This 12 week push, pull, legs workout was designed specifically for women looking to build lean muscle and lose unwanted fat. Read on to learn more!
Workout Summary
  • Main Goal
    Build Muscle
  • Workout Type
    Split
  • Training Level
    Intermediate
  • Program Duration12 weeks
  • Days Per Week
    6
  • Time Per Workout45-75 minutes
  • Equipment Required
    Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, Machines
  • Target Gender Female
  • Recommended Supps
  • Workout PDF Download Workout

Workout Description

When it comes to the discussion on which workout training split is the absolute best for building lean muscle, the push, pull, legs (PPL) split comes up a lot.

And, it’s easy to understand why.

With PPL splits, you can effectively train each muscle group twice and with a fair amount of volume each time.

How does this benefit women’s specific training?

Due to the increased frequency and the way the workouts are split apart, you can find a perfect balance between compound lifts that will help you build strength and isolation lifts that’ll help your overall muscle tone.

Now, it does have its shortcomings. It requires you to go to the gym up to 6 times per week - which is a huge ask if you’re a busy individual.

However, for those who have the time to dedicate to the following split - you’ll absolutely love the results.

12 Week PPL Split for Women

The workout below is a push, pull, legs split designed specifically for women who have plenty of time to devote to the gym and who have goals to transform their physique.

The program combines both compound and isolation work. The compound lifts will be heavier by nature, allowing you to get stronger while maximizing the amount of calories burned along the way. The isolation work will be much lighter and the focus will be on feeling the muscle work throughout the movement.

On your heavier lifts, you will want to rest for up to 3 full minutes in between sets. For the lighter isolation work, keep rest fairly low and in between 30-45 seconds.

The workout can be used by either those with fat loss goals or muscle building goals. The main difference between the goals relies heavily on the amount of calories you consume each day and the way in which you progress your workouts during the 12 weeks.

For those looking to build muscle and strength with this program, aim to increase the weight you use during the 12 week period and eat in a slight calorie surplus.

For those looking to lose fat and develop toned muscle with this program, aim to decrease the total duration of your workout over the 12 week period (by decreasing rest periods) and eat in a slight calorie deficit.

Monday: Push Workout for Women

Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3 8
Shoulder Machine Press 3 8
Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8
Incline Bench Press Machine 3 8
Eccentric Only Dips 3 8

Tuesday: Pull Workout for Women

Exercise Sets Reps
Bent Over Dumbbell Row 3 8
Seated Cable Row 3 8
Lat Pull Down 3 8
Underhand Lat Pull Down 3 8
Dumbbell Curl 3 8
Ab Crunch 3 20
Ab Bicycle 3 20 Each

Wednesday: Legs Workout for Women

Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 3 8
Romanian Deadlift 3 8
Hip Thrust 3 8
One Leg Leg Press 3 8
Leg Press Calf Raise 3 12
Seated Calf Raise 3 12

Friday: Push Workout for Women

Exercise Sets Reps
Lateral Raise 3 12-15
Weight Plate Front Raise 3 12-15
Incline Dumbbell Press 3 12-15
Pec Deck 3 12-15
Rope Press Down 3 12-15
Skullcrusher 3 12-15
Hanging Leg Raise 3 12
Plank 3 1 Min

Saturday: Pull Workout for Women

Exercise Sets Reps
Machine Row 3 12-15
One Arm Dumbbell Row 3 12-15 Each
Cable Face Pull 3 15-20
V-Bar Pull Down 3 12-15
Shotgun Row 3 12-15
Cable Curl 3 12-15
Preacher Curl 3 12-15

Sunday: Legs Workout for Women

Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Press 3 12-15
Goblet Squat 3 12-15
Dumbbell Stiff Legged Deadlift 3 12-15
Leg Curl 3 12-15
Hyperextension 3 12-15
Bodyweight Glute Bridge 3 15
Standing Calf Raise 3 15-20

Pull, Push, Legs Workout for Women Notes

The workout above is a template of what a PPL workout split looks like for women.

The workout covers every single body part, hitting them each twice throughout the week.

As mentioned, PPL splits require a lot of effort and getting to the gym 6 times a week isn’t always easy. However, it does allow you to maximize your weight training.

For those looking to lose body fat - this means you won’t have to spend all of your time on a piece of cardio equipment. And for those looking to build muscle - you effectively hit each muscle group to promote quality lean muscle growth.

