4 Day Barbell Only Muscle Building Routine

Not everyone has access to all of the most updated equipment in a gym. There are some of us that prefer only working with a barbell to build muscle. This is a routine designed around a barbell only prerequisite that will help you build some great muscle and strength.

This is a 4 day routine, a sample schedule would look like this:

  • Sunday – OFF
  • Monday – Workout 1
  • Tuesday – Workout 2
  • Wednesday – OFF
  • Thursday – Workout 3
  • Friday – Workout 4
  • Saturday – OFF
Workout 1
Bench Press48
Barbell Bent Over Row48
Close Grip Bench Press412


Workout 2
Straight Leg Deadlift412
Hang Clean48
Barbell Curl415


Workout 3
Standing Overhead Press48
Barbell Shrug415
Skull Crushers415


Workout 4
Front Squat48
Barbell Lunges412 Per Leg
Seated Calf Raise415


This is a pretty rough routine and will require a lot of hard work to complete it. If you run this for 12 weeks I know you will see some great results. Strive to add weight to the bar weekly in small increments.

Tip: When doing seated calf raises, purchase a 2×4 or similar board to place the balls of your feet on. This will give you a stretch like the seated calf raise machines do.

As always eat plenty of good healthy muscle building foods, log your workouts, and get plenty of recovery.

34 thoughts on “4 Day Barbell Only Muscle Building Routine”

    1. I made a video about this here => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lB-OhhnV2c

      It’s one of my first videos so pardon the lack of energy, I’m not like that usually (just nervous).

      Generally with big compounds 3-5 minutes, smaller machine exercises 30-45 seconds but with dumbbell stuff I would stick to 1.5-2 minutes in between sets. If you feel ready to go before then, go for it.


  1. Thanks for the response, I got another question for the squat for workout 4 would you recommend low bar or high as doing stronglifts 5×5 recently and am use to the low bar squat but am willing to switch to high bar if it is more affective.

    1. That’s one problem I have with the Stronglifts 5×5 saying that you HAVE to use a certain form. It’s stupid.
      Choose what works best for you. I’ve seen people who squat 1000 pounds low bar and high bar, so whatever works best for you.
      I personally use a higher bar but it’s because that’s what is the most comfortable and strongest for me.
      So pick what you like best man.
      If you have any more questions, leave em 🙂


  2. I like this routine,
    I only half 3 days
    so i added 1 leg exercise into the 1,2 and 3 it looks like this

    Deadlift 4 8
    Straight Leg Deadlift 4 12
    Hang Clean 4 8
    Barbell Curl 4 15
    Squats 4

    Workout 3
    Exercise Sets Reps
    Standing Overhead Press 4 8
    Barbell Shrug 4 15
    Skull Crushers 4 15
    Lounges 4

    Workout 1
    Exercise Sets Reps
    Bench Press 4 8
    Barbell Bent Over Row 4 8
    Close Grip Bench Press 4 12
    Calve Rises 4

  3. Hi, Cutty! How,s the weather there? Well…..I only got a Question :

    It,s about shoulder excercises. Some people says that military presses are basically the best shoulder excersice on compound movements. But on the other hand it says that Barbell Press behind the neck are more efective ¡BUT! it,s prohibited becuase it causes strain and injuries to the shoulder joints so What,s your opinion?

    1. There’s no way in hell I can do them, I have very tight immobile shoulders. I like regular military press. I think if you can do them without any straining then try them, go to just below the top of your head and press, go light at first. Just try it out and see how it feels but I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re scared you may get hurt.


  4. Good evening Cutty! I got a question here: How the warming up series are? Because in this heavy workout the poundages are bigger week to week. So how the warming up series could it be?

    As allways graetfull for your answer.

    1. Arturo,
      I’m not quite sure what you mean by warmup series, but if you mean what type of warmup scheme should you do, I’ve always told people to go based off of “feel.”

