When it comes to setting up your fitness programming, you have endless options. Some athletes do two days on and one day off. Some do Monday through Friday and rest on weekends. Others opt to divide their programming into upper- and lower-body days, while some athletes like a total-body workout each time. How can you come up with your own programming? One common option is the 4-day gym split.

What is a 4-Day Gym Split? A Structured Yet Flexible Approach

When we talk about a 4-day gym split, we simply mean that you’re training four days a week. These four sessions are organized — or split — in specific ways. There are probably infinite ways to create a 4-day split. But to better illustrate it, here are a few examples:

Example 1

  • Monday: Arms
  • Tuesday: Legs
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Abs/Back
  • Friday: Chest/Triceps
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: Rest

Example 2

  • Monday: Quads/Glutes
  • Tuesday: Back/traps
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: Arms
  • Saturday: Abs
  • Sunday: Rest

Example 3

  • Monday: Shoulders
  • Tuesday: Back
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Abs
  • Friday: Quads/Glutes
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: Rest

You get the idea!

3 Benefits of a 4-Day Gym Split

There are a few reasons why a 4-day workout routine is almost always a safe bet.

1. It Offers Sufficient Rest

Rest is more important than many of us realize. In fact, recovery is mandatory if you want to make gains. Ironically enough, this is where a lot of beginners go wrong. They’re so excited to see their progress that they train all the time.

A 4-day workout split gives your muscles sufficient time to recover so that the next time you tackle a workout, you’re ready to hit the ground running. Plus, because you can alternate muscle groups, they each get the time they need to recuperate and heal.

athlete training with 4-day gym split

2. It’s *Just Enough* Time to Get Your Workout In

With a 4-day workout routine, you have plenty of time to do some serious damage in the gym, but not enough time to mess around. It allows you to train hard and recover hard. You’ll be required to approach your workouts thoughtfully and intentionally, making every exercise matter.

3. A 4-Day Workout Split Gives You Tons of Flexibility

Choose the days you want, and program them how you want. Do you prefer an upper-body/lower-body split? Great. Want to divide up your main muscle groups? That works too! It really comes down to your goals and personal preference.

A 4-day split is perfect for athletes and especially beginners, whether you’re training at home or in a commercial gym. It forces you to train strategically and prioritize recovery. It also ensures you stay focused and make the most of your time in the gym. If you’re just getting started, consider playing around with different 4-day workout splits. See which days you typically feel your best, and when you prefer to recover. Also, experiment with how you segment your programming. You won’t know what approach is the best 4-day workout split for you until you try it, so keep an open mind.