The four day training cycle uses three consecutive days to train your whole body, followed by a rest day before you start the cycle over again. For example, train your chest and back on Monday, thighs and biceps on Tuesday, shoulders and triceps on Wednesday, rest on Thursday and begin again on Friday with chest and back.
This split is not based on a seven day cycle.
The best point about following the four day training cycle is the fact that, with the exception of calves and abdominals added at your discretion, you only have to train TWO muscle groups in a workout. This means you can work these two groups very hard each workout and still not burn yourself out.
Because you have only two muscle groups to train at each workout it is much easier to motivate yourself and have a great training session.
Training only two muscle groups at each workout is a lot easier on your system. You don't have to take a lot out of yourself each time you train.
Because you are only training each bodypart every four days you will self-consciously tend to train that muscle group harder.
Adding one complete day of rest after three consecutive days of training allows the body's recuperative powers enough time to replenish themselves again.
Here is a sample program layout.
Day One - Chest and Back
1) Heavy Dumbbell Incline Press -
4 sets increasing the weight each set, on a low incline angled bench that is no more than 30-40 degrees.
1st set - Pick a weight that you can do 10 reps with fairly easily.
2nd set - Increase the weight and do another 10 reps, this time fairly hard.
3rd set - Increase the weight again, and this time do 8 hard reps.
4th set - Increase the weight again, and try to do 6 reps with the heaviest dumbbells you can.
2) Flat Bench Flyes - 3 x 8
Lie on a fairly narrow bench so that just your upper back and shoulders are in contact with the surface. Hips should be held low, feet together and touching floor. Hold a pair of dumbbells at arms' length above your chest with palms facing each other.
Keeping your elbows slightly bent lower the dumbbells out to the side so that your chest feels the stretch. You will soon feel how far they should go. 'Squeeze' the dumbbells back to starting position.
Do your first set with about 65% of your best 8 rep poundage.
Rest one minute and then do another two sets with all the weight you can.
3) Dips - 3 x 8
Do your first set with bodyweight only. Rest a full 90 seconds and then do another set with weight attached to your waist. Go all out to get 8 reps.
Rest another 90 seconds and do a final pump set with only your bodyweight for maximum reps.
Rest five or 10 minutes and move on to your back workout.
1) Wide Grip Chins - 3 x 8
Take a grip on the chinning bar so that each hand is about 4 inches wider than each shoulder. Use straps to keep your grip on the bar.
From a dead hang position pull up until your chin clears the bar. Slowly return again felling your lats stretch.
Follow the same set/rep pattern as the dips.
2) Bentover Barbell Row - 4 x 8
Bend over at the waist till your upper body is parallel to the floor. Support your forehead against an exercise bench or upright. This will keep the strain off the lower back. With your knees slightly bent hold the bar with a shoulder width grip, and slowly pull upwards till it grazes your chest. Slowly lower, and try to make your lats stretch.
Do the first set with only about 60% of your best 8 rep poundage.
Next, jump to your best weight and fight to get 8 strict reps.
Do another two sets, reducing the weight by 5 pounds each set.
3) Reverse Grip Pulldowns - 4 x 10
Hold a straight bar on the pulley with a 'curl-type' grip. Hands should be about 18-24 inches apart.
Do the first set with a medium heavy weight to warm up and get the exercise groove.
Now, go all out to get ten strict, hard reps with as much weight as you can handle.
Do another two sets with the same weight resting only one minute between sets.
Day Two - Thighs and Biceps
1) Leg Curl - 4 x 12
Lie on the leg curl machine and do a nice, slow, strict warmup set with about 60% of your best 12 rep poundage.
Next, increase the weight for a very hard set of 12 reps.
Rest only 30 seconds between sets and do another two sets, reducing the weight by 5-10 pounds each set.
2) Leg Extension - 4 x 12
Hook your feet under the roller pad of the leg extension table and raise your legs up as far as you can. At the contracted position hold and tense your thighs for at least two seconds.
Do a medium-heavy set of 12 reps as slowly and as strictly as you can. Do another three sets increasing the weight by 10 to 20 pounds each set.
You simply cannot do your leg extensions too strictly. This is one exercise that must be done in perfect form to fully stimulate the large quadriceps muscles of the lower frontal thigh.
3) Parallel Squats 4 x 12,10,8,6
Increase the weight each set. You will notice a very different feeling when doing squats after both the front and back aspects of your thighs have been exercised first with leg extensions and leg curls.
Do your first set of 12 reps with a medium-heavy weight.
Rest two minutes. Increase the weight by 20 lbs. or more and do a set of 10 reps.
