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Strength training offers a wide range of benefits, from improving your posture and balance to helping you lose weight and build lean muscle mass.
When it comes to training frequency it’s not uncommon for people to think they need to train almost every day for best results. However, that’s not the case.
Whilst you can train every day if you wish, a 4-day workout split when working out is designed to be efficient and effective, allowing you to build muscle, burn fat and factors in several rest days.
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Whether your primary goal is weight loss or muscle gains, this article will walk you through the basics of a 4-day workout routine and demonstrate how to create a customized workout program that fits your needs.
Understanding Strength Training
Any exercise where you use resistance to build strength in your muscles is known as strength training.
The resistance can come from your body weight or external weights such as gym machines or dumbbells.
Strength training is also known as resistance training or weight training.
Resistance training falls under the category of “anaerobic exercises” as opposed to “aerobic exercises.”
Let’s briefly look at both categories.
Aerobic exercises use energy sourced from your body’s aerobic energy system.
The aerobic system uses the macronutrients from your food to re-synthesis ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
In simpler words, it provides you with a steady stream of energy for sustained exercise.
You may be familiar with quite a few aerobic exercises, such as walking, skipping rope, cycling, or swimming.
Aerobic exercises are great for your cardiovascular health and are most beneficial for the central nervous system.
Overall, aerobic exercise can lower your resting heart rate and increase your stamina.
On the other hand, aerobic exercises are not the best option for strengthening or grow your muscles.
For that, we have strength training.
Anaerobic exercises include high intensity interval training, weightlifting and other movements that involve either speed or power.
The anaerobic energy system also produces the ATP required to fuel your muscles.
Unlike the aerobic system, it burns your body’s carbs and fats in the presence of very low oxygen levels.
This produces lactic acid as a by-product.
Lactic acid also known as lactate is the reason that you feel a burn in your thighs when you do something such as climbing the stairs whilst carrying a heavy weight load.
Any muscles that you engage will feel that burn.
This is why you can’t sustain anaerobic exercises for longer than a few seconds to half a minute.
However, you will obtain better results in respect of muscle building and boosting your metabolism.
Benefits of Strength Training
Most people these days lead a sedentary lifestyle, this can lead to several health issues.
By setting aside time for a regular training session there are several benefits to be had.
By consistently challenging your muscles with resistance training, you can increase your muscle mass and strength over time.
This can improve your overall physical performance and make everyday tasks easier and offer protection to your joints.
Strength training can also help you burn fat by increasing your metabolism and building lean muscle mass.
This can lead to a leaner, more toned physique.
What’s more, when training with heavier weights you’re metabolism remains elevated meaning you’ll continue to burn calories long after you’ve finished your workout.
Improve Bone Health
Strength training can help increase bone density, which is especially important as we age and become more at risk for conditions like osteoporosis.
Reduce Risk of Injury
By strengthening your muscles and improving your overall physical fitness, you can reduce your risk of injury during physical activity or even everyday tasks like lifting heavy objects.
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Achieving your strength and fitness goals can improve your confidence and self-esteem.
This can have a positive impact on all areas of your life.
Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Exercise is a proven way to reduce stress and anxiety; strength training is no exception.
It does this by lowering the stress hormones in your body (cortisol and adrenaline) as well as increasing the endorphins which help to improve your sense of wellbeing.
What Are the Benefits of a 4 Day Strength Training Program?
Starting an exercise routine can be daunting for many people, especially if they are new to fitness or have been away from it for some time.
It’s common to feel overwhelmed, thinking it will take too much time or a long-term commitment.
This is where a 4-day strength training program comes in to make things easier and more manageable.
Here are some reasons why you should consider a 4-day strength training program:
- A 4-day program is perfect for beginners who want to ease into a fitness routine. It can help them build confidence and establish good form with their training.
- A 4-day program is also great for those who have been away from fitness for a while and want to get back into it gradually without overwhelming themselves.
- With only four days to commit to, it’s easier to fit workouts in to your week when you don’t have enough time making it a great option for those who have a demanding job or family responsibilities.
- A 4 day strength training program can help take the edge off the intimidating nature of starting a fitness routine. This type of program offers enough structure and guidance to provide clear direction and achievable goals whilst still allowing for flexibility and adaptability.
- This program can help you to build a strong foundation for more advanced strength training programs. Once you’ve mastered the basics of the 4 day program, you can gradually increase your workout frequency or add more advanced exercises to your routine.
Designing Your Strength Program
Now that you understand the benefits of strength training and why it’s important, it’s time to create your 4 day strength training program.
There are a few things to consider when creating your routine such as your ability, goals and equipment you have access to.
Make sure to factor in any pre-existing injuries when developing your weekly workouts.
Determine Your Fitness Level
Before you start, it’s important to assess your current fitness level.
This will help you determine the appropriate weight and intensity for your workouts.
