4 Day Split Workout Plan

Keaton Ellis flexing his abs doing a sit up.

Build lean mass with this effective 4 day training split. This workout is perfect for beginners or intermediate level trainees, male or female!  

As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass due to inactivity and a decrease in hormones that support lean muscle. 

But fret not, it’s never too late to begin a resistance training program to build some lean mass.

Resistance training has so many benefits including:

If you’re looking for guidance on how to properly structure a 4 day workout regime you have come to the right place. 

Upper & Lower Style 

The routine discussed in this blog will focus on targeting each muscle group twice per week, in doing so we increase the volume & overall training load for the week. We will be using an upper lower split approach where 2 days of the week we dedicate to the upper body (back, chest, shoulders, biceps & triceps) and two days per week is dedicated to the lower body (glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves). Researchers have found that with an increase of volume there is also an increase in overall muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth).

In a study observing the differences in hypertrophy between low, moderate and high volume training protocols it was found that “muscle hypertrophy follows a dose–response relationship, with increasingly greater gains achieved with higher training volumes”.

The Game Plan 

Warm Up Protocol 

Typical warm up protocol entails a 5 minute session on any cardio equipment of your choice. Then, before beginning any upper body movements it is smart to warm up your rotator cuff with band or cable external rotations 2-3 sets of 10 reps per arm (light weight). Before moving to challenging weights it is very important to start at a lighter weight and work your way up.

For example, on the bench press I will typically begin with just one plate (135Ibs @ 50% of 1 Rep Max) then slowly work my way up finishing my last set at around 85%-90% of 1RM. On lower body days I find it extremely beneficial to utilize the leg curls and leg extension machines prior to doing anything heavy. It increases blood flow and warms up the hamstrings and quads nicely for any working heavy sets.

Core Workouts 

Core workouts should fall between 5-10 minutes; they are essential to include 2-3x per week. 

Here is an example of what you can do to build up your core strength:(Choose 2-3 workouts and perform them at the end of 2-3 of your weekly workouts)

Leg raises - 12, 12, 12 

Cable rope crunch - 12, 12 ,12 

Russian twists - 20, 20, 20 

Plank - 1 min, 1 min, 1min 

Reverse crunch - 12, 12, 12

Bicycle crunch - 20, 20, 20

Weekly Layout

Basically the trick to scheduling your weekly workouts is to ensure you alternate between the upper and lower body splits.

Be sure to not train the same muscle groups on back to back days, I have laid out a few examples below so you can have a better idea of what your weeks may look like...

Example weekly schedule 1:

Monday - Upper 

Tuesday - Lower 

Wednesday - Rest 

Thursday - Upper 

Friday - Lower 

Saturday - Rest

Sunday - Rest 

Example weekly schedule 2:

Monday - Upper 

Tuesday - Lower 

Wednesday - Rest 

Thursday - Upper 

Friday - Rest 

Saturday - Rest

Sunday - Lower

The Workouts 

Upper A:

Bench press - 12, 10, 8, 6

Incline Dumbbell press - 12, 10, 8

Lat pull downs - 12, 10, 8

Cable rows - 12, 10, 8

Dumbbell lateral raise - 12, 12, 12

Rope face pulls - 12, 12, 12

Dumbbell hammer curls - 10, 10, 10

Tricep rope extensions - 10, 10, 10

Lower A:

Leg extensions - 12, 12, 12, 12 

Seated leg curls - 12, 12, 12, 12

Barbell squats - 12, 10, 8, 6

Dumbbrll stationary lunge - 10, 8, 8

Bulgarian split squats - 10, 8, 8

Seated calf raises - 12, 12, 12, 12

Upper B:

Deadlift - 12, 10, 8, 6

Dumbbell shrugs - 12, 12, 12

Dumbbell chest press - 12, 10, 8

Chest fly's - 12, 12, 12

Barbell shoulder press - 12, 10, 8, 6

Rear delt fly's - 12, 12, 12

Preacher curls - 10, 10, 10

Overhead tricep rope extensions - 10, 10, 10

Lower B: 

Leg extensions - 12, 12, 12, 12 

Seated leg curls - 12, 12, 12, 12

Leg press - 12, 10, 8, 6

Calf raise (leg press) - 12, 12, 12

Bulgarian split squats - 10, 10, 10

Barbell straight legged deadlifts - 10, 10, 10

Goblet squats 10, 10, 10

Additional Information 

Rest Times 

Rest times will depend on the amount of weight used in the set, you will need much less rest between a warmup set and your first working set. I recommend that if the goal is hypertrophy you should be resting 2-5 minutes between sets for your large compound movements like squats. Rest time should be a little less for isolation movements like a bicep curl at around 1-2 minutes. 

How Do You Increase Weight?

I like to follow a “pyramid structure” when it comes to repetitions and sets. This means starting with a lighter weight on some key lifts for higher rep counts (around 12) then slowly increasing the weight and decreasing the rep count.

Repetition Tempo

The ability to focus on each repetition is a super power, counting for 2-3 seconds on the way down (eccentric) and 1 second on the way up (concentric). Due to the fact that most muscular ‘damage’ that sparks muscle growth is actually done in the eccentric portion of the movement. For example, on the bench press the eccentric portion of the movement is where the bard is lowering towards the chest.  


I like to look at cardio as a sort of tool we can use for two main things… 1. Improvement of cardiovascular health, 2. A tool to add to the calorie deficit when trying to lose weight. So if these two benefits are something you're after, feel free to add cardio in a few days a week to tailor to your needs. 

Mobility & Stretch Work 

It is recommended to incorporate stretching into your weekly routine to ensure proper muscle function and possibly even prevent injuries. I recommend stretching the muscles exercised post workout holding each stretch for 1-2 sets of around 30 seconds. Some people even prefer to throw in a full mobility/core/cardio day to get in an extra workout on a rest day which is also fine!

Is 4 days per week too much? Check out our blog post on the perfect way to structure a 3 day workout split.

Keaton Ellis

Keaton is the Co-Founder of Everfit and came on board in 2020. Keaton holds a BSc degree in Kinesiology and is passionate about helping people better themselves.