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Push Pull Legs Program (PPL)

One of the most popular programs in recent years is called Push Pull Legs. This program isn’t a fixed length, you simply continue to train this way while varying the exercises, sets and reps for as long as it’s effective.

If you’re familiar with a typical Bodybuilding Split, they like to train their Chest and Triceps on the same day, and their Back and Biceps on another day. That’s because a lot of the Chest exercises also target the Triceps, so if Triceps were on a separate day you’d have to be careful to have enough rest before doing a Chest day. The same is true with back exercises (Underhand Barbell Row, Chin Ups), which can engage the Biceps too.

You would divide your workouts into three types of session:

  1. Push day – all the Pushing exercises like Push Ups, Bench Press, Overhead Press. These hit your Chest, Triceps and Shoulders.
  2. Pull day – all the Pulling exercises like Rows, Pull Ups and possibly Deadlift. These hit your Back, Biceps and can also involve the Triceps too.
  3. Leg day – all your leg exercises in one day, things like Squats, Lunges and Romanian Deadlift. These will hit your Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes and Calves.
Back squats on Leg Day

Weekly Layout

As I see it there are only two variations of this program. The first is cycling through Push-Pull-Legs twice in a week, and the second is dropping the final Leg session. Some people find training their legs once a week to be sufficient and others also compete in sports at the weekend and want to keep their legs fresh for that. Here’s how they look, remember what days you train are up to you so Day 1 doesn’t have to be a Monday.

PPL Routines with either 2x Legs or 1x Legs in a week

Exercise Selection

With this program you have the freedom to select any exercise, as long as you perform it on the corresponding day. This gives you the freedom to select exercises based on personal preference and the equipment you have available. There are plenty of templates on the internet to get you started and I’ve added two examples below:

Reddit PPL Routine

Push Day 1
Bench Press 5 x 5
Overhead Press 3 x 8-12
Incline Dumbbell Press 3 x 8-12
A1 Triceps Pushdown 3 x 8-12
A2 Lateral Raises 3 x 15-20
B1 Overhead Triceps Extension 3 x 8-12
B2 Lateral Raises 3 x 8-12

Pull Day 1
Deadlift 1 x 5
Chin Ups 3 x 8-12
Seated Cable Rows 3 x 8-12
Face Pulls 5 x 15-20
Hammer Curls 4 x 8-12
Dumbbell Curls 4 x 8-12

Leg Day
Back Squat 3 x 5
Romanian Deadlift 3 x 8-12
Front Squats 3 x 8-12
Leg Curls 3 x 8-12
Calf Raises 5 x 8-12

Push Day 2
Overhead Press 5 x 5
Bench Press 3 x 8-12
Incline Dumbbell Press 3 x 8-12
A1 Triceps Pushdown 3 x 8-12
A2 Lateral Raises 3 x 15-20
B1 Overhead Triceps Extension 3 x 8-12
B2 Lateral Raises 3 x 8-12

Pull Day 2
Barbell Rows 5 x 5
Pull Ups 3 x 8-12
Chest Supported Rows 3 x 8-12
Face Pulls 5 x 15-20
Hammer Curls 4 x 8-12
Dumbbell Curls 4 x 8-12

Bench Press on Push Day

Brian Keane Routine

Push Day
Dumbbell Chest Press 3 x 10
Dumbbell Chest Flye 3 x 10
Military Press 3 x 10
Side Lateral Dumbbell Raise 3 x 10
EZ Skull Crusher 2 x 10
Tricep Rope Extension 2 x 10
Stationary Bike – 10 mins of 30 secs on/30 secs off

Pull Day
Barbell Row 3 x 10
Lat Pull Down 3 x 10
Dumbbell Rear Delt Raise 2 x 10
Rope Face Pull 2 x 10
Barbell Curl 3 x 10
Dumbbell Curl 3 x 10
Stationary Bike – 10 mins of 30 secs on/30 secs off

Leg Day
Back Squat 3 x 10
Dumbbell Lunge 3 x 10
Leg Press 3 x 10
Leg Extension 3 x 10
Barbell Glute Bridge 3 x 10
Stiff Leg Dumbbell Deadlift 2 x 10
Hamstring Curl 2 x 10
Seated Calf Raise 1 x 20

Bicep Curls on Pull Day

If you want further information then the PPL thread on Reddit offers some great beginners advice.

You can also find exercises for your Chest, Triceps, Back and Biceps on my website, with Legs and Shoulders coming soon.