Rest another two minutes. Increase the weight by another 20 lbs. or more and do 8 reps.
Rest a final two minutes. Increase the weight again by 20 or more lbs. and do 6 reps.
Take a 10 minute rest.
4) Incline Dumbbell Curls - 4 x 8
Lie on a fairly steep-angled incline bench set at about 80 degrees. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and slowly curl them up to your shoulders. Hold and tense for a second, and then slowly lower.
Do a warmup set of 8 reps with about 60% of your best 8 rep poundage.
Rest only one minute and then do an all out set of 8 reps with as much weight as you can.
Do another 2 sets reducing each dumbbell by 5 pounds each set.
2) Scott Curl - 3 x 10,8,6
Select a steep inclined preacher bench and rest your arms over the bench. Slowly curl a bar up to your shoulders using a shoulder-width grip. Tense your biceps hard at the top and then lower to full extension.
Do your first set with medium-heavy weight for 10 reps.
Increase the weight and do a hard set of 8 reps.
Rest only 60 seconds, increase the weight again and do a final all out set of 6 reps.
3) Heavy Barbell Curls - 5 x 6
Finish your biceps routine with some very heavy barbell curls in fairly strict style.
Do your first set with about 50% of your best 6 rep poundage.
Do a second set with about 75% of your best 6 rep poundage.
Now do 3 sets of 6 reps using all the weight you can. Rest only about a minute between each set.
Day Three - Shoulders and Triceps
1) Bentover Lateral Raises - 4 x 12
Sit right at the end of a low exercise bench, and bend over until your upper body rests along the top of your thighs. Grasp hold of two dumbbells, and raise them out to the sides with your elbows slightly bent. Try to squeeze your rear deltoids as your elbows reach the parallel position. Slowly lower again.
Choose a fairly light pair of dumbbells for your set, and do a warmup.
Next, go to the heaviest pair of dumbbells you can use for a strict set of 12 reps.
Resting only 40 seconds between each set, do another 2 sets reducing the weight of each dumbbell by 5 pounds each set.
2) Wide Grip Upright Rowing - 4 x 12
Do these with a shoulder width grip and try to feel the action on your deltoids. Pull the bar up smoothly until it reaches your neck, pause, and lower slowly.
Do your first set with a medium-heavy weight, about 60% of your best 12 rep poundage.
Increase the weight on your second set to your best poundage for 12 reps. Go all out to get those 12 reps.
Resting only 60 seconds between sets, do another 2 sets reducing the weight by 5 pounds each set.
3) Side Laterals - 3 x 10
Hold the dumbbells on your thighs. Raise them out and forward with your elbows bent. As soon as your elbows hit the horizontal position, slowly lower them back down again.
Do 3 sets with the same weight each set, and rest only one minute between sets.
4) Heavy Dumbbell Press - 5 x 5
Do your first set with dumbbells weighing about 50% of your best 5 rep poundage.
Do a second set at about 75% of your best 5 rep weight.
Now, go to the heaviest pair you can handle for an all out set of 5 reps.
Rest a minute and then do another set with dumbbells 5 pounds lighter.
Rest another minute, and do a final set with another 5 pound reduction in weight.
Do your presses seated, with your back against an 85-degree upright Hold the dumbbells low on your chest with palms facing in towards each other, and as your elbows go past your face rotate them so that your palms are facing the front. Return the same way.
Take a 5 minute rest.
4) Triceps Pushdown - 4 x12,10,8,6, increasing the weight each set.
For a change, use a short, slightly bent bar and keep your hands only about two inches apart, thumbs wrapped around the bar. Lean over so your body is almost parallel to the floor. In this position your hands and the bar should be just under your chin. Your upper arms will now be right out away from your body.
From this position smoothly push down the handle until your elbows lock out. Pause, and then return again. Start out fairly light, and increase the weight each set until you are down to about 6 reps.
5) Close Grip EZ Bar Bench Press - 5 x 6
Using a very close grip, slowly lower as far down as you can without straining your wrists. You may not be able to go right onto your chest, but this doesn't matter. When you reach the position you feel is right for you, push the bar back with triceps strength and fully lock out your elbows at the top of the movement.
Do your first 2 sets with moderate weights, about 50% and 75% of your best 6 rep poundage.
Now do another 3 sets with as much weight as you can handle.
6) Triceps Bench Dips - 2 sets, max reps.
Use only bodyweight in these. Rest your hands on a bench behind you, and have your feet propped up on another bench in front of you. Dip down as far as you possibly can without pulling your shoulders. Push up, and firmly lock out your elbows at the top.
Do 2 fast sets.
Rest the following day, and then start the 4-Day Training Cycle again the day after.