4 Day Gym Workout Routine for Men

Cutty May 17, 2013 153
4 Day Gym Workout Routine for Men

Here is a 4 day routine that utilizes a 5×5 scheme for the compound movements and a higher 8-12 reps for accessory movements. This routine uses the rep goal system and designed to be ran as long as you are seeing results. In order for you to get the best results with this program, be consistent and always strive for progression.

Here is a sample schedule:

  • Day 1 – Workout A
  • Day 2 – Workout B
  • Day 3 – Off
  • Day 4 – Off
  • Day 5 – Workout C
  • Day 6 – Workout D
  • Day 7 – Off

The benefit to starting on a Monday is while everyone is benching and hogging the dumbbells, you are squatting and doing legs and not have to wait for any equipment. This is convenient so you can go in with your prepared session and smash it out.

I would recommend doing a short 20-30 minute cardio session post workout at least twice a week for optimum muscle growth and recovery.

You also need to eat as much healthy whole foods you can, including chicken, whey, broccoli, sweet potatoes and bacon. In order for your body to grow, you need to eat, eat, get sleep, and eat some more. Eating enough food and getting enough sleep is what builds your muscles; going to the gym and lifting heavy ass weight doesn’t build muscles, it’s your recovery that builds the muscle.

Workout A
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Squats 5 25
Leg Press 3 36
Front Squat* 3 24
Face Pulls 3 36
Planks** 3 -


Workout B
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Bench Press 5 25
Chest Flies 3 24
Skull Crushers 3 36
Tricep Extensions 3 36
Face Pulls 3 36


Workout C
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Deadlifts 5 25
Barbell Rows 5 25
Pull Ups 3 24
Face Pulls 3 36


Workout D
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Military Press 5 25
Power Shrugs 3 15
Lateral Raises 3 36
Face Pulls 3 36
Planks** 3 -


*- Front squats can be impossible for someone with bad posture such as myself.  If you cannot do front squats, use a hack squat machine; most gyms have one labeled a hack squat machine or a V Squat. If you can’t do either of these, leg extensions will work as well.

** – Planks aren’t the same rep goal scheme as other lifts. When you are supposed to do planks, do 3 sets of 1 rep and record your results for each set. The goal to beat for next time is to beat the combined time of those 3 planks. Keep the rest short; 60 seconds and really squeeze the abs and back and keep that core tight.

You might have seen face pulls for every session; most people have underdeveloped rear delts and this is a great exercise that will hit multiple muscles which include rear delts, lats, and traps. I recommend these over a reverse pec deck because most people do not use the machine correctly. If you have been spending time developing rear delts or are a wuss and want to do pec deck, then disregard the last few sentences.

If you’ve never heard of a power shrug, they are basically a rack pull with a shrug. Explosively rack pull from just above the knee and using the momentum, finish with a shrug. This should be all one fluid motion and not rack pull, shrug, down. I know powerlifters who power shrug more than they can deadlift and they have mountains for traps. This is not a bodybuilder type of lift where you slow and control; you explode and try to shrug that bar up to your face. Sit back down onto the pins and let the weight settle, repeat.


Whether or not you choose to do this routine, I invite you to try 3 sets of 5 of power shrugs. Leave your comments, questions, or results of your power shrugs in the comments below!

Written by Cutty


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Rating: 4.1/5 (19 votes cast)

4 Day Gym Workout Routine for Men, 4.1 out of 5 based on 19 ratings


  1. Matt January 31, 2014 at 10:28 am - Reply

    I have been lifting for 20 years (I’m 35) and I have learned more from you in the past 12 weeks than I had from my high school coaches, and college S&T coaches combined. Thanks again…


    • Cutty January 31, 2014 at 10:31 am - Reply

      Thanks man, I’m glad to hear. That’s my main goal is to help people out and try to get people towards reaching their goals.

      Let me know if you need any more help!


      • Matt January 31, 2014 at 2:20 pm - Reply

        Last question of the day…Creatine. What are your thoughts? My ultimate goal is to build lean mass, get down below 8% body fat and hang on to my semi-chisled physique as long as I can. Does creatine fit into this plan or should I just keep with the protein? Just curious.

        • Cutty January 31, 2014 at 10:56 pm - Reply

          Sorry for the delay, got distracted today. Creatine is great it helps with recovery and should increase performance in the gym. Just take 5g of creatine monohydrate a day and you’ll notice some great increases after a few weeks. No need to creatine load, I haven’t found any benefit and it’s not that much quicker.


