Strength Building Workouts

Huge Gainer Early Intermediate Strength Building 4 Day Split

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This is a 4 day upper/lower strength building workout perfect for the post-beginner who wants to build strength as quickly as possible. You will be using the Rep Goal System for most lifts.

One of the secondary goals of this system is to build more muscle (as well as strength), creating a base that will serve you well for years to come.

Here is a sample schedule:

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • OFF
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • OFF
  • OFF

This is not a 4 week program. It is meant to be run 6 months or longer.

Day 1
Lower Body Workout
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
 Squats  3  20
 Romanian Deadlifts  2  15
 Leg Press  5  60
 Leg Curls  4  40
 Decline Weighted Sit Ups  3  10-25 reps
 Calf Raise  3  40
Day 2
Upper Body Workout
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
 Bench Press  4  25
 One Arm Dumbbell Row  3  40
 Seated Arnold Press  3  30
 Lying Tricep Extensions  4  35
 Rack Chins or Seated Cable Rows  3  30
 Dumbbell Curls  3  30
Day 3
Lower Body Workout
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
 Deadlits  * See Below
 Squats  ** See Below
 Power Shrugs  *** Add a Plate
 Leg Curls  4  40
 Cable Crunches  3  10-25 reps
 Calf Raises  3  40
Day 4
Upper Body Workout
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
 Seated Press or Push Press  4  30
 Close Grip Bench Press  4  30
 Barbell Row  3  30
 Cable Tricep Extensions  4  35-40
 Pull Ups or Lat Pull Downs  3  30
 Hammer or Preacher Curls  3  30

* Deadlifts

You will cycle between a heavy and moderate day.

Week one you will work up to an 85% single, followed by max singles at 75% for 10 minutes. This 10 minute period is timed. After each rep, release the bar, reset your form, catch your breath and go for another single.

Add 5 pounds to your 85% set when that rep starts to feel “manageable.” When you do bump weight, bump your 75% set by an equal amount of weight.

Week two you will perform max singles at 80% of your one rep max for 5 minutes. Bump your 80% weight when you bump your 85% work during week one by an equal amount.

** Squats

Work up to an 85% single, then follow it with an 80% double (or triple) and a 75% triple. Add 5 pounds to your 85% single when it feels manageable. On days when you feel weak, stay with your baseline 85%.

This means that if you started with a 350 pound squat, and have built up to a 375 pound squat, it’s ok to “only” use a 350 pound squat on days when you feel off.

Never allow this “low end” squat to be more than 40 pounds below your max squat single.

*** Power Shrugs

Start with 135 and do 10 reps. Move to 225 and do 10 reps. Keep adding a plate until you can no longer perform 10 explosive reps.

Lying Tricep Extensions

These are performed as follows:

Steve Shaw

Steve Shaw is the founder of Muscle and Brawn, and a powerlifter with 30+ years of experience. Steve's recorded a 600lb squat, 672lb deadlift and a 382lb bench press.
Steve Shaw
  • Will Jul 4,2014 at 6:48 am

    “Never allow this “low end” squat to be more than 40 pounds below your max squat single.”


    an 85% single is often going to be more than 40lbs less than ur max single

    If my 1rm is 300lbs and i do an 85% then that 255lbs so im breaking the rules by following the rules?

  • Tony Jan 16,2014 at 1:09 pm

    Would I be able to use this as a Wendler 5/3/1 Template, I notice the main lifts are exactly like it layed out in the Wendler 5/3/1 book… I am looking for a way to do the main lifts, assistance work and incorporate hypertrophy also.

    Also if this does work as a wendler 5/3/1 template, how would I change the assistance work so i am hitting them 2 times a week as opposed to once? I am currently on a 4 Day Splt, OHP 5/3/1, Deadlidt 5/3/1, Bench 5/3/1 and Squat 5/3/1, any advice would be much appreciated

  • Steven Still Oct 12,2013 at 6:15 pm

    Are the reps that are recommended a TOTAL # of reps per set or the total # to be accomplished? 30 to 40 reps per set sems like a lot! Just curious. thanks

    • Mick Madden Oct 12,2013 at 7:03 pm

      It’s not 30 to 40 per set. That is the total goal for all sets.

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