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The Definitive Guide to the “Push Pull Legs” Routine

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The Definitive Guide to the “Push Pull Legs” Routine

If you want to know what the push pull legs routine is, how it works, and how to make it work for you, then you want to listen to this episode.

“Push pull legs” routines have been popular for decades now.

In fact, just about every time-proven strength and muscle-building program fits this basic mold, and that’s not likely to change.

My bestselling workout programs for men and women are also, essentially, push pull legs (PPL) routines with additional “accessory” (isolation) work to help bring up “stubborn” body parts.

The primary reasons push pull legs routines have stood the test of time are they train all major muscle groups, allow plenty of time for recovery, and can be tailored to fit different training goals, schedules, and histories.

They’re easy to understand, too.

At bottom, a push pull legs routine separates your major muscle groups into three different workouts:

Chest, shoulders, and triceps
Back and biceps (with a bit of hamstrings as well if you’re deadlifting)
Legs

And it has you train anywhere from 3 to 6 times per week, depending on how much abuse you’re willing to take, what you’re looking to achieve with your physique, and how much time you can spend in the gym each week.

So, if you’re looking to gain muscle and strength as quickly as possible, and if you’re not afraid of a bit of heavy compound weightlifting, then push pull legs might be your golden ticket.

And by the end of this episode, you’re going to know exactly how PPL works, who it is and isn’t best for, and how to create a customized routine that’ll work for you.

Let’s get to it.

TIME STAMPS

4:30 – What is the push pull legs routine?

8:23 – What are the benefits to the push pull legs routine?

12:27 – How do I make push pull legs work for me?

16:33 – How can I make a push pull routine?

20:19 – What is push legs pull?

22:58 – How do you continue making progress with these routines?

29:16 – Do you recommend any supplements?

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20847704

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26605807

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25047853

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12945830

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16287344

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19956970

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10999421

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15758854

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19124889

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20045157

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16549220

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3339351/

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/dta.1578/abstract

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16937961

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17851681

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17690198

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19210788

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21659893

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20386132

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20386132

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12145119

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22080324

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20642826

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22976217

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19083482

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19083482

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16930802

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22819553

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18254874

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22326943

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296328

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18006208

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What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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  • William Lim Jr

    Hi Mike,

    After listening to this episode, I realized I might not have understood well the way you recommend progressive overloading. Here’s what I’ve been doing using BLS for the past three years. Let’s stay the starting point for an excercise like deadlift is 200 lbs. I followed your recommended 3 sets of 4-6 reps but in this way.

    Week 1 – Set1: 200lbs x 4 reps; Set2: 200lbs x 4 reps; Set3: 200lbs x 4 reps
    Week 2 – Set1: 200lbs x 5 reps; 2: 200lbs x 4 reps; 3: 200lbs x 4 reps
    Week 3 – Set1: 200lbs x 5; Set2: 200lbs x 5; Set3: 200lbs x 4
    Week 4 – Set1: 200lbs x 5; Set2: 200lbs x 5; Set3: 200lbs x 5
    Week 5 – Set1: 200lbs x 6; Set2: 200lbs x 5; Set3: 200lbs x 5
    Week 6 – Set1: 200lbs x 6; Set2: 200lbs x 6; Set3: 200lbs x 5
    Week 7 – Set 1:200lbs x 6; Set2: 200lbs x 6; Set3: 200lbs x 6
    Week 8 – Set 1:210lbs x 4; Set2: 210lbs x 4; Set3: 210lbs x 4
    and so on

    But with the way you described on the episode (and I looked back on BLS 2nd Ed.) that I should have already added weight by Week 5, and instead do:

    Week 5 – Set1: 200lbs x 6; Set2: 210lbs x 4; Set3: 210lbs x 4

    Have I been doing it wrong all this time?

    • You’re not doing it wrong at all. I like increasing after one set of 6, but it’s completely fine to work towards 2 or 3 sets of 6 before adding weight to the bar. I hope this helps!

      • William Lim Jr

        This is great! I usually hate it when I do 3 sets of 6. Super helpful!

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