Sunday, February 25, 2024
HomePerformance TrainingOptimizing The 4-Day Cut up Exercise: Units, Quantity, Frequency

Optimizing The 4-Day Cut up Exercise: Units, Quantity, Frequency

Since I launched the 4-Day Traditional Bodybuilding program earlier this week, the questions on 4-day cut up exercises have been pouring in sizzling and heavy… actually good and vital questions too. On this publish, I’ll reply the most important questions on coaching quantity: What number of complete units, what number of units for large versus small muscular tissues, how do you observe/depend the units, what number of complete days per week do you have to practice, and what number of days in a row do you have to practice on a 4-day cut up to maximise muscle positive factors with out overtraining?…

Q: Tom, I’ve questions on your 4-day cut up. I’ve been lifting for 15 years, largely doing 3-day splits (push-pull-legs), however I actually like the thought of the 4-day cut up type. My first query is, once you say a physique half like chest is taken into account a “massive” muscle, does that imply you do 4 units per train for these muscular tissues and solely 3 units per train on the smaller muscle teams?

Additionally, how do you retain observe of the quantity? For instance, if I did chest on Monday and accomplished 12 units in a single session, then I hit chest once more on Saturday (utilizing the 4 on 1 off cycle), does that imply my quantity is 24 units for the week or is it 12 units per exercise that we’re counting because the “quantity?”

One other query is, I do know you’ve talked about doing a 4-day cut up your self, however doing higher for restoration with a 2 days on, 1 break day, 2 days on 1 break day schedule. Is there any draw back to that 2 on 1 off schedule vs the 4 on 1 off?

bodybuilding 4-day split routine

These are nice questions. The three-day cut up is a wonderful schedule and it’s most likely the preferred cut up amongst bodybuilders and physique athletes immediately. For bodybuilding and hypertrophy objectives, you possibly can’t go flawed with a 3-day cut up (push-pull-legs, and so on).

I can’t say {that a} 4-day cut up is essentially higher. Nevertheless, I feel the 4-day cut up has been ignored by lots of people. 4-day splits will be equally or simpler so long as you get your weekly quantity proper and also you customise the schedule primarily based in your restoration wants.

Additionally, if you happen to get pleasure from a 4-day cut up extra, like I do, you’ll get higher outcomes strictly since you persist with your schedule higher and also you keep motivated to coach. Nobody sticks to a coaching program they don’t like for lengthy.

First, let’s level out that coaching quantity can imply a few various things:

1. Quantity load / tonnage. One definition is quantity load, also called tonnage, which is the units x reps x weight. You possibly can calculate and observe this quantity for a single train, a physique half or a whole exercise, and use it guarantee progressive overload.

Easy methods to skyrocket your positive factors by monitoring one muscle-building quantity (members)

2. Weekly units. One other method to quantify quantity is by counting the full units per physique half per week.

Whenever you’re monitoring units, one method to depend them is to take a look at the variety of units per train. It’s true that this may occasionally fluctuate between massive muscle teams and smaller muscle teams.

Doing 4 units per train for big muscle teams and three units per train for smaller muscle teams is an efficient rule of thumb, but it surely’s not carved in stone. I’ll circle again to units for small vs massive muscular tissues in a second.

A second method to depend units is complete units per physique half. So if you happen to did three units of three workout routines for chest, that’s 9 units of chest (in a single exercise).

A 3rd method to depend units it complete units per physique half per week.

It’s vital to differentiate between units per train, units per exercise, and complete units per week. Additionally, it’s most informative and helpful to take a look at units per week.

Is Counting Weekly Units The Finest New Methodology To Quantify Quantity And Predict Muscle Achieve? (members)

Units per muscle group vs units per exercise vs units per week

Weekly units per muscle group is a wonderful quantity to maintain observe of to understand how a lot quantity you’re doing. Utilizing solely units per muscle group per exercise can steer you flawed if you happen to’re not additionally accounting to your weekly coaching frequency.

10 units per muscle group per week is a thought of a benchmark for the minimal quantity if you wish to optimize muscle positive factors.

The prompt vary for units is fairly large. It could run anyplace from 10 to twenty units per week per muscle group. It appears to me that not less than 12 units per week per main muscle is what most superior, skilled bodybuilders decide on if they’ve common or higher genetics and no time restrictions. 12 to fifteen units is a typical vary.

You possibly can acquire muscle with lower than 10 units too, if the depth is excessive. For instance, you would possibly seize 90% of your positive factors doing solely 8 or 9 units, even for the large muscular tissues. Not a nasty commerce off as effectivity goes… then once more, aggressive physique athletes don’t need to depart 10% on the desk.

Currently there have additionally been tips revealed for max really useful units per exercise. Normally researchers and coaches counsel not doing greater than 10 to 12 units per muscle per session. It’s okay if you happen to’re a sophisticated athlete and also you need to do 15 units per muscle per week or much more, however the present consensus is that if you happen to’re going to try this a lot (excessive) quantity, it’s supreme to unfold that quantity out throughout the week extra quite than accomplish that many units in a single exercise.

