Exercise splits are one of the most important parts of working out. They set a clear outline for routine and help keep you motivated by making a plan towards your goal. (see How Do You Motivate Yourself?) This makes it extra necessary to pick the best workout split possible for your fitness journey.
The truth is there is no such thing as the best workout split and the reality is everyone has its own unique benefits and it all comes back to what the best workout split is for a certain individual.
The two most popular workout splits by far are the push pull legs (PPL) and upper lower body splits so these are the two we will be looking at today in order to provide a better idea of which split will better suit you. We are comparing the two and their benefits in push pull legs vs. upper lower.
What is Push Pull Legs?
Push pull legs or press pull legs is a workout split that involves three different exercise days. One that involves all the muscles in your upper body that function by pushing movements, another that involves all your upper body muscles that function by pulling and the third that involves all of the muscles in your lower body or legs.
A last day or sometimes even two days are reserved for a rest day where no exercise is done. Some people do not even include this rest day but at least one is recommended to learn more about exactly what this split is see the article: What’s Push Pull Legs?
Benefits of Push Pull Legs
Since there are three different types of exercise days in this split there is a seemingly endless supply of exercises to perform at your disposal making for a workout routine that is very adaptable and inclusive of compound and isolation movements using many different kinds of equipment.
This split can also be adapted based on multiple goals that you may want to approach. Whether it is muscular strength, endurance, or hypertrophy/size this split can be changed to better achieve any one of or even a combination of these goals.
Having push pull legs as your workout split allows you the ability to work every muscle in your body twice a week which makes for a very productive high-volume way to train. Not only that but after training each muscle twice a week there is still time in that week for recovery with this workout split.
Push pull legs is a very well formulated split because it is never unclear when you should do a certain exercise. The split creates a clear program for you to have a dedicated day to all of your favorite and most effective exercises.
This exercise split is effective. Having such a well-organized structure that fits into a week perfectly, while having the ability to work every muscle multiple times and with a plethora of different exercises.
What is Upper Lower?
An upper lower exercise split is a workout split that divides your routine into two different kinds of exercise days.
One day on which you train every muscle in your upper body or above your waist or leg and another day on which you train the muscles in your lower body or below your waist, your legs themselves.
Just like push-pull legs there is typically another kind of day during this workout split on which no exercise is done and the day is used to rest.
Some people only include one rest day some people include as many as five in a week and there are once again some who include no rest days.
Benefits of Upper Lower
While push pull legs is a well formulated split upper lower is a split so simple that it is arguably even more well-formulated than push-pull legs. There are only two exercise days so there are only two categories that an exercise can possibly go into.
Like mentioned these categories are either your upper body exercises or your lower body exercises. Your body can easily be split into these two parts so it is not difficult in the slightest to split up your exercises into one of these two days.
As productive as push pull legs split is, the upper lower split is incredibly more productive. Even cutting out only one kind of exercise day gives the upper lower split the ability for you to workout each muscle group as many as three times a week while still having a day left in the week to rest.
At the very least it will make it extremely easy to work every muscle at least twice a week because if you do there are still three whole days in your week still available to rest or even dedicate to doing something else in the gym.
Frequency and number of sets in a week is something very important and something a lot of gym goers do not have enough of so this makes upper lower extremely productive.
The upper-lower workout split is effective because of all the reasons talked about above. More than anything it is effective because of how simple and compressed it is. It gets everything done in a small amount of time leaving for lots of extra room to work with and add and take away other things into your program as you see fit.
Push Pull Legs or Upper Lower?
If you have read this entire article you may feel you already know the answer to this question and which workout split to go with when it comes to push-pull legs vs. upper lower.
And yes when looking at these two splits upper lower does come out on top but that does not mean there are no instances where push pull legs would be a superior choice.
In terms of the benefits upper lower has all the benefits of a push pull legs split but to a greater extent on top of being a very simple straightforward plan. This makes upper lower the superior choice regardless of what you are training for.
The ability to do all of your training in only two workouts is what stands out the most to me and will for many people who do not have a lot of time.
At the end of the day regardless of what the program or routines are the superior workout plan is always the one that you can follow because consistency is the ultimate key to results.
If for you a push pull legs routine is the most enjoyable one and the plan you feel the most comfortable and dedicated doing then that is the plan for you.
Your ability to be consistent with a plan is ultimately what makes it the superior workout split always switch your workout split if it is negatively affecting your consistency performance or motivation.