Best 4 Day Full Body Workout Split For Mass (COMPLETE GUIDE)

best 4 day full body workout split for mass

The 4-day full body workout split is a less common, yet effective muscle building routine that entails a lifter to train the major muscle groups of the body every session. This program delivers high amounts of training volume, and spreads it out across the week in a high frequency manner.

In previous articles we have discussed 4-day push-pull workouts and 3-day best workout splits for beginners.

However, we have yet to specifically discuss in detail what a full body workout program entails and why the 4-day full body workout split may be a good option for some lifters looking to increase overall training volume, regulate soreness, and add muscle mass without having to train 5+ days per week.

In this article we will discuss in detail 4-day full body workout split for muscle mass development, specifically:

  • Benefits of a 4 Day Full Body Workout Split
  • What Muscles are Trained in a 4 Day Full Body Workout Split?
  • How to Structure Your 4 Day Full Body Workout Split?
  • Are There Drawbacks To A 4 Day Full Body Workout Split?
  • What Results Can You Expect from a 4 Day Full Body Workout Split?

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Benefits of a 4 Day Full Body Workout Split for Mass

benefits of a 4 day full body workout split for mass

1.  Increased Training Frequency to Maximize Weekly Volume

By training muscles every day, you are able to accumulate a ton of training volume across the week. Increased training volume is often equated to increase muscle growth, as long as recovery is sufficient. A well designed full body workout split will allow you to train muscles nearly every session, yet account for needed muscle recovery by placing more or less training volume in a single session towards certain muscle groups.

2.  Workouts Do Not Create Excessive Local Muscle DOMs

Since you are training every muscle group every day, the overall volume done to a specific muscle group in a single session is not as high as if you were to only train the muscle once a week. 

Doing high volume training on a single muscle, in a single session often results in delayed onset muscle soreness, sometimes a very high amount of it. By spreading the weekly training volume out across the sessions, instead of doing all the necessary work in one day, you are also able to potentially minimize days where your muscles are extremely sore from doing too much on one day.

3.  Allows for More Variety with Exercise Selection

Since you are training muscles multiple times a week, you are able to add in more movements to target the muscle, both compound and isolation exercises. This allows you to get creative with your workouts and experiment with more movements than if you strained a muscle group only one or two times a week.


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What Muscles are Trained in a 4 Day Full Body Workout Split?

Below are the main pull muscles of the lower and upper body. Every day, one or a few of the muscle groups will be emphasized and trained directly, however most muscles will be trained every session in some capacity.

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Pectorals 
  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Deltoids

Secondary muscles, such as the ones listed below, will be trained either directly or indirectly every session.

  • Triceps
  • Biceps
  • Trapezius
  • Glutes
  • Abdmoinals
  • Obliques
  • Erectors 

It’s important to note that the abs and obliques are not trained directly during this program. The abs and obliques, as well as the erectors, are trained during most heavy compound exercises, and often do not need any additional training. 

How To Structure Your 4 Day Full Body Workout Split?

how to structure your 4 day full body workout split

The below 4-day full body workout split trains most muscles, every day. While training the same muscles every day may have its limitations, it can also be a great way to get a ton of training volume in and stimulate growth. The larger muscle groups, such as the quadriceps, chest, back, and hamstrings are trained with ~16-20 direct work sets per week. 

The smaller muscle groups such as the deltoids, triceps, biceps, and calves are trained 4-8 work sets per week, however they are often indirectly trained when performing compound, multi-joint exercises

Below are two workout splits that you can choose between based on your schedule.

This workout split is ideal if you do not want to train on the weekends.

  • Monday: Day 1 (Quad Emphasis)
  • Tuesday: Day 2 (Upper Pull Emphasis)
  • Wednesday: OFF
  • Thursday: Day 3 (Hamstring Emphasis)
  • Friday: Day 4 (Upper Push Emphasis)
  • Saturday: OFF
  • Sunday: OFF

This workout split is ideal if you want to maximize your rest between sessions to allow for more recovery.

  • Monday: Day 1 (Quad Emphasis)
  • Tuesday: OFF
  • Wednesday: Day 2 (Upper Pull Emphasis)
  • Thursday: OFF
  • Friday: Day 3 (Hamstring Emphasis)
  • Saturday: Day 4 (Upper Push Emphasis)
  • Sunday: OFF

Day 1 – Quad Emphasis:

  • Back Squat: 3 sets of 5-10 reps
  • Hack Squat/Leg Press: 3 sets of 5-10 reps
  • Bench Press: 4 sets of 5-10 reps 
  • Pull Up: 4 sets of 5-10 reps
  • Dumbbell Seated Overhead Press: 4 sets of 5-10 reps
  • Triceps Pushdown: 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Front Squat

Sets: 3 Reps: 5-10

The main area targeted by the back squat is the quadriceps and glutes, with some hamstring involvement. The back squat is chosen here because while it primarily trains the quadriceps (high bar back squat) it also trains the glutes (at deep depths) and hamstrings to some extent

Focus on squatting low, and staying as upright as possible.

