push pull legs routine

Build Full-Body Muscle Using The Push Pull Legs Routine

When we set fitness goals to increase strength or muscle, we all go to social media to learn about fitness exercises. And there are so many group exercises, diet tips, and other fitness tips posted on social media at any time. These methods can be dazzling, especially when you see some good fitness advice. You will find that whether you are on a bodybuilding forum or a training blog, you will see a training method that almost everyone agrees on: push pull legs routine.

The push pull legs routine (PPL routine for short) is one of the most popular fitness programs. This exercise can increase muscle strength. Many bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts believe that the push pull legs routine can effectively build muscle and is the best full-body exercise. The push pull legs routine is not only effective for muscle growth, but you can also adjust it according to your own time and make a relevant fitness plan according to your fitness goals, whether your goal is to increase strength or improve your body.

The push pull legs routine is a simple exercise. It is suitable for almost everyone who works out, whether you are a fitness novice or a very experienced fitness enthusiast. So, if you want to try the push pull legs routine, congratulations, you have come to the right place. First of all…..

​​RELATED: These 10 Dumbbell Arm Workouts are Designed to Build Muscle

What is ‘Push, Pull, Legs’

‘Push, Pull, Legs’ (PPL) is a popular workout split routine used in strength training and bodybuilding. It divides workouts into three main categories:

Push: This session focuses on exercises where you push weight away from your body using primarily your upper body muscles. Typical exercises include bench presses, shoulder presses, triceps dips, and chest flies.

Pull: This session emphasizes exercises where you pull weight towards your body or pull your body weight. It primarily targets the muscles of the back and biceps. Examples include pull-ups, rows, deadlifts, and bicep curls.

Legs: This session concentrates on lower body exercises that involve the legs and glutes. Exercises commonly include squats, lunges, leg presses, and calf raises.

You can do the push pull legs routine twice a week, but if you are new or lack practice, you can do it once a week. Here’s an example of a ‘Push, Pull, Legs’ (PPL) workout split for a typical week:

Example Workout Split
Day #1: Push (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps)
Day #2: Pull (Back, Biceps)
Day #3: Legs (Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves)
Day #4: Rest or Active Recovery
Day #5: Push (Repeat Day 1 Routine)
Day #6: Pull (Repeat Day 2 Routine)
Day #7: Legs (Repeat Day 3 Routine)

The idea behind the PPL routine is to split your workouts into these three categories, usually performed on separate days. This allows for focused training of specific muscle groups while providing adequate time for recovery and growth. Many variations of PPL routines exist, with different exercises and volume schemes depending on individual goals and fitness levels.

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Is Push Pull Legs Routine Actually Good?

The push pull legs routine is widely regarded as an effective and popular workout split for several reasons:

Balance and Recovery: PPL divides workouts into distinct categories (push, pull, legs), allowing you to focus on specific muscle groups each day while others recover. This reduces the risk of overtraining and promotes optimal recovery.

Efficiency: It’s efficient in targeting major muscle groups comprehensively. Push days focus on the chest, shoulders, and triceps; pull days target the back and biceps; and leg days work on lower body muscles like quads, hamstrings, and glutes.

Flexibility: Push pull legs routines can be adapted to suit different fitness levels and goals. Beginners can start with lighter weights and higher reps, while more advanced lifters can increase intensity with heavier weights and lower reps.

Variety and Progression: There’s room for variety in exercises within each category, allowing you to keep workouts engaging and prevent plateaus. Progression in weights and reps ensures continued muscle growth and strength gains.

Time Efficiency: It’s time-efficient because you’re typically focusing on fewer muscle groups per session, which can lead to shorter but intense workouts.

Suitability for Hypertrophy and Strength: Whether your goal is muscle hypertrophy (growth) or strength gains, PPL can be structured to emphasize either goal by adjusting the volume (sets and reps) and intensity (weight).

