four day split

Most Effective Four Day Split

I am asked on a fairly frequent basis for my workout program, or to write up a workout program for someone.  I wanted to post here the most effective weight training split I have found for building muscle and burning fat, with strength and size being the primary goals.

This program was built off of a foundation I got from a pro body builder with power lifting and strength conditioning components infused.

Prior to utilizing a four day split I was following a traditional Mon-Fri weight training routine with Saturday for hiking or cardio focused activities.    I began this traditional program seriously in 2006 and got really good results for about a year.  I went from 177.6 pounds at 10.9% body fat on 6-12-06, to 179.4 lbs. and 8.9% BF on 8-24-07, effectively putting on over 11 pounds of lean muscle mass.  After this initial gain, I began to plateau and in response added more training in the mornings.  This caused me to go backwards.

9-23-2008 Standing Relaxed View

Click for Larger View

I consulted with my body-building body and based on my workout, work and sleep schedule he deducted I was over-training.  The main way that we could tell was that I was having trouble sleeping and my resting heart rate was higher than normal.  I reduced to four days of weights with one functional day for more cardiovascular development and immediately saw huge growth.

After another year of training, on 9-17-08 I was at 177.7 pounds at 7.1% body fat, putting on another couple pounds of lean mass and creating on overall leaner physic.  Looking back, I wouldn’t classify myself as necessarily that strong or a power-lifter back then, but I was fairly cut and muscular.

After taking most of 2009 and 2010 off of training while I started my own business, I ballooned up to at least 230 pounds.  In 2011, sick of being weak and out of shape, I got serious about training and began again with the 4 day split.  This time around though, I began working out with a buddy Josh Hackett, who was more focused on strength and functional Olympic lifts such as clean, snatch, deadlift and overhead squat.  Exercises I had not put a heavy focus on and was definitely not excellent at.

By infusing these heavy functional lifts into my split, I found myself more focused on strength than getting the ripped physic.  However by focusing on a lean diet starting in February 2012 I was able to lean down from 220 to 195 as of the time of this writing.  I have further to go for reaching my goals but not only are the abs back but I am stronger than ever before in my life.

At the time of this writing my personal bests are as follows…

  • Flat Bar Bench Press – 365 lbs.
  • Back Barbell Squat – 355 lbs.
  • Deadlift (w/straps) – 455 lbs.
  • Overhead Press – 245 lbs.
  • Power Clean – 245 lbs.

I am not telling you all of this to show you how awesome I am.  I write this to show the ability of this program to help accomplish your fitness goals rather it be build mass, loose fat or gain strength.  Match the appropriate diet to the desired result and this program will work for you.

four day split

Click on Image to View Program Details

Notes on Program:

  1. Based on goals more or less exercises can be supersetted
  2. Exercise 8 can be added or subtracted based on feel of the day
  3. Weight should be adjusted up weekly as nessecary
  4. Number of reps can be changed “on-the-fly” as required
  5. Functional day should be varied weekly or monthly
  6. Utilize functional day to enhance overall fitness goals

If you have any questions about the program or would like to make fun of my haircut / goatee in the picture above.  Please leave your questions and thoughts in the comments section below.



  • Christopher Vincent October 30, 2012 Reply

    Be sure to check out my Diet Overview on how I eat for results.

  • Jeremy February 23, 2016 Reply

    Nice right up man! I will definitely give this a try for the next couple of weeks. I am currently doing a straight 5 day on, 2 days off split, and its wearing me out.

  • Christopher Vincent July 27, 2016 Reply

    Awesome man I have a modified version of this I’ll be writing about soon.

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