6 Day Push/Pull/Legs (PPL) Powerbuilding Workout Split & Meal Plan

Nick Ludlow
Written By: Nick Ludlow
July 21st, 2014
Updated: March 23rd, 2021
6 Day Push/Pull/Legs (PPL) Workout Split & Meal Plan
This 6 day push/pull/legs workout routine split is a high volume, rest-pause system designed for intermediate lifters looking to gain muscle and strength.
Workout Summary

Workout Description

Bulldozer Training inspired me to a created a push/pull/legs routine employing heavy, medium, and light loads during each workout.

Each workout starts out with a compound lift using a 15 rep goal over 5 sets. If you exceed the rep goal by 0-3 reps then add 2.5-5lbs to the working weight the next time you perform the exercise. If you exceed the rep goal by 4+ reps then add 5-10lbs to the working weight.

Starting out with a heavy compound lift will is a great way to increase central nervous system (CNS) activity, improve strength, and gain confidence moving heavy loads. When picking a start weight for this lift I would recommend using your 5-6 rep max (RM).

After the 5 sets of the heavy compound lift you’re going to perform a back-off set in which you decrease the working weight by 20% (round to the nearly 2.5 or 5lbs) and try to perform as many quality reps as possibly (AMQRAP). This set is less taxing on the CNS and allows for some extra volume on the main compound lift of the day, which is helpful for muscle growth and reinforcing proper form. Proportionally increase the working weight of AMQRAP set by 2.5-10lbs every time you increase the weight during the 15 rep goal sets.

After the main compound movement of the day you’re going to perform rest-pause/bulldozer sets for the remainder of the workout. You will be resting 15 to 60 seconds between each set of an exercise and 2 to 3 minutes between each exercise.

The accessory work will begin with compound exercises using moderate loads and will conclude will isolation, pump-inducing exercises using relatively low loads. It’s important that you keep track of your timing in between sets – not only to optimize muscle growth but also to prevent you from being in the gym forever. I program my accessory work with high volumes and rest-pause because I believe it’s an effective way to trigger muscle growth in a short period of time while allowing me to leave the gym with a nice pump.

The exercise selection I lay out in the routine below is by no means set in stone, but I encourage you to be wise if and how you decide to make substitutions. For example, substituting conventional deadlift for sumo deadlift is completely reasonable but substituting chin-ups for another curl exercise is not advisable.  Once you pick your exercises stick with them until you stop progressing; there’s no reason to “confuse” your muscles if you’re adding reps and/or weight to the bar every time you perform an exercise.

If you’re used to low volume routines this routine will initially make you quite sore – you can either power through the soreness or gradually increase the volume over time. For example, instead of a 50 rep goal over 5 sets with shrugs you could aim for a 30 rep goal over 3 sets the 1st week, 40 reps over 4 sets the 2nd, and 50 reps over 5 sets the 3rd week.

Push/Pull/Legs Workout Schedule

  • Early-intermediate lifters should perform the routine in an every-other-day manner – Push A/Rest/Pull A/Rest/Legs A/Rest/Push B/Rest/Pull B/ Rest/Legs B/Rest/Repeat
  • Intermediate lifters should perform the routine in a 3-on/1-off manner – Push A/Pull A/Legs A/Rest/Push B/ Pull B/Legs B/Rest/Repeat
  • Advanced lifters should perform the routine in a 6-on/1-off manner – Push A/Pull A/Legs A/Push B/ Pull B/Legs B/Rest/Repeat

6 Day Push/Pull/Legs Workout

Push Workout A - Chest, Shoulders & Triceps

Exercise Sets Rep Goal Total Rest
Flat Barbell Bench Press 5 15 90-120 sec
Flat Barbell Bench Press (Use 20% less weight than your previous working sets) 1 AMQRAP N/A
Seated Behind the Neck Press 3 25 60 sec
(Weighted) Tricep Dips 3 30 60 sec
Standing Cable Crossovers 5 50 30 sec
Seated Tricep Extensions (Dumbbell, Rope, or EZ Bar) 5 50 30 sec
Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raises 5 50 15 sec

