Training

How to Design your own Push-Pull-Legs Training Program with Examples

In this Article I’ll describe how to Intermediate Lifters can Switch into a Push-Pull-Legs Routine and make the most Progress possible, before they need to Transition into a Multiple-Day Training Split. You can read about other Training Splits here:

You can read more about other Training Splits & Progressive Overload in these Articles below:
Progressive Overload Principles, Intensity Techniques & Structuring a Deload with Examples
Full-Body Workout Split for Beginners with Examples
How to Design your own Upper / Lower Body Program with Examples
How to Design your own 4, 5 & 6 Day Training Program with Examples



Push-Pull-Legs Training Split

There are several ways to Design your own Personalized Push-Pull-Legs Training Program.

First; assess which Body Parts you want to Improve over the next few Weeks and Prioritize them earlier in the Week and at the start of each Workout.

Second; based on the Amount of PEDs and Calories/Nutrients you’re getting in every day, decide how many days of Recovery you need before you do a Consecutive Push, Pull or Legs Workout. This will decide how many Days Off you need and if you can Incorporate Resistance Bands, Rest-Pause Techniques, Widow Makers Sets, Drop Sets or Training Beyond Failure!

In the Beginning of Following a Push-Pull-Legs Routine, Progress will come Relatively Easy, especially if you came from a Full-Body or Upper / Lower Routine Previously. The added Recovery you get from Spacing Body Parts apart with Several Days is more than enough to make Progress every Single Workout. However, the Longer your Follow a Push-Pull-Legs Routine, the Harder it is to make Consistent Progress with Regards to Progressive Overload. Due to Overlap of Exercises, Moving Insanely Heavy Weight, which Require more & more Calories and perhaps PEDs to Facilitate Recovery as well as Chronic Micro-Injuries, which Detract from Maximum Training Intensity to Progress beyond certain Training Plateaus.

Push-Pull-Legs is a very Popular Training Split can is used by Intermediate to the most Advanced Body Builders. It’s one of my Favorite Methods to Train when I’m Eating in a Caloric Surplus with Moderate Dosages of Steroids, between HRT & 1,000mg AAS Combined per Week. Beyond 1,000mg AAS I’m usually in a Caloric Deficit, which Requires more PEDs to Facilitate Recovery to Compensate for Restricted Caloric Intake. In this Case I also need more Recovery Days in between Training each Body Part and usually Switch to a 4, 5 or 6 Day Workout Routine.

I’ve done many Versions of a Push-Pull-Legs Routine, the one that gave me the Most Results was a Modified “Free Weights Only” PPL Routine. It wasn’t Completely Free Weights Only, as I found that Hamstrings & Calves still Required Machines for Proper Stimulation. Basically the PPL Routine consisted of as many Free Weight Exercises as I could Perform, with Limited use of Equipment unless Absolutely Necessary!

Below is the exact “Free Weights Only” PPL Routine with Machines for Hamstrings, Adductors & Calves:

Push Day

• Incline Dumbbell Press
• Incline Dumbbell Flyes
• Incline Hex Press
• Bodyweight Dips
• EZ Bar Skull Crushers
• Tate Press
• Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extensions
• Dumbbell Lateral Raises
• EZ Bar Front Raises
• Dumbbell Shoulder Press
• Lying Crunches

Pull Day

• Bodyweight Pullups
• Underhand EZ Bar Rows
• Dumbbell Rows
• Decline Dumbbell Pullovers in Situp Bench
• Dumbbell Rear Delt Flyes
• EZ Bar Pendlay Rows
• Dumbbell Shrugs
• EZ Bar Curls
• Dumbbell Hammer Curls
• Alternating Dumbbell Curls in Preacher Bench

Leg Day

• Barbell Squats
• Sumo Squats with Plates & Cable Crossover Handles
• Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squats
• Barbell Hip Thrusts or Adductor (Machine)
• Lying Hamstring Curls (Machine)
• Smith Machine Swinging Hamstring Curls
• Barbell Stiff Legged Dead Lifts
• Seated Calf Raises (Machine)
• Donkey Calf Raises (Machine)
• Standing Calf Raises (Machine)


Structuring the Workouts in PPL Split

In this Routine, each Workout Contains 10 Working Sets over 10 Exercises (excluding Abs). Although you might Perform a Total of 30 Sets over the Entire Workouts; 3 Sets of 20 Reps to Warmup, 5 Sets of 4-6 Reps to Prime Motor Patterns before the First Working Set, then 1 or 2 Feel Sets when Switching Exercises to Prime Motor Patterns before Working Sets on Consecutive Exercise.

