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!

642 Comments
Lucie
Posted on: Fri, 05/05/2023 - 10:41

Any other exercises to do instead of the Barbell Snatch Grip Deadlift ?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 05/08/2023 - 07:07

Can you not perform it due to a physical issue or lack of equipment or something else? I just want to make the best recommendation possible.

Lucie
Posted on: Mon, 05/08/2023 - 08:04

I don't do powerlifting movements. I would need more bodybuilding substitute

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 05/09/2023 - 07:14

It's only more of a powerlifting movement if you train it super heavy for very low reps. I have actually suggested this exercise for bodybuilding purposes to many people for physique goals. You can do walking lunges, glute kickbacks, and stiff-legged deadlifts with dumbbells if you must make the switch.

Faisal
Posted on: Fri, 04/28/2023 - 20:14

Hello, thank you for sharing the program. I want to ask you about ABS exercises and how to add them to the schedule

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 04/30/2023 - 14:43

You can do abs before any day of training on this program. I suggest starting with them instead of waiting until the end.

We have many to choose from. This link may help.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/abs

Andrea
Posted on: Fri, 04/28/2023 - 16:47

ciao, mi sto avvicinando alla palestra dopo un lungo stop causa problemi fisici. è consigliabile fare un PPL per recuperare la massa magra persa e smaltire velocemente la massa grassa presa? oppure si consiglia di seguire uno split differente ?
grazie

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 04/30/2023 - 14:45

PPL funzionerà bene per te per cominciare. Potresti passare a una divisione dopo alcuni mesi se ritieni che i tuoi progressi si siano bloccati. Grazie per la lettura e la domanda. Buona fortuna.

For those that don't know Italian.

"Hello, I'm approaching the gym after a long stop due to physical problems. Is it advisable to do a PPL to recover the lost lean mass and quickly dispose of the fat mass taken? Or is it recommended to follow a different split? Thank you."

PPL will work well for you to start with. You could shift to a split after a few months if you feel your progress has stalled. Thanks for reading and the question. Best of luck.

Martin
Posted on: Thu, 04/27/2023 - 17:25

Why does it recommand for intermediate to do push,pull,legs, rest, push,pull,legs compared to advanced which is 6 days push pull legs push pull legs and them a rest day. What’s the difference? Is it not the same? From friday to thursday is still 6 days straight of training conpared to advanced

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 04/30/2023 - 14:47

I believe that when programs like this are made, it's implied that they are to take a second rest day after the second round of PPL. However, that throws the seven-day week schedule out of whack so people just go straight into the next round.

In short you're right, and that is the best I can do for a possible answer. I would recommend the extra day of rest for an intermediate lifter. Advanced lifters can definitely do six straight.

Eugene
Posted on: Fri, 04/21/2023 - 13:24

Can this become a build muscle plan instead?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 04/26/2023 - 21:22

If you eat enough calories to support muscle building, then yes, Eugene.

Erik Duran
Posted on: Wed, 04/12/2023 - 20:40

Hi, thanks for sharing, is any reason why you recommend to do chest, shoulder, tricep and then chest, shoulder tricep instead 2 chest 2 shoulder 2 tricep? And also for pull day shouldn’t we include 2 exercises for biceps instead of 1?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 04/26/2023 - 21:21

The schedule as it was written out was best for volume, intensity, and time in the gym.

Yeah, add the second bicep exercise. We have a lot of options to choose from in our Exercises section at the top of the page.

Lewis M
Posted on: Sat, 04/08/2023 - 05:44

Thanks for the programme I've been having a blast working through it!

As this is a 12 week programme, what do you reccomend to do after this for an intermediate/advanced body builder? Been training for about 4 years now and I'm liking training muscle groups twice a week and looking to pack on some mass.

Many thanks!

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 04/23/2023 - 12:37

Give this a read, Lewis. If you don't find something here, let me know and I will see what I can find.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-choose-your-next-train...

Antonio
Posted on: Sat, 04/01/2023 - 16:16

Can I switch leg day at the begging?
Like
Leg-push-pull — rest — leg-push-pull

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 04/06/2023 - 09:11

Sure, Antonio. Let us know how that works out for you. It may help others here. Thanks for reading M&S!

Antonio
Posted on: Sun, 04/16/2023 - 14:33

So far is going great, as I’m prioritizing legs this order is working fine for me and adapts with my schedule home office and days at the office

MOHAMOOD AHMED
Posted on: Fri, 03/31/2023 - 08:33

Would it be efficient to incorporate a cardio session (1 mile jog for 8-10min) before workouts? Or would it slow muscle growth?

P.s. Thanks for all the work you put into this!

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 04/04/2023 - 11:27

A walk warm-up would be better instead of a jog. The cardio after would be better. Before would negatively impact your training because it would deplete your glycogen. Train first, then jog to burn excess calories.

John King
Posted on: Sun, 03/19/2023 - 10:38

I had gastric bypass almost 20 years ago. I literally have no stomach. I have a small space to eat and store food. I want to bulk up but can't eat a meal plan like this. Is there an alternative to this for someone who can't eat more than example I can't eat more than 2 eggs 2 pieces of bacon and a piece of toast in one sitting without getting sick. Please help

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 03/26/2023 - 15:46

That is going to require talking to your doctor, John. The only thing I would suggest is to drink a protein shake 2-3 times a day because they are high in protein, yet light enough that it shouldn't impact your system. Hard to give more specific info without knowing what you weigh, allergic to, etc. Things your doctor likely know.

Rumer
Posted on: Wed, 03/08/2023 - 07:56

Sir, do you have workouts for older men (60yrs old)

Thank you.

