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Men striving for the cut physique of professional bodybuilders use four-day split cycles to incorporate high-intensity isolation exercises into their lifting programs. Because a four-day split allows complete recovery between training days for each muscle group, this type of training allows you to work each muscle to exhaustion for maximum gains in strength and mass. While two or three total body workouts are sufficient for general health, at an advanced lifting level, split training will maximize hypertrophy to give you a ripped look.
Allow approximately one hour for each workout. Begin with a 10- to 15-minute moderate cardio warmup. Perform compound exercises before isolation exercises and work larger muscles before smaller ones. If you are trying to lose body fat to achieve well-defined cuts, add high intensity intervals after you have finished lifting. If you are doing four-day splits, you should work out at least six days a week. If you do not have time to commit to a one hour per day, six day per week schedule, a two-day split or total-body workout would be a better choice.
Sets and Repetitions
Because a four-day split focuses on working a limited group of muscle to exhaustion, you should complete three full sets of eight to 12 reps, allowing one to three minutes recovery time between sets. For greater gains either do additional sets with heavier weights and fewer reps or do drop sets by decreasing weights until the muscle group is completely fatigued at the lowest possible weight.
Basic Four-Day Split
On Day 1, do shoulders and triceps, including front and side dumbbell raises, overhead press, shoulder shrugs, reverse flyes and triceps extensions. Day 2 should focus the abs and back, including pull-ups, lat pull downs, bent over rows, crunches, Captain's Chair bent-leg raises and Roman chair back extensions. On Day 3, work the chest and biceps with bench presses, flyes and cable crossovers and biceps curls. On Day 4, train the lower body with squats, weighted side lunges, deadlifts, leg presses, leg curls, leg extensions and calf raises.
Advanced Four-Day Split
An advanced four-day split starts with back, biceps and wrist flexors on the first day. Day 2 works chest, triceps and wrist extensors. On the third day, work thighs, including compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts and isolation exercises for quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors and abductors. The final day covers shoulders, calves and abs.