Best Push Pull Legs Routine (The Ultimate 3 Or 6 Day Workout Plan)

The push pull legs routine may possibly be one of the most underused training splits there is.  Most people these days will tend to lean towards the typical and ever-popular bro split.  Now as an advanced trainer then the bro split in terms of muscle building will yield fantastic results, but as a beginner then there are certainly more efficient training splits and routine you could do.

There are of course so many factors affecting each person’s lifestyle and individual differences for anyone to be able to say one program fits all, or this program is a waste of time.

However, there is definitely one shared belief and proven method me and all the different respected coaches and advanced lifters I have spoken to over the years have when it comes to planning a clients program.  Make sure there is progressive overload and going back to basics.

Now although that may sound overly simple and slightly boring, it’s still very true.


Push Pull Legs Training Split – Quite Simply The Best Routine For Getting Back To Basics

Sometimes change is needed to re-ignite the fire, get motivated again, push through plateaus and just to just become more productive in the weights room again.  The push/pull/legs training splits is absolutely perfect for this and my favourite training split to change to when any of the above is needed.


Push Pull Legs- The Set-Up

As you are probably well aware now, the push/pull/legs split is incredibly basic and incredibly easy to program.  This is not a negative but in fact an overwhelming positive.  For some reason, I see more and more people in the gym doing all these weird and wonderful exercises whilst following incredibly complicated programs, and might I add, getting nowhere fast by doing them.

It just doesn’t make any sense to me at all.  It’s been scientifically proven over and over again that the basic work best, and progressive overload is the dominating factor for muscle growth.  It just seems like now people have the mindset, “the fancier looking the exercise, the greater the results”.  Who knows hey.  I’m certainly confused by it all.

Anyway, enough of my moaning, let’s actually get onto the stuff you have come here to see.

Below I am going to take you through the process of setting up your push pull legs routine.

First Things First (Frequency)

This side of things really depends on 3 things

  • How much time you can realistically dedicate to the gym.
  • Your training goals (what you are looking to achieve)
  • How much torture and abuse you want to put yourself through.

Whether you want to train 3, 4, 5 or 6 times a week, the push pull legs training split will work for you.  It’s all about programming your training week correctly which really isn’t that complicated.

Muscle Groups (What Ones On What Days)

To break this down for you I am going to keep it really simple and show you what muscle groups should be trained on each day based on a 3 day a week training plan.  I show you how to structure the 4, 5 and 6 days split lower down in the article.

Push DayShoulders, Chest and Triceps

Pull DayBack and Biceps

Leg DayLegs – Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes and Calves.


Why This Split Works And Why You Should Use IT

The Push Pull Legs training split is so adaptable I could list off 100 reasons why you should use it.  For example, one being it makes its super simple to prioritise any training goals you might have and another is, the overlap is really limited between exercises.  But I want to concentrate on what I believe to be a huge reason why you should try this split out.  Let’s check it out below.

Incredibly Easy To Prioritise Weak Areas And Muscle Groups.

If you have a weak area you really want to focus on, then the push pull legs split is perfect for this.  You can focus on this area whilst keeping all the other muscles in maintenance mode.

Let’s say you feel your chest is the weakest area of your body, and this is something you really want to focus on.  With this training split, you can easily limit shoulder work to one big compound pressing movement, then go absolutely crazy on the selection of movements, chest volume and intensity.

Let’s take a look at an example of this below.

Remember, our upper chest is our priority here so we are going to start with movements to target this area whilst we have the most energy available.

Incline Bench Press

Incline Dumbbell Press

  • 1 set of 10 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 15 reps)
  • 1 set of 10 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 12 reps)
  • 1 set of 8 to 10 reps (select a weight where you can get at least 8 reps but no more than 10)

Cable Chest Flyes (Please watch the video below)

  • 1 set of 12 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 18 reps)
  • 1 set of 12 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 15 reps)
  • 1 set of 10 to 12 reps (select a weight where you can get at least 8 reps but no more than 10)

Barbell Shoulder Press (Military Press)

  • 1 set of 10 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 112 reps)
  • 2 sets of 8 to 10 reps (select a weight you can do a minimum of 8 reps but no more than 10 reps)

Tricep Pushdowns

  • 1 set of 6 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 10 reps)
  • 1 set of 6 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 8 reps)
  • 2 sets of 4 to 6 reps (select a weight you can do a minimum of 4 reps but no more than 6 reps)

When following the push workout above you will be training your shoulders and triceps with a much lower amount of volume and only getting in a few maximal sets on both.  Also these two muscle groups are trained at the end of the session, meaning you will have bags of energy to attack your chest.  Your main focus is our upper chest, which is why your first two exercises are focused on this.

