Jeff Nippard is a Canadian powerlifter, bodybuilder and fitness coach. He is known for his scientific approach to strength training and his unique workout programs.
One of Jeff’s all-time favorite training splits is the classic push / pull / legs split. If you want to know how Jeff organizes his “pull” workouts then this article is for you!
- Part 1: The Push / Pull / Legs Split
- Part 2: Jeff Nippard’s Pull Workouts
In this comprehensive guide I will teach you everything you need to know about how Jeff Nippard organizes his pull workouts to build size and strength.
The push / pull / legs split is one of the most popular training splits in the world. The idea is simple: you train your entire body over three separate training days. For example:
Push / Pull / Legs Overview
- Push day = chest / shoulders / triceps
- Pull day = back / biceps
- Legs day = quads / hamstrings / calves
Jeff Nippard says the push / pull / legs split has many advantages over other training splits.
The main advantage is it reduces overlap between different muscle groups. For example, you are training your back and biceps together on the same training day, so you don’t have to worry about your biceps not being recovered for your back exercises.
The push / pull / legs split also lets you train muscle groups anywhere from 1-2 times per week. Jeff Nippard is a big fan of higher-frequency training splits, so this is a plus for him.
Here is how Jeff usually organizes his 6-day push / pull / leg split programs:
The Jeff Nippard 6-Day Push / Pull / Legs Split
- Day 1: Push
- Day 2: Pull
- Day 3: Legs
- Day 4: Push
- Pay 5: Pull
- Day 6: Legs
- Day 7: Off
Each muscle group is trained twice per week with two completely different workouts.
Jeff really likes to mix things up for his two weekly back / bicep workouts. He usually performs 6-8 exercises per workout and uses a wide variety of exercises for his upper back and biceps. For example:
Jeff Nippard’s Pull Day Training Volume
- Vertical pulls: 1-2 exercises
- Horizontal pulls: 1-2 exercises
- Other upper back: 1-2 exercises
- Biceps: 1-2 exercises
This is the basic template that Jeff likes to use for his two weekly back / bicep workouts. He usually performs 1-2 vertical pulling exercises, 1-2 horizontal pulling exercises, 1-2 biceps exercises and 1-2 exercises for other muscle groups like his rear delts, upper traps or lower back.
Jeff usually performs a pull up-focused workout early in the week and a lat pulldown focused workout later in the week. He says that both of these exercises have merit, so it’s probably best to use both on different training days.
Let’s start by looking at some of Jeff’s pull up focused back / bicep workouts. Check it out:
- Exercise #1: One-arm lat pull in, 2 sets of 15-20 reps
- Exercise #2: Pull ups (wide / overhand grip), 3 sets of 6-8 reps
- Exercise #3: Meadows row, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #4: Lat pulldown (wide / pronated grip), 1 set of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #5: Lat pulldown (medium / pronated grip), 1 set of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #6: Lat pulldown (medium / supinated grip), 1 set of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #7: Standing ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 3 sets of 6-8 reps
- Exercise #8: 60 degree incline DB curl, 2 sets of 15-20 reps)
- Exercise #9: Rack pull (just below knees), 3 sets of 6-8 reps
Here is the training video:
Talk about a high-volume back workout! Jeff says that one-arm lat pull ins were really just a warm up exercise to help him activate his lats, so this workout really had about 8 hard exercises.
Here is Jeff describing the purpose of the one-arm lat pull ins:
“The basic rationale here is to pre-activate the lats. This isn’t a scientific term but it is based on scientific principles.
Glute pre-activation drills has activation carryover to heavier compound exercises like the hip thrust and pre-activation drills may have similar benefits for the lats.”
After the lat pull ins Jeff performs a variety of exercises for his upper back and biceps. Specifically Jeff performs pull ups, Meadows rows, a lat pulldown mechanical advantage drop set, 2 biceps exercises and some rack deadlifts.
During the workout Jeff reiterates that pull ups and pulldowns have slight differences from each other, so it makes sense to include both exercises in your workouts.
“There are not significant differences between the lat pulldown and the pull up for lat activation, but the pull up gives you better activation of the scapular retractors and the spinal erectors.”
Jeff Nippard usually doesn’t include deadlifts or rack deadlifts on his back and biceps days. He says that these exercises heavily involve the lower back and spinal erectors, so it probably makes sense to do them on your lower body days.
Here is another one of Jeff’s pull up focused back workouts that you can try. Check it out:
- Exercise #1: Pull up (wide / overhand grip), 3 sets of 6 reps
- Exercise #2: Seated cable row (narrow / neutral grip), 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #3: Kneeling cable pullover, 3 sets of 15-20 reps
- Exercise #4: Standing pinwheel curl, 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Exercise #5: 60 degree incline DB curl (supinating grip), 2 sets of 12-15 reps
Here is the training video:
This is one of Jeff Nippard’s lower-volume upper back workouts. Jeff says that he is really trying to target his lats in this workout, so he keeps his upper back as vertical as possible during the pull ups.
