4 Day Workout

There are many different ways you can structure your Max-OT workout schedule.  All are effective as long as the basic principles are intact:Jeff Willet

  • Keep the frequency low:  Train each body part one time per week only.
  • Keep the volume low:  6-8 total sets for bigger muscle groups, 4-5 total sets for smaller muscle groups.
  • Keep the intensity high:  Use heavy weights in a 4-6 rep range.
  • Keep it basic:  Select basic compound free weight exercises.

For those looking to get your workout done over a 4 day split.  Here is an example of an effective 4 day workout.

Day 1 – Chest & Triceps

  1. Flat Bench Press (Barbell)….3 sets 4-6 reps (After Warm-up)
  2. Incline Bench Press (Barbell)….2 sets 4-6 reps
  3. Weighted Dips….1 set 4-6 reps
  4. Lying Triceps Extensions ….2 sets 4-6 reps (After Weight Acclimation)
  5. Tricep Cable Pushdowns….2 sets 4-6 reps

 Day 2 – Legs & Calves

  1. Squats….3 sets 4-6 reps (After Warm-Up)
  2. Leg Press….2 sets 4-6 reps
  3. Stiff Leg Deadlifts…2 sets 4-6 reps (After Weight Acclimation)
  4. Calf Raises On Leg Press….2 sets 6-8 reps
  5. Seated Calf Raises….2 sets 6-8 reps

Day 3 – Back & Biceps

  1. Barbell Rows….3 sets 4-6 reps (After Warm-Up)
  2. Seated Cable Rows….2 sets 4-6 reps
  3. Pull-Downs….2 set 4-6 reps
  4. Barbell Curls….2 sets 4-6 reps (After Weight Acclimation)
  5. Dumbbell Curls….2 sets 4-6 reps

 Day 4 – Shoulders/Traps & Abs

  1. Shoulder Barbell Press….3 sets 4-6 reps (After Warm-Up)
  2. Side Lateral Raises….2 sets 4-6 reps
  3. Rear Lateral Raises….2 sets 4-6 reps
  4. Barbell Shrugs….2 sets 4-6 reps (After Weight Acclimation)
  5. Cable Crunches….3 sets 8-12 reps
  6. Swiss Ball Crunches….2 sets 8-12 reps



  1. avatar
    Jeff Reardon

    Im going to start this 4 day split on Monday .. CANT WAIT!

  2. What do you mean by after warm up on some excerises and after weight acclimation?

    I usually do something like this on bench reps 12,10,6,3,1 then 3 works sets, then I jump straight into heavy weights for the other exercises in the same group I.e. Chest, then when it come to triceps do I jump straight in or just 3,1 acclimation reps ?


  3. Hello,

    I love the DVD you made with Stuart.

    I would like to copy the full workout program.

    Any chance I can get a hold of it? 🙂

  4. Hi jeff. With the acclimation sets. Should you do a couple of acclimation sets per exercises or just where you have highlited in the above program

    • You only need to do that for the first exercise of a major body part. It either comes at the very end of the warm-up protocol OR if you are transitioning into a new muscle group that doesn’t need the full warm-up up such as triceps when they follow chest.

  5. Hello Jeff ! I just started the MAX OT program yesterday, seems very interesting !

    I have a quick question concerning my chest workout.

    I workout at home and I don’t have a decline bench to do dumbbell decline press. Moreover, I’ve done dips for years but they don’t really work my chest (i only feel my shoulders and triceps, even if I lean forward)

    Is it ok to replace weighted dips with dumbbell flyes?

    I really feel my chest while doing dumbbell flyes, but maybe 4-6 reps is dangerous with this movement… Thanks !

    • I would not insert dumbbell flyes. I would rather do all sets between flat and incline rather than do a flye movement. In this case I would do 3 sets of flat and 3 sets of incline and call it good.

  6. avatar

    With this order of muscle groups I end up having a full leg day on the day I have a yoga class.Would it be ok to switch day 2 with day 4(or other) so I won’t push legs and shoulders too far or should I keep it as is and maybe do weight on morning and yoga at evening instead of back to back?

  7. Hi jeff. On the days off from training in this program can you do cardio? Also should you warm up for cardio or get straight into it? Thanks

    • Yes, You can do cardio on off training days. I generally jump right into the cardio but you could do a light warm-up if you prefer.

  8. Also jeff with the ab workout should you do a couple of acclimation sets and if so how would you go about it? Thanks mate

  9. Thanks jeff just 1 more question! Because the abs a higher in reps with the acclimation sets should they be more in reps as well?

  10. avatar
    Devang Parekh

    Hello Jeff,

    In your 12 week guide, you have a workout variation that is essentially a 3 day split. But the workout is 3 Days ON 1 Day OFF (where monday’s workout is done friday). Would you suggest this as a possible variation? even though the principles say to train each muscle group once a week.

    • That was in Paul’s original Max-OT course. I don’t prefer that way. If I was doing a 3 day split I would still train the body parts 1 time per week only.

  11. Jeff I really like the 4 day split. I was just curious why deadlifts aren’t the core lift on back day. I’m guessing it’s because back day follows leg day. If I switched the days up a little bit so back day wasn’t after leg day would you have deadlifts as the main lift again on back day? Any input would be awesome thanks!

    • Yes. You can have deadlifts as the primary lift on back day and I think it would make sense to separate that from leg day with a day or 2 in between.

  12. I recently start watching your Q&A and saw the episode with the ‘must have’ exercises. Only maybe i missed a point.

    Now, is it best to put these in every weeks schedule and build the ‘lesser must have’ exercises around them.
    Take ‘skull crushers’ are a must have exercise.

    Week 1-4: ‘Skull crushers’ – Tricep cable press down – Overhead press
    Week 5-8: close grip bench press – Dumbbell kickbacks – Presses behind the back.

    Is is better to leave the kickbacks for week 9-13 and replace them by the ‘skull crushers’.

    To make the question short. Are the ‘Must have’ exercises on a weekly base, week in week out, a good thing or not?

    • I like to build the Max-OT workouts primarily around the must have exercises and I don’t change workouts that frequent. I follow the same arrangement for 8-10 weeks. If I am going to change arrangements I do so after the scheduled week off.

  13. What are your thoughts on burst training for the 16 minute cardio? Something like 30sec hard, 30 sec/1min off or steady, continuous 16 min?

    • I think either way is OK as long as the net effect of the 16 minutes is you “huffing and puffing” out of your comfort zone. I don’t like to be distracted by timing the intervals so I would just rather set a program and then just focus on my output.

  14. Jeff, Would It be ok to slightly modify the program by working out a muscle group every 6 days and getting rid of the second rest day for a slightly higher frequency? Is there any benefit to a slightly higher frequency especially when nutrition is on point?

  15. In terms of chest exercises, my favourite exercise is the cable crossover, can I incorporate this into my workout?

    • I would stick with compound pressing exercises. Cross overs are not as effective at achieving load.

      • Is once a week sufficient? I hear protein synthesis is more effective when training the same muscle twice a week. Some claim upper and lower routines twice a week are the most effective because of this.

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