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4-Minute Muscle Full-Split

Get both big and strong in 4 weeks with the 4-Minute Muscle mass-gaining technique combined with periodized strength training.

4-Minute Muscle Full-Split training program

If you’ve been a JYM Army member for a while, you may remember my week-long full-body 4-Minute Muscle program – a novel, yet highly effective program for gaining muscle and shedding body fat. 

Now, I'm introducing 4-Minute Muscle Full-Split. It's pretty similar to the first program, but with a twist... or two or three or four!

What’s similar is that you have four minutes to complete as many reps as you can on each exercise. That’s where the similarities end.

With this new "2.0" version, I’ve taken the 4-Minute Muscle (4MM) technique and created a four-week Full-Split program out of it. If you own a copy of my Encyclopedia of Muscle & Strength book, this is somewhat similar to the way I use the 4-Minute Muscle technique in Chapter 6.

With the 4MM Full-Split program, you get the best of both worlds: Wicked pumps and muscle burn with the lighter-weight 4MM technique to instigate muscle growth, plus heavy periodized training to gain strength – the latter of which can also further improve muscle mass gains by allowing you to use heavier weight to complete the same reps, or get more reps with the same weight (such as your body weight).

4MM Program Rundown

The 4MM Full-Split program follows a 5-day split, where Workout 1 trains chest and calves as focus muscle groups; Workout 2 focuses on back and abs; Workout 3 targets legs and calves; Workout 4 focuses on shoulders, traps, and abs; and finally, Workout 5 has you finishing with triceps, biceps, and forearms, as well as calves (optional) as the focus muscle groups. You also get two active rest days that you can decide how active you want to be based on your goals.

Each workout starts with 2 to 4 exercises for each of the focus muscle groups, done with the 4-Minute Muscle technique. Once you finish the focus muscle groups, you go on to complete one exercise each for all non-focus muscle groups; you'll use straight sets on these moves.

For example, in Workout 1 you'll start with four exercises for chest, all done with the 4MM technique. Then, you'll do two exercises for calves using the 4MM technique. Then, you'll finish the workout by doing one exercise for three straight sets for each of the other eight muscle groups that didn’t get trained with the 4MM (legs, back, shoulders, traps, triceps, biceps, forearms, abs). 

The full-body exercises are technically optional; you don't have to do them unless your goal is fat loss. If your main goal is mass-gaining, you can end the workout after the focus muscle groups have been trained with the 4MM technique.

Also, note that most large major muscle groups have four exercises/sets using the 4MM technique. This may be too much for individuals with limited training experience. Feel free to start with just two exercises per focus muscle group to assess how many sets your body will need of the 4MM sets.

How to Do the 4-Minute Muscle Protocol

To do the 4-Minute Muscle technique, pick a weight on the exercise that allows you to complete at least 15 reps, but fewer than 20 reps. You have 4 minutes to complete as many reps as possible.

You can also use the 4MM technique for bodyweight exercises with which you can't complete at least 15 reps. Just do as many reps as you can each time until the 4 minutes are up. If you can’t complete reps for the full 4 minutes, that will be your first goal: to be able to complete the 4 minutes regardless of how many reps you can complete.

4MM Rep Goals

In Week 1, your goal is to do at least 40 reps, but fewer than 50, in the four minutes.

In Week 2, your goal is to do more reps on each 4MM exercise than you did in Week 1, even if it means going from 42 reps to, say, 45. 

Similarly, in Week 3, the goal should be to do more reps on 4MM exercises than you did in Week 2.

Your goal over the four-week plan will be to complete 60 total reps in 4 minutes of each 4MM exercise, using the same weight you used to complete just 40+ reps in Week 1.

4MM Rest Intervals

To accomplish the lofty 60-rep goal, you'll employ my Rest Rundown strategy during 4MM bouts.

In Week 1, take 20 seconds of rest after each time you reach failure during the 4-minute period. In Week 2, whittle that rest time down to 15 seconds. In Week 3, go down to 10 seconds. And in Week 4, try keeping rest between 5-10 seconds after each time you reach failure. Once you can complete 60 reps in the 4 minutes, increase the weight by 5-10 pounds.

If you complete 50 or more reps on a given 4MM exercise in Week 1, you have the option of going 5-10 pounds heavier in Week 2 or keeping the weight the same and adding more when you complete 60 reps with that weight.

In between 4MM exercises (i.e., between bench press 4MM and reverse-grip incline dumbbell press 4MM), you'll want to take adequate rest to recover from the intense set. Take up to 2-3 minutes between 4MM exercises. 