Hack Squat / Leg Press

Sets: 3 Reps: 5-10

The hack squat / leg press targets the quadriceps, which is the “emphasis” muscle on this full body workout. Adding machines to the mix allows the lifter to train hard, and not overly tax the body as a whole, which is necessary if you want to train hard every session. This is also a great way to isolate the quadriceps.

Focus on setting yourself up so that your knees bend and your depth is deep enough to get a good stretch on the quadriceps (knee flexion).

Barbell Bench Press

Sets: 4 Reps: 5-10

The barbell bench press (flat) is an upper body compound pusing movement that primarily targets the chest, however the shoulders and triceps are also used to assist in the movement. This is the main upper body pressing movement for the day, and is trained heavily to help recruit as much muscle as possible.

Be sure to take the bar all the way to the chest so that you can get a fuller range of motion and target more muscle per rep.

Pull Up

Sets: 4 Reps: 5-10

The pull up, which can be done with bodyweight, added weight, or an assisted pull up machine is an upper body, compound pulling movement that trains the back, as well as the forearms and biceps.

Make sure to go all the way down, and force yourself to not swing or kip on this movement.

Dumbbell Seated Overhead Press

Sets: 4 Reps: 5-10

The dumbbell seated overhead press is a shoulder exercise that also trains the triceps. Both muscles are responsible for taking the loads from the shoulders to the overhead position. This exercise is done seated to minimize lower body involvement and to make sure the lifter maintains an upright position, which forces greater demands on the shoulders.

It is recommended to use a bench with a backing, so that you do not need to support your torso when pressing heavier loads. This will ensure that you do not lean back too much or use your legs to assist in the movement.

Triceps Pushdown

Sets: 3 Reps: 10-15

This is an isolation exercise especially for the triceps. At this point in the workout, your triceps should be nearly finished off. When performing this exercise, focus on minimizing involvement from the shoulders and chest, and stay strict with your form.

Day 2 – Upper Pull Emphasis:

  • Underhand Bent Over Row: 3 sets of 5-10 reps
  • Walking Lunge: 3 sets of 5-10 reps per leg
  • Dip: 4 sets of 5-10 reps 
  • Lat Pulldown: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Biceps Curl: 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Underhand Bent Over Row

Sets: 3 Reps: 5-10

The underhand bent over row can be done with the barbell, and should be performed with a supinated grip. By taking an underhand grip, you train the back, but also the biceps, adding in some additional arm volume. Be sure to train in the full range of motion, and try to keep your back parallel to the floor.

Keep your wrists directly in line with your elbows and shoulders, so that you are not creating unnecessary stress on those joints as you train heavy. 

Walking Lunge

Sets: 3 Reps: 5-10

The walking lunge trains most of the lower body at once, and was chosen because it is an effective and efficient way to do so. Day 1 had a high amount of lower body volume, and soreness may be an issue today, so taking the time to restore range of motion and get the legs moving is key. 

You can train these with a barbell on the back or dumbbells, however make sure to train them heavy and in the lower rep range, as higher rep work will leave you very sore, and will stand in the way of lower body training later in the week.

Dip

Sets: 4 Reps: 5-10

The dip can be performed with bodyweight, added weight, or the assisted dip machine. Dips done to full depth will target the chest and triceps, making this a great compound upper body pushing movement for the day.

Lat Pulldown

Sets: 3 Reps: 10-15

The lat pulldown targets the back muscles, at a different angle than the above underhang row. Since Day 2 has an emphasis on back, as well as full body, you will train using the lat pulldown machine with higher rep work to drive muscle hypertrophy.

Experiment with grips that target your back the best, which for some may be a wider grip or a more shoulder width grip. Make sure your palms are pronated (not facing you), as you already trained in the supinated position, and also are doing chin ups later in the week.

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Sets: 4 Reps: 10-15

This is a shoulder isolation exercise, and it is trained in higher columns to train muscle hypertrophy. Since the dumbbell lateral raise is often done with lighter loads, it will allow you to train the muscle without adding extra wear and tear to the joints, something to be aware of when training the same/similar muscle groups and movements every day.

