Push Pull Legs Split For Muscle Mass – Best Routine To Build Muscle!

Out of all the different training programs out there, no split has worked so well for my clients and myself, like Push Pull Legs. 

While full body is great for beginners, and Upper/Lower is awesome for strength, push pull legs works for everything. 

However, today, we’ll be mainly going over Push Pull Legs for building muscle mass. 

If you want to use the best split for muscle, there’s a good chance it’s Push/Pull/Legs. 

So with that, let’s get started!

What Is Push Pull Legs?

If you’re not quite sure what push pull legs is and why it works so well for building muscle, we’ll start by going over that now!

Push pull legs is just a simple way to set up your training in an efficient way. 

You break down the training into the following muscle groups:

  • Push Day is for the chest, shoulders, and triceps. 
  • Pull Day is for the upper back, lats, and biceps. 
  • And, of course, Leg Day for quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. 

I like to add rear delts to the push day and traps to the pull day. I’ve used the opposite variation as well, and it works perfectly fine too. 

As you can see, it’s really easy to figure out what exercises should be done each day. 

I’ll go over how we do that later on in the actual program. It’s so simple to figure out, and the way I set it up works very well!

Why Push Pull Legs Works So Well For Muscle Mass?

Why Push Pull Legs Works So Well For Muscle Mass?
Push Pull Legs just works, unfortunately for Stan Lee, his truck is not strong enough to lift Mjölnir. It just doesn’t work like that Excelsior!

Push/Pull/Legs offers a ton of benefits for building muscle compared to other splits. 

The main reasons are the following:

  1. Allows For Better Recovery. No overlap between muscle groups. 
  2. Super Easy To Program. Pick 1-2 exercises for each movement, push close to failure, add weight over time. Easy. 
  3. Great For All Levels Of Fitness. As I mentioned before, no matter who you are, using a push pull legs split just works. 

By splitting up your muscle groups into different days, you can train them more frequently. 

The standard bro split requires you to train more often throughout the week for different muscles. 

Here’s how a normal bro split looks:

  • Chest
  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Legs
  • Arms

While this is the main split shown in magazines all the time from professional bodybuilders, it’s not very efficient whatsoever. 

The more you can train and recover from, the more you’ll grow and get stronger. 

Training each muscle group once per week isn’t a good use of time, and you definitely don’t need an arm day at all. 

Instead, you can break those 5 workouts into 3 by pairing the muscle groups that contribute while pushing, pulling, or…legging. 

I’m sure you know what I mean!

You throw your chest, shoulders, and triceps together one day. 

You train the different sections of your back with your biceps another day. 

And finally, Legs get their own day like normal. 

By doing this, you can train 3 or 4 days per week to give yourself more recovery. 

I recommend setting up 6 different workouts and rotating through them every 2 weeks or so. 

I’ll go over how to do that in the programming section coming up. 

But as you can see, it’s super easy to set up, recover from, and make progress on. 

Definitely try it out if you haven’t because it just works!

Build Your Own Push Pull Legs Program For Muscle Mass

Build Your Own Push Pull Legs Program For Muscle Mass
Designing your training program isn’t that difficult once you understand the basics. And while you might not be training from birth, you can still catch up and make some gains if you’re smart about it.

Setting up a push pull legs program for muscle mass is super simple and allows you to focus on certain muscle groups each day. 

If you want to grow your shoulders more, you can front-load your delts on push workouts. This will allow you to use higher intensity on the muscle you’re trying to specialize on. 

All in all, push pull legs as a muscle-building split is easy to set up, and everything gets its focus. 

I also recommend setting up two different workouts and rotating through them.

That way, you don’t have to do 6-8 different exercises per workout.

From my experience, 3-5 exercises per workout is the sweet spot where you can actually get in quality work.

If you do too many exercises and sets in a single workout, the later sets are just going to be a waste of time.

It’s much better to focus on a few key movements, push to failure, and get stronger in the right rep ranges over time.

Plus, by having two different workouts for your push pull legs split, you can have body part dominant workouts.

For instance, one Push day can start with the chest and the other with shoulders. 

Your pull day can start with the upper back and the other with lats. 

Finally, with Legs, one day quads, the other hamstrings. 

This setup allows you to bias all major muscle groups in your body and focus on them first when you’re fresh. 

If you just do a standard push pull legs and put 6-8 exercises in, it’s going to be a lot harder to make sure each muscle has its focus. 

I’ll go over how to build your own PPL Program now!

Push Day

Your push day is going to consist of your pushing musculature. 

These are your chest, shoulders, and triceps. I like including rear delts on push day because it’s still technically shoulders too. 

I always recommend at least 2 exercises per muscle group. This will allow you to train different sections of your muscles and provide some variety. 

For Push day, here’s what this might look like!

