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4-Day a Week Split: #2 Training Article Database Training Splits 4-Day a week Training Splits 4-Day a Week Split: #2




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The Split
Workout Muscle Groups Total Sets
1 Chest / Biceps 12 / 9
2 Shoulders / Calves 12 / 9
3 Back / Triceps 12 / 9
4 Thighs / Hamstrings / Abs 12 / 9

Workout 1 - Chest / Biceps
Exercise Sets / Reps Target
Bench Press 3 / 8 Overall Mass
Incline Bench Press 3 / 8 Upper Chest
Dumbell Flys 3 / 8 Outer Chest
Cable Crossovers 3 / 8 Outer Chest
Push Ups Failure Cool Down
Standing Barbell Curls 3 / 8 Overall Biceps
Preacher Curls 3 / 8 Biceps Length and Lower Thickness
Cable Concentration Curls 3 / 8 Biceps Peak
Seated Dumbbell Curls Failure Cooldown

Workout 2 - Shoulders / Calves
Exercise Sets / Reps Target
Military Press 3 / 8 Anterior (Front) Deltoid Head
Arnold Press 3 / 8 Front / Side Heads
Lateral Raises 3 / 8 Medial (Side) Deltoid Head
Machine Press 3 / 8 Anterior (Front) Deltoid Head
Dumbbell Press Failure Cool Down
Leg Press Calf Raises 3 / 8 Gastrocnemius Muscles
Reverse Calf Raise on Block 3 / 8 Tibialis Anterior Muscle
Seated Calf Raises 3 / 8 Soleus Muscle

Workout 3 - Back / Triceps
Exercise Sets / Reps Target
Narrow-Grip Bench Presses 3 / 8 Overall Mass
Close-Grip Bench Press 3 / 8 Triceps Inner / Outer Head
Triceps Medial Head 3 / 8 Incline or Decline Barbell Extensions
Machine Pullovers 3 / 8 Upper Back and Lat Thickness
Seated Cable Rows 3 / 8 Lat Development
Close-Grip Chin-Ups 3 / 8 Lower Lat Development
T-Bar Rows 3 / 8 Middle Back Thickness

Workout 4 - Thighs / Hamstrings / Abs
Exercise Sets / Reps Target
Squats 3 / 8 Lower Thigh Development
Outer Thigh Development 3 / 8 Hack Squats
Inner Thigh Development / Hamstrings 3 / 8 Lunges
Lying Leg Curls 3 / 8 Hamstrings
Reverse Crunches 3 / Failure* Lower Abs
Side Twists with Pole 3 / Failure* Obliques
Machine Crunches 3 / 8 Upper Abs

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As you can probably already tell by looking at this routine, it is not for beginner's. That said, it isn't too complicated or advanced either. It likely falls into the class for most intermediate weight trainers and bodybuilders. I will spend the remainder of this article describing why this workout is an effective one for those interested in overall muscular development.


As you can see, this routine targets every muscle in the body, and does it all over a period of only four days. This type of routine is pretty ideal for those working or in school. If you are on the go Monday to Friday, you likely start the days early and end them late. As long as your nutrition and rest are up to snuff, you should have the time and energy to devote a session at the gym during the days. This isn't always so easy, of course, but it may be a good split to make the four workouts span Monday to Friday, using one rest day somewhere in between for those in college or university. This is normally possible if a membership to your college gym is provided. Perfect for those in that situation!

Workout # 1 - Chest / Biceps

1. Chest.

Bench press is the meat and potatoes of muscle mass building for the chest. Period. Other exercises have come and gone, but rarely has an exercise existed to provide both mass and power to your chest distributed overall as well as it does. That said, it needs to be included in this routine. This is an important movement because it is a compound lift. It will utilize muscle fibers from your chest, but also require additional assistance from your front shoulders and triceps. As such a basic compound movement, it will help you with other movements. For example, the incline bench press. The same pressing power you will develop over time perfecting your bench press can be directly applied to your upper chest in the form of incline bench press. This will emphasize your upper pectoral muscles, and since it is a very basic lift, as the regular flat bench is, you are guaranteed to develop strength along with mass. Moving forward, the dumbbell flys, this will top off what you have already accomplished for your chest. Recruiting muscle fibers from the flat and incline bench press, flat bench flyes will focus some attention to the outer chest. Further, cable crossovers add one variation to this; where dumbbells and barbells are the best for muscle building, machines provide constant tension which is avoided otherwise. Pressure will be maintained on the chest throughout the entire range of motion as the machines will not allow you to relax. Top it off with some push ups as a cool down, and you've done a lot in a workout for chest alone: You've hammered it so that it's in gear to gain strength and mass in the days to come.