If you’re new to strength training, start with lighter weights and focus on perfecting your form before increasing the weight.
Set Your Goals
What would you like to achieve? Are you looking to build muscle mass, increase strength, or improve your overall fitness?
Set specific goals for your program so you can track your progress helping you to stay motivated.
Choose Your Exercises
Choosing your exercises should be determined based on your ability. Isolation exercises are a great way of working smaller muscle groups and addressing any weaknesses whereas compound lifts are great for adding muscle and increasing explosive power.
Choose exercises that align with your goals, and make sure to include a variety of exercises to engage all major muscle groups.
Plan Your Schedule
Consider your schedule and how much time you can commit to working out. Aim for four days of strength training each week, with a rest day in between each workout.
Consider splitting your workouts into upper body and lower body days, or focus on specific muscle groups each day.
Adjust as Needed
As you progress through your program, you may need to adjust the weight, reps, or sets to continue challenging your muscles.
It’s also important to listen to your body and take rest days when needed to prevent injury and allow for proper recovery.
How to Plan Your 4 Day Strength Training Program
Planning a 4-day strength training program can seem overwhelming.
But the key is to approach the process methodically, ensuring that you’re targeting all major muscle groups and incorporating a mix of compound and isolation exercises.
Below Is An Example Of A Four-Day Workout Split:
When it comes to strength training, working on your upper body can do wonders for your overall fitness and aesthetic goals.
Not only does it help you achieve a well-rounded physique, but it also enhances your posture, improves your balance, and prevents injuries.
To get the most out of your upper body workouts, it’s important to focus on specific muscle groups.
Here are some of the exercises that you can choose from.
- Push-ups —This classic exercise targets your chest, shoulders, and triceps. You can do this anywhere with no equipment.
- Bench Press — This exercise targets your chest, shoulders, and triceps. You can use dumbbells or a barbell.
- Overhead Press — This exercise targets your shoulders and triceps. You need dumbbells or a barbell.
- Pull-ups/Chin-ups — These exercises target your back, shoulders, and biceps. They require a pull-up bar, but you can modify them with resistance bands.
- Rows — These exercises target your back, shoulders, and biceps. You can do them with dumbbells, barbells, or a cable machine.
Having a proper form is crucial for your exercises.
Ensure you maintain a stable core and engage your muscles throughout each exercise.
Don’t hesitate to ask a trainer for guidance or watch tutorial videos online to perfect your form.
Day 2: Upper Body Isolation Movements
After a grueling day of upper body compound movements, your upper body isn’t in the clear yet.
Day 2 is all about isolating specific muscle groups in your upper body to help you build definition and endurance in weaker areas and improve muscle balance.
Feel the burn on day two with these isolation movement exercises for your upper body:
- Bicep Curls — Bicep curls are a classic upper-body exercise that isolates the biceps. You can perform them with dumbbells or a barbell, and they have multiple variations to keep things interesting.
- Tricep Extensions — Tricep extensions work the muscles at the back of your upper arm, helping to tone and define this area. You can perform tricep extensions with dumbbells, cables, or resistance bands.
- Lateral Raises — Lateral raises target the side deltoid muscles in your shoulders. Variations include front raises and rear deltoids. You can perform lateral raises with dumbbells, resistance bands, or cable machines.
- Chest Flyes — Chest flyes target the pectoral muscles in your chest, helping develop a stronger, more defined torso. You can use a cable machine or resistance bands or even a single dumbbell or kettlebell instead of two separate weights.
- Reverse Flyes — Reverse flyes work the muscles in your upper back, improving your posture and reducing the risk of shoulder injuries. You can perform reverse flyes with dumbbells, resistance bands, or a cable machine.
Taking a rest day and allowing your body to recover is just as important as the training itself.
This is the time for your muscles to rebuild and repair themselves, allowing you to come back even stronger.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind for your rest and recovery days
- Get Enough Sleep — Sleep is when your body does most of its repair work. Getting enough sleep is essential for allowing your body to recover properly.
- Proper Nutrition — What you eat is just as important as how you train. Make sure you are getting enough nutrients to help your body recover, and consider adding a protein supplement if necessary.
- Active Recovery — While you don’t want to push yourself too hard on your rest day, doing some light activity like yoga or walking can help increase blood flow and promote recovery.
- Foam Rolling and Stretching — Rolling out sore muscles and stretching tight areas can help with recovery and prevent injury.
- Take a Mental Break — Rest days are also an opportunity to take a break from the mental demands of training. Consider doing something that relaxes you, like reading a book or spending time with friends and family.
The lower body is the powerhouse of the human body, containing some of your body’s largest muscles responsible for movement and stability.
After a day of active rest and recovery, it’s time to get your body back into the swing of things with some intense lower body work.
Since you haven’t hit legs yet and your body has had a full day of recovery, you can jump straight into compound movements.
These exercises are great for building muscle and burning calories, making them a key component of any effective strength training program.