“Sense this is a lat focused workout, he’s keeping a very upright posture which allows him to focus on near pure shoulder abduction which should light up the teres major and the lats of the back.”
After the pull ups Jeff moves onto seated cable rows, cable pullovers and two different exercises for his biceps. Jeff considers his upper back / bicep workouts as “accessory days” so he makes sure to keep the rep ranges much higher for these exercises.
Now let’s look at some of Jeff Nippard’s lat pulldown focused pull workouts. Check it out:
- Exercise #1: Lat pulldown (wide / overhand grip), 1 set of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #2: Lat pulldown (medium / overhand grip), 1 set of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #3: Lat pulldown (medium / supinated grip), 1 set of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #4: Machine chest supported row (wide / overhand grip), 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #5: Cable rope face pull, 3 sets of 15-20 reps
- Exercise #6: 45 degree incline DB shrug, 3 sets of 15-20 reps
- Exercise #7: Reverse pec dec, 3 sets of 15 reps
**Perform 15 reps with protracted shoulder blades, then rest 5-10 seconds and perform another 10-15 reps with retracted shoulder blades
Here is the training video:
Jeff Nippard starts this workout with one of his favorite upper back training techniques: the lat pulldown mechanical advantage drop set. He performs one set with a wide / overhand grip, one set with a medium / overhand grip, and one set with a medium / supinated grip.
Jeff says you are in a stronger mechanical position each time you change your grip, so you should be able to get the same number of reps for all three of your sets.
“We’re kicking off the workout with an omni-grip lat pulldown. Basically you do set 1 with a wide grip, then bring it in for a moderate grip for set 2, then use a reverse close grip for set 3.
The idea here is as your lats fatigue from set to set, you get a little more biceps assistance.”
After the lat pulldowns Jeff moves onto two different types of rows, as well as one exercise each for his upper traps and rear delts.
For this pull workout Jeff actually skips any direct biceps exercises. During the workout Jeff mentions that people with lagging upper traps should probably do some direct isolation exercises for this muscle group.
“For some people the deadlift work on the full body weeks will probably be enough to work the upper traps.
For other people with stubborn upper traps like me, doing some direct work through a dynamic range of motion is important.”
Here is another one of Jeff Nippard’s lat pulldown focused back / biceps workouts. Check it out:
- Exercise #1: Lat pulldown (wide / overhand grip)**, 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Exercise #2: Chest supported t-bar row with bands (wide / overhand grip), 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #3: One-arm machine high to low row, 2 sets of 12-15 reps
- Exercise #4: Kneeling cable pullover, 3 sets of 15-20 reps
- Exercise #5: Snatch grip barbell shrugs, 3 sets of 12-15 reps
- Exercise #6: Reverse pec dec, 3 sets of 12 reps****
- Exercise #7: Standing ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 3 sets of 10-12 reps******
- Exercise #8: Standing DB curl (pronated grip), 2 sets of 12 reps********
**Perform a 3-4 second lowering phase on each rep.
****Perform 12 reps with your upper body leaning forward, then perform 12 reps with an upright posture
******Your training partner lightly pushes down on the bar on every eccentric rep.
********Perform 12 reps with a pronated grip, then immediately perform 10 reps with a neutral grip, then immediately perform 8 reps with a supinated grip. This counts as 1 set. Perform 2 total sets.
Here is the training video:
Talk about a high volume back / biceps workout! Jeff starts his routine with very slow eccentric reps on his pull ups.
Jeff says that it makes sense to incorporate slower eccentric tempos in your routines, as research shows that you are significantly stronger on the eccentric portion of the rep than you are on the concentric.
“A significant body of research shows that eccentric exercise elicits greater gains in lean muscle compared with concentric and isometric contractions.
Eccentric strength is generally 20-50% greater than concentric strength. To take advantage of these 2 principles we will use a 3-4 second lowering phase on each rep.”
After the slow eccentric reps Jeff moves onto a wide variety of exercises for his back thickness, back width, traps, rear delts and biceps.
As usual Jeff keeps the rep ranges relatively high, as he considers his back / bicep workouts to be “accessory days.”
Jeff Nippard is a huge fan of the classic push / pull / legs split. He says this split has many advantages, from allowing you to train with a higher training frequency to reducing overlap between different muscle groups.
Jeff has some specific rules that he follows with his “pull” workouts: he always starts the workout with pull ups or lat pulldowns, he uses 1-2 exercises each for back width, back thickness, biceps and accessory muscle groups, and he blends together lower-rep strength work and higher-rep bodybuilding work in the same workout.
If you have above-average recovery ability then Jeff Nippard’s pull workouts are definitely worth giving a shot!
“All I know is that the first step is to create a vision, because when you see the vision, the beautiful vision, that creates the want power.”
Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!