Close this search box.

PPL Workout: The Push, Pull, Legs Workout Routine

PPL workout

Are you looking to build muscle and transform your physique?

If so, this PPL workout guide is the ultimate guide for you.

As we grew up watching 80s action heroes and musclebound professional wrestlers in the 90s, it was clear that being muscular was fashionable, and it was a look that many of us wanted to emulate as we grew older.

As we did age and were old enough to lift weights and hit the gym to exercise, we found that building muscle wasn’t as easy as the fitness magazines and action heroes would have us believe.

Whereas we likely thought getting jacked was simply a case of doing a few bicep curls and bench presses and drinking protein shakes, as time went by we discovered that getting jacked was much harder.

One of the main reasons people struggle to build muscle is because they simply are not sure which type of routine or program to follow.

If you want to get jacked beyond belief and transform your physique, a PPL workout could be exactly what you need.

Here is your ultimate guide to PPL routines.

What Does PPL Stand For?

To kick this guide off today, we will begin by looking at what PPL stands for.

PPL stands for ‘Push, Pull, Legs’, and it is a simple yet highly effective workout routine based upon lifting weights that help individuals to train individual muscle groups separately.

On push days, for example, you only train muscles involved in pushing or pressing movements.

On pull days you only train muscles involved in pulling movements, and on leg days, well, you can probably figure out which types of muscles you work on leg days.

The idea behind this type of training is that it gives your muscles a chance to relax when they’re not in use.

On push days, for example, only muscles involved in pushing and pressing movements will work, allowing leg muscles and muscles involved in pulling to get a break so that they’re fresh when you train next.

Muscles generally work in pairs so if you’re shouldering pressing, for example, your deltoids and your triceps will be worked to complete the exercise.

On pull days, if you are deadlifting, your back and biceps do much of the work.

This is perfect because you can obliterate your target muscles on one day, and then the next time you train you’ll work a completely different set of muscles, and consequently the ones you worked on previously will get a break and your target muscles will be nice and fresh. 

Which Muscles Are Involved In Each Workout?

PPL workout

So, as we’re looking at a Push, Pull, leg workout, we now need to take a look at which muscles are involved in each specific workout.

One thing we like about following a PPL routine is the fact that it’s nice and easy to follow, as you’re about to find out.

1. Push Day

On push days, the muscles worked will be Chest, shoulders, and triceps.

2. Pull Day

On pull days, the muscles worked will be the Back and biceps.

3. Leg Day

And finally, on leg day, the primary muscles worked will be the quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes.

Why Perform A PPL Workout?

There are heaps upon heaps of workout routines and programs out there, so why should you follow a Push, Pull, Leg workout?

What sets this workout program apart from many other tried and tested programs and routines out there?

Well, let’s take a look, shall we?

Build Muscle

One of the most obvious benefits of following a PPL is simply the fact that it will allow you to build muscle.

The idea behind a push/pull/legs split is the fact that each muscle worked will be fresh when you work it, so in theory, you’ll be stronger and will also be able to exercise harder, and for longer because the muscle will be healthy and not fatigued or pre-fatigued.

The harder you can work during your workout, the more muscle you will be able to build.

Keeps The Muscles Fresh

If you follow a full-body routine, you will find that, because of the fact that you’re working for every major muscle group several times per week, as the week goes by, the muscles will be more and more fatigued and you’ll be able to lift less work and train less effectively.

That’s not to say that full-body splits don’t work, because they do, but sometimes the fact of the matter is that your muscles are too fatigued and overtrained from all of the training you’ve been doing and consequently you’ll get less from your workouts.

A PPL means that the muscles worked on each specific day get truly tested, but the others play virtually no part in the workout, so they stay nice and fresh.

Lift More Weight

A lot of the time, powerlifters and strength athletes looking to increase their overall strength and power levels will perform PPL, and there’s a reason for why.

If you’re looking to lift heavy weights, it’s important to consider the assistance muscles as well as the primary target muscles.

During the bench press for example, even though it is the chest that is the primary muscle, the triceps play a key role in many pressing movements, so the stronger the triceps are, the better a presser you will be.

By pairing these muscles up, as they work in synergy with one another anyway, you’ll find that Push, Pull, Legs workouts allow you to lift heavier weights more efficiently.

Better Rates Of Recovery

When we lift weights, what we’re actually doing is destroying existing muscle tissues and fibers and breaking them down.

It sounds extreme, but it is needed in order for the body to rebuild bigger and stronger muscles.

We build muscle when we rest and leave the muscles alone, as this is when the body is able to build muscle at its most efficiently.

If however, you’re training the same muscles multiple times each week, this won’t allow the muscles to grow adequately as the body won’t have time to repair the damaged tissue.

With PPL, once you’ve worked your target muscles, they are then given several days to recover.

Examples Of Pushing Exercises:

So, now that we’ve looked at what a PPL is and have looked at some of the key benefits, let us now take a look at a few examples of push exercises.