Pull Workout A - Back, Traps & Biceps

Exercise Sets Rep Goal Total Rest
Barbell Conventional Deadlift 5 15 90-120 sec
Barbell Conventional Deadlift (Use 20% less weight than your previous working sets) 1 AMQRAP N/A
(Weighted) Chin-ups 3 25 60 sec
Chest Supported Rows 3 30 60 sec
Shrugs (Dumbbell, Barbell, or Trap Bar) 5 50 30 sec
Standing Barbell Curls 5 50 30 sec
Standing Cable Reverse Fly 5 50 15 sec

Legs Workout A - Quads, Hamstrings & Calves

Exercise Sets Rep Goal Total Rest
Barbell Back Squat 5 15 90-120 sec
Barbell Back Squat (Use 20% less weight than your previous working sets) 1 AMQRAP N/A
Barbell Good Mornings 3 25 60 sec
Leg Press 3 30 60 sec
Reverse Hyperextension 5 50 30 sec
Leg Curl (Seated or Lying) 5 50 30 sec
Calf Raise (Seated or Standing) 5 50 15 sec

Push Workout B - Chest, Shoulders & Triceps

Exercise Sets Rep Goal Total Rest
Standing Overhead Press 5 15 90-120 sec
Standing Overhead Press (Use 20% less weight than your previous working sets) 1 AMQRAP N/A
Incline Bench Press (Dumbbell or Barbell) 3 25 60 sec
Close Grip Bench Press 3 30 60 sec
Seated Machine Fly 5 50 30 sec
Standing Tricep Pushdown (Rope, V-bar, or Straight Bar) 5 50 30 sec
Standing Cable Lateral Raises 5 50 15 sec

Pull Workout B - Back, Traps & Biceps

Exercise Sets Rep Goal Total Rest
Barbell Snatch Grip Deadlift 5 15 90-120
Barbell Snatch Grip Deadlift (Use 20% less weight than your previous working sets) 1 AMQRAP N/A
Barbell Rows 3 25 60 sec
(Weighted) Pull-ups 3 30 60 sec
1-arm Rows (Dumbbell or Barbell) 5 50 30 sec
Incline Dumbbell Curl 5 50 30 sec
Seated Machine Reverse Fly 5 50 15 sec

Legs Workout B - Quads, Hamstrings & Calves

Legs Workout B
Quads, Hamstrings & Calves
Exercise Sets Rep Goal Total Rest
Barbell Front Squat 5 15 90-120 sec
Barbell Front Squat (Use 20% less weight than your previous working sets) 1 AMQRAP N/A
Barbell Romanian Deadlifts 3 25 60 sec
Barbell Hip Thrusts 3 30 60 sec
Dumbbell Lunges 5 50 30 sec
Seated Leg Extensions 5 50 30 sec
Hanging Leg Raises 5 50 15 sec

Healthy breakfast foods flatlay.

Push/Pull/Legs Workout Nutrition & Supplementation

To maximize muscle size and strength gains on this high frequency, high volume program, you’ll have to EAT BIG! I recommend starting at no less than 3500 calories per day and adjusting based on how you feel and look in the mirror. If you’re not used to eating this much don’t worry if gain 3-5lbs during the first two weeks; most of that is water and glycogen as a result of your increased carbohydrate and overall calorie intake. After the first two weeks I would aim to gain 0.5-1lb of bodyweight per week.

The meal and supplementation plan outlined below provides at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight (for a 180lb male), 0.5 grams of fat per pound of bodyweight, 30 grams of dietary fiber, 1000 milligrams of calcium, 350 milligrams of magnesium, 15 milligrams of zinc, and 18 milligrams of iron.

Sample 3,500 Calorie Muscle Building Meal Plan

Nutrition Totals:

  • 3,510 calories
  • 235g protein
  • 367g carbs
  • 132g fat
  • 59g fiber
  • 1550mg calcium
  • 176% daily value of calcium.
Time Meal Nutrition

07:00

Wake Up

   
07:30

1 to 2 cups of coffee; 1 serving multivitamin (general health), 2-3g EPA/DHA fish oil (general health & inflammation control).

50 calories, 0g protein, 0g carbs, 5.5g fat, 0g fiber, 0mg calcium

8:00

Breakfast

6 large eggs, 1.5 cups fresh blueberries, 4 slices of turkey bacon, 1.5 cups of sliced mushrooms, 1 cup of sliced green peppers, 1 ounce of Swiss cheese.

