Trying to decide if the 6-day push pull legs routine is right for you? I’ve got you covered. We’ll be looking at the split in detail, going through:
- What Is a Push Pull Legs Split?
- 6-Day Push Pull Legs Split Structure
- Push Pull Legs Exercises
- Push Pull Legs Workout Examples
- Push Pull Legs Splits
- Push Pull Legs Pros
- Push Pull Legs Cons
- Looking for a Reliable Hypertrophy Programme?
- Summary: Is Push Pull Leg effective?
- Frequently Asked Questions About Push Pull Legs
- Next Steps
Let’s jump straight in.
What Is a Push Pull Legs Split?
Simple, a push pull legs split divides your training into workouts that use specific movement types or body parts. This means:
- Push days: Bench presses, overhead presses etc
- Pull days: Barbell rows, pull-ups etc
- Leg days: Squats, deadlifts etc
Push Pull Legs Muscle Groups
Here are the muscle groups you’ll be working on each day of the push, pull legs split:
- Push: Chest, Front Delts, Triceps
- Pull: Back, Biceps, Rear Delts
- Legs: Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves
6-Day Push Pull Legs Split Structure
Here’s what a typical week of push pull legs looks like:
Day 1: Push
Day 2: Pull
Day 3: Legs
Day 4: Push
Day 5: Pull
Day 6: Legs
Push Pull Legs Exercises
There are an almost infinite number of push pull leg exercises you can use as part of your training programme. Here are just a few examples to get you started:
Push: Bench press, dumbbell press, barbell overhead press, dumbbell overhead press, machine chest press, machine overhead press
Pull: Pull-ups, lat pulldowns (various grips), dumbbell rows, barbell rows, machine rows, cable rows
Legs: Barbell Squats, Dumbbell squats, lunges, split squats, Bulgarian split squats (rear foot elevated) deadlifts, rdl’s, leg extensions, hamstring curls, calf raises
*I recommend picking 2-3 exercises per workout
Push Pull Legs Workout Examples
Here are 6 example workouts that fit into the 6 day push pull legs split. Remember, these are only simplified examples to demonstrate how you might structure a push pull legs routine. I don’t know your specific favourite exercises, how much volume you need in terms of sets, or your preferred rep schemes.
Bench Press: 4×5-10
Dumbbell Rows: 3×5-10
DB Bench 4×10-20
Tricep Pushdowns: 3×10-20
Barbell Rows: 4×10-15
DB Curls: 3×10-20
Walking Lunges: 3×10-20
Hamstring Curls: 3×10-20
Again, these are just simplified push pull legs workouts to show you how a week might look. They’re a decent starting point for most trainees, but a LOT more thought should go into building and designing your full training program.
Push Pull Legs Splits
For this review, we’re mainly looking at the 6-day push pull legs split as its the most common, but there are two other variants that I want to mention in case you prefer them.
Push Pull Legs 3 Day split
With a 3-day push pull legs split you just have one push day, one pull day and one legs day.
Push Pull Legs 5 Day split
A 5-day push pull legs split is similar to a 6 day split but combines the second push and pull days into a single day:
- Day 1: Push
- Day 2: Pull
- Day 3: Legs
- Day 4: Push & Pull
- Day 5: Legs
This structure still works well and delivers plenty of training volume. The only drawback is that you might not get quite enough stimulus on your combined push and pull day within your typical session time.
Top Tip: You might also hear this structure referred to as ‘Push Pull Legs Upper Lower’
Push Pull Legs Pros
- A 6-day push pull legs split allows for a good muscle group focus per workout
- Muscle groups are always well-recovered for each workout
- 2x per week frequency is in line with evidence-based recommendations, and lets most people get a good amount of training volume per muscle group
- Simple and easy to follow
Push Pull Legs Cons
- Time-consuming and hard to work around other commitments
- Recovery demanding
- Smaller muscle groups like biceps, side delts or rear delts may benefit from more sessions per week, i.e. you might want to train rear delts on a non-pull day as well.
Looking for a Reliable Hypertrophy Programme?
I’ve put together a 17-week hypertrophy programme.
The programme is evidence-based and is designed with 3 distinct blocks of training that use different set and rep schemes, as well as different exercises, to maximise your muscle building.
It’s also designed with specific guidance so that you can adjust your amount of training to suit your recovery.
You can find out more about the programme here.
Summary: Is Push Pull Leg effective?
“The 6 day push pull legs split is an effective and time-proven structure for adding muscle mass, the only drawback is that it requires substantial time commitment and recovery ability”
Frequently Asked Questions About Push Pull Legs
Is push pull legs 3 days a week enough?
For beginners and early intermediates, yes, push pull legs 3 days per week is absolutely enough to see good hypertrophy results. However, you might want to consider using a full-body approach for slightly better results. Lastly, if you’re an advanced trainee you’ll likely need more sessions per week in order to make progress.
Is Push pull legs better than bro?
Yes, push-pull legs is likely better than a typical bro split, as it allows you to train muscle groups more frequently, increase your total training volume and stimulate more growth. Think of it this way, if you only train arms once per week, but they’re fully recovered after 2-3 days, why on earth would you wait a full week to train them again?
Is 6 day push pull legs too much?
Whether or not 6 day push pull legs is too much for you depends on your recovery ability. If you’re younger, get loads of sleep and eat plenty of food, then you’ll probably do great on a 6 day push pull legs routine. However, if you’re older, working full-time with a family, and potentially struggling to sleep and eat as well, then you might do better on a 4 day program.
Is deadlift a pull or leg?
Deadlifts are most certainly a leg exercise, as in the context of push, pull, legs training, ‘pull’ refers to upper body pulling. So deadlifts (if you plan to use them) should be done on your leg days.
Is Push pull legs best for bulking?
Push pull legs works great for bulking or cutting, all you’ll need to do is adjust your total training volume so that you perform slightly fewer sets during a cut.
Alright, that’s enough reading for today, time for some action…
1) If you like the sound of a 6-day push pull legs hypertrophy split, then go and try one out for a few weeks. Alternatively, if you’d prefer something more like 4 days per week, you can check out this programme I’ve designed.
2) If you want more training tips, workouts and programmes, feel free to join my mailing list.
3) And if you found this article useful, feel free to share.
‘Til Next Time
Alex Parry, MSc, BA
Alex is the Head content writer and Coach at Character Strength & Conditioning, as well as an Assistant Lecturer and PhD Researcher at the University of Hull.
His experience includes 7+ years within professional strength and conditioning, as well as working as a tutor & educator for British Weightlifting.