          • Matt February 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm -

            Good morning,

            Things are going great with my routine. I have seen steady gains in most areas and am genuinely happy with the manner in which I have been progressing. Unfortunately, my football career has left me with nagging injuries that I don’t anticipate getting better anytime soon, if ever. I have learned to live and work through most of them, however sometimes they are exacerbated by certain exercises. I have chronic tendonitis in my triceps and skullcrushers cause some serious inflammation. I have been researching an alternative exercise but wanted your opinion as to something I substitute that will still target the muscle properly.

            While on the subject of arms, I know that the biceps grow and define quite nicely with simply by doing my normal workouts and compound lifts, but hey, summer will be here soon enough and a little tone and definition in the arms never hurt anyone, so what is your favorite bi exercise?

            BTW – Deadlifts are quickly becoming my favorite exercise. I set a long term goal of 600 lbs and really feel that in two years time I can get there. Bench is on the rise, but I saw some old dude throw up 315 like it was nothing and it felt like a drop kick to my ego. My days of 425 a bench are far behind me, but I’d like to get as close as I can. I bench twice a week, once with the 25 rep goal and then again on shoulder day with lighter weight and higher reps. Both are flat bench. Would incorporating incline bench help to increase power and strength? Sorry for the barrage of questions, but I finally had time to sit down and type it out. Look forward to hearing from you.


          • Cutty February 12, 2014 at 10:11 pm -


            Glad to hear that things are progressing well. With the skull crushers, find something that works for you. See how you like a close grip bench. That has some good carryover to bench as well.

            I’m always a fan of some EZ Curl bar preacher curls.. either that or concentration curls. I’m glad to hear deadlifts are becoming your favorite, I’ve always liked deadlifts and squats and hated bench. I find a lot of people like to match dumbbell incline bench with their flat bench and it seems to help build a pretty good strength and muscle base.

            Glad to hear from you, keep up the work!


          • Matt February 18, 2014 at 11:58 am -

            When I began this program back on November 7th, 2013, I was out of shape. I took too many years off at the gym to be worth a damn. Now, I have never been able to do a pull-up, so when I began this routine I knew I was in for a tough time. My first time doing them I had to use the assisted pull-up machine set at 105 lbs. I was able to get 23 of the 24 reps. I remained stuck on that for 3 weeks. This past week I was able to get 20 of 24 reps unassisted, relying on nothing but my own strength for the first time in my life. And I have also added 200 lbs to my dead lift in the same amount of time. Thanks again for your help.

          • Cutty February 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm -


            I’m glad to hear things are progressing for you. It seems like you’re building up a pretty good strength base and I’m glad to hear that.

            Be sure to ask any questions you have.


  2. Matt February 19, 2014 at 11:18 am - Reply

    Cutty, I have developed an issue with my neck. It seems that I have a pinched nerve somewhere that is going to need some chiropractic care to cure. That’s not really in the cards for me. The only time I notice a negative effect on my lifting is during military press. My shoulder gets numb and tingling, all down my arm. It lasts about 15 seconds and goes away, but there is a definite loss of strength. What exercise do you recommend as a substitute so I can give my neck a chance to rest and reduce the inflammation, while at the same time, get the pump I am looking for in my shoulders.


    • Cutty February 19, 2014 at 12:08 pm - Reply

      Hit an inversion table, it might actually help you out. I know a lot of people that shift or pull something and it helps.. worth a shot at least.

      Try to see if a higher dumbbell incline works (like a 60 degree) it will help hit your delts with some help from pecs. It all depends on how high you can lift your arms before it’s pinched. Side lateral raises will hit delts as well and shouldn’t mess with your pinched nerve.

      Ask your doctor or a professional about inversion table and foam rolling. I am not extremely familiar with rehab and if it’s something with spine and pinched nerves it can make it worse. Just some suggestions that I may or may not have done to help but don’t do anything until you get a professional to say it’s ok.

      Good luck dude,


      • Matt February 26, 2014 at 11:22 am - Reply

        Cutty, How can I tell if I am over training? I am way more tired and sore than I have been in the past. Grant it, I am lifting heavier weight, but the last couple of workouts, I haven’t been able to lift what I did the week before. I’m not sure if I’m in my head, or if its time to pull back for a week. What do you think?