Adaptability: Push pull leg routines can be adapted for different schedules (e.g., 3-day split, 6-day split) and combined with other training styles like cardio or core workouts.

Best Exercises for Push, Pull, Legs Workout

Best Push Exercises for PPL

Bench Press

1. Grip the bar slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, with elbows at about a 45-degree angle to your torso.

2. Unrack the bar and lower it towards your mid-chest, keeping your elbows tucked.

3. Press the bar upwards in a controlled manner until your arms are fully extended.

4. Avoid arching your back excessively or bouncing the bar off your chest.

5. Inhale as you lower the bar, and exhale as you press the bar up.

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Dumbbell Bench Press

1. Lie on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand, held above your chest with arms extended.

2. The feet should be flat on the floor for stability.

3. Lower the dumbbells slowly and under control towards your chest while keeping your elbows slightly tucked.

4. Press the dumbbells back up to the starting position by extending your elbows and pushing through your chest muscles.

5. Maintain control throughout the movement to prevent excessive swinging or instability.

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Overhead Press

1. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart.

2. Grip the barbell or dumbbells just outside shoulder width, with palms facing forward or in a neutral grip position.

3. Raise the weight to shoulder height, elbows bent and slightly in front of the body.

4. Press the weight directly upward above your head by extending your elbows and lifting the weight straight up.

5. As the weight passes your head, shift your torso slightly forward to allow the bar or dumbbells to move vertically.

6. Lock out your elbows without hyperextending and pause briefly at the top of the movement.

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Push Press

1. Begin with the barbell racked at shoulder height, resting on the front of your shoulders.

2. Feet should be shoulder-width apart or slightly wider for stability.
Grip the barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, elbows slightly in front of the bar.

3. Lower into a slight dip by bending your knees and hips, maintaining a straight back and neutral spine.

4. Explosively extend your legs and hips to drive the barbell upward.

5. As the barbell passes your head, press it further overhead by extending your arms fully.

6. Lock out your elbows at the top of the movement while maintaining a stable core.

7. Control the descent of the barbell back to the starting position by bending your knees and hips.

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Landmine Press

1. Position the barbell into the landmine attachment or securely into a corner.

2. Grip the barbell with one hand at shoulder height, close to your body.

3. Press the barbell upward and slightly across your body in a diagonal motion.

4. Extend your arm fully without locking out the elbow at the top of the movement.

5. Keep your core engaged and avoid arching your back excessively.

6. Lower the barbell back down in a controlled manner to the starting position.

Best Pull Exercises for PPL

Deadlift

1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, with the barbell over the mid-foot.

2. Grip the barbell with hands just outside of your legs (typically shoulder-width apart for conventional deadlifts).

3. Hinge at your hips and bend your knees until your shins touch the barbell.

4. Keep your spine neutral, chest up, and shoulders slightly in front of the barbell.

5. Drive through your heels and mid-foot, lifting the barbell off the ground.

6. Keep the barbell close to your body as you stand up, maintaining a straight back.

7. Fully extend your hips and knees at the top of the movement without leaning back excessively.

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Pull-Ups

1. Grip the pull-up bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, palms facing away (overhand grip).

2. Hang fully extended with your arms straight and feet off the ground.

3. Focus on bringing your elbows down and back, not just pulling with your arms.

4. Aim to bring your chin or chest to the pull-up bar, depending on your strength and flexibility.

5. Lower yourself down slowly and with control, keeping your muscles engaged.

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Lat Pull-Downs

1. Sit upright with your chest lifted and a slight arch in your lower back.

2. Pull the bar down towards your chest by engaging your lats and pulling your elbows down and back.

3. Keep your shoulders down and back throughout the movement to engage the back muscles fully.

4. Lower the bar back up in a controlled manner, allowing your arms to fully extend without locking out the elbows.

5. Inhale as you extend your arms and prepare for the pull.

6. Exhale as you pull the bar down towards your chest.

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Dumbbell Rows

1. Hinge forward at the hips so your torso is almost parallel to the floor.

2. Begin with one dumbbell in each hand hanging at arm’s length, palms facing your torso.

3. Pull the dumbbell towards your hip by bending your elbow and keeping it close to your body.

4. Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together as you pull the weight up.

