A Classic 4 Day Weight Lifting Workout Split

Get the ice and Ibuprofen ready because this 4-Day Workout Split will destroy you.

In the best way, of course.

To maximize your gains in the gym, you’ll need to focus on consistent heavy compound exercises combined with the right amount of rest.

Overload on the workout without the rest and you’ll just beat yourself up.

This 4-Day Workout Split mixes muscle-blasting workouts with optimized rest intervals to boost your muscle progression.

Here’s what the 4-day split workout looks like.

4 Day Workout Split | Summary

  • Days Per Week – 4 days
  • Workout Duration – 60 Minutes
  • Sets Per Exercise – 3 sets
  • Rep Range – 4-6 reps
  • Rest Intervals – 2-3 Minutes

4 Day Split | Weekly Schedule

  • Monday — Lower Body and Legs
  • Tuesday — Chest and Triceps
  • Wednesday — OFF
  • Thursday — Back and Biceps
  • Friday — Shoulders
  • Saturday — OFF
  • Sunday — OFF

Building Muscle with the 4-day split

Since this full-body 4-day split is mostly comprised of heavy compound exercises, you’ll need sufficient rest in between workouts to return to efficient training strength.

That’s why you have 3 days off each week. The 4-day split workout doesn’t work without the rest and recovery.

This schedule guarantees that you’ll show up at each workout fresh and ready to progress with the recommended overload training. Work hard for 4-days, rest for 3.

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Endurance Training on the weekends

Some of you may have noticed lower body and leg day is on a Monday, also known as National Chest Day.

“Blaspheme!” Before you burn us at the stake, hear us out.

By blasting the lower body on Monday, you’ll be recovered for endurance training on the weekends.

Most endurance athletes save their long efforts for the weekend due to time constrictions during the week. With the 4-day split workout schedule, lower body training won’t interfere with your weekend endurance runs, long bike rides, or epic hikes.

With Saturday free, you can focus all your time and energy on endurance training. And with Sunday off, you’ll have a full day of recovery before hitting the gym again on Monday. This is the beauty of the 4-day split. It’s a full-body workout program designed with optimum rest and recovery.

4 Day Workout Split | Training Method

Bodybuilder Lifting Weights

Each session during your 4-day split workout should last around 60 minutes. Most of my other workout routines last 45-60 minutes, but those are generally for 5-6 Day Split workouts, not a 4-day split.

Since you’re only working out 4 days a week, you may need a little extra time with each workout to make sure you sufficiently train all muscle groups.

Stick to 3 sets

Training in the low rep range close to failure is fatiguing. That’s why I recommend 3 sets per exercise.

Any further than 3 sets and your form is bound to suffer, or you are forced to decrease the amount of weight. If after 3 sets you don’t feel your form starting to fail, it’s time to up the weight. The 4-day splits are more efficient when weights are kept high and reps low to spur progression.

Low Reps and Focus on Form

You’ll perform each exercise in the 4-6 rep range. This is important for a 4-Day Split primarily made up of compound exercises.
 
  • By keeping the rep range low, you’ll be better able to focus on your form.
    • This helps with progressive overload training. It’s easier to track gains from 4 to 5 reps as opposed to 15 to 16.
  • Studies show high-intensity exercise increase muscle growth more than high-volume exercises

Rest and Recovery

It’s not just about the 3 days or rest, but about the small rest in between sets. Make sure to take a small rest, but don’t dilly dally about.

Rest for 2-3 minutes in between each set. A study found lifters made large strength gains with 2-minute rest intervals.

Those who trained with longer 4-minute rest intervals experienced “little additional gains.” That’s why we recommend at least 2 minutes of rest between each set. Low reps, high weight, and minimal rest in between sets can be a great way to optimize your 4-day split workouts.

