This is a 4 day split based on the principle of training the agonist-antagonist muscle groups for hypertrophy. It’s suitable for intermediate and advanced trainees, who’s goal is to hit the gym with high intensity and to do more work in less time.
There is a very important rule you need to follow if you are a natural bodybuilder – don’t blindly follow the training programs that the pros do and are printed in commercial muscle magazines. Just because something works for them it doesn’t mean it will work for you. ( Of course that might not be the case if you have super genetics ).
That’s why it is very important when you encounter such a program, that you get familiar with the principles upon which it was founded, to consider the loading, your personal capabilities, experience and the recovery which you can provide your body with.
If you are asking yourself why are we saying these things, it’s because this program is one of those training programs. This split was used by Arnold Schwarzenegger himself to build muscle in the days of his prime. At its base there is a great working principle that can be beneficial even to natural bodybuilders, namely – training of opposing muscle groups.
We have already published an article on the benefits of training the agonist-antagonist muscle groups, you can read it here – “The opposite muscle groups workout“
The 4 Day Hypertrophy Training Program:
Monday : Push / pull (horizontal plane)
Tuesday : Legs
Wednesday : Rest
Thursday : Push / pull (vertical plane)
Friday : Arms
Saturday : Rest
Sunday : Rest
Here is the whole routine :
day 1: Push / pull (horizontal plane)
The exercises, which are labeled with the same letter are executed in a super set (for example A1 and A2 are done subsequently, as well as B1 and B2)
A1 Bench Press * – 3 x 8 (with 75% of your 1 rep max)
A2 Barbell Rows * – 3 x 8
B1 incline dumbbell press – 3 x 8
B2 T-bar row or a chest supported row- 3 x 8
C1 Dumbbell fly – 3 x 10-12
C2 Seated bent over lateral raise – 3 X 10-12
* Warm up, and then start the first super set.
Day 2: Leg day
A1 Leg extension – 5 X 12-15
A2 Lying leg curls * – 5 X 12-15
Squats **- 4 x 8
Straight leg deadlifts ** – 4 X 8
** Warm up before these exercises and then do the work sets with heavy weights (the last rep should be close to failure)
– Squat and deadlifts are NOT performed in a super set. There should be a break of about 90-120 sec between each work set of squats and straight leg deadlifts.
Day 3: push / pull (vertical plane)
A1 Barbell shoulder press * – 3 X 8
A2 Pull ups ** – 3 X 6
B1 Seated dumbbell shoulder press – 3 X 8-10
B2 Underhand lat pulldowns – 3 x 8-10
C1 Front Raise with a plate – 3 X 10-12
C2 Straight arms pulldown – 3 X 10-12
* Warm up, then do the work sets with heavy weights (last rep should be close to failure).
** If you can handle it, try doing weighted pull ups.
Day 4: Arms
A1 Barbell curl – 3 X 10-12
A2 Cable triceps extension – 3 X 10-12
B1 Seated dumbbell curls – 3 X 10-12
B2 Skull crushers – 3 X 10-12
C1 Concentrated curl – 2 X 10-12
C2 Triceps kickbacks – 2 X 10-12
– Like we mentioned, the program is suitable for intermediate and advanced trainees and it’s not suitable for beginners. Beginners will do better with a 5×5 routine.
– To make the workout more intense cut the rest between opposite muscle exercises (between A1 A2, B1 B2 etc..)
– The rest between opposite muscle exercises should be about 60 seconds.
– You should be able to pick such work weights, that the last reps of each exercise should be close to failure.
– You can do your abs at the end of the workouts.
A drawback of this routine is that you only work your legs once a week as opposed to the upper body workouts which are three a week. This is why this routine is geared towards individuals with naturally strong legs and lagging upper body.
You can modify the 4 day routine a bit and switch the arm day with a second leg day. You can add a couple sets for arms at the end of the upper body workouts.
Day 1: push / pull (horizontal plane)
Day 2: Legs
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: push / pull (vertical plane)
Day 5: Legs
Day 6: Vacation
Day 7: Vacation