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 03/22/2023 - 16:33

Unless it specifically says an age group, our workouts are made for all ages. You just need to give whatever your best effort can be. If you have doubts about any exercises, speak to your doctor before training.

Shivam Sharma
Posted on: Wed, 02/22/2023 - 13:38

I want to include my abs exercise into this workout..please guide me what exercises and when to perform exercises for abs.

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 02/26/2023 - 10:48

Here is a routine you can try, and you can do it at the end of any of the workouts you like.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/core-destroyer-8-week-home-ab...

Joshua smith
Posted on: Tue, 02/14/2023 - 07:23

For the 5 set of 50 reps total goal what % of 1RM should you use? I’m assuming a weight you can do 15 -20 times ? Thank you for any help ! Have been doing westside barbell for skinny bastards / conjugate for off and on a couple years ..and must say I liked the first two workouts of this program! Should I alternate lift veriations for the heavy 3’s periodically through the 12 weeks or just stick with same ones? I had thought about say for exampl flat bench heavy 3’s for 4 weeks then moving to incline heavy 3’s for 4 then decline for 4 weeks …last but not least after the 12 what would you recommend to follow it with ? A 1 week Deload week and jump back on using different variations ?any advice would be much appreciated thank you !

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 02/21/2023 - 21:14

That is the range I would use, Joshua.

If you want to alternate variations, that may be a good idea. Let us know how you do it and how well it worked. I'm an advocate for using as many different exercises and angles as possible.

Shameed
Posted on: Mon, 04/03/2023 - 21:43

This helped a lot. Why did I think this was 50 per rep for 5 reps lol. Thanks!

Anthony
Posted on: Fri, 02/10/2023 - 19:17

I would love a point of clarification. For the number of rep goal total is that the total divided by the sets. Say for examples where it says 15 for 5 sets, then that is 3 reps per set? Maybe I'm wrong but I would love to know. Could it be 15 reps per set??

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 02/21/2023 - 21:13

15 total reps for all five sets by any means necessary.

5 sets of 3,
5, 4, 3, 2, 1
4,4,4,2,1

As long as you get to 15 by the end of the 5th set, you're good.

MiKe Chambers
Posted on: Tue, 01/10/2023 - 09:12

Just wondering when it comes to doing the Lunges and single arm rows is it 50 reps total per arm and leg or 25 on each?

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 01/17/2023 - 13:42

50 total per arm and leg on single side movements, Mike. Hope this helps!

Jitesh
Posted on: Wed, 01/04/2023 - 13:42

Hey as the programme is for 12 weeks . I have one question as push A pull A and legs A as well as push B pull B and legs B is included in the programme but how should i follow it push A pull A and legs A for 4 weeks push B pull B and legs B for 4 weeks ?? And if i do that rest remaining 4 weeks what to follow? Or can you suggest me how should i follow?

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 01/17/2023 - 13:41

How much training experience do you have, Jitesh?

Jasim
Posted on: Sun, 01/22/2023 - 09:53

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

This could help you

Mohamed Emad
Posted on: Sun, 12/25/2022 - 23:09

for the flat bench press I should do 3 reps each set right?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 12/30/2022 - 16:25

You can do three reps each if you like. You could also do 5,4,3,2,1. As long as you get 15 total reps, you're good.

Ammar
Posted on: Sun, 12/18/2022 - 08:34

Another question on the meaning of 50 repetitions in 5 groups is that the 50 is distributed among the 5 groups, or does each group include 50 repetitions

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 12/26/2022 - 10:42

50 total reps by the end of the fifth set.

Ammar
Posted on: Sun, 12/18/2022 - 08:23

I will not be able to go to the gym for 6 days. Can I apply this to 3 days a week... An additional thing. Is there some guys
who says that the reps should range from 12 to 25, and that on top of that, I will not build muscles? Is this true?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 12/26/2022 - 10:41

If you can't go six days, then I suggest finding a program that would better suit your schedule. We have plenty of three day a week programs here on M&S.

Not sure who those guys are, but the programs here have helped many people build muscle as they are written. If you're eating and recovering properly, you should see new muscle.

Karson Kinney
Posted on: Fri, 12/16/2022 - 16:57

Hey I have 2 questions here? On the 5 sets 15 reps total workouts does the 15 reps include warm up sets or is that separate ?? Also If I choose to do the 50 reps workouts 15/15/10/5/5 do i change the weight for rep change or keep it the same??

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 12/26/2022 - 10:27

Hi, Karson. No, the warm ups are separate from the 15.

The 50 reps should be performed with the same weight. Hope this helps!

Reza
Posted on: Fri, 12/16/2022 - 01:57

Hello, this program does not require abdominal exercises ?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 12/23/2022 - 12:44

The author didn't include it, but you can train abs on any day you like for this program or at home by doing this workout.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/27-home-based-ab-workout.html

Daniel
Posted on: Thu, 12/01/2022 - 10:42

Do you think this workout provides enough diversity in the bicep and tricep exercises. Im looking to start this program, but I typically would do at least 3 variations for biceps ex: barbell curls, hammer curls, incline curls and the same for triceps ex skull crushers, tricep pushdown, reverse tricep pushdown.

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 12/02/2022 - 21:27

If arms are the focus, then you can add some exercises on the corresponding day, or do a separate arm workout. As long as you recover properly, you should see results.

Jerry Clark
Posted on: Sat, 11/19/2022 - 16:39

Hello
Is this workout split also good for putting on muscle and getting rid of some belly fat Or do you recommend another