Push / Pull / Legs: The Ultimate Guide!


Push Pull Legs

The push / pull / legs split is one of the oldest and most effective training splits ever invented. Many of the world’s greatest bodybuilders and powerlifters use this split to build muscle mass and strength.

If you want to reach your training goals in record time then this split is for you!

Introduction

  • Part 1: The 6 Days Per Week Push / Pull / Legs Split
  • Part 2: The 4 Days Per Week Push / Pull / Legs Split
  • Part 3: The 3 Days Per Week Push / Pull / Legs Split

In this comprehensive guide I will teach you everything you need to know about how to build muscle mass and strength with the classic push / pull / legs split.

Push / pull / legs is a training split where you divide your workouts into three separate training days:

  • Push day: chest / shoulders / triceps
  • Pull day: back / biceps
  • Legs day: quads / hamstrings / calves

Many of the strongest bodybuilders and powerlifters in the world use the push / pull / legs split as the backbone of their training programs.

For example the 8 x Mr. Olympia winner Ronnie Coleman used the push / pull / legs split during his competitive bodybuilding career.

Here is a great video of Ronnie’s back / bicep day:

Of course the push / pull / legs split isn’t just for bodybuilders. Many of the greatest powerlifters of all time have trained using this split.

Just listen to the world’s strongest bodybuilder Stan Efferding talking about the push / pull / legs split:

“Push, pull, legs is still a great way to grow. Chest, shoulders and triceps one day, back and biceps another and then legs.

The basic movements like bench and dips work all the muscle groups in the push chain so you don’t need a bunch of isolation exercises if any.

Same is true of T-bar rows and chins for the pull chain and squats for legs.”

Stan Efferding is absolutely right: the push / pull / legs split is so simple and effective because it reduces overlap between muscle groups.

You train all of the pressing muscles and all of the pulling muscles on their own training day which makes it easier to recover from your workouts.

You never have to worry about your triceps being too sore on your chest day or your biceps being too sore on your back day.

The other HUGE advantage of the push / pull / legs split is that it is extremely customizable.

There are three main versions of the push / pull / legs split that you should know about:

  • Option #1: The 6 days per week version
  • Option #2: The 4 days per week version
  • Option #3: The 3 days per week version

Each of these splits have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Here is what the 6 day push / pull / legs split looks like:

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

The 6 day per week push / pull / legs split works best for advanced bodybuilders with good genetics who respond well to high-volume training programs.

Many professional bodybuilders such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronnie Coleman and Stan Efferding used this kind of training frequency at the peak of their careers.

For example here is the Mr. Olympia winner Chris Bumstead explaining how he uses the 6-day push / pull / legs split to continue making gains:

Chris Bumstead trains each body part twice per week with slightly different exercises each workout.

For example he will do dumbbell overhead presses in his first weekly push workout and barbell overhead presses in his second weekly push workout.

This is a great way for advanced bodybuilders to avoid plateaus in their training.

Next here is what the 4 day push / pull / legs split looks like:

  • Day 1: Chest / Shoulders / Triceps
  • Day 2: Back / Biceps
  • Day 3: Quads / Hamstrings / Calves
  • Day 4: Repeat!

On the 4th day you perform your next chest / shoulders / triceps workout and repeat the cycle. You have 2 push workouts on week #1, 2 pull workouts on week #2 and 2 leg workouts on week #3.

The 4 days per week push / pull / legs split works awesome for intermediate and advanced bodybuilders who want to train with a slightly higher training frequency.

Here is Jason Wojo walking you through his chest / shoulders / triceps workout that he performed using the 4 day push / pull / legs split. Check it out:

This 4-day split works especially well for bodybuilders who like to do “high-intensity” training programs such as DC Training or Dorian Yates’ Blood And Guts training.

Finally here is what the 3 day push / pull / legs split looks like:

  • Day 1: Chest / Shoulders / Triceps
  • Day 2: Off
  • Day 3: Back / Biceps
  • Day 4: Off
  • Day 5: Quads / Hamstrings / Calves
  • Day 6: Off
  • Day 7: Off

The 3 days per week push / pull / legs split works best for advanced bodybuilders and powerlifters who are lifting huge amounts of weight. These guys need plenty of time to recover between their workouts.

In fact this is the exact split that Andy Bolton used when he became the first man in the world to deadlift over 1,000 pounds. Check it out:

What an unbelievable deadlift! If Andy Bolton can deadlift 1,000 pounds training 3 days per week then maybe this split is better than most people give it credit for.