Some popular examples of pushing exercises include:

Bench Press

Arguably the most popular chest exercise of all is the bench press.

This exercise can be done with a barbell or dumbbells and is great for adding mass to the chest while also giving the triceps some work.

Incline Bench Press

Incline bench presses can again be done with barbells or dumbbells, and are done on an incline with the bench set at roughly 45-degrees.

Incline bench presses are great for working the upper pectoral muscles.

Decline Bench Press

Decline bench presses are not as popular as flat or incline, despite being awesome for working the lower pectoral muscles.

Decline presses are done with a barbell or dumbbells with the bench set at a declined angle instead.

Shoulder Presses

Whether performed standing or seated, with dumbbells, a barbell, kettlebell, or on a machine, shoulder presses are one of the best exercises for working the delts.

Lateral Raises

Usually performed with a set of dumbbells, lateral raises are great for hitting the front deltoid.

Cable Crossovers

Another tried and tested chest exercise is the cable crossover.

Performed on a cable machine, cable crossovers are ideal for adding mass to the middle pec muscle.

Triceps Rope Pushdowns

This is one of the most popular triceps exercises. Performed with a rope attached to a high pulley, typically you’ll use a lighter weight and perform more reps.

By the end of the exercise, your triceps should be on fire.

Skull Crushers

Performed with an EZ bar, barbell, or a set of dumbbells, skull crushers get their name because you bring the weight down towards your head, stopping before you hit it.

This movement gives a deep stretch in the triceps and is a very popular movement that gives a deep stretch in the triceps and is a very popular exercise.

Pulling Exercise Examples:

Now we’ll look at some popular exercises for you to perform on pull days.


The deadlift is one of the most functional compound exercises in existence.

It adds mass to the back, strengthens your core, biceps, back, and more besides, and is a great compound lift.


Another hugely popular back exercise is the pull-up.

Many consider this to be the ultimate back exercise and if you have access to a pull-up bar, you should seriously consider doing it.

Lat Pulldowns

Virtually all gyms will have a lat pulldown machine.

Lat pulldowns work your lats and you can alter which part of the lats and back you hit by altering the handle you use, which in turn will alter your grip.

Bicep Curls

We won’t list each type of bicep curl here because we’d be all day. But, with examples such as EZ bar curls, barbell curls, alternate dumbbell curls, hammer curls, and Zortman curls, you’ll certainly have plenty of options.

Bent Over Rows

Bent over rows can be done with barbells or dumbbells and are great for working the back muscles.

In fact, there are plenty of other row variations that work just as well, both with free weights and on machines.

Leg Exercise Examples:

And finally, saving the toughest until last, we have leg exercises.


When people think of leg day, they think of squats, and as squats work the quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves, it’s easy to see why.

Also, you can get a clear idea about the differences between Squat Vs Deadlift.

Leg Presses

Leg press machines are very popular in commercial gyms across the globe, and they’re fantastic for really working the hamstrings by using the leg press foot placement.

Calf Raises

Calf raises can be done manually, or on machines or platforms and as the name implies, they’re ideal for working the calf muscles.

Walking Lunges

Walking lunges can be done holding a dumbbell in either hand, with a barbell resting across your neck as you would with squats, or simply using your own bodyweight for resistance.

They’re perfect for working the hamstrings and the quads.

Sample PPL Workout Routine:

To wrap up today’s guide, we’re going to be looking at a sample PPL routine for you to follow if you’re serious about making some major gains.

  • Mon – Push
  • Tues – Off
  • Weds – Pull
  • Thurs – Off
  • Fri – Legs
  • Sat – Off
  • Sun – Push

Push Day

  • Flat bench barbell press – 4 sets of 8 – 12 reps
  • Incline dumbbell bench press – 4 sets of 8 – 10 reps
  • Standing barbell military press – 4 sets of 8 – 10 reps
  • Lateral raises – 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Cable crossovers – 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Triceps rope pushdowns – 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Seated dumbbell shoulder press – 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Skullcrushers – 3 sets of 12 reps

Pull Day

  • Seated rows – 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Deadlifts – 4 sets of 5 reps
  • Bent over rows – 4 sets of 8 – 10 reps
  • Lat pulldowns – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • EZ bar curls – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Dumbbell hammer curls – 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Seated dumbbell curls – 3 sets of 12 – 15 reps

Leg Day

  • Barbell back squats – 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Leg presses – 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Hamstring curls – 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Leg curls – 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Walking lunges (alternatives to lunges) – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Standing calf raises – 4 sets of 20 reps
Push, Pull, Legs Explained | MY FULL WORKOUT PROGRAM

Final Thoughts:

So, that brings today’s guide to a close.

We hope that you’ve found the content useful and insightful and if so, hopefully, you’ll be inspired to try this PPL workout the next time you feel that your routine could use a little shaking up.

If you follow this guide, train hard, eat right and get your rest, you’ll soon notice some very dramatic improvements in your physique, and how you feel in general.


On This Page:
Keep Reading

Related Posts