Push pull legs is a type of workout split involving three kinds of training days. One day on which you train all your upper body muscles that push or press as their general function, one day in which you train the upper body muscles that pull and another day where you train your lower body or legs.
A last kind of day is usually (but not always) added into a pull push legs routine known as a rest day. It is a day where no training is done and the entire body is given a chance to rest all at once.
Why Push Pull Legs?
Push pull legs is an extremely efficient program compared to other splits. Having the potential for every muscle group to be trained twice a week and still having time for some rest.
This split is extremely organized. Having each day clearly dedicated to a certain muscle group and because of this making it clear when to do certain exercises during your training.
Because there are 3 different kinds of training days in a push pull legs split there are countless exercises you can do on a specific day.
Even having the potential of being able to do a certain exercise on one of the days but doing a variation of that same exercise on a different training day because of how the variation changes the exercise and or the muscles it works.
This training split can also be used to reach multiple kinds of goals when training.
Whether it is achieving muscular hypertrophy, building muscular endurance or building muscular strength this split can be used for all giving it a new level of versatility.
This split is effective. Having an organized clear plan that fits into a week well and offers lots of room for variation as all talked about above is what really all comes together to make this an effective split.
If you are not yet convinced this is a good and effective split you surely will be by the end of this article. On top of realizing how effective the split is you will also learn how to make the absolute most of the split maximizing your potential for results.
When to do push pull legs?
Push pull legs can be done by anybody but when should you do push pull legs? You should definitely do push pull legs if you are a beginner as you will see greater benefit from the frequency and big exercises that generally tend to be incorporated with the training split.
You can do a push pull legs split whether you are training for hypertrophy, muscular endurance or strength. Although using push pull legs to train for hypertrophy or muscular growth is generally the most effective.
As when training for muscular endurance you may want to train more frequently then the split allows and when training for strength you will likely require more rest than the split allows for.
Does push pull legs order matter?
Now you know all the great benefits of the push pull legs split and when the most effective time in your fitness journey to use it is. But does the order of your push pull and legs day matter? Not entirely but you can definitely see a bit better results based on the sequins you train this split in.
Ideally you want to space out the time between your pull day and leg day having your pushing day in between the two. This is because these groups of muscles take the longest to recover (see What Muscles Recover The Fastest?) requiring a greater amount of physical effort to stimulate.
Not only putting a greater strain on the physical muscles worked but on your mind as well.
Keeping the two expected hardest days spread out only makes sense as doing them one after another would leave you really tired and possibly in a bad mood for your push day.
Where is abs in push pull legs?
Probably the most common question I have gotten from friends and clients alike about their push pull legs split is when should I do abs in push pull legs? To me the answer has always been simple on pull day.
The main function of the abdomen muscle is spinal flexion. When you are flexing your spine you are essentially pulling your body closer together.
For example when performing movements like a crunch or sit up you are bringing your furthermost upper extremity closer to the center point of your body. You are doing this by pulling so it is most logical to do abs on pull day.
Although it makes the most sense to do abs on pull day you do not need to limit yourself too just that. Most people do abs 2 or more times a week.
Many even train their abs or core every day they train at all. So feel free to add abs to the end of another day as well. I recommend also after legs since it’s spaced out from your pull day.
When to deadlift in push pull legs?
The second most common question I experience about the push pull legs workout is when should you perform a deadlift ? You should deadlift on pull day when doing a conventional deadlift.
The reason for choosing pull day for this holy grail of golden exercises is simple it is because a deadlift is performed by pulling the weight off the ground. Again it simply makes sense for a conventional deadlift.
I say conventional deadlift because there are deadlift variations that you may want to include on a different day such as a stiff leg deadlift which I would include on leg day rather than pull day.
The deadlift is an all around compound movement that works the whole body. I would say your back and traps the most but when doing a stiff leg deadlift you put even more emphasis on your hamstrings and glutes.
You can always include both the conventional deadlift on your pull day as well as the stiff legged deadlift on leg day. Just be sure that you have had enough time to rest between the two workouts.
When to rest in push pull legs?
Rest and recovery is the most important part of training. It may sound weird to newbies but your muscles do not grow while you workout, they grow while you rest so knowing when to rest is important.
When exactly should you rest during a push pull legs split? I would base this off of your experience and how long you have been training.
If you are just starting rest two to three times a week but if you are experienced you can get away with only one rest day a week.
Also take into consideration what kind of training you are doing. If you are doing a powerlifting workout and doing only 1 – 4 repetitions with really heavy weight you will likely need more rest.
On the other side of the spectrum if you are training for muscular endurance doing over 20 reps an exercise with really light weight you would benefit from very little rest.
With figuring out when you should rest your push pull legs routine should be planned out perfectly and with the right diet you will achieve great results.