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Push Pull Legs Workout Routine PDF

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Jessica Brown
April 24, 2024 July 9, 2024
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There are many ways to build strength and gain muscle mass. It’s common to hear people talking about workout splits especially on social media but with so many differing opinions, it can get confusing as to what you should follow.

One of the most popular workout splits is the Push Pull Legs (PPL) split. It is not only a simple training program but it is also a program that is effective for building the muscles.

What Are Push/Pull/Legs (PPL) Split?

PPL Split

Push, pull, legs (PPL) split refers to a type of workout program that involves dividing the body’s major muscle groups into three categories: push muscles, pull muscles, and leg muscles.

When doing the “push” workout, you will train the upper body pushing muscles (e.g. chest, shoulders, and triceps) while the “pull” workout will focus on training the upper body pulling muscles (e.g. the back, and biceps). The “legs” workout or leg day will focus on training the lower body (e.g. quadriceps, hamstrings, calves) [1].

Each day of the week is allocated to train each of the three workouts. The workouts are alternated over a set amount of training sessions that you choose to have. For example, you could be training the “push muscles” on Monday, the “pull” muscles on Tuesday, and the legs on Wednesday. The cycle would then repeat, with rest days interspersed between workouts. In doing so, each muscle group is given an adequate rest and recovery time before the next workout.

Example of “Push, Pull, Legs” Split

Here is an example of what a push, pull, legs split could look like.

Day 1 (Push): Chest, shoulders, triceps

Day 2 (Pull): Back, biceps

Day 3 (Legs): quadriceps, hamstrings, calves

Day 4: Rest day

Day 5 (Push): Chest, shoulders, triceps

Day 6 (Pull): Back, biceps

Day 7 (Legs): quadriceps, hamstrings, calves

Benefits of This Training Split

There are many advantages of doing this training split such as exceptional results for weight training. Hence the reason why it is a popular workout split used amongst fitness junkies, bodybuilders and other gym-goers. Below are a few reasons as to what makes this training split great.

Adequate Rest and Recovery

The push, pull, leg split is designed such that you will have an adequate recovery time before the next workout on the particular muscle group that you worked. By focusing on the different muscle groups each day, the muscles will have time to repair and grow.

This makes it excellent when it comes to preventing injuries and muscle soreness.

Customizable

Depending on what your fitness goals are, you can customize your training schedule accordingly. If you are looking to build a bigger chest, you can choose to place more emphasis on the “push” muscles by including more chest exercises or increasing the training frequency and intensity of “push” days.

Combining the Muscle Groups

The training split allows you to combine other similar muscle groups and train them in the same workout. For example, when doing the “push” workout day, you would want to focus on exercises that combine the 3 muscle groups mentioned earlier which are the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

Being able to focus in this manner makes it convenient and easy to create a training program to follow.

Best Exercises for Push Pull Legs Workout Routine

For this routine, you want to focus on compound exercises that are effective for stimulating muscle growth and building muscle strength. Also, in comparison to isolation exercises, compound exercises target multiple muscle groups at once. This means that you’ll be spending less time in the gym for the same effects. Below are some of the best exercises that you want to be including in your next routine.

Push Exercises

1. Barbell Bench Press

The barbell bench press is an effective exercise that targets the chest, arms and shoulders. Performing a single repetition of barbell bench press would require you to push the barbell upwards, above your head. Thus, making this a push exercise.

2. Overhead Press

Overhead press push
push pull legs workout routine pdf

The overhead press is an exercise that mainly targets the shoulders and triceps. The overhead press can be done by either using a barbell or a pair of dumbbells and pushing it straight up, past your head. The act of having to push the weights upward is what makes it a push exercise.

3. Dumbbell Bench Press

dumbbell bench press push

The dumbbell bench press is similar to barbell bench presses with the only difference being the use of dumbbells instead. Similarly, the exercise requires pushing the dumbbells up and above your head.

4. Skull Crushers

skull crushers push exercise
push pull legs workout routine pdf

Skull Crushers is a great exercise that targets and strengthens the triceps. It is a push exercise because it requires you to push the dumbbell or weights behind your head to count as one repetition.

Pull Exercises

1. Deadlifts

deadlifts pull
push pull legs workout routine pdf

Deadlifts is a great exercise that targets mainly the hamstrings as you pull the weight (dumbbell, barbell, etc.) towards your feet until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. This exercise can be done properly by imagining that you are being pulled by the weight.

2. Pull-ups

pull ups

Pull-ups are a classic exercise that involves the use of a pull-up bar. Typically, performing this exercise is rather easy as it involves your hands gripping onto the pull-up bar, and pulling yourself up. This exercise targets the upper body muscles.

