6 Day Push, Pull, Legs Powerbuilding Split & Meal Plan

Hungry for some serious gym time and crazy gains? Nick Ludlow helps you to go heavy, go hard and improve your results with this intense, high volume rest-pause workout.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Split
Intermediate
12 weeks
6
45-60 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Dumbbells, Machines
Male & Female
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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.

Dumbbell Press

Starting out with a heavy compound lift will is a great way to increase central nervous system (CNS) activity, increase strength, and gain confidence moving heavy loads.

Lifting & Rest Day Scheduling

  • 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
Push 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 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 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 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 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 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

Bulking eating plan

To maximize muscle size and strength gains on this high volume program, you’ll have to eat big. I recommend starting at no less than 3500 calories per day.

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.

Nutrition for the Day – 3,510 calories, 235g protein, 367g carbs, 132g fat, 59g fiber, 1550mg calcium, 176% daily value of calcium.

3,500 Calorie Meal Plan
Muscle Building Diet
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!

221 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Fri, 08/23/2019 - 13:11
Victor

Can you do this routine with only hypertrophy rep ranges? Mediate weight and high reps 8-12? I prefer that way of training, always have. I find no joy in lifting heavy as fuck for 5 reps. I kinda like the burning sensation and the pump you get from higher reps.

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Posted Tue, 08/13/2019 - 22:40
harmlezz

hi. i have completed this programe and gain 3kg after 12 weeks. any suggestions to continue or change to new programe. i am trying 3 days instead of 6 days, but feel so light.

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Posted Sun, 08/11/2019 - 14:55
Anthony

On my rest day, am I supposed to stick to the meal plan?

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Posted Fri, 08/09/2019 - 12:54
Christian Ramsay

Is this for strength gain or muscle gain?

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Posted Mon, 08/12/2019 - 14:06
JoshEngland

Hi Christian,

Both.

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Posted Mon, 07/29/2019 - 23:46
Devin Finneren

I'm planning to do this workout earlier in the day, how would you recommend adjusting the meal plan to accommodate this?

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Posted Tue, 07/23/2019 - 22:14
Troy

I recently started following the meal plan outlined here. Where do the caloric/macro-nutrient facts come from? I’ve been following his diet exactly and it does not appear to be 3,500 calories nor does it seem to follow the 40%/40%/20% of macros.

Very curious because Nick, the author, and all the guys here seem knowledgeable and helpful.

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Posted Tue, 07/16/2019 - 20:08
george

Hey,
What's about the compount lifts? we have to do 5x3 working sets in the same weight except the warm ups?

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Posted Thu, 07/04/2019 - 08:28
Alex

I know this site considers an intermediate lifter someone who has trained 1-3 years, but does that refer to consistent training? I have a lot of weightlifting experience but have also had long periods of inactivity in-between. I've been in the gym for roughly 5 months on my latest stint, but probably have 3+ years of intermittent overall experience in my past. So am I intermediate or novice?

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Posted Wed, 06/26/2019 - 06:04
GymNewbie

The "Seated Tricep Extensions" links to https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/rope-tricep-extension.html. Which is the correct exercise for Push A?

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Posted Wed, 06/26/2019 - 00:28
Farhan

Hey! I am looking to use this program to lose fat and gain a lot of muscle mass over this summer, would this program truly help with those goals? And I was however planning to do cardio around 7-8am in the morning and run a mile or two to gain a lot of fat as I have heard within the early mornings is the time the fatty tissue burns in the most efficient matter. Do you think this will be a detriment to me workouts however? Or will I be completely fine doing the cardio early in morning. Please respond, thank you!

