Need a Hardcore Workout? Try This 4-Day Bodybuilding Routine

As a bodybuilder, no one can really tell you how much you must train in a week to achieve the maximum amount of muscle growth since that all depends on the individual. What works for one person might not work for someone else. Plus, everyone has a different schedule to work around, too. The following 4-day bodybuilding training routine is one of a number of successful training routines I use to both maintain and add more muscle mass.



Building muscle comes down to intensity, and you should ideally train your body with maximum intensity every time you work out. Intensity isn’t about how heavy the weight is, it’s about how hard you push yourself. This usually means having very short breaks in between sets. With a 4-day a week workout to gain muscle, you’re able to train every muscle group once per week with maximum intensity and still allow another 3 days entirely devoted to resting the body. It’s only while the body is resting that any growth can take place after having stimulated your muscles in the gym.

Ideally, I’d train this 4-day bodybuilding routine on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, with Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday as rest days.



  • Flat dumbbell flyes — 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Incline bench press — 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Decline dumbbell press — 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Seated fly machine — 3 sets x 10 reps


  • Standing 21s — 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Dumbbell preacher curls — 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Hammer curls — 3 sets x 10 reps


Quadriceps, Hamstrings and Calves

  • Squats — 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Leg press — 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Leg extensions — 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Walking lunges — 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Stiff leg deadlifts — 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Lying leg curls — 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Seated calf raises — 3 sets x 20 reps
  • Standing calf raises — 3 sets x 20 reps


  • Day Off



  • Smith machine press in front — 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Dumbbell side lateral raises — 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Dumbbell front raises — 3 sets x 10 reps


  • Close grip bench presses — 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Lying triceps extensions — 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Triceps dips in between two flat benches — 3 sets x 10 reps



  • Bent over barbell rows — 3 sets x 10 reps
  • One arm dumbbell rows — 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Long pulley rows — 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Wide grip lat pulldowns — 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Close underhand grip lat pulldowns — 3 sets x 10 reps

Rear Delts

  • Seated bent over dumbbell side laterals — 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Rear delt machine — 3 sets x 10 reps


  • Standing barbell shrugs — 3 sets x 10 reps


  • Day Off

This 4-day bodybuilding routine is my current training schedule. I sometimes incorporate triple drop sets for some exercises mentioned in this program when I feel like I need to push the intensity level up a notch. I always train every set to failure, although I often mix up the order of the exercises, so I keep shocking my muscles each week. That way, they don’t get used to the same routine and always keep growing. Sometimes, it’s also wise to increase the reps to 15 – 20 reps per set to change the tempo from the usual 10 reps per set. This is the basic 4-day workout plan, but remember to change reps and exercises each week to trick the muscles into new levels of growth.

High intensity training means training with light to medium weights with short breaks in between each set. In my opinion, high intensity training is a much better option than heavy weight training especially for guys over 40. I love training heavy but for us guys over 40, you will have a much higher chance of injury if you train heavy compared to the more intense yet mostly injury free high intensity style training.


Anthony Hill

When you put together the sum total of my 30 years of bodybuilding training, the contests, the vast array of diets I have experimented (tortured) myself with as well as the experiences I have been through with various training partners in the gyms I have trained in all over the world, it’s been a great ride and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to be able to do lots of personal training for private clients alongside my day job. For a few years during my 30’s, I moved to Asia and worked as the Fitness Manager and head personal trainer at one of Thailand’s leading gyms in Bangkok. Learn More

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