The Push/Pull/Legs Workout Routine for Massive Size Gains
The Push/Pull/Legs Split
If you are past the beginner stage and want to gain muscle mass at the optimum rate, one of the best approaches you could take to that is to use the push/pull/legs workout routine.
The push/pull/legs split is one of the most popular and enduring workout programs there is. And with good reason - it works really well.
However, you do need to know how to set it up in the most effective way if you want to get the best results from your efforts. So in this article I'll explain what a push/pull/legs split involves and why it's such an effective way to train. And I'll also give you a great example workout routine that you can use to get started with straight away.
What is a Push/Pull/Legs Workout Routine?
A push/pull/legs workout routine is one in which you divide your body up into three parts, as follows:
1. Upper body pushing muscles (chest, shoulders and triceps)
2. Upper body pulling muscles (back and biceps)
3. Lower body muscles (quads, hams and calves)
Optionally the abdominals and lower back can be added to the lower body workout.
You then alternate these workouts over however many weekly training sessions you choose to do. So if you can only make it to the gym three times per week, you do each workout once per week (say Monday, Wednesday and Friday). However this is not optimal for muscle growth as you will only be training each body part once per week.
So alternatively you could train every other day. Or you could train four days per week. Or you could use the rotating five day cycle, where you train two on, one off, one on, one off.
Advantages of a Push/Pull/Legs Training Split
With a push/pull/legs training split you train all related muscle groups in the same workout, which means you get the maximum possible overlap of the movements being trained. And the muscle groups derive the maximum benefit from that overlap. So this makes it a very efficient method of training.
For example, when you train chest, the front deltoids and the triceps are also heavily involved. And when you train shoulders, the triceps are again worked very hard. So it makes sense to train all of these body parts in the same workout.
And when you train back, the biceps are also hit very hard. So again it makes sense to train these in the same workout so that they can derive extra benefit from the additional stimulation.
You also get the minimum overlap of movements between workouts, which facilitates better recovery than other methods of training. And the joints are involved differently in each workout too, so there's less joint strain, and a reduced chance of injury.
An Example Workout Routine
Here's a great example of a push/pull/legs split that is properly structured, well balanced, and certain to give you excellent results:
Workout 1 (Push)
- Bench Press 3 x 6 - 8
- Incline Dumbbell Press 3 x 8 - 10
- Overhead Press 3 x 6 - 8
- Lateral Raise 3 x 10 - 12
- Lying Triceps Extension 3 x 10 - 12
Workout 2 (Pull)
- Bent-Over Row 3 x 6 - 8
- Pull-Ups 3 x 10 - 12
- Face Pulls 2 x 15
- Barbell Curl 3 x 10 - 12
- Dumbbell Hammer Curl 3 x 10 - 12
Workout 3 (Legs)
- Squat 3 x 6 - 8
- Romanian Deadlift 2 x 10 - 12
- Leg Press 3 x 10 - 12
- Leg Curl 3 x 8 - 10
- Calf Raise 3 x 8 - 10
The sets listed are your work sets. Always ensure you warm up properly first to properly prepare your body for the heavier work, and to help prevent injury.
Then, as with any training program, you progress by increasing the weight a little when you reach the top end of the suggested rep range on all of your sets of a particular exercise.
Is a Push/Pull/Legs Split Right For You?
The push/pull/legs training split is a very productive training method that is suitable for trainees of all levels. However it is particularly suitable for intermediate and advanced lifters.
The reason for this is that beginners tend to recover and grow much quicker than people who have been training for a while, so it makes sense to take full advantage of this by training each muscle group more frequently using a full body workout routine. Then, once you have a bit of experience you will probably find you'll make better progress by switching to an upper/lower split routine.
But later on you may find a push/pull/legs split will suit you better. Or you could alternate the push/pull/legs split with an upper/lower split to get the best that both of these training methods have to offer.
Which is your preferred method of training?
To gain muscle mass you need a good training program, with a focus on compound exercises and progressive overload (increasing the weights you are using gradually over time). But you also need to eat right too; and a good muscle building diet will consist of a calorie surplus with plenty of protein (about 0.8 - 1.0g per pound of body weight per day), complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, fruit and vegetables.
You'll also need to ensure you get enough sleep - at least 8 hours per night, but 9 may be better. And if you can have an afternoon nap that might help too.
Some cardio is good, and will help to minimize fat gain as you build muscle, but don't overdo it. And don't do too much in the way of other physical activities either.
So that's it. Follow the advice given here and you will soon be able to transform your body to look the way you want it to. Best of luck; and if you have any questions do ask them in the comments section below.