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Barbell Logic

Jan 27, 2020

In part 3 of the MED Masterclass series, Matt walks through the transition from an HLM or Texas Method style program to his favorite program, the four-day split.


In the four-day split, a lifter trains four days instead of three, and performs an intensity and volume workout for each of the main lifts. Typically, the four-day split is setup as an upper body / lower body split, with squats and deadlifts on one day and press and bench press on another. This is probably the biggest MED change a lifter will make to his program, but it's an important one. As the lifter advances deeper into intermediate programming, squats and deadlifts become an increasingly stressful event (since they are very heavy), challenging their recovery resources. At the same time, in a 3-day full-body program like HLM, the lifter is only performing each press 1.5x per week on average (one week he will bench twice, press once; the next week he will press twice, and bench once). As a result, squat and deadlift frequency are too high to recover from, while press and bench are not frequent enough to drive continued strength adaptation.


The four-day split solves this problem nicely, reducing squat and deadlift frequency to 2x per week, while increasing bench and press frequency to 2x per week. The workouts are shorter, since they only require 2 lifts, which satisfies the third MED criteria of economy. The shorter workouts also leave room at the end of the workout for additional work in the form of conditioning, accessories, or supplemental lifts.


With it's high level of flexibility, the four-day split can help intermediate lifters make gains for years, while keeping the amount of time spent in the gym to a minimum.



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