When Starting a Push-Pull-Legs Routine, which is a 3-Day Workout Split, you Group 3 Corresponding Body Parts per Workout and Perform 3 Exercises per Body Part. While a 4th Exercise can be an Overlapping Exercise in order to Prime the next Body Part, for Example; Dips between Chest & Triceps or Hip Thrust between Quads & Hamstrings. This usually Results in 9-11 Exercises per Workout.

The Exercise Selection for each Body Part should Contain; 1 Compound, 1 Stretch under Load & 1 Isolation Exercise. Sometimes these Exercise Types are be Combined, for Example; Dumbbell Flyes is both an Isolation & Stretch Exercise & Stiff Legged Dead Lifts is both a Compound & Stretch Exercise.

Ideally you Perform the Stretch under Load Exercise AFTER you’ve Performed the Compound Exercise, as it makes the Isolation Exercise more Effective. Of course it doesn’t always play out that way. SLDLs after Hip Thrusts is BRUTAL on your Posterior Chain and might cause Tremendous Lower Back Pumps!

Try your Best to Design your PPL Program along these Lines; Weaker Body Part, followed by Ancillary Body Part that gets Recruited with the Main Body Part you’re trying to Improve, with the Stronger, Most Developed or least Important Body Part of the Group Performed Last in the Workout. That might mean you do Calves, Hamstrings, Adductors and Quads last in the Workout if you’re Quad-Dominant with shitty Calves!

Each Body Part is Trained along these Lines; 1st Exercise: Compound, 2nd Exercise: Stretch, 3rd Exercise: Isolation, 4th Exercise: Overlap (optional). While Following the Principles of Progressive Overload along each Body Parts Respective Rep Ranges for Hyper-Trophy!

While you’re Training, you’re only Allowed 1 Working Set per Exercise. This “Restriction” makes it very easy to Track your Progression in each Lift/Exercise and is there prevent Over-Training! If you Perform 9-11 Exercises per Workout, with a Typical High-Volume Approach as seen in 4, 5 or 6-Day Splits, you’ll cause too much Stimulation that you can Recover from.

PPL Routines which Follow Progressive Overload are Extremely Precise and well thought out Training Programs where you have Clear Goals that you need to Attain or Break every Workout. There’s no Room for Fluff as Extra Fluff reduces your Recovery Capability, which becomes increasingly Important as you Gain Size & Strength.


Rest / Recovery Days in PPL Routine

At the Beginning of Starting a PPL Routine, you can Schedule a Rest Day after you’ve Finished the Entire PPL Rotation. Meaning you Train 3 Days ON & 1 Day OFF, which Results in this Schedule: Push, Pull, Legs, Off, Repeat!

You can Follow this Schedule until you’re too Strong for your Recovery Capability and you need an Extra Rest Day (or more Calories or PEDs) in order to keep Progressing Forward & Upward! Scheduling an Extra Rest Day is probably Harder than adding more Calories or PEDs to Improve Recovery, but it’s often the Smarter Approach when you become Insanely Strong and Move Mountains of Weight each and every Workout!

By Adding another Rest Day, you Switch from 3 Days ON & 1 Day OFF to 2 Days ON & 1 Day OFF, which Results in this Schedule: Push, Pull, Off, Legs, Push, Off, Pull, Legs, Off, Repeat!

Look at it in another way, by adding another Rest Day, you’re actually increasing Calories & PED Intake for each Workout. Since this Intake doesn’t change, but the Workload actually Decreases, you now have more Nett. Available Calories & PEDs per Workout & Required Recovery, without Upping either Aspect of your Body Building.

Once 2 Days ON & 1 Day OFF still doesn’t allow for enough Recovery Capability as you’ve gotten even Stronger on this Training Schedule, you can Switch to this Schedule; Push, Pull, Off, Legs, Off, Repeat!

This 2 Days ON, 1 Day OFF, 1 Day ON & 1 Day OFF Approach allows for the Maximum Amount of Stimulation & Recovery, before Push-Pull-Legs becomes somewhat Redundant and a 4, 5 or 6 Day Split is more Beneficial for Hyper-Trophy, as you’re able to Double the Volume for each Body Part with a Multiple-Day Split.

You can Schedule the Rest Days in your PPL Routine in the Following ways:
• 3 Days ON & 1 Day OFF; Push, Pull, Legs, Off, Repeat! (4 Day Rotation)
• 2 Days ON & 1 Day OFF; Push, Pull, Off, Legs, Push, Off, Pull, Legs, Off, Repeat! (9 Day Rotation)
• 2 Days ON, 1 Day OFF, 1 Day ON & 1 Day OFF; Push, Pull, Off, Legs, Off, Off, Repeat! (6 Day Rotation)


Push-Pull-Legs: A/B Training Split

Once you get Incredibly Strong & Advanced in your PPL Routine, you can switch to an A/B Split and Space the Taxing Exercises further apart to give yourself more Time for Recovery without Additional Food or PED Intake. You should be well Versed in Execution of Exercises and know how to Cycle through your Training Program with Warmup Sets, Feel Sets & Working Sets by this Time.