The 3 day push / pull / legs split also works well for beginner and intermediate trainees who do not have the best recovery ability.

I hope you found this overview helpful. Now let’s take a deep dive into the advantages and disadvantages of each of these different types of push / pull / leg splits.

Part 1: The 6 Days Per Week Push / Pull / Legs Split

Push Pull Legs

The 6 days per week push / pull / legs split is easily one of the most famous bodybuilding training splits of all time.

The idea is simple: you are going to train 6 days per week with 2 weekly push, pull and leg workouts. For example:

The 6 Day Push / Pull / Legs Split

  • Day 1: Chest / Shoulders / Triceps
  • Day 2: Quads / Hamstrings / Calves
  • Day 3: Back / Biceps
  • Day 4: Chest / Shoulders / Triceps
  • Day 5: Quads / Hamstrings / Calves
  • Day 6: Back / Biceps
  • Day 7: Off

Many of the world’s most famous bodybuilders including Ronnie Coleman, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Stan Efferding have used this type of training split at the peak of their careers.

The 6 day push / pull / legs split has many advantages over other training splits:

  • Advantage #1: You train each muscle group twice per week
  • Advantage #2: Overlap between different muscle groups is minimized
  • Advantage #3: You have enough room to specialize on lagging body parts

It’s no wonder so many of the world’s top bodybuilders train this way!

The 6 day push / pull / legs split is very difficult to recover from for most individuals. I would end up in the hospital after 1 week of training this way!

However, if you have elite bodybuilding genetics then it is a great way to train.

Speaking of elite bodybuilding genetics, Ronnie Coleman used this split during his competitive bodybuilding career. Ronnie performed 2 completely different workouts for each body part during the week.

For example he had a “back thickness” day early in the week where he focused on deadlifts and other heavy rowing movements. Then on his “back width” day later in the week he focused on lat pulldowns and other movements to make his lats wider.

Here is Ronnie Coleman’s first weekly back / biceps workout. Check it out:

Ronnie Coleman Back / Bicep / Shoulder Workout

Ronnie’s Back Routine

  • Exercise #1: Conventional deadlift, 3-5 sets of 4-8 reps
  • Exercise #2: Barbell bent-over row, 3-5 sets of 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #3: T-bar row, 3-5 sets of 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #4: Standing one-arm DB row, 3-5 sets of 8-20 reps

Ronnie’s Bicep Routine

  • Exercise #1: Preacher DB curl (supinated grip), 3-5 sets of 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #2: Ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 3-5 sets of 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #3: Seated alternating DB hammer curl, 3-5 sets of 8-20 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

Talk about an intense workout! Ronnie performed deadlifts, barbell rows, t-bar rows AND one-arm dumbbell rows for his upper back in one workout.

There’s no way Ronnie Coleman is human – he must be a silverback gorilla!

Performing this type of back / biceps workout twice per week would be impossible even for someone like Ronnie.

Instead he performs a second weekly back / biceps workout with easier bodybuilding-style exercises like lat pulldowns and dumbbell pullovers. Check it out:

Ronnie Coleman’s Back / Biceps / Shoulder Routine #2

Ronnie’s Back Routine

  • Exercise #1: Lat pulldown (wide / overhand grip), 3-5 sets of 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #2: Behind the neck lat pulldown (wide / overhand grip), 3-5 sets of x 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #3: Seated cable row (v-handle), 3-5 sets of x 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #4: Lying DB pullovers, 3-5 sets of x 8-20 reps

Ronnie’s Bicep Routine

  • Exercise #1: Machine preacher curls, 3-5 sets of x 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #2: Standing alternating DB curls (supinating grip), 3-5 sets of 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #3: Standing cable ez-bar curl, 3-5 sets of 8-20 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

OK, I might not be in the hospital after Ronnie’s back width workout but that’s still a ton of volume!

If you are going to use the 6 day push / pull / legs split then I highly recommend you use 2 different workouts per week for each muscle group. This will give you the chance to hit each body part with different exercises and to prevent training plateaus.

Even drug-free bodybuilders like Jeff Nippard have used this strategy in their training programs.