When going through a very specialised stage like this (focusing on improving a weak body part) I would always advise to also increase the frequency by making sure you have another pushing session with the same focus but using different exercises.

It’s vitally important to build a good mind-muscle connection with the weaker body part and training it with more frequency will help with this.


Push Pull Legs (3, 4, 5 and 6 Day Training Splits)

The push pull legs routine can be split over 3, 4, 5, or 6 days a week.  The two most common frequencies are the 3 and 6-day splits, and the two I generally go between myself, depending on where I’m at with my training.

I am now going to take you through one of my very own 3-day push pull legs training programs.  If you are expecting lots of fancy things, like drop sets, tri-sets, or exercises involving you to stand on your head, then you may be disappointed.  Regardless of what split, I am following, my training principles remain the same.  None of these fancy things is needed to achieve progressive overload.  In fact, they are incredibly hard to track progression on and can severely limit your recovery especially if you are a natural lifter.

After this, I will show you how to set up the routine over 4, 5 and 6 days a week.


3 Training Sessions A Week

  • Monday – Day Off
  • Tuesday – Push Day (Chest, Shoulders and Triceps)
  • Wednesday – Day Off
  • Thursday – Pull Day (Back and Biceps)
  • Friday – Day Off
  • Saturday – Legs Day
  • Sunday – Day Off

Benefits Of The 3 Day A Week Training Split

  1. Fantastic for if you lead an extremely busy lifestyle.  Using the push pull legs training split over 3 days allows you to target every single muscle group without interrupting your day to day routine
  2. Due to so many recovery days, it’s near impossible to overtrain and outstrip your bodies capabilities of recovering.
  3. Great for powerlifters and strength athletes who need a huge focus on the 3 main lifts (Squat, deadlift and bench press)

Downsides Of The 3 Day A Week Training Split

  1. If you stick 100% to your training program, then you really only get one chance at smashing out a good, intense workout session.  There is no room for error and not doing your best, as you have a whole week to wait before picking yourself up again and showing the weights what you are really made of.  Having to wait a week after a bad session can be torture sometimes.
  2. The session will generally take you longer than normal, due to the extra volume you will need to put in if building muscle is your goal.  This is due to a lack of frequency across the week.

Example Plan

This goal of this plan is to hit each muscle group evenly with our ultimate goal to build muscle mass and strength.

Monday – Day Off

Tuesday – Push Day (Chest, Shoulders, triceps)

Flat Bench Press

Incline Dumbbell Press

  • 1 set of 10 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 15 reps)
  • 1 set of 10 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 12 reps)
  • 1 set of 8 to 10 reps (select a weight where you can get at least 8 reps but no more than 10)

Lateral Dumbbell Raises

  • 1 set of 12 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 18 reps)
  • 1 set of 12 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 15 reps)
  • 1 set of 10 to 12 reps (select a weight where you can get at least 10 reps but no more than 12)

Dumbbell Rear Delt Flyes

  • 1 set of 12 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 18 reps)
  • 1 set of 12 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 15 reps)
  • 1 set of 10 to 12 reps (select a weight where you can get at least 10 reps but no more than 12)

Tricep Push Downs

  • 1 set of 6 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 10 reps)
  • 1 set of 6 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 8 reps)
  • 1 set of 4 to 6 reps (select a weight where you can get at least 4 reps but no more than 6)

Wednesday – Day OFF

Thursday – Pull Day (Back, Biceps)

Bent Over Rows

Wide Lat Pull Downs

  • 1 set of 10 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 15 reps)
  • 1 set of 10 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 12 reps)
  • 1 set of 8 to 10 reps (select a weight where you can get at least 8 reps but no more than 10)

Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

  • 1 set of 10 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 15 reps)
  • 1 set of 10 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 12 reps)
  • 1 set of 8 to 10 reps (select a weight where you can get at least 8 reps but no more than 10)

Barbell Bicep Curls

  • 1 set of 6 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 10 reps)
  • 1 set of 6 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 8 reps)
  • 1 set of 4 to 6 reps (select a weight where you can get at least 4 reps but no more than 6)

Friday – Day Off

Saturday – Legs Day (entire lower body)

Squats

45-degree Leg Press

  • 1 set of 6 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 10 reps)
  • 1 set of 6 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 8 reps)
  • 1 set of 4 to 6 reps (select a weight where you can get at least 4 reps but no more than 6)