Doing an excessive variety of units for one muscle in a single session has been proven to extend muscle harm, making it tougher to recuperate. However everyone seems to be totally different. Some folks can deal with a ton of quantity in a single session and thrive on it. It’s a must to see what works for you and actually perceive your fatigue tolerance, restoration capability, and your private preferences.

Personally, I wouldn’t have an issue doing 14 to 16 units for one muscle in a single exercise and have from time to time accomplished that, particularly when utilizing supersets. But it surely’s not my regular observe and it’s not the very best observe.

Generally advanced-elite bodybuilders can deal with 15 to twenty units per week and develop on it. Greater than 20 units per muscle group per week is often thought of extreme apart from the genetically gifted with excessive restoration capability. Even it doesn’t result in overtraining, there are some good coaches who name it “junk quantity.” The title ought to make it self-explanatory.

One exception to those most quantity tips is once you’re doing quick blocks of specialization coaching for only one muscle group.

Greater than 20 units per week on each muscle group can be a recovery-demanding stress to the physique. (To say the least! It will be brutal, to not point out time-consuming). Nevertheless, if you happen to wished to blast one physique half like chest with 20 units per week for a pair months or so to provide it a progress spurt, most individuals can deal with that. (Instance: Hitting chest twice each 7 days with 10 units per exercise).

Perhaps a good a greater method is to begin with fewer units and add units week by week till you attain a peak, then again off to a extra regular quantity. This may be a superb technique of progressive overload. It’s particularly helpful and efficient when positive factors in kilos lifted are tougher to return by. That is generally generally known as quantity biking. (Instance: Begin with solely 10 or 12 units for chest, and steadily enhance the full units to twenty over a interval of weeks or months, then change routines and drop again to the same old 10 to 12 units).

To Construct Extra Muscle, Ought to You Do “Quantity Biking?” (members)

Easy methods to calculate coaching quantity in units per week

In case your exercises don’t match neatly right into a 7 day calendar week, they usually don’t once you use our “traditional” 4-day splits (4 on 1 off, 2 on 1 off), you must do a little bit of math to determine your weekly quantity.

When you do 12 units for an enormous muscle on Monday, after which 12 units once more for a similar muscle on Saturday, that’s NOT 24 units per week. That’s since you’re not doing chest once more the next Monday, you’re not doing it once more till the next Thursday.

Right here’s an instance of how you can do the weekly units math: I’m at the moment doing a 4-day superior bodybuilding cut up and operating it 4 days on and 1 break day, so it’s a 5 day microcycle.

I’m beginning out the block extra conservatively than typical this time with solely 3 workout routines for chest at 3 units every (I’m going to extend the units later). That’s 9 units in a single exercise. Whenever you practice 4 days on and 1 break day, every muscle is getting labored as soon as each 5 days, in order that’s 9 units each 5 days.

What number of units is that per week (7 day calendar week)? Effectively, I flunked a math class in highschool (algebra II) and needed to retake it in the summertime (that sucked), however even I can calculate this. Test it out:

Doing 9 units in 5 days (9/5) is 1.8 units per day (common). With 7 days in per week, the weekly quantity is 7 days X 1.8 units per day = 12.6 units per week.

So you possibly can see I’m greater than hitting the minimal 10 units per week benchmark. As my coaching block progresses, I’ll enhance the units per train, so the weekly quantity might enhance over time and I’d find yourself nearer to fifteen to 18 units per week, not less than for sure physique elements I need to carry up.

What number of units for small muscle teams versus massive muscle teams?

With small muscle teams, most individuals do fewer units per train, per session and per week. That’s not solely as a result of they’re smaller muscular tissues, but additionally as a result of the minor muscle teams are getting hit not directly once you practice the compound workout routines on large muscle teams.

For instance, triceps are a so-called “small muscle group.” (With three heads, the triceps are literally not that small, however we’ll nonetheless name them “small”). Whenever you practice chest presses and shoulder presses, the triceps get minor work on these days. Doing bench press or shoulder press positively doesn’t depend as a full set for triceps, however some coaches and researchers say it ought to depend as a half a set.

I feel that’s far too difficult and creates an excessive amount of confusion to depend chest and shoulder urgent as a tricep set. As well as, I’ve by no means seen any vital progress in my triceps from doing chest and shoulder urgent alone with out direct tricep workout routines. The simpler various is to easily arrange your exercises understanding that the triceps (and biceps) do get slightly bit of labor from compound workout routines (presses and rows), so we hit them with barely fewer units.

You would possibly do solely 3 units per train for the small muscular tissues, and 4 units per train for the big muscular tissues. Or, you would possibly do 3 to 4 workout routines on the big muscular tissues and solely 2 to three workout routines on the small muscular tissues. You’ll nonetheless most likely need to get pretty near the ten units per week benchmark, although 8 or 9 actually intense units will most likely do the trick for smaller muscular tissues.