Biceps Curl

Sets: 3 Reps: 10-15

The bicep curl can be done with a barbell, dumbbells, cables, or machines. The key to this exercise is to get a great isolated muscle contraction, and to not allow swinging of the body of the shoulders to take over the movement. 

For that reason, we suggest machine curls or cable curls, however some people may not have access to those and therefore can opt for free weights.

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Day 3 – Hamstrings and Glute Emphasis:

  • Romanian Deadlift: 3 sets of 5-10 reps
  • Front Rack Bulgarian Split Squat: 3 sets of 5-10 reps
  • Barbell Overhead Press: 4 sets of 5-10 reps
  • Chin Up: 4 sets of 5-10 reps
  • Seated Machine Hamstring Curl: 3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Reverse Bicep Curl: 3 sets of 15-20 reps 

Romanian Deadlift

Sets: 3 Reps: 5-10

The Romanian deadlift is a deadlift variation that trains the hamstrings, glutes, and back muscles. This deadlift variation was chosen as it targets the hamstrings more than a conventional or sumo deadlift, and often is done with less weight. Since this program has a good amount of compound, heavier lifts, monitoring fatigue and recovery is a key emphasis, and choosing proper exercises is key.

Make sure to maintain good form and always control the eccentric (lowering) phase for optimal muscle growth.

Front Rack Bulgarian Split Squat

Sets: 3 Reps: 5-10

This front rack Bulgairan split squat is a unilateral variation of the front squat, and targets the quadriceps and glutes. In addition to building strong legs, it also develops core strength and upper back strength, without needing to use high amounts of weight (something that may be an issue after heavy Romanian deadlifts).

Barbell Overhead Press

Sets: 4 Reps: 5-10

This exerics can be done either from a standing or seated position, and targets the shoulders, upper chest, and triceps. This is a compound, upper body exercise that can hit a ton of muscle at once, making it a great exercise to use for Day 3 when the emphasis is on lower body and full body movements.

Chin Up

Sets: 4 Reps: 5-10

The chin up is the main upper body pulling movement for the day, and targets the back and the biceps. Since the hands are supinated (palms facing you), the biceps work hard to assist the back muscles in lifting the load. Lifters can opt to do these with bodyweight, added weight, or use the assisted chin up machine.

Seated Machine Hamstring Curl

Sets: 3 Reps: 15-20

The seated machine hamstring curl is an isolation exeis for the hamstrings. Since the Romanian deadlift targeted the hamstrings at primarily the hip, the seated machine curl targets the hamstrings at the knee, completing the hamstring training for the day.

Focus on controlled eccentric movements and a good contraction.

Reverse Bicep Curl

Sets: 3 Reps: 15-20

The reverse bicep curl can be performed with a barbell, dumbbells, or cables. This exercise targets the biceps and forearms. To do this, make sure your palms are pronated (palms facing away) and keep the elbows in to train the forearms and some biceps.

Day 4 – Upper Push Emphasis:

  • Incline Barbell Bench Press: 3 sets of 5-10 reps
  • Sled Push: 4 sets of 60-90 seconds, heavy as possible
  • Dumbbell Flat Bench Press: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Supported Dumbbell Row: 4 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Rear Delt Reverse Flye: 4 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Skullcrusher: 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Incline Barbell Bench Press

Sets: 3 Reps: 5-10

The incline barbell bench press targets the upper chest, in addition to adding some training volume to the shoulders and triceps. The incline bench variation was selected to train a different area of the chest, but also to add some additional shoulder and triceps volume to the weekly total.

Make sure to set the incline to 15-30 degrees, and bring the bar to the chest is possible for a maximal muscle stretch.

Sled Push

Sets: 4 Reps: 60-90 seconds

The sled push is the only lower body movement for the day. When done properly, it will train the quadriceps, glutes, and calves to a high degree. At this point in the week, the legs should be tired and sore, and often need more recovery than smaller muscles groups. The sled push does not have eccentric muscle contractions, making it a great way to train sore muscles and increase blood flow.

Set a timer and push a heavy sled continuously for 60-90 seconds. 

Dumbbell Flat Bench Press

Sets: 3 Reps: 10-15 seconds

The dumbbell flat bench press trains the chest as well as triceps (elbow lockout). This exercise is added to Day 4 to add extra emphasis on the chest, while still training full body. 