Romanian Deadlifts

  • 1 set of 10 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 15 reps)
  • 1 set of 10 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 12 reps)
  • 1 set of 8 to 10 reps (select a weight where you can get at least 8 reps but no more than 10)

Standing Calf Raises

  • 1 set of 10 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 15 reps)
  • 1 set of 10 reps (select a weight where if you carried on you would reach positive failure around 12 reps)
  • 1 set of 8 to 10 reps (select a weight where you can get at least 8 reps but no more than 10)

Sunday – Day Off

There you have it.  A complete 3-day push pull legs training routine.  This is one I personally set up for myself, achieving great results.  I had been training 6 days a week for the past 6 months leading into this program.

As you can see the program still allowed me to train hard, but having those extra rest days made such a huge difference and exactly what my body needed at that time.

I’m now going to show you how to set up the 4, 5 and 6 push pull legs training splits.


4 Training Sessions A Week

With this split, you will want to plan your sessions over two weeks and not one.  If you plan one week and then repeat that same week each time, you will be neglecting certain muscle groups.  This is, however, okay if you do have a focus on bringing up a weaker body part.

Let’s take a look at a typical two-week training plan below.

Week 1

  • Monday – Push Day 1
  • Tuesday – Pull Day 1
  • Wednesday – Day Off
  • Thursday – Legs Day 1
  • Friday – Push Day or Pull Day 1
  • Saturday – Day Off
  • Sunday – Day Off

Week 2

  • Monday – Legs Day 2
  • Tuesday – Push Day 2
  • Wednesday – Day Off
  • Thursday – Pull Day 2 or Push Day 1
  • Friday – Legs Day 1
  • Saturday – Day Off
  • Sunday – Day Off

Benefits Of The 3 Day A Week Training Split

  • Great for avoiding any boredom or stagnation in your training, due to different rotations across a 2 week period.
  • Great for targeting weaker body parts due to the increased frequency.

Downside Of The 4 Day A Week Training Split

  • There are not many.  The only thing I would say be careful about is exercise selection if you have your rotation set up where you have consecutive back and leg days.  For example, if you have a pull day which includes deadlifts, followed straight away by a leg day that includes Romanian deadlifts.  This is going to be extremely taxing on very similar muscle groups.  Recovery might soon become an issue.

5 Training Sessions A Week

Week 1

  • Monday – Pull 1
  • Tuesday – Push 1
  • Wednesday – Legs 1
  • Thursday – Day Off
  • Friday – Pull 2
  • Saturday – Push 2
  • Sunday – Day Off

Week 2

  • Monday – Legs 2
  • Tuesday – Push 2
  • Wednesday – Pull 2
  • Thursday – Day Off
  • Friday – Legs Day 1
  • Saturday – Push Day 1
  • Sunday – Day Off

Benefits Of The 3 Day A Week Training Split

  • If you love the Gym then this would work great for you, as you will be in there a lot.
  • Makes it so much easier to add variation into your training due to such a high amount of frequency of the training sessions.
  • Great for focusing on weaker body parts, without having the worry of neglecting stronger body at the same time.

Downside Of The 4 Day A Week Training Split

  • Not great for powerlifters or anyone who really wants to just focus on compound movements.
  • Due to such a high frequency of sessions, it’s vitally important to keep your training volume in check.
  • Although it’s important to train with intensity due to the high frequency, you really need to keep this in check as well.  For example, make sure you avoid going to failure on to many sets.
  •  If you have a busy schedule out of the gym.  Then forget this right now.

6 Training Sessions A Week

Week 1

  • Monday – Push 1
  • Tuesday – Pull 1
  • Wednesday – Legs 1
  • Thursday – Day Off
  • Friday – Push 2
  • Saturday – Pull 2
  • Sunday – Legs 2

In terms of the benefits and drawbacks, these are pretty much identical to training with this program 5 days a week.


Best Push Pull Legs Routine Key Takeaways

  • The push pull legs training split may be the simplest routine there is to set up.  Especially when doing the 3 days a week version
  • It’s incredibly easy to program and really does allow you to optimise your training frequency, volume and intensity.
  • 3 days a week split is great for strength athletes, powerlifters and when you are looking to optimise your recovery time.
  • Anything up from 3 days a week is great for if you are looking to build muscle and/or lose fat.
  • Due to so many options, it’s really easy to fit this training routine around your goals.

If you enjoyed this content and would like to keep it close to you at any time, just save THIS PIN to your weight training guides or workout plan boards.

Sharing is caring!

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!