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Posted Tue, 06/18/2019 - 09:44
Randy

Can I do 3x8 instead of 5x3? And maybe skip the amrap since I get more volume from 3x8. And if I get like 10 reps I up the weight... I have recently been lifting heavy weights alot and wanted to lighten it up just a little bit

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Posted Sun, 06/09/2019 - 01:54
Meg

Hey,
So I have been using this workout routine (along with just eating clean) for more than a month now and I am seeing a little difference. However, my weight isn't decreasing at all and overall also I feel there is a lot of body fat. What should I do to reduce this? (This is for a female)
Thanks!

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Posted Fri, 06/07/2019 - 18:43
Andrew Pollesel

Hi there,
Looks like a great workout, excited to try it. I have a question for Push A, Flat Barbell Bench Press. When it says 5 sets at 15 Rep Total, is that 5 sets at 3 Reps? If so I'd be using a heavy load correct?
Thank you in advance.

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Posted Fri, 04/19/2019 - 03:53
harmlezz

what does the "15 rep goa over 3 setl" mean? could i do 3×5?

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Posted Fri, 04/19/2019 - 10:15
JoshEngland

Hi Harmlezz,

Yes, that is correct.

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Posted Sat, 04/06/2019 - 17:19
Simon

Josh, what program or specific changes would you suggest to follow after the program above. I have been doing it diligently for 12 weeks and I am hitting plateaus pretty much everywhere. Thanks!

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Posted Mon, 04/08/2019 - 10:32
JoshEngland

Hi Simon,

It depends on your goals at this point. I'd recommend doing a deload and then checking out any of these workouts once you've decided on your next goal: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workout-routines

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Posted Wed, 03/20/2019 - 19:28
Ahmed

Hello,I have some questions
First,there are some workouts that are tootle forgotten like decline bench press .Can i add it and where to add ??
Secondly,second what is the difference between the convintional,snatch grip and romanian deadlifts
Lastly,can i switch the places of the workouts ? for example,the flat and incline bench press

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Posted Wed, 03/20/2019 - 16:26
Jack

How about very overweight guys who want to get there to? Any suggestions?

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Posted Fri, 03/08/2019 - 09:19
Tyler

I was wondering the best way to tailor your meal plan to my schedule. I workout in the morning before work, what would you suggest?

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Posted Thu, 03/07/2019 - 11:42
tino

do weights have to be increased between one series and another?

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Posted Fri, 03/08/2019 - 09:49
JoshEngland

Hi Tino,

Not necessarily. Over time, however, you should aim to increase the weight used on each exercise.

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Posted Mon, 03/04/2019 - 02:30
Ross Jeffrey

When u say intermediate how many years of training are we talking? I've been wait training for a year is this program ok? If not is there a less advanced version. I'm interested in building up my strenghth in the big lifts but also building size

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Posted Mon, 03/04/2019 - 10:49
JoshEngland

Hi Ross,

You should be fine to perform this program with a year of training. Intermediate, on this website, is 1-3 years.

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Posted Tue, 03/05/2019 - 17:23
Ross Jeffrey

Thank you. Is there any way this can be altered to a 5 day split, I'm quite busy throughout the week training 6 times will be difficult

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Posted Wed, 03/06/2019 - 10:38
JoshEngland

Hi Ross,

Sure, simply cycle through the workouts listed on your training days.

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Posted Thu, 02/21/2019 - 23:50
Raj upadhhyay

I'm confused with repitation 5 sets 15reps
Per set 15? And 5 set 50 reps per set 50 reps?

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Posted Tue, 02/12/2019 - 17:01
Jonathan p

Can I add more workouts to these routines? I hear sometimes less is more. I'm having a hard time building muscle though I would say I'm an intermediate beginner at the gym( 6' 180. Can do 10 pull ups bench over 200).

Just started the first push today and felt like I could've done a lot more.

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Posted Wed, 02/13/2019 - 11:40
JoshEngland

Hi Jonathan,

Instead of increasing the number of exercises, I'd recommend increasing the weight you are using if you feel like you could do more at the end of your workout.

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Posted Wed, 09/18/2019 - 18:29
Blake Long

Confused a little. So on the first push day on flat bench it is 15 total reps right? Like a 5x3?