        • Cutty February 26, 2014 at 12:43 pm - Reply

          Take a week and do 50% work on main lifts, do a couple accessories you like to do and get out. Try to get some extra food in and get some more sleep. I forgot, have you added anything extra in before you started to get fatigued out?

          The nervous system determines your strength and if you’re beating it down and unable to recover fully you’re gonna lose strength, feel fatigued, could even get sick and catch a cold or something. I would take the rest of this week and next week and do 50-60% to stay moving.. Work on still pushing great reps, you should start to feel a difference next week this time.

          Check what you’ve added, you might have found your limit.. there’s a capacity limit and that’s really what I feel overtraining is. I’ll add an article about this soon to help give my views on overtraining.

          Let me know,


          • Matt February 26, 2014 at 1:25 pm -

            I have added at least one supplemental exercises to each lifting day and I cardio train 3 days a week minimum. Most of my fatigue is in my upper body, but lately, I have soreness in the lower body as well, not typical muscle soreness, im used to that. The joints in my knees and hips are on fire lately. I think some extra rest is a good idea, but I wont feel right doing nothing. I’m going to take your advice and cut back to half, just to keep the blood flowing. Looking forward to your article.


          • Cutty February 26, 2014 at 2:38 pm -

            Might just be a hiccup, definitely sounds like you’re hitting that point where keep pushing the same stuff won’t help any. Let me know how you feel in a couple weeks, I bet you feel good afterwards.


  3. Chris February 22, 2014 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    Sup cutty! The 4 day gym work out is comin along really well. 1 of the off days I’m still hitting bis and cardio. Lost. 6 lb, strength increasing every week. Question is : can I work in cleans somewhere? And doin front squats I used to rest barbell on shoulders, but I’ve been doing the “military press style”. Does it matter which way it’s done? Military press style I feel very off balance…, thanks for all the help bro!

    • Cutty February 22, 2014 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      You can alternate front squats and cleans in. Hold the bar for front squats however works best for you man.

      Glad that things are progressing!


  4. Will March 5, 2014 at 7:53 am - Reply

    Hey man I started doing this program and I have a couple questions for you. I actually started a couple weeks ago but I started off at a lighter weight as if to “almost start over again.” Is that going to allow me to get the same kind of gains or should I have started this program where I was already?

    Question number 2. On some of the days I feel like I’m not doing enough so I add in some exercises plus I alternate on the other non compound lifts. Or I do abs after. Is this a problem as I may fatigue myself faster? I know once the weight gets higher again for me I won’t need extra movements.

    • Cutty March 5, 2014 at 3:09 pm - Reply

      Starting a program light is fine it helps you recover from heavy lifting and is good, you aren’t going to “lose” anything. If you like the extras that you’ve added, run with them until you start missing lifts and feeling fatigued. Once you start getting to the point where things just seem so heavy, start cutting out the extras and see how it helps.


  5. Will March 6, 2014 at 6:24 am - Reply

    Hey thanks man for the response I really appreciate it. Another thing that has been bothering me is when I seen this routine I loved the 5×5 setup, but I stopped doing a pretty high volume routine with a lot of sets. What is the differences from cutting down the set number from what I use to do, about 20 sets per my routine compared to what you have for us here? I want to build muscle and strength without neglecting anything. I guess maybe I feel this way because of the cut in sets?

    • Cutty March 6, 2014 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      Quality over quantity. These extremely high volume sets you see the IFBB pros do are because of the gear they are on. You don’t have to kill yourself, you won’t recover fully and it doesn’t make sense to do it.

      It takes time to build muscle and strength, but when one day you’re going to do an exercise and you’re going to tell yourself “whoa I can’t believe I did that.” Keep working hard.


  6. Will March 7, 2014 at 9:33 am - Reply

    Cutty thanks man for the advice, I really appreciate it and it makes a lot more sense than what I’m use to getting.

    • Cutty March 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm - Reply

      No problem.


  7. Matt March 11, 2014 at 9:04 am - Reply

    Cutty, Well, I went to the orthopedic for the problem I have been having with my shoulder. He says I have a pinched nerve in my neck and need some physical therapy to fix it. Great. He also said, no upper body lifts for 2-3 weeks. Not so great. I can’t go 3 weeks without lifting. I don’t feel like my “injury” impedes my work out. However, I do want to get better and I have noticed loss of strength because of the nerve issue. That being said, which exercises on this 4 day routine would you reccomend that I avoid? I’m scheduled to do work out C today.

