Monday: Chest, Tuesday: Shoulders, Wednesday: Legs, Thursday: Arms. Sound familiar? The ever famous ‘bro split’, concentrating on one specific body part each day is time-consuming and only allows you to hit each body part once per week.
What is Push Pull Legs?
Push pull legs is a weightlifting training split that divides your muscles into groups, where each group is trained separately, on a different day. This allows each muscle group to get the rest they need while ensuring that there isn't too much time between each session which could otherwise increase chances of regression.
- Push day allows you to work your Chest, Shoulders and Triceps mainly all within one session.
- Pull day will allow the muscles used in your Push Day to rest while you blast your Back, Traps, and Biceps.
- Leg Day is what it says on the tin. While your upper body rests, you’re working your lower body to its full capacity, including your Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads, and Calves.
The Push, Pull, Legs workout routine is for anyone, whether you’re walking into the gym for the first time or you’re an experienced gym-goer.
Don’t expect Bicep Curls or Pec Dec sets. The main reason is that the majority of these workouts are comprised of compound exercises like the barbell bench press, squats and deadlifts offer the most ‘bang for your buck’. They involve multiple muscle groups and allow the most room for progression of reps and weight. This means more growth for you.
What Does a Push, Pull, Legs Workout Look Like?
The basic premise of any push, pull, legs program will always be similar, but there will be subtle differences for those just getting started in the gym compared to those who are more experienced.
The first major difference between the beginner program and the advanced program is the tweaking of training days. The advanced trainer will be training two days on and one day off, which allows for increased frequency of hitting body parts, leading to more opportunities for growth and recovery. An advanced gym-goer will likely also add more complex exercises as they improve their technique and knowledge.
Beginners Routine Split
The focus for a beginner should be to learn proper technique and form, therefore all sets should be stopped 1-2 reps shy of true failure (whereby another rep could not be completed without comprising form) unless stated.
The beginner is also only training 3 days a week, with at least a day’s rest after each session. This is to promote recovery between workouts as a beginner’s recovery capabilities will be much less than those of a more experienced gym-goer.
Training days: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
As you can see, in the beginner program, there are very few isolation exercises. The program focuses on the old-school basic mass movements such as deadlifts, squats and standing military press. This is for two reasons:
- It gives beginners a great foundation of strength and teaches basic lifting techniques rather than relying on machines.
- It works a large number of muscle groups at once including the all-important core muscles, which are often neglected by beginners and are very important to handle heavier weights as the beginner progresses.
Advanced Routine Split
An advanced trainer, who is used to weights as a stimulus, will have much greater recovery capabilities than their less experienced counterparts. They’ll be able to benefit from and grow with extra training, whereas a beginner could burn out and potentially not progress.
Pull Days: Day 1, 5.
Push Days: Day 2, 6.
Leg Days: Day 4, 8.
Rest Days: Day 3, 7, 11.
Day 1: Pull 1
Day 2: Push 1
Day 4: Legs 1
Day 5: Pull 2
Day 7: Push 2
Day 8: Legs 2
- Stretching and foam rolling are also recommended on this program to aid the recovery process even more. You will also notice, on initial compound exercises, the inclusion of a lower rep set.
- The reason for the inclusion of these strength sets is that the advanced trainer should be looking to lift more each session, be it by a rep or by an increase of 0.5kg. This is known as ‘progressive overload ‘, which means, if you’re getting stronger each session, you will be growing each session and vice versa. So, adding in some strength sets will aid this.
- This also means the advanced trainer should be logging workouts every time they train, so they can look back and see what was done previously and aim to beat it. This is why there are 2 rotations of each workout, as progression can grind to a halt much quicker if following the same workout for body parts over and over.
Take Home Message
If you’re looking to begin adding mass or you are saving time doing so, this routine may be perfect to try.
Add in the correct nutrition and tracking of your workouts, and the results are sure to follow and you will never look back.