If you have any questions about the program whatsoever, please leave them in the comments section below!

128 Comments
khushi
Posted on: Wed, 04/17/2024 - 07:36

hi, im particularly focusing on fat and weight loss, will this program help me achieve my goals? I'm 5'2 and weigh 143 lbs

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 04/17/2024 - 17:20

So long as your nutrition, cardio, and recovery also support fat loss, then yes, this program can help you reach those goals.

Thanks for reading M&S, and please keep us posted on your progress.

MaryT
Posted on: Tue, 03/12/2024 - 23:01

I'm wanting to do the PPL on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays. Would you suggest I just combine the 2 days of push/pull into one - or ...?

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 03/23/2024 - 16:41

It would make for a long day, Mary. But if you must do M, W, and F, then combining the two days would be how to do it.

Melis
Posted on: Fri, 01/26/2024 - 06:57

i wanted to know how i could incorporate a HIIT workout in this program.

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 01/29/2024 - 19:59

You could do it after the weight training or at a different time of the day, Melis. Hope this helps.

Jewell Folsom
Posted on: Mon, 01/08/2024 - 10:13

Because of my schedule it is easier for me to workout Monday through Saturday and taking the Sunday off instead of Thursday. Will this be okay?

Toqa Anis
Posted on: Sun, 07/02/2023 - 09:47

Something was mentioned above about the heavier lifts, I want to have a better vision about the weights I’m supposed to train with to get the best outcome.
You can explain with an example weight, and I’ll get the idea and apply it on my weights.

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 07/07/2023 - 06:33

Hopefully this example will help, Toqa. Let's use the leg press. In the workout it looks like this.

Leg Press 3 12-15

So set 1 could be 135 pounds for 15 reps with a level 8 effort. Set 2 could be 185 pounds for 15 reps with a level 9 effort. Then comes set 3. 225 pounds for 12 reps but it is a level 10 effort. You stayed in the range, and you went all out on that last set. If you can apply those efforts with the weights you use, you should be good to go. Hope this helps.

Just_E
Posted on: Fri, 08/05/2022 - 02:41

Where I workout the machines and equipment are not always available when I need them when trying to complete the workout routine as shown. My question is, me not following each daily workout in the order as shown, will it make a difference?

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 08/13/2022 - 08:08

As long as you're performing exercises that will work the same muscles as those that you're not able to do, you'll be fine, E. Just give it all you got with whatever movements you need to do. If you need suggestions, check out the Exercises section at the top of the M&S site.

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 08/26/2023 - 21:34

It's the preferred order so you can get the best out of all movememnts. If your gym is set up differently or you need to do them in a different order for your own reasons, it's ok.

Mika
Posted on: Mon, 08/14/2023 - 19:58

Hey, what about the order of the exercises within a day? Is the progression of Exercise 1 > Exercise 2 > Exercise 3 etc. necessary, or could it go E2 > E1 > E3?

Thank you,

Mika

Sina Sena
Posted on: Mon, 07/18/2022 - 00:19

Hello! Excited to start this workout. I’m guessing that the first 3 workouts are with heavier weight and then a little lighter for the next three, just based on the reps per set. Correct?

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 07/26/2022 - 19:37

Exactly, Sina! Hope you enjoy the workouts, and thank you for reading M&S!

Sayna
Posted on: Fri, 07/01/2022 - 17:54

Can this program be followed for longer than 12 weeks if we are making steady progress in the lifts? Or should the exercises be swapped out for new ones after the 12weeks are up?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 07/08/2022 - 09:17

Hello, Sayna. If you're still seeing progress, keep on going! Let us know how you've done so far.

Nour
Posted on: Fri, 07/01/2022 - 11:11

Would the PPL workout work if I only want to tone my muscles and get stronger? I do not want to become bulky.
Thanks

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 07/08/2022 - 09:11

It will. As long as you don't eat excess calories, you shouldn't notice a major size change.

Catherine
Posted on: Sat, 04/30/2022 - 10:19

I think this program fits my goals and current abilities well. However, I can only get to the gym 5 times per week. Is there a way I can arrange this to so I can take Saturday and Sunday off without losing results? Thanks.

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 05/19/2022 - 21:16

Hi, Catherine. Take some of both the second push and pull workouts and combine them into an upper body session. That takes one day out of it, and you should still see positive changes.