845 calories, 60g protein, 43g carbs, 49g fat, 9g fiber, 420mg calcium

12:00

Lunch

0.5 cup dry-measure jasmine rice, 6 ounces of roasted turkey breast, 1 cup steamed spinach, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 large red delicious apple.

886 calories, 63g protein, 122g carbs, 18g fat, 9g fiber, 410mg calcium

16:00

Pre Workout Snack

2 slices of whole wheat bread, 3 tablespoons of peanut butter, 1 cup of whole milk, 1 scoop of whey protein, 1.5 cups sliced strawberries.

737 calories, 49g protein, 68g carbs, 32g fat, 12g fiber, 520mg calcium

17:30

Pre Workout

0 to 300mg of caffeine (energy), 5g creatine (power output), 500mg agmatine sulfate (muscle pumps), 2000mg citrulline malate (muscle pumps), and 3000mg beta-alanine (muscular endurance)

 

18:00-19:30

Workout

10 to 15g of BCAAs intra-workout (recovery & fatigue management). Nutrition – 60 calories, 15g protein, 0g carbs, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0mg calcium  

20:00

Dinner

4 ounces dry-measure whole wheat pasta, 2 cups of tomato sauce, 2 cups steamed broccoli, 4 ounces raw-measure ground beef (80% lean/20% fat).

931 calories, 48g protein, 134g carbs, 28g fat, 29g fiber, 200mg calcium

23:00

Bed

1 serving of ZMA (relaxation & nervous system recovery)  

Recovery & Sleep

Proper recovery is paramount for a routine with this much volume, intensity, and frequency. Aim for at least 7 to 9 hours of non-interrupted, quality sleep every night.

If your schedule allows for midday napping I would highly encourage this as well. Most of us working the 9-to-5 desk job are unable to nap during the workweek so at a bare minimum, nap 15 to 30 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays. These naps will improve muscular recovery, improve memory recall, and improve short-term alertness.

To optimize sleep hygiene I recommend abstaining from looking at a digital screen 1 to 2 hours pre-bed. Artificial light interferes with your body’s natural circadian rhythm and melatonin release. If you must work on your computer in the evenings consider free software like f.lux, which “makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.”

As you enter your bedroom take note of the room darkness. If it’s not pitch black, consider removing any nightlights, adding blackout curtains to cover the windows, and/or using a sleep mask. Also consider room temperature – most people sleep the soundest when the room temperature is between 75 and 54 degrees Fahrenheit. I have personally found a room temperature of 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit to be optimal for me.

Once you lay down, before you drift off to sleep, consider mattress comfort and outside noise levels. Optimal mattress firmness is relative to the individual but if your mattress has become overly soft and saggy, then I encourage you to invest in a new mattress as soon as possible – the benefits far outweigh the financial costs.

If you lay down hear the neighborhood cat caterwauling or the tenants in 3B making a racket then utilize ear plugs or a white noise machine. Ear plugs are an inexpensive and portable but they may fall out of your ears throughout the night. A white noise machine provides constant outside noise minimization but requires electricity to function and is significantly more expensive than earplugs.

Once you’ve optimized your sleep environment based on the aforementioned parameters I guarantee your recovery and energy will improve.

Post your post-workout swolfies in M&S gear on IG and tag @muscleandstrength, #muscleandstrength, or DM them to us to get a shoutout on Muscle & Strength stories!

411 Comments
HAN
Posted on: Fri, 08/27/2021 - 03:50

Hi, First of all, Thanks for the Workout.
Actually, I have wonder that "Is it possible Squatting the day after Deadlifting?" ever RPE 6~7 level??

I want to make habit that I go to the gym everyday. So I decided to start 6 times a week workout. But This is really confused.....

Im not a roider.....

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 09/09/2021 - 19:59

Hi there, yes it is possible to do squats after deadlifts. The weight you use may not be the same, but it can still be done effectively. What else are you confused about with this program?

Also for clarity, our programs are not influenced by whether anyone uses or doesn't.

Kush Parihar
Posted on: Thu, 08/19/2021 - 13:49

What kind of diet plan fo I follow if I wanna do push pull legs workout to get better and faster result

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 09/07/2021 - 09:49

Hi, Kush. Follow the plan that is included with the article to achieve the best results possible.