Jeff trains each muscle group twice per week but he emphasizes certain body parts on each workout. Check it out:

Jeff Nippard’s 6 Day Push / Pull / Legs Split

  • Day 1: Legs (Quads Focused)
  • Day 2: Push (Chest Focused)
  • Day 3: Pull (Lat Focused)
  • Day 4: Legs (Hamstrings Focused)
  • Day 5: Push (Shoulders Focused)
  • Day 6: Pull (Mid-Back Focused)
  • Day 7: Off

As you can see Jeff Nippard likes to place more emphasis on certain body parts during his workouts. For example he has a quads-focused leg workout early in the week and a hamstrings-focused leg workout later in the week.

This is an interesting way to organize your workouts so you get the benefits of a higher training frequency while also being able to attack certain body parts with more volume.

Here is Jeff’s quad-focused leg workout. Check it out:

Jeff Nippard’s Quads-Focused Leg Workout

  • Exercise #1: Back squat, 3 sets of 4 reps @  80% of your 1-rep max
  • Exercise #2: Romanian deadlift, 3 sets of 10 reps**
  • Exercise #3: Unilateral leg press, 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Machine leg extension, 3 sets of 10-12 reps***
  • Exercise #5: Seated leg curl, 3 sets of 10-12 reps****
  • Exercise #6: Standing calf raise, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Exercise #7: Decline crunches, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Exercise #8: Long-lever planks, 2 sets of 30 second holds   

Here is the training video for this workout:

Jeff really targets his quads during this workout with back squats, hack squats and leg extensions.

Later in the week he performs a more hamstrings-focused leg workout. Check it out:

Jeff Nippard’s Hamstrings-Focused Leg Workout

  • Exercise #1: Sumo deadlift, 3 sets of 3 reps @ 80-85% of your 1-rep max
  • Exercise #2: Hack squat, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Exercise #3: Single leg hip thrust, 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Nordic ham curl, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Exercise #5: Prisoner back extension, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Exercise #6: Unilateral leg press calf raise, 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Here is the training video:

For this workout Jeff performs one exercise for his quads and 4 exercises for his hamstrings / posterior chain. This is a very interesting way to train if you can recover from very high volume / high frequency workouts.

Make no mistake: the 6 days per week push / pull / legs split is one of the most difficult training splits to recover from.

In my opinion only advanced bodybuilders with above-average genetics should be using it. If this describes you then give it a shot!

If recovery isn’t an issue for you then it is one of the most effective splits you can use for building muscle mass.

Part 2: The 4 Days Per Week Push / Pull / Legs Split

Push Pull Legs

The 4 days per week push / pull / legs split is one of the most underrated training split in the world. And I’m going to prove it to you right here in this article!

Most people have never even heard of this exact training split. They are familiar with the 3 days per week and the 6 days per week versions of the classic push / pull / legs split but not the 4 days per week version.

Here is what the 4 days per week push / pull / legs split looks like:

Week #1

  • Monday: Push
  • Wednesday: Legs
  • Friday: Pull
  • Saturday: Push

Week #2

  • Monday: Legs
  • Wednesday: Pull
  • Friday: Push
  • Saturday: Legs

Week #3

  • Monday: Pull
  • Wednesday: Push
  • Friday: Legs
  • Saturday: Pull

And so on. As you can see you are rotating through the 3 push / pull / leg workouts but you are training 4 days per week. This means whatever body parts you trained on Monday you are also training on Saturday that same week.

With this split you are training every body part 4 times in 3 weeks on once every 5-6 days on average. In my experience this training frequency works extremely well for intermediate and advanced bodybuilders.

IFBB pro Hunter Labrada is very fond of the 4 day push / pull / legs split. He often uses this split to blast through training plateaus.

Here is one of Hunter’s high-volume back / biceps workouts. Check it out:

Hunter Labrada’s High-Volume Back / Biceps Workout

  • Exercise #1: Straight-arm cable pulldowns, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Underhand barbell row, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: Wide-grip lat pulldown, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Seated cable row (v-handle), 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: Rack pull (mid-shin height), 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #6: Seated alternating DB curl, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #7: Standing alternating hammer curl, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #8: Straight-bar cable curl, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Exercise #9: Rope hammer curl, 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

Talk about a high-volume back / biceps workout! Don’t worry, we’re going to cover some lower-volume back / bicep workouts below if you don’t think you can recover from this much volume in one workout.

Hunter Labrada does some interesting things like performing rack pulls at the end of his back workout rather than the start. Check it out:

“I’m a big proponent of rack pulls for overall upper back development. It’s a great finisher and you’re going to completely annihilate your back by doing it at the end.”

This is a training strategy that many other bodybuilding coaches like John Meadows have used with their clients.

