The 4 Day Split Explained
This Training Split Saves Time
Are your three day a week training sessions getting too long and you’re struggling to finish everything you need to do in the gym? If you answered yes, the 4 Day Split may be right for you.
The Novice Linear Progression and most early intermediate templates are based on a three day a week training schedule, training the entire body each workout. For many trainees, three days a week may be all they’ll ever need to consistently build strength over the course of their training career. But as we’ve discussed previously, stress must continue to increase in order to increase strength and, in order to facilitate this requirement, usually more time is needed to complete the work. As your training advancement increases over time from novice to intermediate and even advanced you will need to add more volume and frequency than can be conveniently fit into the day on a 3 day a week structure. Enter The 4-Day Split.
What is the 4 Day Split?
The 4 Day Split allows the traditional three day schedule to be divided up over more training days. A popular way to organize training using this approach is to train upper body lifts on two of the days and lower body lifts on the other two days. For example, Monday & Thursday could be squat and deadlift days while Tuesday & Friday would be bench and press days.
Splitting the days up into upper and lower days helps make the sessions more efficient and also provides a psychological break from completing a squat, press, and pull every session. Shorter sessions can also allow for the addition of accessories or conditioning work after completing the main lifts.
A popular way to structure The 4 Day Split is to alternate one lift as the intensity day lift and the partner lift as a volume day lift. For example, Monday could have a squat intensity day (one heavy set of 5) and volume pull day (3 sets of five) while Thursday would have a squat volume day (let’s say 5×5) and pull intensity day (1 set of five). The same approach could be applied to the upper body lifts.
As with any program, the primary variables of exercise selection, volume and intensity are used to modulate stress through the session, over the course of the week, and planned out over several weeks or months of a training cycle. The 4 Day Split can also be used in conjunction with other training frameworks like Texas Method or HLM organize the stress within your training schedule. Other popular 4-day split routines include Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 protocol, Westside Powerlifting Templates, and Russian Block Programs.