A workout split is how you structure your workouts throughout the week.  For example, a “Full-Body” split might be 3 days of full-body workouts, with a day of rest in between each.  There are dozens of different ways to split your routines up, but my favorite currently is the Push, Pull, Legs split.

The push/pull/legs split looks like this-

  1. On Monday I train chest, shoulders, and triceps, I.E. the muscles that work to “push.”
  2. Tuesday rest.
  3. Wednesday I train Back, Biceps and Rear deltoids (shoulders),  I.E. the muscles that work to “pull.”
  4. Thursday rest.
  5. Friday I train Legs.

This is one variation of what a push/pull/legs might look like.  The more advanced version is to do Push/Pull/Legs, day off, and Push/Pull/Legs again.  So instead of 3 days a week, you’re doing 6.  Why does this work so well as a split?  Because you are giving all of your muscle groups at least 1 day of rest in between.  Remember, rest is when the muscles grow and rebuild themselves.

I like this split for several reasons:

  1. It allows for higher focus on specific muscle groups.
  2. It favors those who have weaknesses in certain muscle groups, who might not target those muscles adequately with a full-body routine.
  3. It saves you time spent in the gym.  A full “upper”/”lower” or full-body routine can force you to spend hours in the gym to adequately work all the muscle groups.
  4. It allows time to train calves and abs pre or post workout.  The calves and abs recover extremely quickly and can be trained more often than other muscles.  The PPL split gives you ample time to train them.  Most people are very weak in these 2 muscle groups as well.

So who could benefit from training with a push/pull/leg split?

  1. Anyone with large muscle imbalances.
  2. Anyone who is an intermediate or advanced lifter looking to switch things up.
  3. Anyone who doesn’t have much time in the day to work out.

I don’t recommend this split for beginners.  Why?  To work this split well, you need to have fundamental knowledge of exercises for each muscle.  Beginners do better with a full-body split, where they can experiment and “test the waters” to find their favorite exercises and exercises that don’t work for them.  I would highly recommend if you are beginner to seek out a personal trainer to show you proper form.  It can take YEARS to learn proper form by yourself without help, and in that time you could have already caused irreparable joint damage.

Here is an example of a basic push/pull/legs split for one week of training:

Day 1: Push (chest, shoulders, triceps)

3 sets of 12 bench press

3 sets of 12 overhead press

3 sets of 12 tricep cable pushdowns.

abs + calves

Day 2: Rest

Day 3: Pull (Back, Biceps, Rear Deltoids).

3 sets of 12 pullups

3 sets of 12 dumbbell rows

3 sets of 12 bicep curls.

abs + calves

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: Legs

3 sets of 12 barbell back squats

3 sets of 12 weighted lunges.

3 sets of 12 leg press.

abs + calves

***Note- this split is more effective for gym training.  If you are in-home or outdoor training, it can be tricky to implement w/ lack of exercise equipment.***

Of course this is as basic as it gets.  You can really get creative with these and find the right balance of exercises + sets to deliver the results you’re after.

If you need help structuring your workouts, or learning more about routines, email, text or call me and we can set up a free session.

-John