Coming up with the best 4-day workout split is one of the greatest ways to build muscle over time. However, for a beginner to fitness, coming up with such a routine can be difficult. If you are looking for the best 4-day split workout routine, keep reading to find out how to make one, which muscle groups should be paired, and the benefits of such a routine.
How To Start A 4-Day Workout Split Program?
Like with every other workout program, planning is the best way to make a 4-day split routine and make it work well for you.
Here are some things to consider while making and starting a 4-day split workout:
- Your fitness goals. Are you looking to lose weight, gain some bulk, or is your routine meant for maintenance? Know your goal before doing the 4-day routine.
- Your fitness experience. Are you a novice, intermediate, or advanced trainer? The best 4-day workout split should be made to fit your training experience.
- Which days work for you. Unlike a full-body routine, a split workout needs to be precisely followed, as skipping a day will completely throw off your routine. Make sure that your schedule is open on whichever four days of the week you choose.
- Divide up your routine in the upper body and lower body splits. This is the easiest to follow and most common split used during such workout routines. Make sure to not work out the same muscle groups two days in a row. This will lead to exhaustion and increase your risk of injury.
- Rest days. Research suggests that you should give your muscles anywhere between 48 to 72 hours to fully recover from exercise. Not only does this prevent overtraining, but it also gives them a chance to grow and get bigger (1, 12).
What Muscle Groups To Workout Together On The Best 4-Day Split Routine?
- Cardiac muscles that control the heart and help keep us alive.
- Smooth muscles that are found throughout the gastrointestinal, reproductive, urinary, vascular, and respiratory systems.
- Skeletal muscles that make up 40 percent of our body weight and are the muscles that we target whenever we work out.
So which muscles should you pair together while working out? According to healthline.com, there is no right way to group your muscles. However, most people find it easier to workout muscle groups that are close together on the same day/session. Some examples of muscle combinations that you can do on a 4-day split workout include:
- Day 1 – Push exercises
- Day 2 – Leg exercises
- Day 4 – Pull exercises
- Day 5 – Full body workout
Strength vs. Hypertrophy Days
Strength workouts will make your muscles stronger, while hypertrophy exercises will work to increase the overall size/mass of the muscles.
- Day 1 – Upper body strength
- Day 3 – Lower body hypertrophy
- Day 5 – Upper body hypertrophy
- Day 7 – Lower body strength
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If you are looking for the best 4-day workout split for fat loss and weight loss, we suggest dedicating one of your workout days to cardio workouts or making sure to do some cardio on these days.
While both workouts work well for fat and weight loss, remember that cardio burns more calories at the moment, while weight lifting helps you to continue burning calories long after your exercise session is done (3). For the best workout results, a routine that combines both resistance training and cardio is the best.
- Day 1 – Chest, shoulders, and triceps
- Day 2 – Cardio
- Day 3 – Back and biceps
- Day 4 – Legs and abs
How To Lift Safely On This Best 4-Day Workout Split: Tips To Prevent Injury
As we all know, lifting weights has incredible health and fitness benefits, which include improving posture, better sleep, increasing bone density, losing and maintaining weight loss, boosting metabolism, lowering inflammation, staving off chronic disease, improving self-esteem, and much more (10).
However, if you do not practice resistance training properly, it can lead to more risks than benefits.
To help prevent you from getting any injuries while participating in the best 4-day split workout routine, here are some safety tips and techniques to always keep in mind:
- Always warm up before your workout and cool down once you are done.
- Start light, not heavy. Yes, lifting heavy is the goal, and it will help with muscle growth. But if you lift extremely heavy too soon, you are very likely to sprain and injure yourself. To avoid this, the MayoClinic advises that you should start with a weight that you can lift comfortably 12 to 15 times in a full set. You can eventually and gradually increase the weight of your lifts as you get stronger.
- Remember to keep breathing. Do not be tempted to hold your breath. Breathe out as you lift the weight and breathe in as you lower it. This helps activate and engage your muscles, helping you get the most out of your session.
- Always use proper form. Not only does proper form help prevent injury, since the better your form, the better your workout results. With proper form, not only will you be targeting the immediate muscles being used for the workout, but your workout also exercises adjacent muscles, which helps give you a well-rounded lifting session.
- Find your balance. According to aaptiv.com, balance should be a priority during weight lifting because lack of it increases the likelihood of falls and other injuries, which could even be life-threatening. You do not want to fall with a barbell around your neck.