Below is an Example of a PPL A/B Routine:

Push-A

• Incline Dumbbell Press
• Incline Dumbbell Flyes
• Flat Hammer Strength Chest Press
• Body Weight Dips
• EZ Bar Decline Skull Crushers
• Overhead Cable Triceps Extensions
• Dumbbell Lateral Raises
• EZ Bar Front Raises
• Hammer Strength Shoulder Press
• Body Weight Alternating Crunches

Push-B

• Flat Barbell Bench Press
• Close Grip Barbell Bench Press
• Cable Flyes
• Dumbbell Hex Press
• Tate Press
• Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extensions
• Cable Lateral Raises
• Cable Front Raises
• Dumbbell Shoulder Press
• Hanging Leg Raises

Pull-A

• Cable Pull Downs
• Underhand EZ Bar Rows
• Dumbbell Rows
• Cable Pullovers
• Dumbbell Rear Delt Flyes
• Dumbbell Shrugs
• EZ Bar Curls
• Hammer Curls
• EZ Bar Reverse Curls
• Barbell Wrist Curls

Pull-B

• Body Weight Pullups
• T-Bar Rows
• Hammer Strength Rows
• Dumbbell Pullovers
• Machine Rear Delt Flyes
• Hammer Strength Shrugs
• Alternating Dumbbell Curls
• Cable Rope Curls
• EZ Bar Reverse Curls
• Barbell Wrist Curls

Legs-A

• Barbell Squats
• Leg Press
• Leg Extensions
• Barbell Hip Thrust
• Lying Hamstring Curls
• Stiff Legged Deadlifts in Hack Squat
• Reverse Hyper Extensions
• Seated Calf Raises
• Donkey Calf Raises
• Seated Toe Presses

Legs-B

• Hack Squats
• Bulgarian Split Squats
• Seated Leg Press
• Hip Thrust Machine
• Seated Hamstring Curls
• Barbell Stiff Legged Deadlifts
• Adductor Machine
• Seated Toe Presses
• Donkey Calf Raises
• Seated Calf Raises


Structuring the Workouts in PPL A/B Split

Each Body Part is Trained along these Lines; 1st Exercise: Compound, 2nd Exercise: Stretch, 3rd Exercise: Isolation, 4th Exercise: Overlap (optional). While Following the Principles of Progressive Overload along each Body Parts Respective Rep Ranges for Hyper-Trophy

Same Design as a Standard PPL Routine; 1st Exercise: Compound, 2nd Exercise: Stretch, 3rd Exercise: Isolation, 4th Exercise: Overlap (optional). With an A/B Split you Cycle through each PPL-A & PPL-B Rotation in order to Prevent or Minimize Training Plateaus, Training Overlap & Keep your CNS Fresh for each Exercise, as you Perform Similar, but not the Same Exercises every A/B Rotation!


Rest / Recovery Days in PPL A/B Routine

You can Schedule the Rest Days in a PPL A/B Routine, in a Similar Fashion as a Standard PPL Routine:
• 3 Days ON & 1 Day OFF; Push-A, Pull-A, Legs-A, Off, Push-B, Pull-B, Legs-B, Off, Repeat! (8 Day Rotation)
• 2 Days ON & 1 Day OFF; Push-A, Pull-A, Off, Legs-A, Push-B, Off, Pull-B, Legs-B, Off, Repeat! (9 Day Rotation)
• 2 Days ON, 1 Day OFF, 1 Day ON & 1 Day OFF; Push-A, Pull-A, Off, Legs-A, Off, Push-B, Pull-B, Off, Legs-B, Off, Repeat! (10 Day Rotation)

You’ll have between 8-10 Days before you do the Exact same Exercise again, which is Plenty to Time to Recover from the last Set to Failure and build upon your Previous Best!

Once you’re reached a Complete Plateau and can’t make any more Progress on the A/B PPL Split, while training 2 Days ON, 1 Day OFF, 1 Day ON & 1 Day OFF, which can take YEARS, it’s better to Transition into a 4, 5 or 6-Day Split.

You should be able to Develop the Majority of your Strength, Size, Density, Thickness and Muscle Maturity with a Push-Pull-Legs (A/B) Routine. When this Foundation has been Laid & Solidified, a Multiple-Day Split allows you to Train with more Volume and Focus on Refining your Physique, more so compared to what’s Possible with a Push-Pull-Legs Routine.

DC Training is a Highly Specialized Hybrid-Version of the Upper / Lower Body & Push-Pull-Legs Split, which Focuses on Progressive Overload and Utilizes Exercise Overlap to Transition from 1 Body Part to the other.


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