginner
10 weeks
4
45-60 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Male & Female
download pdfDownload Workout

Workout Description

This is a muscle building workout that I have been using lately now that I am training more often at commercial gyms. It works well both with, and without a training partner. If training with a partner, I recommend keeping rest periods brief. After your partner's set is finished, you should waste little time before hitting your next set.

Each training day is balanced. You start by challenging major muscle groups with 3 sets of compound or taxing machine exercises. Next, you follow up by finishing a muscle group with a more isolation-style movement that typically focuses on the use of 3 second negatives. Lastly, you work smaller muscle groups with 3 sets each, using 3 second negatives when it makes sense.

Here is the training schedule:

  • Day 1 - Upper Body
  • Day 2 - Lower Body
  • Day 3 - Off
  • Day 4 - Upper Body
  • Day 5 - Lower Body
  • Day 6 - Off
  • Day 7 - Off

Intense Dumbbell Curls

Upper body training days

Upper body training days follow this scheme:

  • Chest - 3 sets, compound
  • Back - 3 sets, compound
  • Shoulders - 3 sets, compound
  • Chest - 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Back - 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Shoulders - 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Triceps - 3 sets, isolation or machine/cable exercises. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Biceps - 3 sets, isolation or machine/cable exercises. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.

Lower body training days

Lower body training days follow this scheme:

  • Quads - 3 sets, compound
  • Hamstrings - 3 sets, compound
  • Calves - 3 sets, taxing machine or isolation
  • Quads - 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Hamstrings - 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Calves - 2 sets, isolation or machine/moderate compound. Use 3 second negatives when it makes sense.
  • Abs - 3 sets, isolation or machine/cable exercises.
  • Abs, Lower Back or Obliques - 3 sets, isolation or machine/cable exercises.
Day 1
Upper Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 3 6-12
Barbell Row 3 6-12
Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press 3 8-12
Pec Dec - 3 sec negative 2 10-12
V-Bar Lat Pull Down - 3 sec negative 2 10-12
Side Lateral Raise 2 10-15
Cable Tricep Extensions - 3 sec negative 3 8-12
Cable Curls - 3 sec negative 3 8-12
Day 2
Lower Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats 3 6-12
Stiff Leg Deadlifts 3 8-12
Standing Calf Raise 3 10-15
Leg Extensions - 3 sec negative 2 10-12
Leg Curl - 3 sec negative 2 10-12
Seated Calf Raise - 3 sec negative 2 10-12
Cable Crunch - 3 sec negative 3 10-12
Cable Pull Through w/Rope 3 10-12
Day 4
Upper Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8-12
Rack Deadlifts - 3" to 5" off ground 3 5-8
Military Press 3 8-12
Machine Chest Press - 3 sec negative 2 8-12
Pull Ups or Machine Rows - 3 sec negative 2 8-12
Machine Shoulder Press - 3 sec negative 2 8-12
Dumbbell Curls - 3 sec negative 3 8-12
Machine Tricep Dip - 3 sec negative 3 8-12
Day 5
Lower Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Press 3 10-20
Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlifts 3 8-12
Leg Press Calf Raise 3 10-15
Hack Squat 2 8-12
Seated Leg Curl - 3 sec negative 2 10-12
Seated Calf Raise - 3 sec negative 2 10-12
Planks 3 60 sec
Hyperextension 3 10-12

216 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 05/14/2018 - 02:40
Ankur Gupta

Hi. For how long one should continue with the 4 day upper and lower body split workout?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/14/2018 - 08:51
JoshEngland

Hi Ankur,

This program's duration is 10 weeks.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 05/16/2018 - 00:57
Ankur Gupta

Thank you.