2. Biceps.

Biceps are simple. Beginner, intermediate or advanced level, one fact remains: Your biceps are small! And unless you are looking for a highly advanced arms training program specifically geared towards high volume and very focussed results, you can keep sets relatively low and still make great gains. So in this workout we keep sets down to nine in total. 3X3. Pretty simple, but even then, some would say it is a lot for an intermediate level routine. Three exercises by two sets may even be enough. Listen to your body first and foremost. Apply the instinctive principle. Only you can gauge your results accurately and know what is working and what isn't. On the other hand, some rules are age old and good for almost everyone. On that topic, we have included standing barbell curls in the routine. Why? Because they are the #1 exercise for overall biceps mass (at least as far as popular opinion goes!). And hey, could all those bodybuilders be wrong? Keeping reps and sets low, you will be working out your biceps in the mass building range. Preacher curls are important, and in some ways, just as important as barbell curls. Simply - preacher curls do for the lower regions of the biceps what barbell curls do for mass. Where biceps curls have an overall focus, preacher curls focus specifically on the lower region of the biceps. This is great, and especially useful for those with a naturally peaked biceps lacking in length. For full arms, preacher curls are the way to go. Again, reps are kept at a range that will allow for mass building. Cable concentration curls do the same for biceps as cable crossovers do for chest. Although many say machines are the enemy in the gym, they do offer their benefits. In this case, tension is placed on the target muscle through the entire range of motion. This is extremely important because if you are slacking in this area, the machine won't let you do so for long! It may be a good gauge for your own intensity levels in the gym. Cool down afterwards, drink your post workout shake and call it a day!

Workout #2 - Shoulders / Calves

1. Shoulders.

Although the chest and biceps are probably the showstoppers, a good pair of 3-D delts helps a lot too. For one, you can significantly improve your V-taper by improving your delts (lats are also important in this way). So - In our tradition so far of keeping with the basics, we include the barbell military press. Why? Because this is another great exercise for both strength and mass, targeting the front head of the deltoid. Although the order of these exercises (or even the workouts for that matter) are not really important, if you put this at the beginning of the workout, your energy levels will be at their peak, and you can really give the military press a good go. Moving onto Arnold presses, you will also benefit by targeting both the front and side heads of your deltoids. We are working with dumbbells now to recruit stabilizer muscle fibers. Although Arnold presses or not quite as basic as the military press, it will strengthen your deltoids not only in the movement itself, but other similar pressing movements, such as the dumbbell military press. Once again, the machine press allows for constant pressure throughout the entire range of motion, and will provide a benefit for you by stabilizing the motion for you. Using dumbbells, barbells and a machine, you will be sure to find out your weaknesses, and where they are. Remember - balance is the key.

2. Calves.

Now, how often you workout your calves is up to you, and your goals. If you are seeking balance, training calves once, or maybe even twice a week may be ideal. If they are a strong point for you, you may want to reduce that. It depends on a number of factors. The exercises provided are quite balanced as well; you hit the gastrocnemius muscles, the tibialis anterior muscle, and the soleus muscle. As a tip, you can switch the seated calf raises to standing ones based on your personal preference. Since balance is the goal, hitting the same parts of the muscle in a different way (with a different exercise) is perfectly fine.

Workout # 3 - Back / Triceps

1. Back.

Mass and thickness is the name of the game for our back exercises. You will notice we focus on some very basic exercises here. Chin ups are much the same as lat pull downs, only without the stabilization offered by the machine. T-Bar rows are a very good exercise for adding thickness to the middle portion of the back, and cable rows and machine pullovers are the variety needed to make this workout a balanced one.

2. Triceps.

Some will prefer training back with biceps, but biceps are used for many back movements (cable rowing exercises for example). As a result, back and triceps has become a fairly popular split. Narrow grip bench presses are great, not only for overall mass of the triceps, but also for more strength in your regular bench pressing. Triceps act as secondary aid along with shoulders for bench press movements, and strengthening your triceps with narrow grip bench presses will directly benefit you when you go back to the regular grip flat bench. More bench presses and incline or decline barbell extensions hit all three of the triceps heads and finishes off the workout for triceps. Again, sets are low, and for the purposes of this workout, 3X3, for a total of nine sets, working out in the eight rep range for building mass.

Thighs / Hamstrings / Abs

1. Legs


Nothing beats squats. This is a basic compound lift and is known for building muscle all over, and not just in the quads. What you will find about the legs day training is that some exercises work both hamstrings and quads together. A good example are dumbbell lunges. They are a great exercise to do because of their large target range. Leg curls are a good mass builder for hamstrings. Many pro bodybuilders have testified to this. Try them for yourself, and I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

Now as far as abs are concerned you may consider training them more than once a week. That is entirely up to you and based on how your body responds to such training. Again - follow the instinctive principle and see how your body responds. Some train their abs almost every day, others only once a week, so it is up to you to decide what works best for yourself. Follow your body - it won't lie.


As always, safety is a very important consideration. Try to find a training partner if possible, and check out the exercise database if you are looking for more information on how to train safely and target muscle groups effectively.

This is a good plan to follow, but as a tip, be sure to vary things up. It is not necessary to follow the program exactly as follows for good results. For example, you can decide which workouts to do on which days, and workout after workout, you should decide to switch things up in such a way where you can shock your body slightly with each workout. For example, the order of the exercises should be changed all the time to keep your body guessing what is coming next.

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Take care,

Matt Canning

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