      If that answer isn’t necessarily helpful enough, I generally work up to 80-85% of my working weight. So if I’m doing sets of 225 on bench, I would do something like Barx20, 135×8, 155×5, 185×3.. warmup sets should not be hard to complete at all, these are to help get your nervous system warmed up and help get your body ready to move some heavy weights.

      If I didn’t answer it correctly, let me know!


    1. I’d go up to ~170lbs or so and then jump into your set. Play around with how much you warm up.. I’ve noticed with my shoulders and chest I need a bit more light warmups than I do for say squats and dead lifts. I usually do a couple sets of 15 of bar on bench, then 95, 135, 155, 185 and then go from there.. everyone is a little different so try a few different ways and see. I wouldn’t recommend doing more than 80-85% of your working sets for a warmup.

      So ~175 would be max I’d recommend for like 3 or 4 reps before you jump to 209lbs.


  5. Thanks Cutty. Understood. Very helpfull and very good in the weight trainning and fitness field as usual.

  6. By the way. I was testing this routine and it seems to me that is so incredible. I like it. because is so basic, easy excercises, powerfull, and it feels so much muscular pump in hole body. i,m feeling that this routine works for me, but ¡¡Damn!¡ it takes so much effort to complete it. But feels so good doing it¡!

    I got a Question about it. What can i do if I increase the poundages week to week and suddenly i,m get stuck. Can I low the weight 10 or 20 pounds and re start the process increasing 5lbs on the bar week to week again? What,s your opinion?

    1. Take a week off and do like 50%-60% percent of your main exercises and don’t do any accessory work. Just go in and do some light weight and get out.. deloads help your body recover and they are needed once you start getting up into the higher weights.

      If you do this and stall for a few weeks then I recommend cutting weights back down 10-25 pounds and restarting the process.


  7. Good Evening Cutty. ¿Do you know about the thick Olympic Bar? Does it really Work for muscle develoment? Greetings.

    1. Arturo,

      Power bars are a bit thinner than an oly bar, a deadlift bar is a bit thinner than a power bar. It really doesn’t matter which bar you use for muscle development man, just that you’re increasing reps or weight 🙂


  8. Hey I’ve lost a load of weight and cut a ton of fat from my body by doing barbell complexes and eating right I was doing the complex with weights between 20-25kg I’m at the stage now where I want to gain muscle mass as I’ve lost so much weight what weight would you recommend I start lifting at I’m 5″7 and weigh 154 pound is it best to start low under the 20 kg I was using for complexes

    1. Start with what you know weight wise and start building from there. You are going to have to increase the weights each week by 5lbs or the next increment you have if you want to start building muscle and getting stronger. If you aren’t struggling to finish the set then you aren’t using enough weight.

  9. These 4 day workouts are perfect for my schedule, I was wondering if there was a way to incorporate dumbells into this for more variety in my workout? And if so where could I fit them in at. Also right now I’m focused on weight loss as I know that it is inefficient to try to focus on building muscle and losing fat at the same time, would this workout still efficiently fit my needs even though it’s tailored towards “muscle building”. Thanks in advance for any reply.

    1. You can substitute any workout with its dumbbell version if desired. You should keep watch on your diet to lose weight, make great choices on what you do eat, and work hard.

      Good luck and let me know how you are progressing!

  10. I Just came across this post while looking for a 5 day program with barbells only, this looks great! So if you see this Comment I would like to know the following: What do I do if I don’t know how to complete hang cleans, should I swap them out for front squats?

    Thanks for the info mate, I’ll be trying this out for the next month to see how it goes!



  11. I like the basic compound exercises on the program, it’s effective but the bread and butter of lifts , takes the guessing what’s effective or not . Limited on the isolation exercises and only need a bar , weights , power rack , and bench . Because of my limited time I have now and days , Monday’s and Thursdays workout don’t take long to complete . I’m Going to be 46 and this program keeps me in beast mode hahahahaha!

    1. David,

      Thanks for the kind words. It’s amazing what two effective days of lifting can do right? I’m glad you’re kicking butt. Keeping those rest periods short can help speed you along when you do go to the gym.


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