A push pull legs routine is arguably one of the more simple approaches to a training split and it is for good reason. Because, above all else, with this method you immediately take away the need to think about rotating muscle groups.
Fundamentally, the push, pull approach will ensure that all of your major muscle groups are trained and rotated accordingly throughout the week by default.
The push pull legs method 101
The long and short of this training method is that you train pull exercises in one workout, push exercises in another and finally, legs as a separate workout.
In order to build a complete push pull legs routine, you must use all three without exception. In separate workouts of course.
To give you some more context, see the workout rotation below and then further down you will find some exercise examples to fit each training day. (Note that this is by no means a complete list).
Day 1: Push exercises, and then day 2: Pull exercises, followed by day 3: Leg exercises, and lastly day 4: Rest, or cardio, or push again if you like... You can rotate this method as you wish. With that said, you shouldn't do a push day followed by another push day.
Below are some push exercises you can use as part of your push pull legs routine.
- Bench Press
- Dumbbell Chest Flye
- Incline Bench Press
- Press Up
- Hip Thrusts
- Glute Bridge
- Military Press
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press
- Close Grip Bench Press
- Dumbbell Bicep Curl
- Barbell Push Press
And here we have some pull exercises you can add to your push pull legs routine.
- Lat Pulldown
- Seated Cable Row
- Face Pulls
- Bent Over Row
- Good Mornings
- Triceps Rope Pulldown
- Lateral Raises
- Front Raises
- Upright Row
- Cable Kickback
- Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
Finally, here are some leg exercises to complete your push pull legs routine.
Again, the above is by no means a complete list. If you want some additional options, you can check out our workout plans and don't forget to keep track of which exercises you're doing on each day.
Above all else, you should be able to see that not only do you have a lot of exercise options, but also this method has you covered for a well rounded routine in general.
In addition to this, it's worth noting that there will be some natural crossover when you use a push pull legs routine.
For example; you could consider a squat a push exercise as well as a leg exercise. Equally your deadlift could be your pull exercise, but also, on the other hand, it could be considered a leg exercise too.
Ultimately, you get to choose how you want to work this, there really is no right or wrong answer.
What are the benefits of a push pull legs routine?
As demonstrated above, the push pull legs routine splits your muscle groups perfectly. So the primary benefit is that it has you covered for targeting all muscle groups. In addition to this, it is one of the easier methods to use if you're unsure which exercises work which muscles.
To summarise: In the first instance you can hopefully see by now that on a push day you will work more chest/shoulders/triceps.
And subsequently in the second instance, on a pull day, you will work more back and biceps.
Last but not least, on a leg day you obviously train legs.
When all is said and done, this is ideal. Because by adopting this style of training you limit your possibility of overtraining certain muscle groups.
On that note, it is important that you avoid overtraining because this could lead to muscle fatigue or, worse still, injury.
In summary, this training method is ideal if you don't want to have to come up with a workout plan that requires you to manually split muscle groups.