Here are some lower body compound movements to do on day 4 (technically 3) of your 4-day strength training program.
- Squats — Squats are a compound exercise that works your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. You can do them with weights or just your body weight. Consider using a weight-lifting belt for additional safety.
- Glute Bridges — Glute bridges are a powerhouse exercise for developing strength in your lower body and core. Variations of this exercise include single-leg glute bridges, barbell glute bridges, or adding a resistance band around your thighs.
- Stiff Leg Deadlifts — Deadlifts primarily work the hamstrings and glutes but also engage the lower back, core, and upper back muscles. You need weights, typically standard barbells, to perform them.
- Lunges — Lunges work the quads, hamstrings, and glutes and also engage the core for stability. You can perform them with or without weights.
- Step-ups — This simple yet effective exercise targets the quads, glutes, and hamstrings while also testing your balance and coordination. Use a step or bench to perform step-ups, and add weights for an extra challenge.
When you are choosing compound exercises, make sure that you are covering most muscle groups.
Avoid doing too many exercises that target a similar range of muscles.
Otherwise, you run the risk of overtraining.
Day 5: Lower Body Isolation Movements
They say you should never skip leg day, but you should target your legs at least 2-3 times a week.
The way to do this is by alternating between compound and isolation exercises so you don’t overtrain.
That’s why day 5 of the 4-day strength training challenge is all about fine-tuning any muscle imbalances and working muscles you might have missed the day before.
- Standing Calf Raises — Standing calf raises are great for building size and strength in your calf muscles. You can vary this exercise and keep your body on its toes by changing the position of your feet (toes pointed inward or outward) or the height of the surface you’re standing on.
- Hamstring Curls — This exercises zeroes in on those powerful muscles on the back of your thigh. You can perform them using a specialized hamstring curl machine or even just a stability ball.
- Hip Abduction —This exercise targets those oft-neglected muscles on your outer thighs, building a strong, balanced lower body. You can use a hip abduction machine or resistance band to perform this exercise.
- Standing Glute Kickbacks — Glute kickbacks are perfect for fine-sculpting your glutes, especially if they’re a trouble area for you. You can use resistance bands for more of a challenge.
- Leg Extensions — Feel the bum in your thighs with leg extensions. This exercise specifically targets the quads and can be done using a leg extension machine or resistance bands.
Nutrition and Supplementation
Nutrition and supplementation play a crucial role in strength training.
The food you eat fuels your body and determines the effectiveness of your workout.
Here are some tips to help you maximize your strength training through proper nutrition and supplementation.
Fuel Your Body With Protein-Rich Foods
Adequate protein intake is important for preventing muscle breakdown and increasing muscle protein synthesis.
Science shows consuming protein immediately post workout can offer muscle building benefits.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Along with protein, make sure to include complex carbohydrates and healthy fats (such as nuts or avocado) in your diet.
Carbohydrates provide energy, while healthy fats help regulate hormones.
Drinking enough water is important for overall health, but it is especially important during strength training.
How much water you consume should be based on your weight, how active you are and how much you perspire.
Supplements can be a helpful addition to your diet, but they should not replace whole foods.
Some popular supplements for strength training include whey protein, leucine, and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).
Don’t Skip Meals
Skipping meals can lead to a lack of energy during your workouts and can also cause your body to break down muscles for energy.
Make sure to eat regular, balanced meals throughout the day.
Tracking Progress and Adjusting Your Program
Tracking your progress is an important aspect of any strength training program.
By keeping track of your progress, you can ensure that you are making steady gains and achieving your goals.
Here are some tips on how to track your progress and adjust your program accordingly.
Keep a Training Journal
A training journal is a great way to track your progress.
You can use it to record your sets, reps, and weights for each exercise, as well as how you felt during the workout.
This can help you identify patterns and make alterations to your program as needed.
Taking measurements of your body, such as waist circumference, hip circumference, and body fat percentage, can give you a more comprehensive view of your progress.
These measurements can be taken every 4-6 weeks to track changes over time.
Monitor Your Strength Gains
One of the most obvious signs of progress in a strength training program is an increase in the amount of weight you can lift.
Keep track of your strength gains over time to ensure that you are making steady progress.
Adjust Your Program
As you progress in your strength training program, you may need to adjust factors to keep challenging your muscles.
This can include increasing the weight you lift, changing the number of sets and reps you perform, or incorporating new exercises into your program.
A 4-day strength training program can be a game-changer for anyone looking to build muscle, gain strength, and improve their overall health and fitness.
With a well-designed program, proper nutrition, consistency and rest, anyone can achieve their fitness goals and enjoy the many benefits of strength training.
Remember, building strength and muscle takes time and dedication.
But by following a structured program, keeping track of progress, and adjusting as needed, anyone can see real results.
So whether you’re new to strength training or a seasoned lifter, a 4 day strength training program can be a great way to take your fitness to the next level.