Stacey
Posted on: Thu, 04/28/2022 - 19:57

Hi there! I’m at the end of week 4 and going strong. I know that every body is different, but I am wondering when I might start to see results? I haven’t missed a workout, and I usually add a 2 mile run as well. I have been working on nutrition, but I’m not 100% there. While I would love to lose about 10lbs, I’m less concerned with that than how my clothes fit and building muscle. Am I being impatient, or should I be seeing results by now? Thanks!

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 05/19/2022 - 21:05

Hi, Stacey. Have you done a body composition test to see if you lost fat or built muscle? Are you moving more weight now than you were when you started? Also, you mentioned you weren't 100% there with the nutrition. How far along are you? That is more important than the training. So, if that isn't right, you're fighting a major uphill battle.

Kelly
Posted on: Mon, 03/14/2022 - 14:27

I need to shed lbs on my lower body. If I do this with daily walking or 2 -3 sprint training or moderate cardio will that deliver the fat loss not tackled by muscle gain from weight training?

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 03/15/2022 - 18:01

The nutrition needs to be on point as well, Kelly. If that is the case, then you should see positive results.

Jenna
Posted on: Thu, 03/10/2022 - 18:22

Thanks so much for this workout plan! I’m on week 6 and going strong. Definitely feel and see a difference, and ready to increase a bit more volume on the weights for the last 6 weeks.
No major weight loss but I’m not concerned as I think my weight is healthy for my height and good BMI (115 and 5’2).
Following this 12-week program, I may have to cut back on number of workouts per week but would like to continue to build on this with a focus on seeing more definition in the legs which are currently strong and naturally more on the bulky side. Is there a program you can recommend as a follow-up after this one?

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 03/15/2022 - 17:58

Hi, Jenna. This one would be a good choice as a follow up, and it's only 3 days a week.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/bulldozer-training-3-day-work...

Kianna
Posted on: Thu, 02/24/2022 - 13:28

Are there recorded warm up and cool down exercises or stretches?

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 02/26/2022 - 20:18

Hi, Kianna. You can use this one for both if you like.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/the-best-15-minute-warm-up

Brook
Posted on: Sun, 01/16/2022 - 18:45

Do you recommend doing all 3 sets of each exercise before moving on to a different exercise? Or go through 1 set of each exercise and repeat 3 times? Thanks!

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 01/17/2022 - 17:59

What's good, Brook? Do all three sets of each before moving on. Hope this helps!

Rebeca
Posted on: Thu, 12/30/2021 - 05:22

Acabo de terminar un programa de entrenamiento para ganar masa muscular y llevo idea de comenzar este, pero un poco más enfocado a la pérdida de grasa, ya que con el anterior me he puesto en un índice de grasa del 25% al aumentar mis calorías. Actualmente peso 45 kg. y mido 1´50 cm. Tengo 47 años.
Como nunca he tenido problemas de peso, soy incapaz de hacer dieta y reducir mis calorías diarias, además me afecta psicológicamente si empiezo a contar calorías, macros, etc.
Es esta situación, cuál sería la estrategia a seguir para eliminar esa grasa sobrante? Hacer algo de cardio? Soy impaciente y cambio de programas con facilidad... Algún consejo sobre esto?
Muchas gracias!
Saludos desde Zaragoza, España!

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 12/30/2021 - 21:57

Sí, Rebeca. Agregue de 20 a 30 minutos de entrenamiento cardiovascular en intervalos de alta intensidad tres o cuatro veces por semana. Sin embargo, la realidad es que puede ser necesaria paciencia. La consistencia es lo que finalmente da sus frutos. Tómate ocho semanas para ver si algo cambia. Si no ve resultados en ese momento, haga un cambio.

For those that can't read Spanish...

I just finished a training program to gain muscle mass and I have the idea of ​​starting this one, but a little more focused on fat loss, since with the previous one I have put myself at a fat index of 25% by increasing my calories. Currently I weigh 45 kg. and I measure 1´50 cm. I am 47 years old.
As I have never had weight problems, I am unable to diet and reduce my daily calories, it also affects me psychologically if I start counting calories, macros, etc.
In this situation, what would be the strategy to follow to eliminate that excess fat? Do some cardio? I'm impatient and switch programs easily ... Any advice on this?
Thanks a lot!
Greetings from Zaragoza, Spain!