Some folks don’t even practice small muscular tissues just like the forearms and traps straight in any respect. However once you do, often a single train (on the very most two) does it.

When subdividing an space just like the posterior chain, it’s additionally often not essential to do even 8 or 9 units for a muscle just like the decrease again or glutes (until somebody is a bikini or determine athlete with a significant precedence on glute improvement.

As you possibly can see, what number of units you do for any physique half additionally has quite a bit to do with how large of a precedence it’s so that you can construct up that muscle. If it’s a precedence, you are able to do extra units and workout routines.

What about what number of days in a row it’s best to practice on a 4 day cut up?

Relating to 2 on 1 off versus 4 on 1 off, I’ve run each of these schedules with success. There are professionals and cons of every.

On paper, 4 on 1 off ought to be barely higher since you’re hitting every muscle with the next frequency – as soon as each 5 days. The two on 1 off solely hits every muscle solely as soon as each 6 days.

Nevertheless, lots of people say they get burned out faster when coaching 4 on 1 off. That’s occurred to me too. Coaching 2 on 1 off permits for higher restoration. There’s solely a someday distinction in frequency between these two schedules however there’s something very impactful about coaching not more than two days in row with out taking a relaxation day (three at most). It makes an enormous distinction in restoration.

Utilizing the two on 1 off schedule labored so effectively for me I stayed on it for years and had nice success. However generally I prefer to push myself and get that barely increased frequency so I’ll swap to 4 on 1 off (or one other program with related frequency). If I begin to really feel run down or overtrained, I merely swap again to the schedule with extra restoration. On the very least, I’d take a de-load.

Are there any disadvantages to a 2 on 1 off schedule? If the weekly quantity is identical, I can’t see any drawback by way of muscle acquire outcomes. The one drawback is that this can be a rotating schedule. Which means on some weeks you might need Sundays off, and different weeks you might need to coach on Sunday, and so forth. It’s been my expertise that lots of people don’t like these rotating schedules. For instance, they need each Thursday and Sunday off.

The choice possibility is the 4 X 5 fastened schedule. (4 X 5 means 4-day cut up, 5 exercises per week). You’ll use the identical 4-day physique half groupings however the 5 coaching days and a couple of relaxation days would all the time be the identical each week.

So, any of those weekly coaching schedules can work with the identical 4-day cut up, however it’s best to take heed to your physique and modify your coaching frequency, in addition to the quantity and depth, primarily based on how you are feeling you’re recovering, and primarily based in your outcomes. You must also respect your private preferences, as a result of if you happen to actually like one particular coaching schedule, you’re extra more likely to persist with it.

Final however not least, don’t neglect, essentially the most conservative 4 day cut up of all is the 4 X 4 schedule. On this program, you practice the identical 4 days every week and also you get 3 days of complete relaxation. Lots of people who know they want extra restoration time, together with older trainees, select this schedule.

4 X 4 Muscle And Physique Full Program (Obtain)

Quite a lot of “specialists” argue that working every muscle solely as soon as per week is simply too low of a frequency to maximise positive factors, and there could also be some reality to that. However I’ve seen too many high-level bodybuilders who constructed nice physiques with the 4 X 4 schedule to assume that it’s not efficient if the quantity is equalized. As soon as once more, the important thing to creating it work is to ensure you hit these weekly benchmarks for quantity.


There’s multiple method to arrange these 4-day cut up routines and none of them is true or flawed supplied you observe all the opposite muscle-building greatest practices. Quite a lot of it comes right down to how effectively you possibly can recuperate and in addition merely to your individual preferences.

I do know some of these things is usually a little complicated, and it’s positively nuanced, so when you’ve got another questions, please don’t hesitate to achieve out. I’ve been utilizing a lot of these cut up routines for over 30 years, and I’m additionally aware of what the analysis says about them, so I’m certain I may also help.

Additionally, I clarify all the potential physique half groupings, the cut up routine schedule choices, and all the opposite particulars about physique half cut up coaching within the 4-Day Traditional Bodybuilding coaching guide. You will get it right here:

Members: 4-Day Traditional Bodybuilding is included with membership. Obtain right here: Members-only obtain web page

Non-members: Get 4-Day Traditional Bodybuilding within the Interior Circle retailer right here: Non-members order web page

tomvenuto-blogAbout Tom Venuto
Tom Venuto is a pure bodybuilding and fats loss professional. He’s additionally a recipe creator specializing in fat-burning, muscle-building cooking. Tom is a former aggressive bodybuilder and immediately works as a full-time health coach, author, blogger, and creator. In his spare time, he’s an avid out of doors fanatic and backpacker. His ebook, Burn The Fats, Feed The Muscle is a global bestseller, first as an book and now as a hardcover and audiobook. The Physique Fats Answer, Tom’s ebook about emotional consuming and long-term weight upkeep, was an Oprah Journal and Males’s Health Journal choose. Tom can also be the founding father of Burn The Fats Interior Circle – a health assist neighborhood with over 52,000 members worldwide since 2006. Click on right here for membership particulars


Most Popular

Recent Comments