The Push/Pull/Legs Workout Routine for Massive Size Gains

Updated on December 19, 2017
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David is an army trained biomedical scientific officer, writer, and lifetime health and fitness enthusiast.

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The Push/Pull/Legs Split

If you 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 describe what a push/pull/legs split involves, what makes it 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 can then train each of these once per week, so you work out three times per week in total. Or if you recover well and want to make faster progress you can train four days per week. Or use a three out of five day rotation, i.e. 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 delts 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.

A Sample Workout Routine

Here's a great sample routine 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 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.

And when you reach the upper end of the rep range described for a particular exercise, increase the weight a little next time.

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 you'll do better with the push/pull/legs split. Or you could alternate the push/pull/legs split with an upper/lower approach to get the best that both of these training methods have to offer.

Other Considerations

To gain muscle mass you need a good training program, with a focus on compound exercises and progressive overload. 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), complex carbs, 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.

So that's it. Follow the advice given here and you will soon be able to transform your body to the way you dream it should be. Best of luck; and if you have any questions do ask them in the comments section below.

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