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Posted Mon, 01/28/2019 - 04:55
1lbird

Why are lat raises in the push day?

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Posted Wed, 09/04/2019 - 00:24
Ash

Shoulders are a pushing muscle.

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Posted Mon, 01/14/2019 - 10:16
Wellington Bajana

Stupid me was doing 50 reps for 5 sets and 30 reps for 3 sets.... and I was like this is just about impossible... took me 2 hours and I thought there was something wrong with me for taking so long...

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Posted Sat, 01/19/2019 - 09:24
omar adel

almost fell in the same trap , i said to my self this dude is training facken hulk not a normal human..

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Posted Mon, 01/14/2019 - 01:55
Andrew

Is it possible to do this routine on a cut? Would I be able to progress with lower calorie intake but keep the protein intake sufficient (1g per pound)?

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Posted Fri, 01/11/2019 - 09:42
Samantha Mendonca

This is such a great split - lots of strength gains in just a few weeks! Thank you!

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Posted Sat, 01/05/2019 - 13:46
Steff

When you say 50 reps over 5 sets is the 50 reps per set or 50 spread out over the 5 sets?

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Posted Mon, 01/07/2019 - 12:55
JoshEngland

Hi Steff,

Spread out over 5 sets.

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Posted Sun, 02/17/2019 - 01:58
Niman Shrestha

Ok but how much weight do we use in each set? Do we use straight sets or Reverse pyramid sets?

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Posted Mon, 12/31/2018 - 23:52
Nick

Has anyone done this work? It looks like a beginner workout. I’m looking for a workout that will help with strength and is hard to finish. Thoughts?

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Posted Wed, 01/02/2019 - 12:04
JoshEngland

Hi Nick,

This program will help with those goals.

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Posted Fri, 01/11/2019 - 09:44
Samantha Mendonca

I wouldn't say it is a beginner workout - I am seeing a lot of progress with it, especially on my main lifts, and I have been lifting weights for years

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Posted Mon, 12/17/2018 - 02:04
Calin

Hey. One question .... i can't go 6 days in a week to the gym ... i want to do push/pull/legs/rest/push/pull/rest/push/pull/legs/rest/push/pull.....

Should i încercase the volume în leg day ?

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Posted Sat, 11/10/2018 - 16:01
Sunny H

Hey!! Just wondering when could you incorporate abs in this schedule ?

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Posted Wed, 10/24/2018 - 09:17
Steven lynn

Hi how would you progress the rep range in the volume training? Would you just add 1 extra rep each week then up the weight after a couple of weeks?

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Posted Wed, 10/24/2018 - 10:10
JoshEngland

Hi Steven,

Personally, yes. That is how I would progress - when you up the weight, you may have to drop the volume slightly.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 09/26/2018 - 08:37
Dave

Heya!

About the rep scheme, let's have an example of lateral raises, if I can only lift 3 sets of 10 and then I notice that I won't be able to reach 10 again, should I lower the weight and reach the 50 or should I always stick with the same weight until I'm able to reach the rep goal and then progress?

Example:

Scenario A:
set 1 - 9kg dumbbels, 10 reps
set 2 - 9kg dumbbels, 10 reps
set 3 - 9kg dumbbels, 9 reps
set 4 - 9kg dumbbels, 7 reps
set 5 - 9kg dumbbels, 6 reps

Scenario B:
set 1 - 9kg dumbbels, 10 reps
set 2 - 9kg dumbbels, 10 reps
set 3 - 7kg dumbbels, 10 reps
set 4 - 7kg dumbbels, 10 reps
set 5 - 7kg dumbbels, 10 reps

What would be the best to follow?

Cheers

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Posted Thu, 09/27/2018 - 09:21
JoshEngland

Hi Dave,

For this particular workout and that particular exercise, I'd recommend scenario B.

Hope this helps!