Sriky
Posted on: Sat, 07/31/2021 - 08:08

Hi, I have a query with regard to the supplements.The sample diet shows an excellent path to build my own dietary plan. I intend to take all the necessary supplements,however of I wish to incorporate creatine,what time of the day will help me achieve good productivity.
Thanks

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Marina
Posted on: Wed, 08/04/2021 - 20:10

Hey Sriky -

Definitely check out our Creatine Expert Guide. We talk about benefits, side effects, dosages & answer FAQ. You'll also learn about optimal timing for creatine:
https://www.muscleandstrength.com/expert-guides/creatine-monohydrate

Ahmad
Posted on: Tue, 07/20/2021 - 23:02

Hello.
Which exercise would be the most appropriate to substitute with weighted push-ups?

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Abigail
Posted on: Wed, 07/21/2021 - 11:17

Hey Ahmad - you can do regular push ups

Steve
Posted on: Sat, 07/10/2021 - 07:11

This looks great, are there any variations on the Push exercises I should do if I won't always have a training partner available? Thanks!

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Abigail
Posted on: Mon, 07/12/2021 - 11:17

Hey Steve - a training partner isn't required for this program.

Deschant
Posted on: Thu, 06/24/2021 - 09:50

I may have been following this program wrong for the past 2 months. The Rep Goal Total, is that how many reps I have to do per set? or how many I need to do over all my sets for a specific exercise?

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Abigail
Posted on: Mon, 06/28/2021 - 09:10

Hey Deschant - the rep goal total is the total for all of the sets. So if you have 5 sets with a 15 rep goal, you'll do 5 sets of 3 reps.

Lawrence Knight
Posted on: Mon, 08/16/2021 - 14:11

What should you do if 3 reps feels to easy

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 09/02/2021 - 18:03

Hi, Lawrence. Do as many reps as you can or add weight if you want to stick to three reps.

Asir Nael
Posted on: Mon, 06/14/2021 - 02:02

Does this training program interact the core as well? Because I want that six/eight pack too!

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Abigail
Posted on: Mon, 06/14/2021 - 10:21

Hey Asir - this training program does incorporate some abs, however, if you want to add more abs into the program, check out this ab workout: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/core-destroyer-8-week-home-ab...

Andrew U
Posted on: Sat, 06/12/2021 - 11:41

What’s a good alternative for the leg press at home with dumbbells or a barbell?

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Abigail
Posted on: Mon, 06/14/2021 - 10:21

Hey Andrew - check out this article for alternatives: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/lower-body-alternatives-your-...

matija
Posted on: Tue, 06/08/2021 - 12:48

hey Nick, i love this program but isn't 235g of protein a little too much?

Rashed
Posted on: Sun, 06/06/2021 - 12:19

Hi Nick!

Amazing program been on it for the past 5 months and haven’t found a program like it. All the compound movements are great and hit every muscle I should be hitting and was wondering if I could keep using it?

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Abigail
Posted on: Mon, 06/07/2021 - 10:02

Hey Rashed - yes you can totally keep using this program. Glad you're loving it!

Jay
Posted on: Wed, 06/02/2021 - 08:29

Hi, i did pull workout B and i feel like i havent trained my biceps enough, is there an exercise that i can swap for a bicep exercise? (I dont have machines)

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Abigail
Posted on: Fri, 06/04/2021 - 09:50

Hey Jay - definitely give the program some time. It's not recommended to add additional exercises to the program.

Luke
Posted on: Thu, 05/27/2021 - 17:05

Hi sorry another question, is this good for cutting weight (of course counting calories is most important) also, is something that good for football/soccer players?

Luke
Posted on: Tue, 05/25/2021 - 10:17

Hi again, is this a good workout for someone who plays football/soccer.? Also, is there a swap for the wide snatch grip as I’m not able to perform them currently.

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Abigail
Posted on: Fri, 05/28/2021 - 09:22

Hey Luke - yes, you can do this program in addition to soccer. Make sure you're eating enough, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep to keep your recovery in check. You can do traditional deadlifts or sumo deadlifts to replace the snatch grip deadlifts.

Luke
Posted on: Fri, 05/28/2021 - 19:04

Thanks again

Luke
Posted on: Tue, 05/18/2021 - 11:03

Hey, loving the plan. But I have poor ankle mobility through injuries, any advice or swaps for the front squats??

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Abigail
Posted on: Wed, 05/19/2021 - 10:08

Hey Luke - you can try goblet squats, Bulgarian split squats, or hack squats.

