Push Pull Legs Split Workout

Push Pull Legs Split Workout

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Push Pull Legs Split Workout

It may not be the hippest form of training, but push, pull, legs split workouts work. Are you doing them? If not, you should. We give you the info you need to start. You’re welcome!

Tradition usually has a way of sticking around. Unfortunately, in the fitness world, trends tend to take over. The traditions that can last through the trends are there for a reason.

What’s that?

They have unquestionable effectiveness. They flat out work. What’s the point in chasing around the latest guru tip when you can ensure your time is well with your gym workouts and you have the body to back it up.

The push, pull, legs split is one of the most effective and time-tested ways to train. The name doesn’t have the sex appeal that other splits do, but the end user definitely ups their personal sex appeal.

Why?

This split allows you to focus on different muscle groups and specific movements. It perfects them. Even better, this split is easily adaptable to work on strength and hypertrophy or accomplish that quest of how to lose lower belly fat.

Enough hype!

It’s time for action. What follows is the lowdown on how this type of split works and a two-phase program to fit your goals.

This Is How The Push Pull Legs Split Works For You

Great success comes with a focused plan of attack. This plan has incredible focus on building muscles that work synergistically. Rather than pairing opposing muscle groups together or over-isolating a specific muscle, this plan makes intuitive sense. Train the muscles that work together in the same session. Grouping synergistic muscles together creates the opportunity to train specific movements and see improvements in strength.

Take, for example, the push day. Triceps, chest and shoulders all work in unison for pressing movements. The heart of the workout will be on the perhaps the greatest press of them all: The mighty bench press.

The workout will focus on improving your bench press, which, in turn, will train those synergistic pushing muscles. The added volume from other compound and isolation exercises irons out the weak points for you to keep putting up more weight. All the added volume and the mix of heavy and high reps push your muscles to grow. This workout is like Miracle Grow for your muscles.

This type of training undoubtedly will lead to some DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness). And, it should feel challenging. This is exactly what you want. Since each muscle and movement gets trained one day per week, your training sessions must be focused and effective.

Mental grit is a must. Every workout will already feel supercharged.

Why?

Simple, even though every muscle is continually punished, it’s also continually rejuvenated with refreshing rests. Each workout will increase your strength, as well as your hypertrophy gains.

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Three Days To Gains

Although the name may be intuitive, it can be interpreted in many different ways. The beauty of this split is in its simplicity. Take a quick peek at what follows to make sure you are on track.     

Day 1: Push (Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps)

This day will focus on all the upper body muscles used in pushing movements. The main muscles worked on this day include the pec major, pec minor, anterior deltoid, medial deltoid, and triceps. As you can imagine, presses will make up the bulk of this day’s training session.

Day 2: Pull (Back and Biceps)

This day will focus on all the upper body muscles used in pulling movements. The main muscles worked are the lats, rhomboids, traps, erector spinae, biceps, and brachialis. Of course, rows, pulls, and curls will rule this day.

Day 3: Legs

The toughest day of them all will focus on all lower body movements. The quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves will all be under siege. To hit all of these complex muscles, the workout will include variations of squats, deadlifts, lunges and calf raises.

Indoor vs Outdoor Running

Off Days: Cardio, Recovery, and Mobility

If you love training and working hard, it might be tough for you to only exercise three days a week. We get that. As you’ll see, three days will put you in a prime position to build muscle and strength.

If you really can’t resist hitting the gym or breaking a sweat, you still have a few options. Recovery on these days is paramount.

Why?

You want 100% recovery to hit the gym hard for the next training round. This can be enhanced with recovery work like foam rolling and stretching. With proper application, cardio can be beneficial to both recovery aiding your gains and health.

This Is A Sample Cardio Day

If you do cardio, be sure that it does not hinder the performance of your next workout. For example, don’t do sprints the day before a leg workout for mass. Cardio is meant to keep you in shape, but the goal of this program isn’t to be a great runner or cyclist, it’s to build muscle and look good.

A moderate intensity cardio session at no more than 70% of your max heart for 20 to 30 minutes is ideal. This is a great option for those really looking to push their fat loss.

High-intensity intervals are also a viable option. Again, be sure these intervals don’t take away from your lifting sessions. A great place to start is by picking your favorite modality or cardio machine. Perform five rounds of 60 seconds on and 120 seconds off. This only takes about 15 minutes, but it gets straight to the point inducing EPOC to keep stoking your metabolism.

This Is A Sample Recovery Day

The best way to recover from a workout is to kick back in the sauna and put down a few cold ones. Ah, if only that was the truth! The most important factors with recovery are sleep, nutrition and not overtraining. Once these are taken care of, we can take recovery a step further.

If you can’t resist just relaxing or really want to max out training sessions, here is what needs to be done: Train mobility with stretching or yoga and workout knots with foam rolling or massages.

Whatever you choose to do, do it lightly and conserve your energy.

Make This Split Work For Your Goals

The great part about this split is that it is easily manipulated for different goals. With the multiple phases, you can choose to double up on gains or shred through twice as much fat.

Looking for a bit of both?

Start by building a strong base of muscle, then turn up the heat on fat loss. Whatever your goal may be, make sure you structure your weekly workouts and nutrition goals appropriately.

Gear It Up For Fat loss

Ready to shed some pounds and reveal cuts? Above all, it will take nutritional discipline. Gearing your efforts to fat loss means you’ll need to use carbohydrate and calorie cycling.

