Blog Fitness Workout Plans 4-Day Workout Routine For Beginners Looking To Grow Muscle

4-Day Workout Routine For Beginners Looking To Grow Muscle

Building muscle is often the primary goal for most first-time gym-goers, even if they don’t realize it yet. For many, the allure of the gym is based on wanting to achieve a physique that looks like one of their favorite athletes or celebrities. For others, it’s wanting to shed pounds of body fat or trying to simply improve their health. Regardless of the reason for going to the gym, growing muscle is a common goal— one that can be achieved relatively easily with the right workout routineIf you’re new to weight lifting and working out, starting a 4-day split routine is a great way to build muscle mass. 

A 4-day split routine is where you work out different muscle groups on different days, and then take a rest day in between each workout.

This type of routine is effective because it allows your muscles to recover in between workouts and prevents you from overtraining any one muscle group. 

How to start a 4-day split routine?

Let’s find out!

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What Is A 4-Day Training Split?

A 4-day training split is a weight lifting routine that targets different muscle groups on each of the 4 days that you exercise.

For example, you might work out your chest and back on Monday, your legs on Tuesday, your shoulders and arms on Wednesday, and then take Thursday off as a rest day. You would then start the cycle over again on Friday. 

The split routine that you choose will depend on your goals and the amount of time that you have to devote to working out each week.

You might opt for an upper/lower split, which would target your upper body on one day and your lower body on the other.

You could also choose a push/pull/legs split, which would focus on pushing exercises (like the bench press) one day, pulling exercises (like rows) the next day, and leg exercises (like squats) the third day. It all comes down to what works best for you. 

This type of routine is effective because it allows your muscles to recover in between workouts, and also prevents you from overtraining any one muscle group. It’s also a good routine for beginners because it’s not as overwhelming as a 5-day or 6-day split, which might be too much for someone who is just starting out.

Read More: Standing Core Workout: Why You Should Ditch Crunches For These 15 Exercises

4 day workout routine for beginners

4 Days At The Gym, Is It Enough For Building Muscle?

Muscle hypertrophy, or muscle growth, occurs when the fibers in your muscles are broken down and then rebuilt stronger than before (1). This process happens best when you expose your muscles to a moderate amount of stress over time, which is why a 4-day split routine can be effective for building muscle

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In the 4 days, you’ll work on different muscle groups, giving each group a chance to recover while you’re working on other muscles. This allows you to gradually increase the amount of stress that you’re putting on your muscles, which is necessary for building muscle mass. 

Of course, this isn’t to say that you can’t build muscle with a 3-day or 5-day split routine. It’s all about finding what works best for you and then sticking with it. 

How Much Weight Should I Lift?

The amount of weight that you lift will depend on your goals and your current strength levels. If you’re relatively new to lifting weights, you’ll want to start with a lighter weight and gradually increase the amount of weight that you’re lifting over time. 

If your goal is to build muscle, aim for a weight that you can lift for 12 to 15 reps before your muscles are too fatigued to continue. This will help ensure that you’re breaking down your muscle fibers so that they can rebuild stronger. 

In order to trigger hypertrophy, you need these 5 factors in a workout routine (1):

  • Mechanical Tension

This is the force that your muscles experience when they’re working against resistance, like when you’re lifting weights.

  • Muscular Damage

This occurs when the fibers in your muscles are torn, which happens as a result of lifting heavy weights. 

  • Metabolic Stress 

This is the burning sensation that you feel in your muscles during and after a workout. It’s caused by a build-up of lactic acid in your muscles, and it’s often what makes you feel sore the day after a workout

  • Calorie Surplus (Emphasis On Protein)

In order for your muscles to grow, you need to be eating more calories than you’re burning. This is because your body needs extra energy to repair the damage that’s been done to your muscles. 

  • Rest And Recovery

This is an important part of any workout routine, and it’s especially important when you’re trying to build muscle. When you’re resting, your body is able to repair the damage that’s been done to your muscles and make them stronger.

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4 day workout routine for beginners

What’s The Best 4-Day Split?

An upper/lower split is a good option for a 4-day split routine because it allows you to hit all of the major muscle groups twice per week. 

The advantages of an upper/lower split are that you can: 

  • Optimize Training Frequency

You can train each muscle group more frequently, which is important for building muscle.

  • Prevent Overtraining

You can avoid overtraining any one muscle group by giving each group a chance to recover while you’re working other muscles. 

  • Build Full-Body Strength

An upper/lower split helps ensure that you’re building full-body strength, rather than just focusing on one area. Distributing your workouts evenly will help avoid imbalances and ensure that you’re building a strong, healthy body.

  • Perform Each Session At Maximum Intensity

Because you’re working fewer muscle groups per session, you can focus on performing each exercise with maximum intensity. This will help you to get the most out of your workouts and make the most of your time at the gym. 

  • Ease Into Things

If you’re new to lifting weights, an upper/lower split can be a good way to ease into things.  You won’t have to memorize a lot of different exercises, and you can focus on learning proper form and technique. 

The disadvantage of an upper/lower split is that it can be a bit more challenging to recover from since you’re hitting each muscle group more frequently.

4 day workout routine for beginners

Sample 4-Day Upper Lower Dumbbell Workout Routine For Beginners

This workout routine is designed for beginners who are looking to build muscle. It can be performed with dumbbells or any other type of resistance equipment that you have access to. 