John Meadows is another big proponent of the 4 day push / pull / legs split. He has used it with many IFBB pros who want to train with a slightly higher training frequency.

Here is one of John’s advanced chest / shoulder / triceps workouts. Check it out:

John Meadows Advanced Chest / Shoulder / Tricep Workout

  • Exercise #1: 30 degree incline barbell press, 4 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Exercise #2: 30 degree incline DB press, 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Exercise #3: V-bar dips (forward leaning torso), 3 sets to failure
  • Exercise #4: Ladder push ups, 3 sets to failure
  • Exercise #5: 30 degree prone kettlebell front / lateral raise, 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Exercise #6: Cable rear delt fly, 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Exercise #7: Cambered bar seal row, 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Exercise #8: One-arm cable pushdown (grenade attachment), 3 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Exercise #9: Medicine ball machine pushdown, 2 sets of 8-10 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

Talk about a high-volume chest / shoulders / triceps workout! For this workout John throws in high-intensity training techniques like drop sets and forced reps on the last set of almost every exercise.

If you are more of a low-volume kind of guy then the 4 day push / pull / legs split is also right up your alley. Many high-intensity training programs such as DC Training use this split to build size and strength.

A great strategy is to perform only 1-2 exercises per body part. In order to make up for the lower training volume you would perform high-intensity training techniques like rest-pause sets and forced reps on your sets.

Here is what an advanced DC-style back and biceps workout might look like. Check it out:

Advanced DC Training Back And Biceps Workout

  • Exercise #1: Pull ups (wide / overhand grip), 1 x 11-20 RP**
  • Exercise #2: Conventional deadlift, 2 x 6-12
  • Exercise #3: Seated DB curls (supinated grip), 1 x 11-20 RP**
  • Exercise #4: Cable rope hammer curls, 1 x 8-12

**Performed as a DC-style rest-pause set.

Here is the training video for this workout:

For this routine you are performing rest-pause sets for 2 out of the 4 exercises.

Rest-pause sets are a high-intensity training technique where you train to failure 3 times in a row on an exercise with very short rest periods. Check it out:

The Rest-Pause Training Method

  • Step #1: Train to failure in the 7-10 rep range, then rest 20-30 seconds
  • Step #2: Train to failure a 2nd time with the same weight, then rest 20-30 seconds
  • Step #3: Train to failure a 3rd time with the same weight, done!’

If you like to perform low-volume workouts then using high-intensity training techniques like rest-pause sets is a great idea. Another way to design a low-volume push / pull / legs program is with forced reps. This was a favorite of the bodybuilder Dorian Yates.

Here is how you might structure your a legs workout using the 4-day push / pull  legs split. Check it out:

Dorian Yates Blood And Guts Style Leg Workout

Dorian’s Quadriceps Routine

  • Exercise #1: Machine leg extension, 1 working set of 8-10 reps to failure**
  • Exercise #2: 45 degree leg press, 1 working set of 10-12 reps to failure**
  • Exercise #3: Machine hack squat, 1 working set of 8-10 reps to failure**

Dorian’s Hamstrings Routine

  • Exercise #4: Lying leg curl, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure**
  • Exercise #5: Romanian deadlift, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure
  • Exercise #6: Kneeling leg curl, 1 working set of 6-8 reps to failure**

Dorian’s Calves Routine

  • Exercise #7: Standing calf raise, 1 working set of 10-15 reps to failure
  • Exercise #8: Seated calf raise, 1 working set of 10-15 reps to failure

**Perform 1-3 forced reps after reaching failure with the help of your training spotter.

Here is the workout video:

Dorian Yates used forced reps as his primary high-intensity training technique. Here is the protocol for performing forced reps:

The Forced Reps Training Method

  • Step #1: Train to failure in the 5-20 rep range.
  • Step #2: Perform 1-5 extra reps with the help of a spotter. Your spotter helps you lift the weight up and you lower the weight down on your won.

Dorian Yates loved to perform forced reps on machine and isolation exercises where he didn’t have to worry about injuring himself.

If you are training muscle groups once every 5-6 days using a 4-day push / pull / legs split then using high-intensity techniques like rest-pause sets and forced reps is a great idea.

You have plenty of time to recover between workouts so you don’t have to worry as much about overtraining.

The 4-day push / pull / legs split is a fantastic way to train, especially for intermediate to advanced bodybuilders.

You can perform high-volume workouts like John Meadows and you can perform low-volume / high-intensity workouts like Dorian Yates. The choice is up to you!