  • Push 1
    • Chest – DB Incline Bench
    • Rear Delts – Rear Delt Swings
    • Shoulders – DB Lateral Raises
    • Triceps – Rope Pushdowns
  • Push 2
    • Shoulders – Seated DB Press
    • Rear Delts – Face Pulls
    • Chest – DB Bench
    • Triceps – Skull Crushers

As you can see, you pick one exercise for each muscle, do enough work to stimulate them and move on. 

Pretty simple, and it works well! 

Pull Day

https://youtu.be/Jf-LBnZWlN8

For the pull day, here’s how I like to set it up!

  • Pull 1
    • Upper Back – Upper Back Pulldowns
    • Lats – One Arm Cable Lat Rows
    • Traps – Plate Raises
    • Biceps – EZ Bar Curls
  • Pull 2
    • Lats – One Arm Lat Pulldowns
    • Upper Back – Upper Back Cable Rows
    • Traps – DB Pause Shrugs
    • Biceps – One Arm Cable Curl

This has the same setup as the push day. One exercise per muscle group, push close to failure and move onto the next exercise.

Finally, we have Leg Day!

Leg Day

Your leg day on push pull legs is going to be very similar to other programs.

Here’s how I recommend setting it up!

  • Legs 1
    • Quads – Quad Biased Trap Bar Deadlift
    • Hamstrings – Leg Curls
    • Calves – Calf Raises
  • Legs 2
    • Hamstrings – Romanian Deadlift
    • Quads – Hack Squat
    • Calves – Seated Calf Raises

Just like the other two days, both Leg days alternate between Quad and hamstring-focused leg days. 

You can also add in extra glute work if that’s something you want to build up. 

Finally, if you want to build your calves up, and I recommend you do, throw them in at the end to finish your training day. 

Next, I’ll show you how to set this up as a 3, 4, or even 5 day split as these are the main ones that I recommend.

Progression On Push Pull Legs

Since we’re trying to build more muscle, we want to train in the right rep ranges that are optimal for growth. 

In general, any amount of reps will contribute to building more muscle. 

What makes these reps effective is how close to failure you are. 

Mechanical Tension is needed to fully stimulate a muscle for growth. 

The last couple of reps in each set where the movement slows down is what mechanical tension is. 

That’s why going close to or to failure is so important. 

Whatever rep range you pick will assist in this. 

However, anything less than 5 reps is going to be too heavy to train to failure safely. Likewise, anything past 20 reps is going to be a little too fatiguing for most exercises. 

That’s why the best rep range for muscle growth is anywhere between 5-20 reps. 

If you want to work in the most optimal range, 8-12 reps is going to be highly recommended. 

It’s also the perfect rep range for the progression I’m going to show you now. 

  • Basically, you start with a weight you can do for 8 reps. 
  • Keep pushing to failure each week until you get to 12+ reps. 
  • Once this happens, add 5-10 lbs the following week and push to failure again. 
  • Keep doing this until you start plateauing, switch to a different exercise and repeat the process. 

Literally just follow this until you’re big and strong. 

It works incredibly well and doesn’t require a million sets and reps that don’t actually contribute to building muscle. 

Most people are doing way too much work away from failure and it causes a ton of fatigue that crushes your recovery. 

Try this basic progression out for a couple of months and let me know how it works for you!

Push Pull Legs 3, 4, & 5 Day Splits

When it comes to maximizing muscle growth; 3, 4, and 5-day splits are the perfect balance of training stimulus and recovery. 

Less than 3 is suboptimal, and more than 5 isn’t a good use of training time in my experience. 

Unless you’re training to lose fat, I don’t recommend 6-day training for most people. 

If you can’t get the work done in 3-5 days, you’re probably not training as efficiently as you could be. 

3 Day Push Pull Legs Program

3 Day Push Pull Legs Program
3 Day training should be hard, heavy, and intense. You only have 3 days to get the work in so make them count!

So, let’s start with the 3 day PPL program!

This is pretty simple to set up; pick 3 days that aren’t consecutive. Every other Day works well, but it’s more important to pick days you can consistently do. 

  • Week 1
    • Monday – Push 1
    • Wednesday – Pull 1
    • Friday – Legs 1
  • Week 2
    • Monday – Push 2
    • Wednesday – Pull 2
    • Friday – Legs 2
  • Week 3 – Repeat

You’re still training the same muscle groups each week, so it’s not like you’re only training legs once every two weeks. 

I recommend this if you have a hard time recovering and/or work a stressful job. 

4 Day Push Pull Legs Routine

4 Day Push Pull Legs Routine
4 Day training is the perfect balance between training hard and recovering. You should still be able to dance through your off days from all the stress you’re relieving.

Next 4 Day Push Pull Legs. 