4 Day Workout Split | Exercises

Legs | Day 1

Primary Exercises (followed by their alternative exercises):

  • Barbell Back Squat (Barbell Front Squat, Leg Press, Dumbbell Back Squat)
  • Romanian Deadlift (Dumbbell Single-Leg Deadlift, Bulgarian Split Squat, Hamstring Curl)
  • Barbell Glute Bridge (Barbell Reverse Lunge, Dumbbell Lunge, Glute Pull-Through)
  • Seated Calf Raise (Standing Calf Raise, Donkey Calf Raise, Leg Press Calf Raise)

Chest And Triceps | Day 2

Primary Exercises (followed by their alternative exercises):

  • Barbell Bench Press (Dumbbell Bench Press, Chest Press Machine, Floor Press)
  • Incline Barbell Bench Press (Incline Dumbbell Bench Press, Landmine Press)
  • Dips (Weighted Dips, Bench Dip)
  • Close-Grip Tricep Bench Press (Dumbbell Tricep Press, Tricep Press Machine)
  • Reverse-Grip Barbell Skullcrusher (Barbell Skullsher, Dumbbell Skullcrusher)
  • Cable Rope Pulldown (Cable Straight Bar Pulldown, Diamond Pushup)

Back And Biceps | Day 4

Primary Exercises (followed by their alternative exercises):

  • Barbell Deadlift (Dumbbell Deadlift, Suitcase Deadlift)
  • Barbell Row (T-Bar Row, Dumbbell Row, Seated Cable Row)
  • Lat Pull-down (Straight Bar Cable Pull-down)
  • Pull-up (Weighted Pull-up)
  • EZ Bar Curl (Barbell Curl, Bicep Curl Machine)
  • Hammer Curl (Bicep Curl, Zottman Curl)
  • Straight Bar Cable Curl (Rope Cable Curl)

Shoulders | Day 5

Primary Exercises (followed by their alternative exercises):

  • Seated Military Press (Standing Barbell Shoulder Press, Dumbbell Shoulder Press, Arnold Press)
  • Reverse Dumbbell Fly (Reverse Flye Machine, Seated Reverse Dumbbell Flye, Face Pull)
  • Lateral Dumbbell Shoulder Raise (Lateral Cable Raise)
  • Front Dumbbell Shoulder Raise (Front Cable Raise)

“Where are the abs!?” you’re probably wondering. Hold tight, the 4-day split would never skip them.

Most of these compound exercises require a significant amount of core strength to execute with proper form. So your abs are getting a great workout each day, whether you are working the upper or lower body!

But to maximize abdominal strength gains, add this simple ab circuit onto your “lighter” days (shoulders, lower body, and feel free to throw it in and the end of your other workouts if you still have the energy).

*Make sure you do any ab-specific exercises at the END of your workout. Throwing them in at the beginning or throughout will decrease your power for other compound lifts.

Here are two ab circuits I cycle through each week while doing the 4-day split: one focuses more on the obliques and the other focuses on the rectus abdominus.

Perform 10-12 reps of the first weighted exercise. Then perform the two bodyweight exercises to failure. Then rest for 2-3 minutes before repeating the circuit. Complete 3 sets of the circuit.

Ab Circuit #1

  • Hanging Dumbbell Knee Raise
  • Ab Bicycle
  • Decline Crunch

Ab Circuit #2

  • Landmine 180
  • Captain’s Chair Straight Leg Raise
  • Mason Twist

And that’s it!

Again, this is a more traditional weight lifting schedule. Many would consider this a “bodybuilding” type routine.

The 4-day split in summary

Trying out a 4-day split workout can be a great way to mix up your normal exercise routine, and experiment with intensity and recovery. Unlike other exercise schedules that focus on full-body routines, high-intensity training, and focused muscle groups, the 4-day split workout combines a good balance of high weight, low reps, and efficient recovery.

Depending on your workout goals, you can alternate weeks of weight training and cardio training to keep things fresh, and keep the progression moving. Finding a full-body workout program that fits well for your mindset and schedule can be a bit tricky. So for those looking for real gains, the 4-day split workout could be something to try out.

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