Part 3: The 3 Days Per Week Push / Pull / Legs Split

Push Pull Legs

The 3 days per week push / pull / legs training split is a classic way to train. The idea is simple: you are going to train three days per week.

You have one “push” day where you train your chest / shoulders / triceps, one “pull” day where you train your back / biceps, and one “legs” day where you train your quads / hamstrings / calves. For example:

The 3 Day Push / Pull / Legs Split

  • Day 1: Chest / Shoulders / Triceps
  • Day 2: Off
  • Day 3: Quads / Hamstrings / Calves
  • Day 4: Off
  • Day 5: Back / Biceps
  • Day 6: Off
  • Day 7: Off

You can choose any three days of the week to train, as long as you do not have any back-to-back training days. With this type of split you are training each body part once per week or once every 7 days.

There are many internet fitness experts who say that you won’t make optimal progress training with this type of training frequency.

I have to disagree with these experts. MANY people make AWESOME progress with this type of training split!

In fact this is the exact training split that Stan Efferding recommended in his world-famous training article “You Don’t Grow In The Gym.”

In my experience the 3 days per week push / pull / legs split works extremely well for two types of trainees:

  1. Type #1: Highly advanced or extremely strong bodybuilders and powerlifters
  2. Type #2: Beginner and intermediate trainees with below average recovery ability

If you are an incredibly strong bodybuilder or powerlifter then you may have a hard time recovering from higher-frequency training programs. You are lifting such incredibly heavy weights that your body needs more rest days in between workouts for each body part.

The world-class powerlifter and bench presser Vincent Dizenzo is a perfect example.

In his prime Vincent Dizenzo was one of THE best bench pressers in the world. He has performed 600 pound raw bench presses and 900 pound “equipped” bench presses in multiple weight classes!

Vincent has used many different training styles over the years including Westside Barbell style conjugate periodization, Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 programming and Josh Bryant style linear periodization.

Vincent can train pretty much any way he wants and still make progress. However, regardless of how he trains he always sticks with his three days per week push / pull / legs split.

Let’s take a look at a sample Vincent Dizenzo style bench press workout. Check it out:

Vincent Dizenzo’s Chest / Shoulder / Tricep Workout

Part 1: Heavy Bench Press Exercises

  • A1: Bench Press (competition grip), 1 set of 3 reps, 3 minutes rest
  • B1: Speed bench press (competition grip) 2 sets of 3 reps, 2 minutes rest
  • B2: Overcoming isometric bench press (below sticking point), 2 sets of 1 rep, 2 minutes rest
  • C1: Speed bench press (competition grip) 2 sets of 3 reps, 2 minutes rest
  • C2: Overcoming isometric bench press (above sticking point), 2 sets of 1 rep, 2 minutes rest
  • D1: Bench press w/ chains, 3 sets of 3 reps, 2 minutes rest
  • E1: Dead bench, 4 sets of 1 rep, 1 minute rest

Part 2: Bench Press Accessory Exercises

  • F1: Rolling DB extension (on flat bench w/ doubled mini band behind back), 4 sets of 8 reps, 1 minute rest
  • G1: Cable pushdowns (straight bar w/ fat handles), 3 sets of 12 reps, 1 minute rest
  • H1: Band scapular retractions, 3 sets of 12 reps, 30 seconds rest
  • I1: Band pull-aparts, 4 sets of 12 reps, 30 seconds rest
  • J1:Planks 3 sets of 30 seconds, 30 seconds rest

Here is the training video for this workout:

What a workout by Vincent Dizenzo!

Here are some of Vincent’s top sets for this workout:

  • Bench press: 495 pounds
  • Speed bench: 440 pounds
  • Chain bench: 410 pounds
  • Dead bench: 450 pounds

Of course Vincent was a bench press specialist training for a bench press only competition. This meant that he could devote more energy towards training the bench press at the expense of his squat and deadlift.

Andy Bolton is another powerlifter who loved to train with the 3 day push / pull / legs split. Here is how he organized his training:

The Andy Bolton Training Split

  • Day 1: Squat / Deadlift
  • Day 2: Bench Press
  • Day 3: Assistance Work

On his assistance work day he focused on exercises for his back and biceps.

Andy loved this 3 day push / pull / legs split because it gave him plenty of time during the week to recover from his workouts. Andy was lifting unbelievably heavy weights so he need all the rest he could get!