Luke
Posted on: Wed, 05/19/2021 - 13:09

Thanks so much. Really enjoying This!

Andrew
Posted on: Fri, 05/14/2021 - 09:23

How do you exceed the reps on the 5 sets of 3 to know when you increase weight? Or just guess based on RPE? Or should I push to failure on each set until I dial in the weight?

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Abigail
Posted on: Mon, 05/17/2021 - 11:18

Hey Andrew - you can use a combo of RPE and failure. Ideally, you don't want to be reaching failure on your sets.

David
Posted on: Wed, 05/05/2021 - 10:53

This is perfect! I am transitioning from the 6 day dumbbell M&S workout I was doing during lockdown and hitting bigger weights now at the gym. Thank you.

Cameron
Posted on: Sun, 05/02/2021 - 06:12

I’ve been using this program for 2 weeks and I’m just wondering, is this enough for arm growth as there aren’t many exercises for the triceps and biceps. For me, arms is an area I need to develop a lot more so should I add more exercises or just stick this original routine out?

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Abigail
Posted on: Mon, 05/03/2021 - 10:18

Hey Cameron - this program incorporates a lot of compound movements that work more than just the target muscles. If you're still not seeing the growth you want after completing the program, you can switch up the program.

poster18232
Posted on: Tue, 04/27/2021 - 10:18

Are these workouts computer generated or something? Who does behind the neck presses anymore?

Aykhan
Posted on: Sun, 04/25/2021 - 16:26

Hello on workouts that are 3 sets 25 reps in totall how much do i do per set because 25 can not be divided by 3

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Abigail
Posted on: Mon, 04/26/2021 - 11:20

Hey Aykhan - you'll do 2 sets of 8 and one set of 9.

Josh
Posted on: Sat, 04/24/2021 - 10:10

Hello on workouts that are 3 sets of 25 reps like seated behind neck press how do i do it because 25 isnt divisible by 3 ?

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Abigail
Posted on: Mon, 04/26/2021 - 11:19

Hey Josh - you'll do 2 sets of 8 and one set of 9.

Aykhan Polad
Posted on: Fri, 04/23/2021 - 07:04

Hello on 1 arm rows it is 5 sets of 50 i am wondering if it is 5 sets of 50 each arm which makes 10 reps of 50 or 5 sets of 50 both combined

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Abigail
Posted on: Fri, 04/23/2021 - 10:23

Hey Aykhan - the 50 reps is the goal over 5 sets. You'll do 5 sets of 10 for each arm.

Bobby
Posted on: Fri, 04/16/2021 - 22:29

So because of work I wake up at 4 and go to the gym around 5-530, how would you reccomend to do the meal plan to accommodate for that kind of schedule?

Curtis
Posted on: Wed, 05/12/2021 - 23:26

Cut meals in half. This will typically increase your metabolic rate. Focus on carbs and protein in the morning like Whey protein, oatmeal, and honey or fruit. This will power you workout (consume about 1 he before). Eat more protein and carbs after your work out like, egg whites, whole wheat toast and more fruit, this will kick start recovery. I do this every morning. Works for me, but might need to be twerked to work for you.

GT
Posted on: Thu, 04/15/2021 - 05:51

Hey can I superset this routine? i.e. finish one exercise then go straight onto the next and rest after I have finished one full round of exercises or do they need to be completed individually?

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Abigail
Posted on: Thu, 04/15/2021 - 09:27

Hey GT - exercises need to be completed individually.

Ahmad
Posted on: Wed, 04/07/2021 - 00:55

I noticed the lack of chest dips. I love this exercise, it's probably the best for chest. Which exercise should I replace with chest drips? I don't want to simply add the chest dips anywhere, since the workout is long enoigh.

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Abigail
Posted on: Wed, 04/07/2021 - 11:13

Hey Ahmad - you can replace the tricep dips on day 1 for chest dips.

Ahmad
Posted on: Wed, 04/07/2021 - 12:01

I'm worried about imbalance. Shouldn't I also change a chest exercise to a tricep one so I can I have as much benefit for my triceps as I do for the chest?

Derek
Posted on: Mon, 04/05/2021 - 09:37

If we choose a 6RM for the first exercise and only perform 3 reps for each set, how do we know when to progressively overload and increase that weight? Should we target AMRAP for the last of the five sets instead of 3, to see if we can exceed 6?

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