3. Bent-over Barbell Rows

bent over barbell rows
push pull legs workout routine pdf

Bent-over barbell rows are done by using a single barbell. Alternatively, you could also use a dumbbell if you don’t have any barbells available to use. The exercise works by pulling the barbell towards your abdominals. This act of pulling it towards you makes it a pull exercise.

4. Lat Pull-downs

lat pull downs

Lat pull-downs are done by using the lat machine. It targets the back and shoulder muscles. It is a pull exercise because you are pulling the bar towards your collarbone area to perform a repetition.

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Leg Exercises

1. Reverse Lunges

reverse lunges legs

This is a simple exercise that you will usually find in most leg day routines. Reverse lunges focus on the hamstrings and glutes as you lower your back leg down, pushing it until your front leg is bending at a 90-degree angle.

2. Barbell Hip Thrust

barbell hip thrust legs

Barbell Hip Thrust is more considered as a glute exercise but it also works as a leg day exercise because it activates the hamstrings and quadriceps. As you perform this exercise, you will notice that you still require your leg muscles to push your body upwards.

3. Barbell Back Squats

barbell back squats

Barbell back squats are similar to traditional squats but instead, you are using a barbell and the barbell will be positioned at the top of your back as you squat. It is a compound movement that targets various muscle groups such as the hamstrings, calves, and glutes.

4. Leg Press

leg press
push pull legs workout routine pdf

Leg Press is an exercise that targets the leg muscles with the use of a leg machine. To perform this exercise, you will need to use your leg muscles to push the platform away. It is also a compound movement that works the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.

3 Day Push Pull Legs Workout Routine PDF

Below is a sample 3-Day Push Pull Legs Workout Routine that you may use as a starting guide. Feel free to customize this routine based on your fitness level and goals.

3 day push pull legs workout routine pdf

Day 1: Push

  • Muscle worked: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
  • Sets: 3-4 Sets
  • Reps: 8-12
  • Rest: 1-3 minutes

Exercises

  • Paused Bench Press
  • Incline Bench
  • One Arm Seated Db Press
  • Pec Deck Or Cable Fly
  • Seated Lateral Raises
  • Db Skull Crushers

Day 2: Pull

  • Muscle worked: Back, Biceps, Forearms
  • Sets: 3-4 Sets
  • Reps: 8-12
  • Rest: 1-3 minutes

Exercises

  • Weighted Pull-Ups
  • Supported Db Row
  • Cable Row
  • Reverse Cable Fly
  • Standing Hammer Curl
  • Incline Db Curl

Day 3: Legs

  • Muscle worked: Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, Gluteus
  • Sets: 3-4 Sets
  • Reps: 8-12
  • Rest: 1-3 minutes

Exercises

  • Front Squat
  • Romanian Deadlift
  • One Legged Leg Curl
  • Leg Extension
  • Standing Calf Raises
  • Barbell Hip Thrust

Download our 3-Day Push Pull Legs Workout Routine PDF

6-Day Push Pull Legs Workout Routine PDF

Keep the same exercises as the 3-day workout routine for the first 3 days. The last 3 days’ workouts are as follows.

Day 4: Push

  • Muscle worked: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
  • Sets: 2-3 Sets
  • Reps: 8-12
  • Rest: 1-3 minutes

Exercises

  • Overhead Press
  • Incline Dumbbell Press
  • Flat Bench Press
  • Dumbbell Fly
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press
  • Skull Crushers

Day 5: Pull

  • Muscle worked: Back, Biceps, Rear Deltoid
  • Sets: 3-4 Sets
  • Reps: 8-12
  • Rest: 1-3 minutes

Exercises

  • Barbell Row
  • Lat Pulldown
  • Hammer Curls
  • Bent-Over Barbell Row
  • Face Pull
  • Renegade Row

Day 6: Leg

  • Muscle worked: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Calves
  • Sets: 3-5 sets
  • Reps: 8-12
  • Rest: 1-3 minutes

Exercises

  • Squat
  • Lunges
  • Lying Leg Curl
  • Seated Calf Raises
  • Barbell Front Squats
  • Romanian Deadlift

Download our 6-Day Push Pull Legs Workout Routine PDF

Other Free Workout Plans

If you liked this workout, here are some other workout plans on our JustFit blog that you may enjoy.

3 Day Full Body Workout Plan PDF

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FAQs
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References  

 Abelsson, A. (2024) The Best Push Pull Legs Split for Building Muscle [online]. Available at: https://www.strengthlog.com/push-pull-legs-split/

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