The PPL Split

After the newbie phase, where gains come quickly and easily, most lifters with size goals adopt a training split. One of the most effective is the PPL split: push, pull, and legs.

Basically, you split your upper body movements into a day for pushing exercises and a day for pulling exercises, then you have a lower body day:

  • Push Day: An upper body day for training muscles that help you push, like the chest, shoulders, and triceps.
  • Pull Day: Another upper body day for training muscles that help you pull, like the back and biceps.
  • Leg Day: A lower body day for the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

How Often Do You Want to Train?

The next step is to decide how often you're willing to hit the gym. One caveat: this isn't the right split for you if you only want to lift three days per week. This frequency isn't optimal for growth. Here are some better options:

1 – Training 6 days per week

  • Day 1: Push
  • Day 2: Pull
  • Day 3: Legs
  • Day 4: Push
  • Day 5: Pull
  • Day 6: Legs
  • Day 7: Off

2 – Training 4 days per week

  • Day 1: Push
  • Day 2: Off
  • Day 3: Pull
  • Day 4: Off
  • Day 5: Legs
  • Day 6: Off
  • Day 7: Push

3 – Training 5 days per week

  • Day 1: Push
  • Day 2: Pull
  • Day 3: Off
  • Day 4: Legs
  • Day 5: Off
  • Day 6: Push
  • Day 7: Pull

In the examples 2 and 3, you need flexible schedules because the training days won't be fixed and you won't follow the "Monday is International Chest Day" kinda protocol.

The Benefits of PPL

You hit the overlapping muscles in one workout. You won't face the problem of "I can't train chest today because my delts are sore from yesterday's shoulder session."

Suppose you're hitting the bench press on a chest day. You're going to work your anterior deltoids and triceps by default. By adding an overhead press in the same workout, you finish the work on your delts and triceps, which have already been fired up from benching. You also reduce the chances of decreased performance and injuries.

Sample Program

Push Day

  • Flat Chest Press: 3 x 6-8
  • Overhead Press: 3 x 6-8
  • Incline Chest Press: 2 x 8-12
  • Cable Lateral Raise: 2 x 10-12
  • Tricep Rope Pushdown: 3 x 12-15
  • Incline Bench Skullcrusher: 3 x 8-12

Pull Day

  • Seated Row: 3 x 6-8
  • Neutral Lat Pulldown: 3 x 8-10
  • Dumbbell Shrug: 2 x 12-15
  • Face Pull: 2 x 8-12
  • Dumbbell Curl: 3 x 8-12
  • Hammer Curl: 3 x 12-15

Leg Day

  • Barbell Squat: 3 x 6-8
  • Romanian Deadlift: 3 x 8-10
  • Leg Press: 2 x 8-10
  • Leg Curl: 3 x 20
  • Calf Jumps: 4 x 8-12

Related:  22 proven Rep Schemes

Related:  The Two-Exercise Workout Plan for Size