Dr. Swole’s Push, Pull, Legs, Upper, Lower Split

Written by the Boostcamp staff
Apr 29,2024|9 min| 200

The ultimate workout split for muscle mass and aesthetics

When it comes to bodybuilding or even powerbuilding training, a big part of the overall goal is aesthetics. That being said, finding a good workout program to really do the job is key. You want a good balance of frequency and intensity, but also enough time to recover in between your training sessions. So what do you do? Well, one of the most popular workout splits for powerbuilding and bodybuilding training is the push, pull, legs, upper, lower split, as it calls for five days of training then two days of recovery, with enough time in between each training session that the muscles will feel refreshed. One popular version of the split is Bill Wong’s (Dr. Swole’s) PPL/UL


Let’s take a look a little further into Dr. Swole’s PPL/UL split and see how it is, what it entails, and if it is the right program for you.

Who is Bill Wong? 

Image courtesy of Instagram (dr_swole)

Bill Wong, also known as Dr. Swole is medical doctor (hence the nickname), pro natural men’s physique athlete, and YouTuber based in Vancouver, Canada. As the first author on multiple peer-reviewed publications and internationally-presented scientific posters, he has extensive experience with publishing and interpreting research. His medical background and passion for the scientific method provides him with a unique, cutting-edge perspective on bodybuilding. He runs a YouTube channel (Dr. Swole) and a podcast (Swole Radio), which provide evidence-based recommendations to help people lose fat and gain muscle. His content is tailored to the intelligent athlete who wants to improve their physique using current scientific research. 

What is a PPL/UL Split?

Breaking down exactly what the PPL/UL split is, it combines two classic and effective splits, the push, pull, legs, and the upper/lower. It is a five day routine that allows for two days of rest and recovery, as well as enough time in between each training session for the muscles to feel refreshed. The push, pull, legs part of the split breaks the body into 3 sections: 

  • Pushing Muscles: The chest, the shoulders, and the triceps.

  • Pulling Muscles: The back, the rear delts, and the biceps (sometimes including the traps).

  • Legs: The quads, hamstrings, the glutes and calves.

The upper lower part of the split divides the body into two parts, which are the upper body and the lower body

Bill Wong’s PPL/UL Workout Routine

Image courtesy of Instagram (dr_swole)

Dr. Swole's science-based PPL/UL (Push Pull Legs Upper Lower) is a 5-day program that is designed for late beginners, intermediates, and advanced athletes to maximize hypertrophy. That being said, if you are looking to put on muscle mass and look good, then this could be the program for you. This program is best suited for those with at least 2+ years of serious training.

The PPL/UL addresses some of the disadvantages of both PPL (Push Pull Legs) and UL (Upper Lower) splits. Traditional PPL tends to favor the upper body more, while UL tends to favor the lower body more. Dr. Swole’s version of the PPL/UL combines the best of both and allows you to hit upper and lower body hard twice a week.

What Exercises are in Dr. Swole’s PPL/UL?

Dr. Swole’s PPL/UL combines a great amount of compound and isolation exercises, so you are hitting each muscle group effectively. Check out some of the exercises below: 

  • Barbell row

  • Lat pulldowns

  • Calf Raises

  • Bicep curls

  • Bench press

  • More

These are just a few exercises that the program includes.

How Much Volume and Intensity Does Dr. Swole’s PPL/UL Use?

When it comes to the volume and intensity of Dr. Swole’s PPL/UL, the sets are typically between 5-8 reps with an RPE of 7-8 on the compound movements. This is to help build strength.

On the accessory movements, you can expect to be doing sets of 6-12 at an RPE of 9, to really fine tune the muscles.

Boostcamp

If you do not think the Dr. Swole PPL/UL Split is for you, that is no problem as you can find plenty of other options to help hit your goals. No matter if you are training for bodybuilding or a strength sport, finding a good workout program to help guide you is key. Keep in mind that good programs will help with your fitness journey, you would want to find a program that caters to your needs and guides you in the right direction, making sure that you are making the most gains. If you are looking to stay on track and continue with linear progression, then finding a good workout program is the key. Where do you look for a good workout program? Check out the Boostcamp App to find the perfect program.

Boostcamp is home to over 50 FREE workout programs that consist of strength, hypertrophy, or functional fitness, or both, from the push pull legs program all the way to upper lower, there are so many programs to choose from that can help fit your needs. However, with Boostcamp, you don’t have to just follow a pre-written program (although each program is written by a professional), you also can create your own program as well, and track your progress to make sure you are on the right track. That being said, when you are looking to incorporate some serious training to further your progress, then check out Boostcamp.

Wrap Up

Overall, Bill Wong’s PPL is quite the effective split. It does not favor any muscle group over the other, so you have the tools and guidance to build a well-rounded, complete physique. That being said, will you be giving it a try?

Let us know! And be sure to follow Boostcamp on Instagram and subscribe on YouTube!