Day 1: Lower Body Workout

The muscles worked: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves

Goblet Squats: 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps 

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell at chest level. 
  2. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, then press through your heels to stand back up. 

Romanian Deadlifts: 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps 

  1. Start with the dumbbells on the ground in front of you and stand with your feet hip-width apart. 
  2. Bend down and grip the dumbbells, then lift them to thigh level. Maintain the tension in your hamstrings and glutes as you slowly lower the dumbbells back to the ground. 
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Walking Lunges: 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps per leg 

  1. Start with your feet together and hold a dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. Step forward with one leg and lunge down until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Press through your heel to stand back up and bring your rear leg forward to meet your front leg. 
  3. Alternate legs with each rep.

Read More: The Ultimate Burpee Workout Routine To Tone Your Whole Body

Standing Calf Raises: 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps 

  1. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and holding a dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. Place your toes on an elevated surface (a step, weight plate, or bench) and raise your heels as high as possible. 
  3. Hold for a count of two, then lower your heels back down to the starting position. 

Hip Thrusters: 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps 

  1. Start by lying on your back with your feet flat on the ground and a dumbbell balanced on your hips. 
  2. Raise your hips until your thighs and torso are in line with each other, then squeeze your glutes and hold for a count of two. 
  3. Lower back down to the starting position and repeat. 

Hamstring Curls With Dumbbell: 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps  

  1. Start by lying on your stomach with your thighs flat on the ground and knees bent so that your feet form a tabletop position. 
  2. Balance a dumbbell on your feet, then curl your legs up towards your glutes. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the curl, then lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. 

Day 2: Upper Body Workout

The muscles worked: Chest, shoulders, triceps, upper back

Dumbbell Chest Press: 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps 

  1. Lie on a flat bench holding a dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. Press the dumbbells up towards the ceiling, then lower them back to the starting position. 

Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps 

  1. Start by sitting on a bench holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level. 
  2. Press the dumbbells up above your head, then lower them back down to the starting position. 

Dumbbell Rows: 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps 

  1. Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand and placing your left knee and hand on a bench for support. 
  2. Let the dumbbells hang down at arm’s length, then row them up towards your chest. 
  3. Lower back down to the starting position and repeat.
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4 day workout routine for beginners

Triceps Extensions With Dumbbell: 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps 

  1. Start by sitting on a bench holding a dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. Extend your arms straight overhead, then lower the dumbbells behind your head. 
  3. Press the dumbbells back up to the starting position and repeat. 

Biceps Curls With Dumbbell: 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps 

  1. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. Curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders, then lower them back down to the starting position. 

Lateral Raises With Dumbbell: 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps 

  1. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. Raise your arms out to the sides until they’re parallel with the ground, then lower them back down to the starting position. 

Day 3: Rest Day 

Without rest and recovery, your hard work in the gym won’t pay off. Make sure to take at least one day off per week to let your body recover. 

These 4 important things happen while you’re resting:

Synthesis Of Protein

This is the process of repairing and building muscle tissue. According to a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, it takes 48 to 72 hours for muscle protein synthesis to peak after a workout.

During this time, your body is working to repair the microscopic tears in your muscles that were caused by lifting weights.

Glycogen Replenishment

Glycogen is the storage form of carbohydrate that’s used for energy during exercise. When you work out, your glycogen stores are depleted. During rest, they’re replenished so you’ll have energy for your next workout.

Removal Of Metabolic Byproducts

When you exercise, your muscles produce metabolic byproducts like lactic acid that can cause fatigue.

During rest, these byproducts are removed so you’ll be able to train at a high level again. Removal of these acids also helps restore intramuscular pH to its normal level.

Fluid Restoration

Exercise causes you to lose fluid through sweat. During rest, this fluid is replaced so you’ll be properly hydrated for your next workout.

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4 day workout routine for beginners

Day 4: Lower Body Workout

The muscles worked: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves

Repeat the workout from day 1. It’s important to stick to a routine for at least 4 to 6 weeks before making any changes. This will give your body time to adapt to the new exercises and see results.

After 4 to 6 weeks, you can mix things up by adding in new exercises or increasing the weight you’re using. 

Day 5: Upper Body Workout

The muscles worked: Chest, shoulders, triceps, upper back

Repeat the workout from day 2. 

Day 6: Active Rest Day 

This is a day for a light activity like walking, yoga, or swimming. Avoid any high-intensity exercise so your body can continue to recover from the week’s workouts. 

Day 7: Rest Day

Just like on day 3, take this day to rest and recover. This is an important part of making progress in the gym. 

Sleep is when your body recovers from the day’s activities and prepares for the next day. Most people need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

On your rest days, aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep. This will help ensure you’re recovered and ready to hit the gym hard when it’s time to train again.

Meal prepping on rest days can help you stay on track with your nutrition goals. Planning and preparing your meals in advance makes it easier to eat healthy, home-cooked meals instead of opting for unhealthy takeout. 

Rest days are also a great time to focus on other aspects of your health and fitness. This could include working on mobility and flexibility, reading fitness articles or books, or attending a yoga class. All of these activities will help you become a better, more well-rounded athlete. 

The Bottom Line

If you’re just getting started, this 4-day workout routine is a great place to start. Stick with it for at least 4 to 6 weeks and then mix things up to keep your body guessing. Remember to focus on quality over quantity and to listen to your body. If an exercise feels too difficult or causes pain, review your form.

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DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods (2019, nih.gov)
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