Stay Strong with 4MM Full-Split

Because my 4MM technique uses fairly light weight in a manner that focuses primarily on muscle mass gains, as well as increasing muscle strength-endurance, it's not a great method for increasing pure one-rep max (1RM) strength. To address this shortcoming, I’ve employed a few tricks to ensure that while you’re building new muscle, you're also gaining strength.

For starters, the first exercise for each focus muscle group in all workouts will be done for 1 set of 3-5 reps before employing the 4MM technique. So, after a couple of warm-up sets, load the weight to your 3-5RM on that exercise and take the set close to failure. You don’t need to reach full failure here, as this set is for instigating strength gains. What follows will fatigue the muscle more than adequately.

After finishing the 3-5-rep set, reduce the weight to your 4MM weight for that exercise and go into the 4MM protocol. After the 4 minutes, all other exercises for that muscle group follow the 4MM technique as well. Feel free to add the 3-5-rep set to any other exercises you wish, though it's not mandatory (and it's not written into the workouts).

The full-body portion of each workout will be your other strength component. The exercises here follow a linear periodized scheme, where the weight gets heavier and rep counts decrease each week. In Week 1, you'll do 9-10 reps per set. In Week 2, weight increases and reps go down to 7-8. In Week 3, you'll increase the weight again and drop reps down to 5-6 per set. And finally, in Week 4, the weight goes up again to bring the reps down to 3-4 per set.

Full-Body Linear Periodized Scheme

Week 1: 9-10 reps

Week 2: 7-8 reps

Week 3: 5-6 reps

Week 4: 3-4 reps

All exercises are done for 3 sets. 

Full-Body Muscle Confusion for Full-Blown Gains

I also “themed” the full-body training to make it a bit more engaging, not to mention effective (since variety is always important for making new gains). Each full-body portion during the week utilizes a specific type of training:

  • Workout 1 involves nothing but dumbbell work – dumbbell step-ups, dumbbell rows, dumbbell shoulder presses, etc.
  • Workout 2 uses all barbell movements – deadlifts, incline barbell presses, seated barbell curls, etc.
  • Workout 3 is a unique theme: Density Training, utilizing bodyweight exercises (with the exception of a barbell curl) in the manner described in my density training article.
  • Workout 4 involves mostly cable exercises – cable crossovers, cable lying triceps extensions, high cable curls, etc. 
  • Workout 5 uses a variety of machine exercises – machine flyes, Smith machine hamstring squats, machine crunches, etc. 

Density Training In Depth

I want to discuss Workout 3 a bit more for those who are unfamiliar with density training. The primary use for density training is on bodyweight exercises where you have a rep-max goal – for example, you're currently only able to do five pull-ups and your goal is to do 10 consecutive. Or, you can only bang out 20 push-ups straight at the moment, and you're shooting for 30. In my density training article, find the chart that corresponds to your rep-max goal on each exercise and follow the program once a week per exercise as I describe in the article.

As you'll notice, there's one non-bodyweight exercise in the density training portion in Workout 3: barbell curls. As I just mentioned, density training is most commonly used for bodyweight exercises, but it can be used for any number of other moves, like the NFL Combine's 225-pound bench press test or, in this case, barbell curls.

For curls, pick a weight you'd like to be able to do more reps with – say, 95 pounds on straight-bar curls (a 25-pound plate on each side of an Olympic bar). If you're currently only able to do five or six reps with that weight, use the 10-rep density training program, using 95 pounds in all workouts. If you're not quite that strong, it could be 85 pounds or 65 pounds or even just the bar (45 pounds). 

Just one caveat here: Don't set a goal that's too ambitious. If you can only do five pull-ups, set your goal for 10 reps, not 20. Likewise, if you're currently at 10 dips, do the 20-rep goal workout, not the 30. In the density training workouts, you'll be doing double the number of reps as the rep-max goal; for example, if you're doing the 20-rep workout, you'll be doing 40 reps for that exercise in each workout. 

4-Minute Muscle Cardio

If you're doing the 4-Minute Muscle Full-Split workouts as written – meaning, you're doing both the focus muscle groups and the full-body portions of all workouts – you really don't need to do additional cardio. You'll get plenty of conditioning and cardiovascular stimulus from the 4MM workouts. However, if you have aggressive fat-loss goals and want to add cardio to the program, feel free.

Cardioacceleration can be done between sets on the full-body exercises, as those are all standard straight sets, with the exception of the density training protocol in Workout 4. 

You can also do traditional HIIT cardio at the end of any workout or on separate days. Tabatas and Power HIIT are always good options for that. 

On off days during the program (two per week), I recommend any one of my active rest workouts, including the Weider Full-Body Builder and my Lucky 13 Circuit

4-Minute Muscle Full-Split Workouts

Download All Workouts Here

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Download All Workouts Here



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