Here is how Andy organized his heavy lower body training days:

Andy Bolton Squat / Deadlift Day Overview

  • Squat: 1-3 heavy sets
  • Squat: 3-5 speed sets
  • Deadlift: 1-3 heavy sets
  • Deadlift: 3-5 speed sets

Andy performed 1-3 heavy sets in the squat and deadlift followed by several speed sets. These speed sets were performed with lighter weights but that doesn’t mean they were easy!

Here is a video of Andy Bolton performing speed deadlifts with 770 pounds:

Andy’s speed deadlifts are heavier than most people’s regular deadlifts!

By now it should be obvious that extremely strong and advanced athletes can make great progress using the 3 days per week push / pull / legs split.

There is one other group of people who tend to do well on this split: beginner and intermediate lifters with below-average recovery ability.

Some trainees really do have below-average recovery ability and cannot handle a lot of heavy or high-volume strength training workouts. I don’t like the term “hardgainer” but these people really do exist.

The 3 day push / pull / legs split is a great choice for hard gainers because the training frequency is low AND there are only 3 strength training workouts per week.

If you area bodybuilder with below-average recovery ability then you might grow like a weed on the following hardgainer style training program. Check it out:

Chest / Shoulders / Triceps Hardgainer Workout

  • Exercise #1: 30 degree incline DB press, 2 x 8-10, 3/0/X/0, 3 minutes rest
  • Exercise #2: Hammer strength overhead press, 2 x 10-12, 2/0/X/0, 3 minutes rest
  • Exercise #3: Decline DB extension, 2 x 10-12, 2/0/X/0, 3 minutes rest

Quads / Hamstrings / Calves Hardgainer Workout

  • Exercise #1: Back squat (Medium stance / heels elevated), 2 x 8-10, 3/0/X/0, 3 minutes rest
  • Exercise #2: Romanian deadlift, 2 x 10-12, 3/0/1/0, 3 minutes rest

Back / Biceps Hardgainer Workout

  • Exercise #1: Rack chins, 2 x 8-10, 3/1/X/1, 3 minutes rest
  • Exercise #2: T-bar row, 2 x 12-15, 1/0/X/0, 3 minutes rest
  • Exercise #3: 45 degree incline DB curl (hammer grip), 2 x 10-12, 2/0/X/0, 3 minutes rest

In my experience hardgainers make awesome progress performing 1 exercise per body part and 2 hard sets per exercise.

If you think you might be a hardgainer then I highly recommend this 3 day push / pull / legs routine!

Conclusion

Push Pull Legs

The push / pull / legs split is one of the best training splits you can use. It does a wonderful job of reducing overlap between different muscle groups so you can train hard without worrying too much about your recovery.

One of the big advantages of this split is that it can be customized depending on your goals. Here are my thoughts on which push / pull / legs split you should be using:

Option #1: The 3 Days Per Week Push / Pull / Legs Split

This split works great for two groups of people:

  • Extremely strong bodybuilders and powerlifters who need more time to recover between workouts
  • Beginner to intermediate trainees with below average recovery ability

If you fall into one of these 2 categories then I highly recommend you give the 3 days per week push / pull / legs split a shot.

Option #2: The 4 Days Per Week Push / Pull / Legs Split

This split works awesome for a very large percentage of the training population. You are training body parts once every 5-6 days which works AWESOME for a lot of people.

Charles Poliquin was also a big fan of this moderate training frequency.

This split can be used for any goal. However, I find it works especially well for bodybuilders who are using a high-intensity training program such as DC Training or Dorian Yates’ Blood And Guts training.

If you like training to failure then I strongly recommend you give this split a shot.

Option #3: The 6 Days Per Week Push / Pull / Legs Split

This split works extremely well if your last name is Schwarzenegger, Coleman, or Efferding. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit.  In all seriousness this split works best for talented bodybuilders.

If you grow like a weed on high-volume bodybuilding programs then I strongly recommend you give this training split a shot. You may find that it is exactly what you need to take your training to the next level.

If you do not have great recovery ability then you might want to skip this training split. It may just run you into the ground!

I hope that you found this material useful.

If like this kind of content but feel that this classic split just isn’t for you then you may want to check out the following articles:

I am quite confident that one of the training splits covered in these articles will work AWESOME for you.

“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck in your strength training journey!

Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT

Thanks for checking out my site! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen and I'm the founder of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to reach your size and strength goals faster then you've come to the right place. My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world. So grab a seat, kick back and relax. There's never been a better time to lift weights or to learn the art and science of strength training program design.

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