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.

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

  1. 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 :)


  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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!



  5. 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.


  6. Hi Cutty,

    Great program, I’m a month in and loving it.

    For the 4×8 sets/reps for the deadlifts, am I going heavy weight, nice and slow with breaks between each rep or is this more of a lighter weight crank out 8 reps kind of thing?


    1. Hey Joe thank you for the kind words! I’m glad to hear you like it.

      It depends on your goals really. I personally would recommend a dead stop then lift instead of the whole “bounce it off of the floor and do another rep.” You’re going to put more load on your posterior chain. You don’t have to take a break between each rep but do a pull, control it down, let it dead stop, take another breath and pull. If you do the bounce technique it will be much easier and it’s not going to give you as much benefit.

      As for what weight to use, pick something you can do 8 to 10 reps with. If you know your 1 rep max on deadlift, start with about 80% and strive to increase it 5-10 pounds every session. I generally will warm up by ramping the weight up and once I get to my working weight, I leave the weight the same and then crank out the 4×8.

      Let me know if you have any more questions,


    1. I’m sorry for an absurdly delayed response. I’m getting caught up in life and I’ll be updating my workouts. You can either pyramid and go up every set, or you can do your warmup and then use the same weight for each set. I personally like to perform the same weight for every set after I warm up, but I’ve also run multiple routines that you up the weight every set.

      Find what you like, what keeps you in the zone, and keeps you from getting distracted. If you find yourself walking around the gym or checking your phone between sets while you’re grabbing more weights, using the same weight every set may help you stay focused.

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