Building muscle and losing fat go together in the same way that toothpaste and orange juice make a perfect match — they usually don’t.
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For 10 years I’ve helped beginners build muscle fast.
Follow this plan to unleash quick, noticeable muscle gains.
But you want to get that ideal physique relatively soon or in time for summer, not a year from now after multiple cutting and bulking phases.
It’s time to take a look at this 4 day split workout routine that can make both a potential reality!
About the Creator – Max Riley
We’re a little nervous writing this, so brace yourself — we don’t know much about the creator of this workout routine, a guy named Max Riley.
But here’s what we know based on his online bio.
Riley has had online articles published about both muscle building and nutrition. He also has 13 years of experience in the gym to help him craft a shredded physique evident in pictures.
And he looks pretty jacked.
In terms of creating workout routines, this routine isn’t the first or last that Riley is responsible for. He also shares his ab, shoulder, and HIT workout routines that seem to woo the internet.
This routine specifically drew more than 4.6 million views online.
What is the 12 Week Fat Destroyer?
Yes, when paired with the recommended supplements and diets, this routine can help you to burn fat as advertised. But other goals include building (or maintaining) muscle mass and improving cardio.
Here’s what you need to know about this beginner routine before getting started.
- Prepare to drag yourself to the gym four times per week.
- Plan to work your upper body and your lower body twice per week.
- Make room in your schedule for workouts lasting 30 to 45 minutes.
- Be sure your gym has kettlebells, dumbbells, cable machines, and barbells.
- Stick to the routine for 12 weeks for the best results.
There’s also an extensive diet and supplement plan that changes from one week to the next. Every week, you’ll chop an extra 100 calories off your daily calorie count and splurge on moderate and high-carb days.
You’ll also be doing three to four cardio sessions a week.
But don’t worry!
You’ll be gradually adding cardio time per week, so you don’t burn yourself out too quickly.
This 12-week workout routine will get you to focus on what we can describe as the muscle building (hypertrophy) and muscular endurance rep ranges (8 to 20 reps). Each workout consists of 18 sets.
No rest time was provided in the guide, so we’ll recommend 90 to 120 seconds between sets.
As we hinted earlier, this is a 4 day split workout. Now, let’s take a look at what this workout routine entails.
Day 1 – Upper A
- Incline Bench Press – 3 sets x 8-10 reps (90-120 seconds)
- One Arm Dumbbell Row – 3 sets x 10-12 reps (90-120 seconds)
- Seated Barbell Press – 3 sets x 8-10 reps (90-120 seconds)
- Pull-Ups – 3 sets x 10 reps (90-120 seconds)
- Skull Crushers – 3 sets x 10-12 reps (90-120 seconds)
- Dumbbell Curl – 3 sets x 10-12 reps (90-120 seconds)
Day 2 – Lower A
- Squats – 3 sets x 8-10 reps (90-120 seconds)
- Leg Curl – 3 sets x 12-15 reps (90-120 seconds)
- Leg Extension– 3 sets x 12-15 reps (90-120 seconds)
- Leg Press Calf Raise – 3 sets x 15-20 reps (90-120 seconds)
- Plank – 3 sets x 60 seconds (90-120 seconds)
- Twisting Hanging Knee Raise – 3 sets x 20 reps (90-120 seconds)
Day 3 – Upper B
- Dumbbell Bench Press – 3 sets x 10 reps (90-120 seconds)
- Barbell Row – 3 sets x 8-10 reps (90-120 seconds)
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise – 3 sets x 12-15 reps (90-120 seconds)
- Lat Pulldown– 3 sets x 10-12 reps (90-120 seconds)
- Cable Triceps Extensions – 3 sets x 10-12 reps (90-120 seconds)
- EZ Bar Preacher Curl – 3 sets x 10-12 reps (90-120 seconds)
Day 4 – Lower B
- Leg Press – 3 sets x 15-20 reps (90-120 seconds)
- Stiff Leg Deadlift – 3 sets x 8-10 reps (90-120 seconds)
- Walking Dumbbell Lunge – 3 sets x 10 reps (90-120 seconds)
- Seated Calf Raise – 3 sets x 15-20 reps (90-120 seconds)
- Cable Crunch – 3 sets x 20 reps (90-120 seconds)
- Russian Twist – 3 sets x 20 reps (90-120 seconds)
Pros and Cons of The 12 Week Fat Destroyer Program
- Cardio & Dietary Progression: Riley understands that the average guy can’t suddenly cut down to 2,700 calories or run more than five minutes on day one. Weekly progression helps the body to adapt and keep you motivated as you see success.
- Women vs. Men: There’s no doubt that the female and male body function very differently. The fact that there are separate dietary guidelines makes fat loss and muscle building a reality for both.
- Hits Several Goals at Once: Let’s be honest, there are very few routines out there that can help with hypertrophy, fat loss, and conditioning. This workout routine seems a bit too good to be true to think that you can do it all at once (instead of doing one at a time).
- Up to Four Days of Cardio Per Week: Now, we get that this comes with the territory when you’re looking to shred fat. But doing too much cardio is likely going to slow your muscle gains significantly, especially if you’re burning more calories than you’re eating.
- Not a Long Term Solution: Although this sounds like a quick way to completely transform your body, it’s definitely not a long term plan. This workout plan is designed to shock your body and promote fast results, but such an aggressive caloric deficit and combination of strength training and cardio aren’t sustainable for the average person longer than the 12-week cycle.