- Find a trainer. If you can afford it, find a trainer to assist you through this best 4-day workout split for mass. They can help you learn how to do the exercises correctly, guide you on proper nutrition, may help you get faster results, and will be a great source of motivation.
- Rest. One of the best parts of this best 4-day workout split bodybuilding routine is that you do not have to work out the same muscles two days in a row; with that being said, you should still give yourself at least one or two full days of rest per week to let your muscles rest and grow. Remember that overworked muscles are more likely to strain, sprain, and injure.
Things To Do To Make This Best 4-Day Workout Split Routine As Effective As Possible
Just having a resistance training routine alone is not enough to help build mass and strength. You are also required to make some dietary and lifestyle changes so that your bodybuilding efforts do not go to waste. These things include:
- Go on a caloric surplus. In the same way that weight loss demands a calorie deficit, so does bulk or bodybuilding demand a calorie surplus. However, you must make sure that you do not eat too much and end up gaining fat instead of muscle mass.
Several studies have shown that novice and intermediate bodybuilders should aim to increase their daily maintenance calorie intake by 10 to 20 percent when looking to build muscle. This also allows them to have an average weight gain of 0.25 to 0.5 percent of their body weight per week (5, 6).
- Eat more often. According to Medical News Today, bodybuilders should aim to eat between three to six times a day or every three to four (4) hours. Doing this will help you get in all the extra calories that you are now having.
- Eat your fruits and vegetables. They are full of vitamins and antioxidants, which boost your immune system. Antioxidants do this by collecting free radicals from the body cells and preventing or reducing the damage caused by oxidation, thus reducing your risk of diseases (2). Fruits and vegetables also have fiber which can help keep you from unnecessary snacking and also helps with gut health.
- Add more protein to your diet. It is the most essential macronutrient when it comes to building muscle. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that anyone who does weight lifting regularly should aim to consume 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (or 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight) (9).
- Sleep More. According to Sleep.org, sleep is important for athletes and bodybuilders as it ensures muscle growth and recovery.
A 1996 study also stated that during the 3rd stage of non-REM sleep, your body releases a growth hormone that helps your muscles relax, relieve tension, and reduce any pain (7) from doing your best 4-day workout split exercises. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research recommends that for peak athletic performance, you should aim to get seven to nine 9 hours of sleep per night (11).
- Rest. And this does not just mean sleep. Give yourself 24 hours to 48 hours a week to just rest with no exercise whatsoever.
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What Is The Best 4-Day Workout Split With Arm Day?
Arm workouts are a great way to build arm strength, increase the size of your arm muscles and exercise your core. A simple 4-day workout split routine is as follows:
- Day 1 – Back, biceps, and forearms
- Day 2 – Shoulders, traps, and abs
- Day 4 – Quads, hamstrings, and calves
- Day 5 – Chest, triceps, and abs
How Many Days A Week Should I Workout To Build Muscle?
According to a review published in 2016 by the Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers concluded that you need to train each muscle group twice a week for maximum results (4).
What Is The Best 4-Day Workout Split?
As seen above, no workout split works best for everyone. Choose the split routine that workout routine that works best for your goals and experience.
The Bottom Line
The best 4-day workout split is one that meshes well with your schedule, meets your desired fitness goals, and matches your fitness experience. This split works well for muscle growth and strength, and if done right, it can also help you lose weight. Be sure to also eat healthy foods, sleep well, and mind your form during your workouts for the best results.
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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. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A series of studies-a practical protocol for testing muscular endurance recovery (2003, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Antioxidants (2020, betterhealth.vic.gov.au)
- Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management (2002, link.springer.com)
- Effects of Resistance Training Frequency on Measures of Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (2016, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Macronutrient considerations for the sport of bodybuilding (2004, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Nutrition Recommendations for Bodybuilders in the Off-Season: A Narrative Review (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Physiology of growth hormone secretion during sleep (1996, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Physiology, Muscle (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- PROTEIN INTAKE FOR OPTIMAL MUSCLE MAINTENANCE (n.d., acsm.org)
- Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health (2012, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Sleep, Recovery, and Athletic Performance A Brief Review and Recommendations (2013, journals.lww.com)
- The effects of exercise-induced muscle damage on cycling time-trial performance (2011, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)