Reddit PPL App & Program Guide

Reddit PPL on Boostcamp app

Boostcamp has digitized Reddit PPL from the excel spreadsheet format into our simple-to-use app, completely free.

On Boostcamp, you’ll be able to follow and track the Reddit PPL with seamless 1 Rep Max onboarding, automated weight progressions, as well as helpful tools like exercise timer and plate calculator.

Download Boostcamp here on iOS and Android.

reddit ppl interface.png

What is the Reddit PPL program?

Reddit PPL is a beginner gym program for those who want a 6-day week routine for packing on significant strength and muscle.

The program, created by u/Metallicapda, gained tremendous popularity on Reddit (r/fitness) as the perfect beginner training program. Why? It combines the tried and true linear progression method (e.g., Starting Strength, Stronglifts 5x5, Greyskull), which many new trainees view as boring, with the more fun bodybuilding style training (hence PPL = Push, Pull, Legs).

Overall, Reddit PPL is an accessible beginner program with enough volume to stimulate growth in the bro muscles, while also giving intensity in the compound exercises (squat, bench, deadlift) to drive major strength adaptations.

The Program Layout

# sets x # reps ; Example: 1x5 = 1 set of 5 reps

+ = as many reps as possible (AMRAP) on the last set ; Example: 1x5+ = 1 set of at least 5 reps as many as possible

#-# = between these numbers ; Example: 3x8-12 = 3 sets of 8-12 reps per set

SS = superset (2 exercises that you alternate doing back to back)

Program Days for Reddit PPL

PULL — Day 1

  • Deadlift 1x5+ / Barbell rows 4x5, 1x5+
    (alternate, so if you did deadlifts on Monday, then do rows on Thursday, and so on)

  • Pulldowns OR Pullups OR chinups 3x8-12

  • Seated cable rows OR chest supported rows 3x8-12

  • Face pulls 5x15-20

  • Hammer curls 4x8-12

  • Dumbbell curls 4x8-12

Pull — Day 2

  • Bench press 4x5, 1x5+ / Overhead press 4x5, 1x5+
    (alternate in the same fashion as the rows and deadlifts)

  • Overhead press 3x8-12 / Bench press 3x8-12
    (do the opposite movement: if you bench pressed first, overhead press here)

  • Incline dumbbell press 3x8-12

  • Triceps pushdowns 3x8-12 SS Lateral raises 3x15-20

  • Overhead triceps extensions 3x8-12 SS Lateral raises 3x15-20

LEGS — Day 3

  • Squat 2x5, 1x5+

  • Romanian Deadlift 3x8-12

  • Leg press 3x8-12

  • Leg curls 3x8-12

  • Calf raises 5x8-12

Weekly Structure for Reddit PPL

Reddit PPL is 6 days a week program. This means you would do complete 2 cycles of the 3 days above every week.

Example weekly schedules:

  • Monday — Push
    Tuesday — Pull
    Wednesday — Legs
    Friday — Push
    Saturday — Pull
    Sunday — Legs

  • Monday — Push
    Tuesday — Pull
    Wednesday — Legs
    Thursday — Push
    Friday — Push
    Saturday — Legs

Weight Progression for Reddit PPL

Compound Exercises (Linear Progression)

  • Upper body lifts (bench press, barbell row, overhead press) = add 5 lbs / 2.5 kg per session

  • Squat = add 5 lbs / 2.5 kg per session

  • Deadlift = add 10 lbs / 5 kg per session

This is called linear progression. The weight might seem to go up quite fast (every session, basically), but this is entirely possible for a few months for beginners if they are on a great program. Stronglifts and Starting Strength progress at the same speed.

Accessory Exercises progression

  • Progress at your own speed. Your goal is not to go crazy on these or else you will burn out. Focus your energy on progressing the compounds.

  • Generally, if you can do 3 sets of 12 with good form, you can increase weight. No need to add weight every workout.

  • A good progression structure could be:

    • Session 1: x12, 10, 8

    • Session 2: x12, 12, 10

    • Session 3: x12, 12, 12

    • Session 4: increase weight, then aim to do 3 x 12, 10, 8

Other helpful resources




Reddit PPL FAQ

Why do Reddit PPL? How does Reddit PPL compare against Starting Strength, Stronglifts, etc?

  • Reddit PPL is one of those beginner programs that fun AND effective. Ultimately, the best program is one that you can stick to, and Reddit PPL does a great job at that.

  • It combines the effective linear periodization progression method on compound movements (like on SS and SL) with the fun bodybuilding style training (with more variety and “bro” muscle accessories)

  • Tons of people have successfully ran this program, gaining significant muscle and strength. There is a reason why this is THE strength training program on Reddit (r/fitness has 9 million members). It works.