The Importance of Recovery when Following a 4 Day Split Program
Regardless of whether you’re following this “fat destroyer workout” or some other 4 day split, recovery is important for adequate muscle maintenance. Here are a few reasons why it’s key to an effective 4 day split workout:
- Protein synthesis. Rest is essential to muscle protein synthesis, which is the process that forms new muscle proteins.
- Rebuilding muscle fibers. The recovery process allows your torn muscle fibers to heal and grow stronger.
- Fluid Restoration. We lose fluid as we exercise and exhale air. These fluids are essential because they aid in delivering nutrients to your organs and muscle.
- Removal of metabolic waste. Proper sleep helps to remove acids that accumulate as you exercise.
4 Common Variations of The 4 Day Split Workout
As you can expect, there are different ways to do your 4-day split workout depending on your fitness goals. But here are four common variations you’ll likely encounter:
1. 4-day full-body Split
You can perform full-body workouts four days a week, but you’ll need to pay more attention to your recovery and the load used (to ensure progression).
A 4-day full body split might provide the most benefit to people trying to maintain their overall fitness, and not someone obsessed with their gains.
2. 4-day Strength/Hypertrophy Split
A strength and hypertrophy 4-day split involves working different muscle groups on separate days, with the goal of increasing strength and muscle size (obviously).
This type of split allows for more focused and intense training of specific muscle groups, and can help to prevent overtraining. It can be an effective way to improve overall physical function and aesthetics.
3. 4-day PPL Split
A PPL (Push/Pull/Legs) split divides its movements into three days:
- Day 1 – Pushing: You’ll do upper-body pushing movements (ex. bench press, flyes)
- Day 2 – Pulling: You’ll do upper-body pulling movements (ex. rows, rear delt flyes)
- Day 3 – Legs: Day 3 is dedicated to the legs (ex. squats, lunges)
You’ll repeat the cycle on your next training day, so day four will be pushing movements again. This means the order of your sessions will change every week.
4. 4-day Bodybuilding Split
Most bodybuilding routines aim to hit every muscle group hard at least once a week. To achieve this, bodybuilders may train up to 5 or 6 days weekly.
However, You can still do your bodybuilding split in 4 days. Here’s what a 4-day bodybuilding split may look like:
- Day 1: Triceps and Chest
- Day 2: Biceps and Back
- Day 3: Abs and Shoulder
- Day 4: Calves and Legs
Nutrition Tips For Your 4 Day Split
Even with the best workout routine, you can’t expect to make long-term progress without the help of a well-crafted diet.
It’s like running uphill in a snow storm.
That’s why if you want to improve your results you should follow some basic diet guidelines like:
- Consume 300-500 calories over maintenance to build new muscle
- 300-500 calories under maintenance to lose fat
- Consume about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight to support protein synthesis
- Consume 20-30% of daily calories in healthy fats to regulate hormones
- Fill the rest of your calories with carbohydrates to maintain energy
These guidelines seem pretty straightforward, but for a beginner that’s never counted calories or tracked how my much protein their consuming on a daily basis…
This process can be a little frustrating.
And for a lot of guys, it’s enough to make them give up before even trying.
Now, if the thought of tracking, shopping, and measuring (all in the name of being ripped) sounds like a pain, you may want to consider signing up for Superhero X12.
Superhero X12 is a complete body transformation system with a killer Diet & Nutrition Module that shows you (step-by-step) how to follow a muscle-building diet so it’s as easy as possible (and you actually like it).
What makes this module so good are all the tools that you get with it.
For example, you get the Superhero X12 Diet & Nutrition Guide.
This is a massive resource that gives you all the details of “how” and “what” you should eat so you can lose body fat and build muscle with the least amount of friction. (Make sure you check out Keith’s signature Macro Flex Tracking method.)
Then there’s the Idiot Proof Grocery List.
And yes, it’s just what it sounds like. It’s a concise list of exactly all the muscle-building foods you need to buy at the grocery store so you can completely kill your anxiety, get exactly what you need, and grocery-shop like a no-nonsense fitness veteran.
Next, there’s the SX Nutrition Calculator.
No offense, but calculating your daily calories and macros with pencil and paper is for cavemen. Thanks to the SX Nutrition Calculator, all you have to do is plug in a few details about yourself, click a button, and all the critical numbers for your diet are calculated for you.
Finally, (and these are gold) there are Sample Meal Plans in the Bonuses section.
If you have no idea what a healthy-ish meal for building muscle should look like, these meal plans got you covered.
With five bulking meal plans and four cutting meal plans (all at different weight levels and meal/snack combinations) you’ll get valuable inspiration on what you should eat (based on past fitness clients) to transform your body. You can try following these plans to a “T”, or tweak them to match your own goals.
Either way, you don’t have to start with a blank slate. This program does the legwork for you.
And this is just the diet portion of the program, there are ton of other powerful resources for training, habits, and accountability that’ll take your fitness journey from a walk to a run.
4 Day Split Workout FAQs
Are 4 day splits effective?
Yes, 4-day splits are effective at building muscle and strength for beginners and intermediates. But the true effectiveness of any 4-day split depends on your goals and the design of the routine you’re following. You may want to do full-body, upper/lower body, PPL spits, etc.
Are 4 day splits enough to build muscle?
Yes, a hypertrophy-focused 4-day split will be enough for you to build muscle. The 4 training days allow you hit each muscle group at least 2 times weekly, which is ideal for building muscle. But you’ll have to take your rest and recovery seriously as there are only 3 rest days for the whole week.
What is a good 4 day split workout schedule?
Here’s an example of a good 4-day split workout schedule – Day 1 for Triceps and Chest, Day 2 for Biceps and Back, Day 3 will be Abs and Shoulder, while you’ll dedicate Day 4 to your Calves and Legs.