Supported Dumbbell Row

Sets: 4 Reps: 15-20 seconds

The dumbbell row can be done with one arm at a time or both. Make sure to set yourself up so that you are supported (not bent over and holding yourself in place), by a bench or machine. The supported dumbbell row is done in high reps to add a ton of training volume to the back muscles, and also add some biceps and forearms volume as well.

Rear Delt Reverse Flye

Sets: 3 Reps: 15-20 seconds

This isolation exercise targets the rear deltoids, and is done with light weights and high reps to build muscles and finish off the rear delts for the week. The rear delts are used in most pilling movements, so going light and getting a good muscle pump here is key.

Skullcrusher

Sets: 3 Reps: 10-15 seconds

The skullcrusher can be done with a barbell, speciality bar, or dumbbells, and trains the triceps. This isolation exercise will finish off the tripce sfo the week, and should be trained in the moderate rep range as the triceps have already been subjected to heavy loads in all bench and overhead pressing movements.

Are There Drawbacks To A 4 Day Full Body Workout Split?

drawbacks to a 4 day full body workout split

1. Training Muscles Every Day May Impede Muscle Recovery

While training daily is something that will not stand in the way of general recovery when you also incorporate good program, sleep, and nutrition, it can be an issue when you are training the same movements, the same muscles, and the same joint actions day in and day out. This can be combated by smart programming, and listening to the body. 

If you find that your joints or connective tissues are giving you some discomfort, it is best to lay off early and give the body a little more rest (simply skip the exercise for that day). Taking one exercise off in a workout is far better than having to miss weeks of training a muscle due to injury.

2. Might Not Train a Muscle Enough on a Single Day

When you try to focus on hitting most muscles in one workout, you may fall short on driving home some serious muscle growth for a single muscle group each session. There are often optimal ranges to train a muscle, and sometimes workouts can fall short if you are focusing on doing 1 exercise per muscle group, rather than 2-3 exercises for 1-2 focus muscles for a session. 

This is combatted however, in this program, as we take 2 exercises per session and devote it towards an “emphasis” muscle each workout, to drive extra muscle growth that day.

3. Training Sessions May Be Longer in Duration

There are a ton of muscles in the body, and trying to train most of them in one day during a full body workout split can be difficult to do in an hour. When training all muscles in a single sesion, it can be time consuming. 

This is why the workouts above include a ton of compound exercises and have no more than 6 exercises per day, with 1-2 of them being isolation movements that allow you to move through a little faster at the end of a workout.

4. May Not Be Beginner Friendly

While training multiple days per week is often your best chance at achieving your muscle building goals, training every muscle, every session may be a little too advanced for some lifters starting out. 

When looking to build muscle, and get up to speed with your training, it may be best to train muscles a few times a week rather than every session to allow for your body to recover and build up its capacity before diving into a more intense workout program like the 4-day full body split. 

Some beginners could get good results from training a few times per week, while others could even train 4-5 days per week but train muscle groups 2-3 times during the week, rather than daily.

Results That You Can Expect From A 4 Day Full Body Workout Split?

results that you can expect from a 4 day full body workout split

Most lifters can expect to get good amounts of muscle growth, similar to that of any other workout split that delivers the same amount of overall training volume per week. 

The main difference between this and other 4 day workout programs, like a push-pull workout or upper-lower workout program is that the training frequency for a muscle group is 3-4 days per week (versus 2). This may work for some, and it may create soreness and not be ideal for others, so just be sure to experiment with it.

One more thing to expect when doing a full body workout, every day, is that your mentality on “crushing a muscle” and training it to max fatigue in a session needs to be changed. 

Since you train a muscle every day, you need to be a little more conservative in your daily destruction of the muscle during a workout. Leave a little more in the tank than usual to make sure you are not going too hard one day that will then end up limiting you the other day.

If you find you cannot recover between sessions (for example your legs are always beat up), then it may be best to switch to less frequency, such as the push-pull or upper-lower workout plan, or space your sessions out more (schedule B from above) to allow for more rest between sessions.

Final Thoughts

The full body workout split is one option for lifters looking to increase muscle mass through a high frequency training program. Training muscles every day is a delicate balance between training hard, recovering properly, and understanding the long term plan so that you do not derail progress in a single day by doing too much, and then derailing the other workouts. This is a very challenging, and more advanced workout split, and should be done by lifters who are past the beginner level.


About The Author

Mike Dewar

Mike holds a Master’s in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), USA Weightlifting Advanced Coach, and has over 10+ years of experience working with collegiate athletes, national level lifters, and beginners alike. Mike is Founder of J2FIT Strength and Conditioning, a growing global training company with gyms in New York City, Cincinnati, and online offering personal training, online custom coaching programs.