  • Week 1
    • Monday – Push 1
    • Tuesday – Pull 1
    • Thursday – Legs 1
    • Friday – Push 2
  • Week 2
    • Monday – Pull 2
    • Tuesday – Legs 2
    • Thursday – Push 1
    • Friday – Pull 1
  • Week 3 – Repeat

The 4 Day PPL is great for most people that work regular jobs and recover well from normal training programs.

5 Day Push Pull Legs Split

5 Day Push Pull Legs Split
Monday-Friday is a typical training split for those that do bodypart splits, but you don’t TECHNICALLY have to train those days only.

Finally, we have the 5 Day Push Pull Legs Training split!

  • Week 1
    • Monday – Push 1
    • Tuesday – Pull 1
    • Wednesday – Legs 1
    • Friday – Push 2
    • Saturday – Pull 2
  • Week 2
    • Monday – Legs 2
    • Tuesday – Push 1
    • Wednesday – Pull 1
    • Friday – Legs 1
    • Saturday – Push 2
  • Week 3 – Repeat

This 5-day split is definitely the hardest to recover from but allows you to progress faster.

The more you can train AND recover from, the more muscle you’ll grow. 

This split is great for those that can train more often without jobs, kids, and life destroying their recovery. 

How Many Days Per Week On Push/Pull/Legs? 

How Many Days Per Week On Push/Pull/Legs?
You might not be able to train all day like Cap can fight all day, but depending on what you have to fight in your day to day life, you just might be able to train more overall!

Any of these splits work, but it’s important, and I can’t stress this enough; to make sure you can train consistently with whatever you choose. 

Most people aren’t going to train 5 days per week on top of a full-time job. 

If you have kids, you know how hard it can be to make time for yourself. If you can only train three days per week, that’s better than trying to destroy yourself five days per week and burn yourself out. 

I’ve heard it so often from people who aren’t serious about training for the long haul. 

They tell me, “I’m taking x, y, and z supplements; I’m super sore and can barely walk, and I worked out 20 times this past week!”

Months later, they haven’t trained in forever, their expensive supplements are collecting dust, and they aren’t any closer to their goals. 

Consistency is the most important thing if you want to build more muscle. Make that happen, and you’re going to set yourself up for success!

Push Pull Legs Barbell & Dumbbell Home Workout Plan

If you’re interested in doing a push pull legs program but only have access to barbells and dumbbells in your home gym, this section is for you!

Building muscle isn’t a difficult concept to understand. Do more weight/reps over time, and your body must adapt to the stress placed upon it. 

If you push your body to its limit, provide it the proper nutrients and recovery, it has no choice but to get bigger and stronger. 

As long as you do this, training with just a barbell and dumbbells at home will still allow you to get really big and strong. 

Using the push pull legs split will allow you to do this with big exercises to stress many muscle groups at once. 

You’ll have to figure out which exercises you can do with your current setup. If you want recommendations on equipment, anything from Rogue or Rep Fitness will get the job done. 

If you need to find weight plates, I have a whole article on how to do that as well. 

Here’s an example setup for a home gym only push pull legs program. 

  • Week 1
  • Push 1 – Monday
    • Chest – Barbell Incline Bench
    • Shoulders – DB Lateral Raises
    • Rear Delts – Rear Delt Swings
    • Triceps – Barbell Skull Crushers
  • Pull 1 – Wednesday
    • Upper Back – Barbell Row
    • Lats – Neutral Grip Pullups
    • Traps – Plate Raises
    • Biceps – Hammer Curls
  • Legs 1 – Friday
    • Quads – High Bar Squats
    • Hamstrings – Dumbbell Leg Curls
    • Calves – Calf Raises
  • Week 2
  • Push 2 – Monday
    • Shoulders – Seated DB Press
    • Chest – DB Bench Press
    • Rear Delts – Rear Delt Flys
    • Triceps – Close-Grip Pushups
  • Pull 2 – Wednesday
    • Lats – DB Lat Row
    • Upper Back – Wide-Grip Pullups
    • Traps – DB Pause Shrugs
    • Biceps – Barbell Curl
  • Legs 2 – Friday
    • Hamstrings – Romanian Deadlift 
    • Quads – Front Squat
    • Calves – Seated Calf Raises

As you can see, it’s very similar to the earlier plans but designed for those that have a basic home gym. 

Some of you might only have barbells and dumbbells without access to a power rack and bench. 

If that’s the case, definitely save up for one ASAP because it will expand your training options substantially. 

In the meantime, you can throw in weighted bodyweight movements, invest in some bands, and a pullup bar which are both super cheap. 

Regardless, you can make a push pull legs program work for you even if you don’t have a ton of equipment!

Hopefully this helps some of you out! If you have any questions about training in a home gym, let me know in the comments below!

Is Push Pull Legs Good For Mass? 