What does “PPL” stand for in Reddit PPL?

  • PPL stands for Push, Pull, Legs.

  • This is a popular format for bodybuilding style training, where a “push day” focuses on pushing movements like bench press and shoulder press, “pull day” focuses on deadlifts, rows, pulldowns, and “leg day” focuses on squats, leg press, leg curls, etc.

  • By no mains does this mean you can only do pushing movements on push day, it just means the core focus for the day.

Why not do Reddit PPL? What’s the cons of the program?

  • 6 days a week of training, which is much higher frequency than traditional programs like SS and SL (3-4 days a week)

    • However, each training session is also relatively shorter than standard programs. There is good research that shows the benefits of high frequency training.

  • Reddit PPL may be too advanced for complete beginners as it requires you to have basic movmement proficiency in the compound lifts (squat, bench, deadlift).

How to start on Reddit PPL?

  • The easiest way to get started is on Boostcamp app, which is free on iOS and Android. You can follow the Reddit PPL easily with our program tracker, with 1RM onboarding, automated weight progressions, and tools like timer, plate calculator, etc.

  • If you are an Excel wizard and don’t mind using a mobile spreadsheet, you can find the excel version of Reddit PPL on Liftvault.

How to choose 1 Rep Max (1RM) when starting Reddit PPL?

  • See below for how to choose your starting weight. Best way is to go to the gym and test your 5 Rep Max (5RM) with good form. Second best way is to take a conservative guesstimate.

  • Remember to be CONSERVATIVE on your starting weight. You’re moving weight up EVERY SESSION, so you can afford to start slow. The more conservative you are, the more time you allow your body to adjust and make longer-term progress.

  • This doesn’t mean the old view of Starting Strength of starting with the bar. That’s too extreme and waste of time IMO.

What weights to start with on Reddit PPL?

  • The best way is to go to the gym and test it out. Start with the lowest weights (barbells use the bar, dumbbels use 5 lbs) and do a set of 5 reps (and no more). If it is easy, go up slowly by 5 rep sets with rest in between until the weight starts moving slow. NOT TO FAILURE.

  • Take that heavier 5 rep set and input it into the 1RM calculator on Boostcamp, to get your starting 1RM weight. Alternatively, you can manually multiply the 5 rep weight by ~120% to get your estimated 1RM. For example, if you do 100 lbs x 5, that means your e1Rm is 120 lbs.

How to warmup on Reddit PPL?

  • The creator u/Metallicapda suggests that you use the movement itself as warmup, which we agree with generally. If your main exercise is squat, warm-up with squat.

    • Of course, if you think you need it, feel free to start training with a 10 minute jog and some dynamic stretches. If you like foam rolling, sure go ahead.

    • Avoid static stretching before working out, as it could cause injury and lower power output.

  • For weight warmups, there is no need to go to failure on these sets. That is a common beginner mistake.

  • Suggested example: If your work set for bench is 135 lbs x 5+, then

    • empty bar(=45 lbs) x 10 reps

    • 95 lbs x 5 reps

    • 115 lbs x 3 reps

    • Work set

How long to rest between sets on Reddit PPL?

  • You can rest as long as needed (within reason). Weight training is not cardio or trying to break a sweat. Your goal is to be rested enough so you can perform at your best for each set.

  • In general, you can rest 3-5 minutes for your main compound exercises, and 1-3 minutes for accessories.

  • For supersets, there is no need to rest at all in between alternating exercises.

Should I go to failure on Reddit PPL?

  • In general, you should avoid training to failure on this program. For beginners, it is best to focus on good form and slow incremental progress.

  • You should definitely stop any exercise if you feel like your form is deteroriating. For example, if your butt starts coming off the bench while bench pressing, stop and lower the weight. If your back starts to round on deadlifts, def stop.

What if I fail a lift on Reddit PPL?

  • Failing on a lift is nothing to be ashamed of. Its part of your journey.

  • If you do fail on a compound lift, try again next week and make adjustments. Are you getting enough recovery (enough calories and protein, good sleep, low stress)? Or are you going too heavy on accessories? Have you taken a deload week?

    • If you fail again after all those adjustments, then the weight is just too heavy. Lower your 1RM by 10% and ramp again.

  • If you fail on accessories, lower the weight next time. You don’t need to go to failure on these. A lot of beginners might mistaken not increasing weight or reps fast on accessories as a sign of zero progress. That’s not true. If you are increasing weight or reps on your compounds, you’re making gains and exerting more energy, which naturally could mean your accessories stay the same weight.

    • Some of the most advanced bodybuilders still curl 25 lbs, but they have huge biceps and their form is impeccable. Don’t be one of those ego lifters that herniate a disk “back curling” 50 lbs.

How to deload on Reddit PPL? What is deload for Reddit PPL?

