Is Push/Pull/Legs a good split?

Written by the Boostcamp staff
Jan 3,2024|13 min| 8561

How much does a PPL split help gains?

When it comes to your weight training, whether you are looking to be a powerlifter or bodybuilder, there are many different workout programs to follow. There are plenty of workout splits to follow, such as the upper lower split, or the Arnold Split (named after Arnold Schwarzenegger). One of the most popular splits that people will follow, regardless of how far along they are in their lifting career, is a push/pull/legs format, also known as the PPL split. But, is it a good workout routine to follow? Sure, it is simple and pretty beneficial for time, but there is always the question of if it is effective for building muscle and strength, and really helping you to further your progress.

Let’s dive into what the push/pull/legs routine is, how beneficial it is, and where to find a good program.

What is a Push/Pull/Legs Routine?

The push/pull/legs split is a very simple, yet effective training method that has been around for quite some time now. The method that people often use is where you split your body into three parts, and then the parts that rely on each other are worked together on the same day. For example, the back and biceps are worked together on the pull day.

Here is what a typical push/pull/legs split looks like: 

To further explain the push/pull/legs split, here are the muscles that are hit on each day:

Push Day: Chest, shoulders, and triceps

Pull Day: Back, traps, and biceps

Leg Day: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves

Now when it comes to the push pull legs split, you do not have to do it in that order. As an example, you can do your leg day first, then push and pull. Or you can do your pull day first, then legs and push, it all depends on what your preference is, but the PPL split can be switched up. 

You also can switch up prioritization within the push/pull/legs routine, as it is a 3 day split so you will more than likely be working out 6 days a week. That being said, on the first push day you can prioritize chest more and incorporate more bench press or other chest-oriented movements, and on the second push day you can prioritize shoulders, with triceps as an accessory muscle group on both days. For the pull days, you can prioritize width one day, so things like lat pulldowns and pull-ups, then thickness on the second, so movements like rows and deadlifts. Then on the leg days, you can split up quads on one day then glutes and hamstrings the second. It all depends on your preferences and your goals. 

Is a PPL Split Good? 

With all of that being said, is a PPL split good? Many people ask if a push/pull/legs split is even effective at gaining muscle and strength, and that is a good question to ask. Yes, the PPL split is a good split, whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced lifter. The PPL split provides a good amount of frequency amongst the muscle groups, with a rest day or two per week, so there is also enough time for recovery

However, while the push/pull/legs split is good on its own, it also largely depends on what you do with it. You cannot just go into the gym, go through the motions, and expect to pack on size and skyrocket your big 3 power lifts. Instead, you need to make the most out of each exercise. Every rep of every set can contribute to your progression, so let’s take a look at factors to maximize the gains you make from the push/pull/legs split:

Mind-Muscle Connection: The mind-muscle connection is crucial for gains, as you really need to focus and envision the muscle growing with each rep. It may sound silly, but when you really concentrate on breaking the muscle down, that leaves a lot of room for growth.

Recovery: Following up on breaking down your muscles, you have to allow adequate time for them to repair, otherwise you risk injury. Recovery is where your muscles grow back bigger and stronger, so take a rest day here and there and make sure you get good enough sleep, and maybe even take a deload week. A push/pull/legs split allows for 1-2 rest days a week usually, which is great. On top of that, be sure to focus on the next two things, diet and supplementation

Diet: The follow up to recovery as a whole, is fueling your body with quality foods. Once the muscles are broken down they are hungry, they want to grow back bigger and stronger, and you do that by stuffing yourself with healthy foods. Sure, pizza, burgers, and wings taste great, but when it comes to your progress they do not provide the best macronutrients or protein sources for you to make gains.

Supplementation: Piggybacking off of diet, supplementation is huge for helping to get those extra nutrients into your body that a healthy diet can only provide so much of. For example, things like multivitamins, creatine, and protein powder are great to help further your progress. You also can utilize pre-workout and energy drinks to fuel those push pull legs workouts.

How Many Exercises Per Day in the PPL Split?

When it comes to your push/pull/legs routine, you are working multiple muscle groups within one training session, and you more than likely do not want to be in the gym for hours upon hours doing countless repetitions and sets. That being said, how many exercises should you do per muscle group?

There is no real correct amount, but you do not want to do too much nor do you want to do too little. Perhaps 2-3 exercises per muscle group, and then the rep ranges vary on what your end goal is. The best thing you can do is check out some PPL programs that are available.

What is a Good PPL Program?

Well, if you are just getting started or have been lifting for a little bit, the Reddit PPL is a great push/pull/legs program that is designed for novice and early intermediate lifters. The Reddit PPL program is a 6-day per week Push Pull Legs split to pack on significant strength and muscle mass.

The Reddit PPL Program was created by redditor Metallicapda, and the program gained fame as an effective powerbuilding program, with proven results by thousands of Redditors and lifters across the internet.

Boostcamp: The Last Lifting App You’ll Ever Need

To help you find some new push pull legs routines, and other programs to maximize your strength and muscle gains, consider using the Boostcamp App. The Boostcamp app offers free science-based workout routines, advanced custom program builder, and a workout tracker to help you stay on top of your progress.

By using the Boostcamp App for your training routine, you'll have all the tools you need to develop a strong mind-muscle connection and break through plateaus. Download the Boostcamp App today and take your workouts to the next level! If you do not like that one, there are plenty of PPL programs on the Boostcamp app, and many of those workout programs are free of charge!

PPL Split Wrap Up

Overall, the push/pull/legs routine is certainly beneficial, no matter the stage you are at in your lifting career. We certainly enjoy a good PPL program, whether the end goal is for strength or size. 

Will you be trying a push/pull/legs program?

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