May 09, 2024 2 min read

By Shane Robert

The Push/Pull/Leg Split builds off of the push/pull split, further refining days to break up leg training from the rest of the body. This allows a lifter to move the most fatiguing element of training, leg movements, and giving it its own day. By doing this, greater volumes can be achieved for all body parts on their respective day.

The push/pull/legs (PPL) is a popular way to design training and has been for a long time due to its simple planning and effectiveness. Compared to a push/pull split, PPLs allow a lifter to devote more energy and volume to the specific muscles of the day, where previous energy resources were devoted to including leg work with the rest of the upper body movements. It also acknowledges that the upper body has more individual muscles than the lower body, devoting separate days for the front and back of the upper body, something that is a limitation of upper/lower splits. 

With a PPL, there is a natural three-day-per-week format, though it isn’t uncommon to repeat the cycle, allowing each movement category to be trained twice per week in a six day rotation. A popular method of using a PPL is to do 3 on, 1 off, repeat, essentially running it over 8 days. Though most trainees stick to the PPL format, there is nothing that says the format must be adhered to. For example, if a lifter has a particular weak area, they could do a second day for that weak area, e.g. push, pull, legs, push, for 4 training days in a week. The following week would start again with push. Another option, if fixing weaknesses isn’t an issue, would to train 4 days per week on a 3 week wave as follows:

  1. Push, pull, legs, push
  2. Pull, legs, push, pull
  3. Legs, push, pull, legs
This is a format that many lifters like for the seeming variety of different weeks, particularly if there are two different training days for each category. 

A typical day breaks down as follows:

Day 1

  • Chest 
  • Shoulders (front and side delts)
  • Triceps

Day 2

  • Back
  • Biceps
  • Shoulders (rear delts)
  • Forearms

Day 3

  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Calves

How many exercises, sets and reps to do will depend on your individual goals and abilities, but a good number to shoot for is somewhere between 10 and 20 sets per muscle per week, for 6-12 reps.

Potential for higher training frequency of muscle groups
Greater volume per body region
Shorter workouts compared to other splits

Leg specific days can be quite fatiguing
Easier to do too much volume

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.