    Part 2:
    I have gone off the deep end when it comes to eating. The last few nights I have gone carb crazy and have binged on dry cereal and chips (two of my favorites…mmmm chips). I am looking for a “healthy” late night snack that could satisfy my salty-crunch cravings. Also, tips on controlling the beast (binge attacks) could probably do us all a lot of good.

    • Cutty March 11, 2014 at 10:01 am - Reply

      I’m about to go train, let me think of that on my way to and from the gym. I have binging problems that I’ve been working on and I have other people I can ask for advice on salty/crunchy healthy snack. I sometimes get hungry at night and want to smash some sweets so I’ll peel a couple oranges and eat those and be full afterwards which helps me.

      Give me a few hours and I’ll have something to help hopefully lol.


    • Cutty March 11, 2014 at 3:20 pm - Reply

      I would listen to the doctor and lay off upper body lifts for the 2-3 weeks. I can’t condone going against a doctor’s suggestion. If pressing is what makes it strike that nerve, then maybe isolation work could be ok.

      Once the nerve issue subsides you can go back to hammering upper body.

      I’ve had to treat my eating habits like I do my heavy volume work; you have to be mentally prepared. Know your goals and stick to them. As much as I hate doing volume work I just keep saying “5 reps” or whatever it is and I just stick with it and do it. You’re going to slip up but if you cut down binging as much as you can it will work. Know your triggers and try to eat more fiber and foods with less calories. You could binge on two pounds of vegetables and only get like 300 calories.

      For the snacks, I don’t really know what you could replace. I would suggest finding something that might be completely different from what you normally would try. Any type of vegetable would be great, I like granola but it can be a calorie packer as well as any type of nut. If you can control how much you eat of the snacks, nuts are great because it’ll give you the fats you may be missing.

      Come up with some ideas and see what kind of healthy low calorie snack you can make and let me know what you come up with!


      • Matt March 11, 2014 at 3:37 pm - Reply

        Thanks for the reply, i’m still gonna do cleans though. It’s the “push” exercises that aggravates things. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks for your advice.

        • Cutty March 11, 2014 at 10:19 pm - Reply

          Good luck dude. Let me know how it goes.


          • Matt March 11, 2014 at 11:14 pm -

            I feel better than I have in a long while. Great session today. I keep adding weight to my DL and keep hitting my reps. I’ll be sore as shit tomorrow, but the good kind. Doc put me on cortisone for inflammation and ses to be working. Still no luck on a healthy snack though. Damn chips are calling my name again.

          • Cutty March 12, 2014 at 1:20 pm -

            You should try to maybe take some ziplock bags and make individual servings. That’s what I’ve had to do with some things so I can get my treat without going overboard. Glad to hear health is feeling good. Keep getting the deadlift stronger. You’d be surprised how great of a body you can build off heavy squats/bench/deads.


  8. Jordan March 24, 2014 at 12:10 am - Reply

    Hi cutty just wondering can I add push-ups to every workout day or no? Can I do them and sit ups everyday?

    • Cutty March 24, 2014 at 12:10 pm - Reply

      If you’ve been feeling good on the routine, add them in and see how it goes. Some people can add extra work in and some can’t so try it out!


  9. Mike March 24, 2014 at 10:56 am - Reply

    I have read all your workout plans and I am having a problem choosing the right one for weight loss. I am 5’11 and weight 275 pound. I want to lose about 75 pounds in a year or year 1/2 and I know my main focus is on my eating habits. I work with a moving company so i typically eating on the run. Since i want to eat healthy should I eat a big breakfast and have a protein shake for lunch and dinner with some kid of fruit and maybe some multi vitamins. I have lifted before but haven’t lifted in a year. Should I use my old max or should i find a max before I start one of your workoutst.

    • Cutty March 24, 2014 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      Check out my article on intermittent fasting. You could definitely get away with eating a huge breakfast and then having a protein shake for lunch and whatever else for dinner when you get home. Picking whole foods will give you more food for calories and you can actually still enjoy bacon and steak.

      All routines I create will help promote calorie burning and fat loss as well as building muscle. The body is made in the kitchen, so eating right and staying active is great. I would use your old 1 rep max as an idea but know it’s gone down. I would start at 60% of your old 1 rep max and start from there.

      Any more questions, let me know.