5. Pause at the top of the movement, ensuring your upper arm is parallel to your torso.

6. Lower the dumbbell back down in a controlled manner, fully extending your arm without locking the elbow.

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Cable Rows

1. Start with your arms fully extended, maintaining a slight bend in your elbows to avoid locking them.

2. Pull the handle towards your abdomen, retracting your shoulder blades and keeping your elbows close to your body.

3. Squeeze your back muscles at the peak of the movement and hold briefly.

4. Slowly extend your arms back to the starting position, maintaining control over the weight.

5. Inhale as you extend your arms and prepare for the next repetition.

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Best Leg Exercises for PPL

Barbell Back Squats

1. Position the barbell on the squat rack at an appropriate height, usually just below shoulder level.

2. Approach the bar and center yourself under it, placing your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider.

3. Position the barbell across your upper back, resting it on the trapezius muscles or slightly lower on the rear deltoids.

4. Grip the barbell with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart, ensuring a secure hold.

5. Unrack the barbell by straightening your legs and lifting it off the rack.

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Reverse Lunges

1. Take a step backward with your right foot, landing on the ball of your foot.

2. Lower your body by bending both knees until your left thigh is parallel to the ground, and your right knee is bent at about a 90-degree angle. Your back knee should ideally hover just above the ground without touching it.

3. Keep your torso upright and avoid leaning forward excessively.

4. Your front knee should be aligned with your ankle, and your back knee should point toward the ground.

5. Pause briefly at the bottom of the movement to ensure stability and control.

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Split Squat

1. Stand in a split stance with one foot positioned forward and the other foot extended backward.

2. The forward foot should be flat on the ground, and the back foot should be resting on its toes.

3. Lower your body by bending both knees simultaneously, ensuring your front knee stays aligned with your ankle and does not go past your toes.

4. Descend until your back knee approaches the ground, ideally stopping just short of touching it.

5. Maintain an upright torso position throughout the movement, with your chest lifted and shoulders back.

6. Keep your core engaged to stabilize your spine.

Hip Thrust

1. Sit on the ground with your upper back against a bench or a sturdy elevated surface.

2. Roll the barbell or weight plate onto your hips and lean back against the bench so that your knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle and your feet are flat on the ground.

3. Your feet should be positioned hip-width apart and your toes pointing forward.

4. Brace your core and drive through your heels to lift your hips upward, squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement.

5. Hold the position for a moment to maximize glute activation.

6. Slowly lower your hips back down to the starting position under control, but do not let your glutes touch the ground completely to maintain tension.

Romanian Deadlifts

1. Hold a barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell in front of your thighs using an overhand grip (palms facing your body).

2. Your shoulders should be pulled back, and your spine should be in a neutral position with a slight natural arch in your lower back.

3. Begin the movement by pushing your hips back while simultaneously bending at the knees slightly.

4. Lower the weight along the front of your legs, allowing it to slide down to the top of your knees. This downward motion should be controlled and deliberate.

5. Continue lowering the weight until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Your torso should be tilted forward, but your back should remain flat, not rounded.

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Kettlebell Swing

1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly outward.

2. Place a kettlebell on the floor between your feet.

3. Hinge at your hips and grasp the kettlebell handle using an overhand grip (palms facing down).

4. Keep your chest up, shoulders down, and back, and maintain a neutral spine (slight arch in the lower back).

5. Begin the movement by driving your hips back (like in a Romanian deadlift) and bending your knees slightly.

6. Explosively extend your hips and knees to propel the kettlebell forward and upward. Your arms should remain straight throughout the movement, and the power should come from your hips.

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