Guide to Structuring a Push/Pull/Legs Training Split:

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Guide to Structuring a Push/Pull/Legs Training Split:

            A common issue many individuals run into pertaining to fitness is that of determining the kind of training program that best suits them. This issue causes individuals to become impatient when attempting to adhere to a specific type of training. The impatience brought on by this issue is simply due to expecting quick short-term results, which sadly will not occur. Different training styles are better suited for specific fitness goals and have their respected benefits, meaning the goal is ultimately the main factor when determining the style of training that best suits the individual. If the goal is tone up, maintain, or lose weight, individuals can benefit greatly by utilizing a push/pull/legs training split. 

            The push/pull/legs split allows the individual to proportionately target all of the main muscle groups without reaching full fatigue. This style of training is easier on the body and can be used in many different ways to best adhere to the individual. This training split focuses on targeting muscles that all perform the same type of action, thus “push/pull/legs”. Breaking down muscle groups based off of action can help individuals optimize their training. For beginner’s I would suggest utilizing the 3 or 4-day training split and for advanced I would suggest utilizing the 5 or 6-day training split. Since this style of training doesn’t force muscle groups to full fatigue and requires less overall recovery, this split can optimize an individual’s cutting/toning program. I personally use the 6-day push/pull/split while running a caloric deficit/cutting program and has provided the best results for myself.

 The most common ways to run this split:

 3-Day Push/Pull/Legs Split:

            Push – Monday

            Pull – Wednesday

            Legs – Friday

 4-Day Push/Pull/Legs Split:

            Push – Monday

            Pull – Tuesday

            Legs – Thursday

            Push or Pull – Friday

Or

            Push – Monday

            Legs – Tuesday

            Pull – Thursday

            Legs – Friday

 5-Day Push/Pull/Legs Split:

            Push – Monday

            Pull – Tuesday

            Legs – Wednesday

            Push – Thursday

            Pull – Friday

Or

            Legs – Monday

            Push – Tuesday

            Pull – Wednesday

            Legs – Thursday

            Push – Friday

 6-Day Push/Pull/Legs Split: (Best utilized while in a caloric surplus)

            Push – Monday

            Pull – Tuesday

            Legs – Wednesday

            Push – Thursday

            Pull – Friday

            Legs – Saturday

 

            Understanding the muscle groups involved with each muscle action is crucial when developing a push/pull/legs training program. Each workout needs to revolve around 1-2 main compound movements for a given action. A push focused workout needs to be built around these compound movements; barbell bench press, dumbbell incline press, and dumbbell military press. A pull focused workout needs to be built around these compound movements; barbell bent rows, wide-grip lat pulldown, dumbbell reverse flys. A leg focused workout needs to be built around these compound movements; barbell back squat, barbell front squat, Romanian deadlift. Once the main movement has been determined, then 1-2 accessory movements needs to be utilized to help proportionately target that specific muscle group. Each workout in this split should range from 6-8 total different movements. The muscles targeted during a push focused workout consist of chest, triceps, anterior and lateral deltoids. The muscles targeted during a pull focused workout consist of back, biceps and rear deltoids. The muscles targeted during a leg focused workout consist of hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, hip flexors and calves.

Example Push Workout:

            Barbell Bench Press- x 12, 10, 10, 8

            Dumbbell Incline Press- x 10, 10, 8

            Bodyweight Dips- 3 x 8-12

            Dumbbell Military Press- x 10, 10, 8, 8

            Dumbbell Lateral Raise- x 15, 12, 12

            Straight Bar Cable Pushdown- x 15, 15, 12, 12

 Example Pull Workout:

            Barbell Bent Rows-  12, 10, 10, 8

            Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown- x 12, 10, 10

            Wide-Grip Pull-Ups- 3 x 8-12

            Dumbbell Reverse Flys- x 12, 10, 10, 8

            Smith Machine Upright Rows- x 12, 10, 10

            Straight Bar Curl- x 15, 15, 12, 12

 Example Leg Workout:

            Barbell Back Squat- x 12, 10, 10, 8

            Leg Press- x 12, 10, 10, 8

            Romanian Deadlift- x 12, 10, 10

            Dumbbell Split Squat- 3 x 6 (each leg)

            Quad Extension Machine- x 15, 12, 12

            Hamstring Curl Machine- x 15, 12, 12

 

            I hope this article provided some insight over how to structure a push/pull/legs training program. Understanding the anatomical breakdown of the specific muscle actions is crucial when aiming to formulate a specific training program. Each individual’s specific fitness goal will help determine the type of training program that will be suit them. My previous blog posts “How to structure a weight loss program”, “Guide to hypertrophy training”, and “How to structure a training program” provide more insight over various forms of training and can potentially answer any questions that may arise from this article. Give these workouts a shot and let me know what you think!