  10. Matt April 7, 2014 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Cutty, How’ve you been? I gotta tell you, I love this routine, but I have been having some issues lately. I have been following this program strictly since the beginning of November and have seen some very positive results. Over the past couple of weeks however, it seems as though I have been back-sliding. My numbers have been going down, mostly in my upper body lifts. I do not seem to be having any issues with my squats or deadlifts, but its getting to the point where I don’t even want to get in the car and head to the gym on Saturday (bench day). I was seeing nice gains in my bench, but it feels like the bottom dropped out. I’m toying with the idea of going back to a 10-8-6-4-2 routine on the bench in the hopes that something different will spark some growth. I know I’m not as young as I used to be (i’m 35) and I shouldn’t expect to gain and recover as quickly as I did 15 years ago, however, 35 is not old and I should be getting stronger than I am. What do you think?

    • Cutty April 7, 2014 at 11:12 pm - Reply

      I think a good de-load week with a little bit of extra food would do you a lot of justice. When I used to have great progress with linear progression and all of a sudden I’ll start missing lifts and it feels as if the weight has doubled. Taking a week off and doing 50% weight on your lifts and basically getting in and out of the gym or even take off a week and enjoy some time off, you will come back fresh and ready to go.

      I usually start having sore joints, extra fatigue, and I can tell when I’m starting be unable to recover quick enough because my grip is weaker for lifts.

      Before switching off since you’ve been seeing such great results, try the deload and get an extra cheat meal or two in, and get some extra hours of sleep. You’d be surprised how extra stress in the workplace or life can affect your lifts as well.

      Keep smashing weight,


      • Matt April 8, 2014 at 10:54 am - Reply

        Sounds like a good plan. Ill check back in a week or so and let you know what’s what. Today I am going to do some light leg work, minimal cardio and soak in the hot tub for about 30 minutes.



        • Cutty April 8, 2014 at 9:46 pm - Reply

          Sounds like an awesome day to me!

  11. Matt April 16, 2014 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Well, I got back at it yesterday after a full week off, just eating and relaxing. I felt pretty good after yesterday. I’m still sore and tired, but the good kind. I think my body had had enough and needed a break. I’m still apprehensive about hitting the bench this weekend, but I read your article on how to build a bigger bench and I am convinced that I have been doing some things wrong, and that I have been doing them wrong for a while. My plan is to start over. I am going to drop the weight down and focus on form and technique. I am going to make sure that I do everything the same (and correctly) on every rep. I’m not going to focus on the weight. Too often I get wrapped up in what the guys around me are doing and that puts me in the wrong frame of mind. I need to remember that my session is about me and making myself stronger, not the other guy. If you have any suggestions, I am always open to them.



    • Cutty April 16, 2014 at 1:38 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you feel refreshed after some time off. The tips work and I think if you drop the weight and work on form for a while it will help. Try to do a 1 second pause on your chest staying tight then pressing.. I’ve been using it lately and I feel it’s helping.

      People around me always try to one up me which when I’m doing 60% work I look like a punk but I just ignore it.. It still bothers me but I know my body can’t perform at 100% max weight all of the time so I just save it. Just see what helps you stay focused on your sessions, I try to ignore everyone if I can.


  12. Matt April 18, 2014 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    Cutty, What are your thoughts on vita-paks such as GNC’s Ripped Vita Pak? im looking for a little push in the the fat loss department .

    • Cutty April 18, 2014 at 1:01 pm - Reply

      They are okay but for the money I’d rather see someone buy more fresh foods and eat that. Instead of going out and eating a number 5 at burger king, make a big baked potato, a couple chicken breasts and some other veggie you like and you’ll have half the calories and a lot more filling. Little stuff like that help.


      • Matt April 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm - Reply

        I couldn’t agree more. I do all of the cooking in the house. We stay away from processed foods and value meals. I even grow all of my own vegetables in the spring and summer. Lowfat, high protein, something green at every meal. I think the kids are getting sick of chicken breasts and pork roast, but grilling season is upon us. I was just looking a multivitamin pak that would supplement my diet with optimum results.

        • Cutty April 18, 2014 at 9:33 pm - Reply

          Multivitamins don’t hurt to have, if you can afford them go for it. Some people try to take vitamins hoping it will offset the taco bell they eat every day and it doesn’t work like that (trust me I’ve tried haha).

          I would love to have a garden of my own, I’m jealous.


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