  • In general, you should deload once ever 4 weeks for a week. This will allow your body to recover and make longer term progress.

  • Take 10% off your working weights and work back up. So if you were doing 200 lbs x 5 of squat, drop back to 180 lbs x 5 next week and ramp again.

When to add weight on Reddit PPL?

  • See “Weight Progression for Reddit PPL" on the top of this guide for more details.

  • The Boostcamp app will automatically make the progressions for you on your core compound exercises.

  • For accessories, we suggest you be conservative and only add weight when you are at the top end of the rep ranges.

When to transition out of Reddit PPL?

  • In general, you should stay on Reddit PPL for AS LONG AS POSSIBLE, beccause it is the fastest way to make progress.

  • How long people stay on Reddit PPL for is really personal and depends on a lot of factors. We recommend at least 12 weeks. Some people can stay on Reddit PPL for over 12 months.

  • Don’t break what’s not broken. If you are still making progress, keep going.

  • What are signs that you can go to a different program?

    • If you’ve been stalling on your core compound lifts after over a month of failure, and you’ve tried all the methods to get out of the slump (e.g. increasing calories/protein, deloading, improving recovery, lowering accessories)

    • If you are just really really worn out by the program, after being on the program for 12 weeks +

What program to do after Reddit PPL?

  • nSuns 5/3/1 - perhaps the most popular intermediate-level gym programs ever made, with 4-6 day a week variations available on Boostcamp for free. This is a linear progression routine that increases weights every week, instead of every workout like Reddit PPL. So this is our top recommendation for the program to do after Reddit PPL.

  • Candito 6-week Strength Program - a fun 6 week strength peaking program by champion powerlifter Jonnie Candito. This is excellent if you really want to increase your 1RMs in the squat, bench, and deadlift.

  • PHUL - a popular 4-day a week program Power, Hypertrophy, Upper, Lower (PHUL) by Brandon Campbell. This is more geared towards bodybuilding, along with a side of good strength gains on compound movements.

How to diet on Reddit PPL? What to eat on Reddit PPL?

  • To maximize effectiveness of Reddit PPL, we suggest that you eat at a calorie surplus (~500-1,000 calories per day above your calorie maintenance), which equates to gaining 0.3-1 lb of bodyweight per week as a male. Females can gain at half that or even less.

  • The speed of bodyweight gain really depends on your own preference. For beginners, you can be on the higher end of the range or even go above 1 lb/week as most of that will be muscle.

  • Getting adequate protein is also critical for ensuring most of the weight gain is muscle, so aim for 0.5-1g per pound of your bodyweight.

  • Carbs and fat is up to you. Most research shows that carbs are the best source of fuel for strength training.

Can you cut on Reddit PPL?

  • Yes you can, but it is generally not recommended on Reddit PPL given the beginner focus and high volume.

  • As a beginner, you can likely be gaining muscle AND losing fat at the same time if you are training and recovery correctly. Don’t use the scale as your only gauge of success.

Switching exercises in Reddit PPL

  • Only switch exercises for 2 reasons:

    • 1. Injury related, in which case we suggest you consult a physician, physical therapist, or certified coach before doing the program.

    • 2. You lack a equipment. in which case you should choose an exercise that best mimic the original exercise.

    • Do not switch out core compound movements like squat, bench, or deadlift. If you lack barbells and a rack, you could use a smith machine (though ideally you find a full gym with real barbells).

  • Pull substitutions

    • Seated cable rows >>> dumbbell rows, t-bar rows, machine rows

    • Face pulls >>> rear delt DB/cable flies, band pull aparts

    • Hammer curls / dumbbell curls >>> any curl variation is fine like cable curls, barbell curls, EZ bar curls

  • Push substitutions

    • Incline dumbell press >>> landmind press, incline machine press

    • Tricep pushdowns and overhead extensions >>> any tricep exercise is fine, just make sure focus is triceps (like overhead DB tricep extensions, skullcrushers, machine tricep press)

  • Legs substitutions

    • Leg press >>> front squats, weighted lunges

    • Leg curls >>> glute ham raise, dumbbell RDLs

    • Calf raise >>> bodyweight calf raise; dumbbell calf raises

Tips for Reddit PPL

  • “Lift light weights like its heavy, and lift heavy weights like its light” - Anonymous

    • What the above quote means is you should use your warmups as form practicce for your heavy working sets. If you can’t lift the light weights with perfect form, what do you will happen when you go heavy?


    • As newbies, it is tempting to mess around with the program to make it “better”. In 99% of the cases, you’ll just end up with a worse program.

    • In particular, beginners will be tempted to add their own accessories as the weights start light. Don’t do it. You’ll just be accumulating junk volume that doesn’t add muscle or strength.