My answer: Yes, Rebeca. Add 20-30 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training cardio three to four times a week. However, the reality is patience may be necessary. Consistency is what eventually pays off. Give yourself eight weeks to see if anything changes. If you see no results by that time, then make a switch.

Rebeca
Posted on: Fri, 12/31/2021 - 04:43

Thank you very much, Roger! Happy New year to all the readers!

Lorrayn
Posted on: Tue, 12/28/2021 - 17:08

I started this program alone but was thinking about restarting it with my brother since he's wanting to hit the gym with me. I know it's advertised for women but would a male be okay following along too? Or should there be any adjustments? Thank you in advance!

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 12/29/2021 - 09:16

Hi, Lorrayn. Your brother could perform this workout as well. I wouldn't worry about adjustments.

Joy Annette Nevarez
Posted on: Mon, 12/13/2021 - 21:42

Will this split will work for me if I mainly want to grow my legs?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 12/17/2021 - 15:21

Hi, Joy. You should notice an improvement in leg size so long as you're eating to support gaining size.

Yasmin
Posted on: Fri, 12/10/2021 - 13:04

Or is there anyway to follow it 4 days a week(push pull leg too)

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 12/10/2021 - 17:51

Hi, Yasmin. Perform each workout once. That makes three days. Next, determine which part needs the most improvement. If it's legs, then do legs twice a week. If it's either push or pull, do that one twice.

So a split may look like this if you choose to do legs twice.

M- Legs
T- Push
W - Off
Th-Pull
Fri-Legs
Weekend Off
Hope that helps!

Yasmin
Posted on: Sat, 12/11/2021 - 05:31

Thank you so much

Naomi
Posted on: Sun, 10/10/2021 - 18:39

Can this routine be done along with Crossfit WODs?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 10/18/2021 - 21:04

Naomi, you may want to perform this program on its own. If you decide to do it while training in CrossFit, then definitely do these workouts on different days than your WODs. Hope this helps.

Kei
Posted on: Sat, 08/21/2021 - 00:29

Hi! I just want to say thank you so much for this first off. I was in a rut bc I’ve been working out the past 2 years and started building muscle but just felt like there was more I could be doing without overworking myself! I started searching for a trainer and none of my local trainers have a schedule that’s compatible with what I needed so my bf recommended a push pull routine and i stumbled across this. I just completed my first week and I want to say even though I’m not always Drenched in sweat or tired, the intended muscles groups for each exercise always feel like they’ve been worked on and I love it. Your descriptions on form and what not to do are unmatched!

My question is I saw you recommend cardio for 30 mins 2-3 a week after the workout, what type of cardio do you recommend for a small stubborn amount of belly fat ?

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 09/07/2021 - 20:56

Hi, Kei. Glad you like the workout. You can perform steady state cardio on an elliptical or stair master after the training. Those two machines should help you get rid of that bodyfat!

Shanna
Posted on: Fri, 07/16/2021 - 19:07

Started this workout this week, though I have been working out off and on for about 2 years, but I was more consistent pre-covid, now staring to get back into a more consistent routine. My goals are fat loss and lean muscle. I am in a calorie deficit eating a high protein diet. My question is I finish the daily workout exactly as written but not winded or really tired. I have added cardio, LISS some days being 20 minutes on a rowing machine or 12% Incline at 3mph on a treadmill. Am I not lifting enough weight or should I add more exercises each day? Want to focus more on burning fat, as I build muscle easily.

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Abigail
Posted on: Mon, 07/19/2021 - 09:32

Hey Shanna - being winded or tired at the end of a workout isn't a great indicator of how effective the workout was. Stick with the program for the entire duration and progress will come!

Marta
Posted on: Tue, 07/13/2021 - 04:56

How can I introduce cardio to workout plan like this?

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Abigail
Posted on: Tue, 07/13/2021 - 09:47

Hey Marta - you can do cardio 2-3 times per week after your workout.

Rebecca Amaral
Posted on: Mon, 03/29/2021 - 07:09

I'm excited to start, although I have a couple of questions. I work out at home, and don't have to many options:

1. Machine alternatives will they effect the program?

2. Increasing weight every two weeks might be difficult as I'd have to go up 10 lbs, would increasing reps be an alternative? Or going higher in weight and less in reps?

Thank you