Ivysaur 4-4-8 Program: Beginners Strength Routine (With Spreadsheet)

by Nader Qudimat
Updated June 11, 2023
Strength, Powerlifting, Hypertrophy
Experience Level
Builds muscle
Increases muscle strength
Focuses on compound lifts
Ample recovery time
High frequency and high volume
Does not directly work triceps

Bottom Line

The Ivysaur 4-4-8 program is designed for beginners to build muscle and become stronger.

The program contains a combination of various powerlifting exercises instead of bodybuilding exercises.

The program's primary goal is to increase muscle hypertrophy and strength.

Adopting this program will set you up for a more intense intermediate routine.

For how to save spreadsheet instructions, click here. 

Click Here For Spreedsheet 

If you're looking for a program that sets you up for the next level, then this one is a great choice. 

The Ivysaur 4-4-8 program is a beginners routine made to increase strength. 

Although it's focused on strength, it's also one of the best if you decide to go for pure aesthetics (hypertrophy) later on. 

The reason for this is because the Ivysaur 4-4-8 routine uses compound lifts and this is what beginners need to do when they are starting out. 

You'll find the spreadsheet in the next section...

Ivysaur 4-4-8 Program Spreadsheet

The Ivysaur 4-4-8 program is a beginners powerlifting routine.

The spreadsheet contains a sheet so you can input your numbers:

Program Overview

Ivysaur 4-4-8 was first shared on Reddit's /r/fitness community by /u/ivysaur.

Designed for beginners, the program aims to increase muscle strength and endurance for novice lifting programs, i.e., Strong Lifts and Starting Strength.

The program is laid around two different workouts (A and B) alternating each week for three days.

The program contains two main workout groups:

Group A:

  • Squats
  • Bench press
  • Bent-over barbell row

Group B:

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Overhead press

Workout Schedule

Week 1

  • Monday: Day A
  • Wednesday: Day B
  • Friday: Day A

Week 2

  • Monday: Day B
  • Wednesday: Day A
  • Friday: Day B

Sets and Reps

When it comes to the sets and reps, the Ivysaur program uses mostly 4 sets of 8 reps.

Depending on the day and week, some reps are switched from 4 to 8.

But the number of sets always stays the same, except for day 3.

On day 3, you'll see a few exercises that uses 3 sets of 4 reps, with 1 set that has as many reps as possible (AMRAP).


You can choose any weight, but the 8-rep weight should be ~90% of the 4-rep weight.

If you're struggling or performing at a near 10/10 effort (or RPE 9.5-10) then you can take the reps down from 4 to 2 reps, and 8 reps to 5-6 reps.  

If you start off the program too heavy then you'll likely struggle to keep up with the program as it turns up the weight fairly quickly. 


Add weight with each workout to meet the weekly progression goal.

  • Squat/Deadlift: 15 lb./week
  • Bench/Barbell rows: 10 lb./week
  • Overhead press: 5 lb./week
  • If you hit more than 8 reps on the AMRAP set, kick up the progression rate by 2x for that exercise the following week. 

Ivysaur 4-4-8 Accessories:

  • Increase the set by counting to 5.
  • Add chin-ups with every workout. You can also try weighted chin-ups if you can do 4/8 chin-ups. 
  • Add 2 sets of squat sets on deadlift days.


What is the Ivysaur 4-4-8 program?

The Ivysaur 4-4-8 program is a 3-day split workout routine for powerlifting and strength.

The exercises included are overhead press, squat, deadlift, power cleans, chin-ups, and bench press. 

Who is the Ivysaur 4-4-8 program for?

The program is designed for beginner weightlifters to increase strength for intermediate-level heavyweight workout programs. 

Is the Ivysaur 4-4-8 program for me?

If you are a beginner weightlifter who wants to build muscle and increase strength without risking overtraining, then Ivysaur 4-4-8 is for you. 

Is the Ivysaur 4-4-8 program effective for weight loss? 

Ivysaur 4-4-8 is a weight training workout program that builds muscle and increases muscle mass.

It can aid in fat loss, but muscle mass increases overall weight gain.

If you want to lose weight, you’ll want to eat less than you burn, with any program.

Ivysaur: Great Beginner's Program

Ivysaur goes to show that online forums still have a place in today’s world.

Reddit, in particular, is a gold mine for battle-tested weight training programs - including beginner, intermediate and advanced programs.

The Ivysaur 4-4-8 program is also a Reddit program that has gained much traction since it was published. 

Ivysaur 4-4-8 is an effective beginner-level weight training program for anyone looking to build strength. There is a reason why this program is so popular on the internet; it gives actual results.

by Nader Qudimat

Forged by iron and cold steel, I'm Nader, a mid-30s natural bodybuilder. Once a 100lb skinny guy, I've transformed into a 200lb muscular athlete with over 15 years of lifting experience. Today, I leverage my transformation and extensive experience to guide countless individuals on their fitness journeys.

Click here to check out my 12 year transformation: Natural 12 Year Transformation

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