Dorian Yates 4-Day Split Routine - Iron Studio Gym

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Dorian Yates 4-Day Split

    • Goal: building muscle mass
    • Technical complexity: medium
    • 4-Day Split
    • Duration: 60 minutes
    • 4 times a week

Dorian Yates was one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time. He won the Mr. Olympia title six times in a row from 1992 – 1997 and is considered the first true “mass monster” in the sport of bodybuilding.

Dorian Yates was known for his high-intensity training style but that wasn’t the only unusual thing about the way he trained. Dorian invented his own bodybuilding training split and used it to build muscle mass faster than anyone else ever thought possible.

Dorian trained each body part once every 6 days using the following body part split:

    • Day 1: Shoulders, Triceps and Abs
    • Day 2: Back and Rear Delts
    • Day 3: Rest Day
    • Day 4: Chest, Biceps and Abs
    • Day 5: Rest Day
    • Day 6: Quadriceps, Hamstrings and Calves
    • Day 7: Rest Day

This may look like a typical bodybuilding style training split where you train each body part once per week with lots of sets, reps and exercises. In my opinion Dorian’s split is an improved version of the old-school bodybuilding split.

Here are just a few of the reasons why Dorian’s split works so well:

    • Improved direct training frequency
    • Improved indirect training frequency
    • More total rest days
    • Rest days after the heaviest workouts
    • Optional rest days when you are feeling beat up

Dorian’s training split works so much better than the old-school “bro-split.” It’s not even a fair comparison! By the end of this article you will understand exactly why this training split works so well and how to start using it in your own training. Now let’s get down to business…

As you can see every body part is trained directly once every 6 days. This may not seem like a big deal. After all, how much of a difference can there be between training body parts once every 7 days vs once every 6 days? In reality this makes a very large difference for most people.

Training body parts once every 7 days is just not optimal for most people. This is true for beginner, intermediate and even most advanced bodybuilders. or most individuals there is a slight detraining effect taking place by the seventh day.

This means that although some muscular hypertrophy took place earlier in the week, the gains start to dissipate by the end of the week. There is just too much time in between workouts for each body part to make optimal progress.

Personally I really like Dorian’s moderate training frequency. He simply shaves off a rest day from the typical “bro-split” so that he can train each body part every six days. This means he is training body parts 14% more frequently than his competitors!
Day 1 (Shoulders, Trapezius, Triceps, Abs)

    • Dumbbell Shoulder Press (12,10),8-10 – Shoulders, triceps
    • Dumbbell Lateral Raise (10),6-8 – Side delts
    • Cable One Arm Lateral Raise (10),6-8 – Side delts
    • Dumbbell Shrug (10),6-8 – Upper trapezius
    • Cable Pushdown (12,10),6-8 – Triceps
    • Barbell Lying Tricep Extension (10),6-8 – Triceps
    • Cable One Arm Pushdown 6-8 – Triceps
    • Roman Chair Sit up 20 – Abs
    • Crunch 20 – Abs
    • Reverse crunch 10 – Abs

Warm up sets in parenthesis. Target rep count in the working set is marked 8-10, 6-8 an so on. Warm-up set is done with a weight that is 50 – 70 % of the weight of the working set.

Day 2 (Back)

    • Close Grip Pulldown (12,10),6-8 – Lats, biceps, trapezius
    • Or Standing Lat Pushdown (12,10),6-8 – Lats
    • Bent-over Row (10),6-8 – Lats, biceps, trapezius
    • Dumbbell Bent-over Row (10) – Lats, biceps, trapezius
    • Cable Seated Row 6-8 – Lats, trapezius, biceps
    • Rear-Delt Hammer Flyes 6-8 – Rear delts
    • Dumbbell bent-over lateral raise 6-8 – Rear delts
    • Back Extension 6-8 – Erector spinae, glutes, hamstrings
    • Deadlift (8),6-8 – Glutes, erector spinae, quads

Day 4 (Chest, biceps, abs)

    • Barbell Incline Bench Press (12,10,6-8),6 – Chest, shoulders, triceps
    • Machine Chest Press 10,6-8 – Chest, shoulders, triceps
    • Dumbbell Incline Fly (10),8 – Chest
    • Cable Cross-over 8-10 – Chest
    • Dumbbell Incline Curl (10),6-8 – Biceps
    • Barbell Curl (10),6-8 – Biceps
    • Lever/Machine Preacher Curl 6-8 – Biceps
    • Roman Chair Sit up 20 – Abs
    • Crunch 20 – Abs
    • Reverse crunch 10 – Abs

Day 6 (Legs)

    • Machine Leg Extension (15,12),10-12 – Quads
    • Leg Press (12,12),10-12 – Glutes, quads
    • Hack Squat (12),8-10 – Quads, glutes
    • Machine Leg Curl (8-10),8-10 – Hamstrings
    • Stiff Leg Deadlift 10 – Glutes, hamstrings, erector spinae
    • Single-leg Leg Curl 8-10 – Hamstrings (One leg at a time)
    • Standing Calf Raise (10-12), 10-12 – Calves (gastrocnemius)
    • Seated Calf Raise 10-12 – Calves (soleus)

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