This simply means on the workout days you’ll need to consume slightly more carbs than average. On the off/rest days, you’ll need to drastically reduce both carbs and calories to burn fat. Every body is different. That means you need, to be honest with yourself about how well you process carbs and adjust accordingly.

High-calorie days should be about 2 grams per pound of bodyweight and low-calorie days should be around 0.5 grams per pound of bodyweight. In essence, the plan is to maintain muscle and even build muscle three days a week and melt off the fat the other four days a week.

The exact breakdown is what follows. It’s ideal to clump the high and low-calorie days together to make the most of hormonal responses. If that’s not feasible in your schedule, just ensure your calories are appropriately portioned.

 

Day 1: Pull (High Calorie)

Day 2: Push (High Calorie)

Day 3: Legs (High Calorie)

Day 4: Off (Low Calorie)

Day 5: Off (Low Calorie)

Day 6: Off (Low Calorie)

Day 7: Off (Low-Moderate Calorie)

Push Pull Legs Split Routine

Focus On Strength And Hypertrophy

This program is easily adaptable to focus on muscle growth and gains. All that needs to happen is a few tweaks to promote maximal recovery. Recovery is boosted structuring the split so a full day of rest is taken after each workout. Training intensity is just as important so coming off a rest day for each workout will boost strength even more.

All of this is meaningless without the nutrition to fuel and back it. The golden rule for gaining muscle is a calorie surplus. That means in the course of a week you must consume more calories than you burn.

Ensuring protein intake is adequate at 1 gram per pound of bodyweight the next place to boost calories is carbs. On high-calorie days aim to consume at least 2 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight. On low-calorie days, you should consume around 0.5 grams per pound of bodyweight. Moderate carb intake is about 1 gram per pound. Similar to the fat loss version, carb cycling is used here. The only differences are calories and carbs and to never drop below maintenance.

Follow this breakdown to structure your split and calorie intake. The order of these days is not important, but the calories must match the workouts and each workout requires a day of rest in between.

 

Day 1: Pull (High Calorie)

Day 2: Off (Moderate Calorie)

Day 3: Push (High Calorie)

Day 4: Off (Moderate Calorie)

Day 5: Legs (High Calorie)

Day 6: Off (Moderate Calorie)

Day 7: Off (Moderate Calorie)

This Is The Pull Push Legs Split Workout

This Is Phase 1: Weeks 1-6

This Is Day 1 (Pull)

Sets Reps
1. Chin-Up 4 8-12
2. Barbell Row 4  

8-12

3. Wide Lat Pulldown 3 12
4. Cable Row 3 12

 

5a. Face Pull 3 8-10

 

5b. Barbell Curl 3 12

 

This Is Day 2 (Push)

Sets Reps
1. Bench Press 4 8-12
2. Dumbbell Overhead Press 4 8-12
3. Incline Barbell Press 3 12

 

4a. Cable Flye 3 12

 

4b. Cable Lateral Raise 3 12

 

5. Cable Pushdown 3 12

 

This Is Day 3 (Legs)

Sets Reps
1. Deadlift 4 8-12
2. Front Squat 4 10-12
3a. Alternating Dumbbell Lunge 3 8-10
3b. Leg Curl 3 12-15
4a. Lateral Lunge 4 12
4b. Standing Calf Raise 4 15
4b. Farmers Walk 4 30 seconds

 

Off days: Perform one of the cardio, core or recovery options. Remember: Rest is key so feel free to take the day off!

This Is Phase 2: Weeks 7-12

This Is Day 1 (Pull)

Sets Reps
1. Pull-Up 5 6-8
2. Dumbbell Row 4  

10

3. Close Grip Pulldown 3 12
4. Chest Supported Row 3 12

 

5a. Rear Delt Raise 3 12

 

5b. Zottman Curl 3 12

 

This Is Day 2 (Push)

Sets Reps
1. Incline Dumbbell Press 5 6-8
2. Push Press 4 10
3. Dumbbell Floor Press 3 12

 

4. Single Arm Dumbbell

Lateral Raise

3 12

 

5a. Dumbbell Flye 3 12
5b. Lying Triceps Extension 3 12

This Is Day 3 (Legs)

Sets Reps
1. Squat 5 8-12
2. Romanian Deadlift 4 10-12
3a. Split Squat 3 8-10
3b. Single Leg Bridge 3 12-15
4a. Seated Calf Raise 4 15
4b. Single Arm Farmer’s Walk 4 30 seconds

Off days: Perform one of the cardio, core or recovery options. Remember: Rest is key so feel free to take the day off!

Conclusion

You’re armed and ready to take on one of the best splits ever made. With two phases you’ll be primed for success no matter what your goal is. Prepare to feel liberated at the gym as you confidently perform all of your training and in doing so liberate even more of your free time. Do your best to push hard in the workouts, track them to ensure progress is made and be proud of the results you achieve. Get after it!

By Raphael Konforti MS, CPT

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Terry

Gym Junkies Founder & Editor in Chief at Gym Junkies LLC
I’m Terry and I’m here to help you achieve your fitness goals. I truly believe anyone can achieve the figure they want with the proper guidance. Through my extensive fitness blog, top fitness videos, leading workout supplements, and top selling eBooks, I have been able to help thousands of people online lose weight, tone up and get in shape. My passion is helping people all around the world change their lives for the better.
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1 COMMENT

  1. As push up is important for upper part of a body. Similar it is also important for push ups for legs. Legs muscles plays an important role in our workout. Leg muscles must be strong when you are doing your workout. There are so many exercise makes leg muscles strong.

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