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Posted Wed, 05/09/2018 - 18:29
Mohamad

Hi, is it okay to replace the squat for box squat? I have very weak legs (overall), flat feet and hence horrible balance preventing me from performing proper squat with proper form.
I hardly squat 40kgs for 6 while my upper body is doing fine.
Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 05/10/2018 - 08:57
JoshEngland

Hi Mohamad,

Yes, absolutely.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 04/26/2018 - 07:17
essam sayed

hi again
can I use supersets in that workout like between biceps and triceps or in chest exercises?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 04/26/2018 - 10:06
JoshEngland

Hi essam,

Yes, you can incorporate supersets using this workout program.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 04/20/2018 - 16:21
ARoun

Hi I’ll be done with this program soon, I seen great muscle growth ! what do you recommended after this one? Should I do an individual body part split or another lower/body split?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/23/2018 - 09:41
JoshEngland

Hi Aroun,

Depends on your goals. You can continue running this program if you're still enjoying it and seeing results. You could give PHUL a try if you want to increase your strength gains. Or you can switch to a hypertrophy program if you want to chase the pump for a while.

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

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:59
Zachary Long

Will someone that has been lifting for almost a year see mass gain and benefit from this workout?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/16/2018 - 09:09
JoshEngland

Hi Zachary,

Yes, but probably not the kinds of gains they experienced their first yr of lifting. Still, you should be able to put on size by performing this program and eating in a calorie surplus.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 04/15/2018 - 06:46
essam sayed

thanks a lot for this workout
I have a question
what about forearms exercises?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/16/2018 - 09:23
JoshEngland

Hi Essam,

Feel free to add in additional forearm exercises if you feel it is necessary to do so.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 04/07/2018 - 08:30
Andre

Hi, I just wanted to know how many weeks should we keep at this routine before starting a new one? 4? 5? 6?
Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/09/2018 - 09:44
JoshEngland

Hi Andre,

10 weeks. It's listed in the workouts description at the top of the page and on the PDF.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 04/04/2018 - 09:49
Babicus

Hi, i have just started this workout however there is no guidance for the weight?

Should I be doing my max on strength days, how much on the other days and how much should i be increasing by weekly?

Thanks!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 04/04/2018 - 10:10
JoshEngland

Hi Babicus,

Use 75-85% of your working max for each lift.

Progression is very individualized. So long as you are increasing the weight over time, you'll be able to achieve your goals.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 04/04/2018 - 05:12
georg skeide

Can i do this program as a Novice, or do i need to change something? if so, what should i change.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 04/04/2018 - 10:08
JoshEngland

Hi Georg,

I'd recommend starting here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/beginner

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 04/03/2018 - 10:39
Jake smith

Would this workout work for an ectomorph lookin to bulk?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 04/03/2018 - 11:27
JoshEngland

Hi Jake,

The 3 body types are somewhat of a myth. But to answer your question, yes this workout can help you put on muscle so long as you are eating enough calories each day and sleeping 7-9 hours each night.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 04/02/2018 - 11:26
Georg Ansgar Skeide

Hello, can i add my own abs workout on both leg days? It’s 2 minute plank, side plank.
Then sit ups and bicycle crunches

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 04/02/2018 - 16:31
JoshEngland

Hi Georg,

Sure, go for it!

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 03/22/2018 - 10:17
Mohamed Magdy

i find very hard to play Machine Tricep Dip , what can i play instead of it for tricep ?
second thing this workout include one tricep and biecep workout in a day , can i play two workout for biecep and tricep ??

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 03/22/2018 - 12:23
JoshEngland

Hi Mohamed,

Feel free to sub the machine tricep dip with any tricep exercise you fancy.

Sure, you can modify this program by adding more arm work if you wish, however, it might not be necessary depending on your experience level and goals.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 03/20/2018 - 14:13
Mohamed Magdy

hi
should i make the same work out in the article i mean for example in the upper ( back muscle ) should i make the deadlift or can i make for example ( lat pulldown ) instead ??

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 03/20/2018 - 15:27
JoshEngland

Hi Mohamed,

I wouldn't recommend subbing the deadlift for the lat pull down.

Hope this helps!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 03/21/2018 - 08:53
JoshEngland

Hi Mohamed,

Oh ok, I understand. Yes you can modify this workout to include the equipment you have access to. In the case of the machine bench press, I'd recommend another dumbbell or barbell bench press variation.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 03/20/2018 - 16:40
Mohamed Magdy

i speak generally ,
for example in my gym i have not machine bench press what can i play instead of ??