Is Push Pull Legs Good For Mass?
I’ve kind of gone over this throughout the whole article but this is a good question for sure. More people would get better results questioning what they do in the gym!

This is a question that I get a lot referring to push pull legs. And honestly, if it wasn’t amazing for building muscle mass, I wouldn’t be here writing about it.

As I’ve mentioned multiple times, push pull legs allows you to manage your recovery incredibly well. 

If all you do is beat yourself up and never recover, you’re wasting time in the gym. A lot of people out there are doing too much work that they can’t recover from.

So the guys doing 20+ sets per workout never get bigger or much stronger even though they’re working hard.

You need a calorie surplus, the proper stimulus, and recovery to build the most muscle.

Anything beyond that will just dig into your ability to recover, and your progress will slow down significantly.

That’s the main reason why I recommend Push Pull Legs splits so much. 

Every major muscle group is worked evenly, and you can pair body parts like biceps, triceps, and calves on the days that make the most sense.

I guarantee if you push close to failure, eat enough calories to grow, and focus on recovery, you’ll build as much muscle as you naturally can.

Using Push Pull Legs helps this process a ton and allows you to train efficiently.

Is 3 Day Push Pull Legs Enough?

Is 3 Day Push Pull Legs Enough?
3 days is absolutely enough. Your execution and intensity will determine how efficient your training week is though!

Like I just mentioned before, you don’t grow from training directly.

You have to stimulate your muscles and recover from your workouts for muscle growth to occur.

That’s why a 3 Day Push Pull Legs training week is the perfect amount of work that most people can recover from.

If your main goal is muscle growth, 3-5 days tends to be the sweet spot from my experience.

Just make sure to train hard on those 3 days, and you’ll build more muscle without a doubt.

Is Push Pull Legs 6 Day A Week Too Much?

Is Push Pull Legs 6 Day A Week Too Much?
6 Days per week is just too much. Just ask Dean, he’s barely taken a day off for 20+ years!

For most of the population, 6 days per week is just too much work to recover from. 

Bodybuilders that have their diet, training, and steroid usage dialed in can afford to do it without a doubt. 

Especially the ones that don’t have to work hard labor jobs. They have an enhanced level to recover from their training and grow.

We have 40 hour work weeks, kids, and more stresses in life for most normal people that we need to account for.

Whether you’re doing push pull legs or another training split, 6 days per week isn’t a very good idea.

However, there’s one caveat to this. If you train 6 days per week and only do 2-3 exercises per day, it might be a low enough workload each day to recover from.

Do I recommend this?

Definitely not.

But if you want to give it a shot and see how it works for you, go for it and let me know if it works for you!

Is Push Pull Legs Good For Beginners?

Is Push Pull Legs Good For Beginners?
This is what most beginners look like in the gym, and that’s okay cause people like me can help!

I stated before that Push Pull Legs is good for all training levels. This means beginners, intermediate lifters, and advanced athletes.

However, I think a standard full-body training program is superior for beginners as they can recover a lot better than any other training population.

Eventually, though, the weights you’ll be able to use on a full-body program will surpass what you’re able to recover from.

When that happens, it’s time to switch to an upper/lower or push pull legs split.

You can still absolutely use push pull legs as a beginner, but you’ll be able to progress faster doing full body.

I’ve trained many beginner lifters that have never touched a weight in their lives before, so I think I have an idea.

What Is Better; Push Pull Legs Vs. Upper Lower?

What Is Better; Push Pull Legs Vs. Upper Lower?
They all have their pros and cons, but only one is superior!

A lot of people compare push pull legs to an upper-lower body part split.

If you’re not sure what an upper-lower split is, it’s pretty simple.

Instead of doing a push and pull day separately, you train them together on your upper day. The other training day is lower, which is basically leg day.

Both of these splits have their pros and cons, just like anything.

However, if I were to rank them, it would mainly depend on your training level, just like before.

Beginners will do the best on a full-body routine.

Intermediates do best on upper/lower and then eventually move onto push/pull/legs.

Advanced athletes will eventually need to move onto push pull legs to recover from the heavy weights they’re able to use.

They all have their place, but if I were to pick one being better than the other, push pull legs have far too many recovery benefits to ignore.

As I mentioned before, you don’t grow from training; you grow RECOVERING from training.

That’s why I believe push pull legs is the best split you can do in general.

But what do you think? Which training split have you had the best success from?

Let me know in the comments below!

Conclusion

follow push pull legs and youre set 1
Even Goku approves of Push Pull Legs!

If you want to build the most muscle, focus on recovering and getting stronger in the 5-20 rep range.

Push Pull Legs allows you to push all your major muscle groups close to failure without much overlap.

That’s why I believe it’s the ultimate split if that is your goal.

Try it out, and let me know how it works for you!

Until next time,

-Dante

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