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Posted Sat, 03/17/2018 - 12:35
emrah

Hello there. I have been training for over a year. I started training again 1 month ago after giving a break. Can I find a 4 day program for me? to win muscle ...

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/19/2018 - 08:57
JoshEngland

Hi Emrah,

This is an excellent 4 day workout program to help you build muscle mass.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 03/16/2018 - 06:40
Alex

Is there an Upper /lower body Workout for advanced People ? I loved this one

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 03/16/2018 - 09:03
JoshEngland
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Posted Tue, 03/13/2018 - 08:18
Aryan

Sir Istarted this split last week and I have done 6 months in gym . I did legs on wednesdat then on saturday and in this week can I again train them on tuesday or I need time till wednesday?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 03/13/2018 - 08:40
JoshEngland

Hi Aryan,

You can train them on Tuesday if you've felt you've fully recovered from Saturdays workout.

Hope this helps!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 03/21/2018 - 08:54
JoshEngland

Either is fine. With the way you have described your current split, I'd recommend keeping it on Thursday.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 03/18/2018 - 22:52
Aryan

Sir on upper body day and lower body I.e day 1 and day2. They are strength days right ? And also sir I’ve modified ur program pls tell me is it ok as a 6 months beginner Monday upper body Tuesday legs Wednesday chest and back Thursday rest Friday arms and shoulders Saturday legs? Is it ok sir

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Posted Wed, 03/21/2018 - 04:32
Aryan

Sure sir but I would like to know is this workout which I have modified ok if I am bulking ? And also should I do rest on Wednesday or Thursday ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/19/2018 - 08:58
JoshEngland

Hi Aryan,

That's a great way to modify this workout program and make it your own. Let me know how it goes!

Best of luck!

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Posted Sun, 03/11/2018 - 16:49
Alex

Hello. Can I do 4 sets instead of 3, and 3 sets instead of 2?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/12/2018 - 08:55
JoshEngland

Hi Alex,

Sure, you can. Adding more volume is a good form of progression. However, if you aren't trying to increase the amount of time spent in the gym and you find those sets easy, I'd recommend moving up in weight used instead.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 03/11/2018 - 16:07
pumba123

Hello, i am 18yo 187 83kg with 20-25% bodyfat.I am beginner and i wonder if this split is more efficient than the whole body split,also i do the bench press with 40kg as beginner is that average for my weight or i am just weak

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/12/2018 - 08:56
JoshEngland

Hi Pumba,

For beginner workouts, start here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/beginner

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 02/24/2018 - 20:49
A roun

Hi if I am a beginner and I still have a lot of body fat left ( 20-25 BF )what type of cardio do you recommend with this routine ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/26/2018 - 09:35
JoshEngland

Hi A roun,

Try one of these if you are a true beginner: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/beginner

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 02/26/2018 - 18:00
A Roun

Thankyou for responding!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 02/27/2018 - 09:18
JoshEngland

You're welcome! Thank YOU for reading M&S!

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Posted Wed, 02/14/2018 - 16:12
Jason

Can you recommend a replacement lift for the rack pulls on Day 4? My facility doesn't have a squat rack. It does have a smith machine, can I do them on there? If so, can you elaborate how far off the ground I should raise it? 3-5" still seams like stiff leg deadlifts to me. Thanks man, great workout

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 02/15/2018 - 08:39
JoshEngland

Hi Jason,

I'd agree that rack pulls, when done with that amount of depth, would be more glute/hamstring focused depending on your height. There are few exercises that directly target the low back, and rightfully so. In real life, to avoid injury, pulls should be initiated through the heels and continue up the hamstrings and glutes to avoid low back injury.

That should be fine if you have no other alternative. If you're goal is to isolate your low back, I'd recommend raising the pins to a height more appropriate for your body type. You could also perform supermans or low back focused hyperextensions.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 02/13/2018 - 19:29
Benny

Should I use the same weight for each exercise for the duration of this program or add weight progressively? Or add reps over time and using the same weight?