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!

533 Comments
Cameron
Posted on: Fri, 07/15/2022 - 17:08

What would you recommend for ab training with this program?

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 07/26/2022 - 19:13
Chris
Posted on: Fri, 07/15/2022 - 07:18

Are you sure this is enough volume in general still to properly grow?

I somehow have the feeling that its not enough volume

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 07/23/2022 - 19:55

If you give the sets the effort they require, you're going to grow. The muscles actually recover and improve outside of the gym thanks to the food you eat and the sleep you get. Recovery supplements like creatine and essential amino acids will help too. Thanks for reading M&S, Chris!

Mariell Fossnes
Posted on: Thu, 07/14/2022 - 12:33

Going to start the program tomorrow, so excited!
But; i’m currently trying to eat in a deficit to lose some bodyfat, is it still possible to build strength and follow this program, Even tho i’m dating in a deficit?

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 07/23/2022 - 19:46

You might get a little stronger, Mariell. Your recovery and sleep is going to be crucial if you want that to happen. Don't miss a meal, don't eat junk, and sleep well!

theo
Posted on: Thu, 07/14/2022 - 04:15

hi,

how can i perform this workout in a 5 days and
4 days on, always with the weekends off and with lower body focus

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 07/23/2022 - 19:38

Since you want to do more with lower body, cut out one of the upper body workouts so you have five days. Don't know what to tell you about four days unless you want to combine workouts, which will make for a long day in the gym. You may not see the same results as you could following the program as designed, but you could see some improvement.

Anand Wadurkar
Posted on: Mon, 07/04/2022 - 22:05

How many calories are we burning on PPL workout separately on each day?

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 07/05/2022 - 10:58

That all depends on the person. Size, what supplements you've taken, your metabolism, what you ate, and the speed of your training are all factors that influence calorie burning. Your best option (but not perfect) is to wear a smart watch that can track it.

Deepanker Sharma
Posted on: Mon, 07/04/2022 - 01:08

Hi i completed push pull leg workout plan for 12 weeks which workout plan i should do now after that

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 07/05/2022 - 10:57

Depends on what your next goals are. Still looking to get stronger?

Deepanker Sharma
Posted on: Tue, 07/05/2022 - 20:50

Yea I'm looking for strength muscle building and some fat loss

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 07/14/2022 - 08:26
Aaron Richardson
Posted on: Tue, 06/28/2022 - 22:36

What about warmup sets?

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 07/05/2022 - 10:57

You can do 2-3 additional warm-up sets at the beginning of the workouts. If you want to check form and establish the muscles working properly, do one warm-up set before each exercise.

Puvi
Posted on: Tue, 06/14/2022 - 14:53

Hello, loving the program btw I’m on my 3rd week, seeing some progress already which is great because I’ve been on the bro split for a couple years and haven’t seen much progress the last few months, anyway with regards to deadlifts, i find the 5 x 3 so taxing, would a 3 x 3 be enough and progressive overload that? Same for the snatch dead’s , also instead of snatch deadlifts I’m doing deficit deadlifts instead is that ok? Or are snatch dead’s a lot more superior

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 06/15/2022 - 09:23

Hello, Puvi. The program includes what is recommended, but it appears you have the ability to listen to your body and adapt accordingly, which is a great thing. So, going 3x3 would be fine for the reasoning you shared.

As for snatch vs. deficit, they are both deadlifts, but they challenge the posterior chain in different ways. If you're doing deficit because you're better at them, then you should switch back to snatch so you can try to bring it up. But, if your body is telling you that the position for snatch is uncomfortable to the point of injury, then go with deficit.

Sorry for the long answer, but I wanted to elaborate so others that read your question may understand as well.

George
Posted on: Sun, 06/12/2022 - 10:30

The rep goal for flat barbell bench press is 15 and the set is 5. So, does that mean we have to do 3 reps each set or 15 reps each set?

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 06/14/2022 - 12:47

Hey George, yes, you would do 3 reps for each set, but your goal should be to reach 15 reps with that weight in less sets. For example, if you do five sets of three for one workout, then you should shoot for doing four sets of 4,4,4,3 next time. Or, if you do 5 sets of 3 with the weight you chose, you can go heavier and try to do 5 sets of 3 with the heavier weight. Either way will work.

Omar mohamef
Posted on: Fri, 05/27/2022 - 03:23

50 rep for every set?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 06/03/2022 - 16:00

No, 50 total over all sets. Below is just an example. You don't have to follow those numbers exactly.

1: 15 reps
2: 10 reps
3: 10 reps
4: 10 reps
5: 5 reps

Harry
Posted on: Mon, 05/23/2022 - 16:03

Day 5: Seated Machine Reverse Fly - video link is wrong, its showing standing reverse cable fly.

Also wondering whats the difference between Barbell Snatch grip deadlift and Barbell conventional deadlift. Is it just the distance between the two hand grips?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 05/26/2022 - 21:12

I will pass that on to my editor, Harry. Thank you!

Yep, that is the difference. The wider grip will make it a little more difficult, and the lower body will be more involved.

Sean
Posted on: Thu, 05/05/2022 - 09:33

Proportionally increase the working weight of AMQRAP set by 2.5-10lbs every time you increase the weight during the 15 rep goal sets. I don’t really understand what you mean by this, it’s probably simple but could you explain it to me???

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 05/20/2022 - 21:59

Be careful adding weight each time you reach the 15 rep goal. Don't jump too much weight at once. If you're working with 100 pounds, and you're ready to move up, go to 110 instead of 150.

Chris
Posted on: Wed, 04/13/2022 - 02:19

Was just reading the article about Bulldozer training there is a bit about legs here … Certain leg exercises such as squats, leg extensions and calve raises are commonly performed using higher rep sets. For these types of exercises you may choose to utilize a rep average of 8 to 10 per mini-set so does that mean 8-10 reps per set for Squats because the rep goal is 15 total rep in the programme u have laid out thanks

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 04/28/2022 - 09:51

Correct, Chris. That would work.

David
Posted on: Mon, 04/11/2022 - 20:04

Should we use the same weight for working sets if hitting the rep goal?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 04/28/2022 - 09:50

Correct, David. Once you achieve the rep goal with that weight, bump it up.

Abdel
Posted on: Mon, 04/04/2022 - 09:32

I am 16, 71 kg and 194 cm tall, so I am skinny. Is this the right program for me? I mainly care about looking bigger and to stop being skinny, basically transform my whole body. Is this the right program for me?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 04/20/2022 - 19:48

Hey Abdel. This would be a great choice for you. Give it a solid run and let us know how it goes. Make sure you eat big so you can get big!

Khaled Issa
Posted on: Sun, 03/27/2022 - 18:50

Should I rebeat the same exercise over and over the hole 12 weeks?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 03/31/2022 - 09:30

That is the plan, Khaled. Same workouts every week from start to finish.

jitesh
Posted on: Sat, 03/26/2022 - 20:41

hello and thanks for the workout guide,
do i have to increase the weight after each set or keep the weight same for 5 sets?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 03/30/2022 - 20:48

Hello, and thank you for reading M&S!

You can adjust weights either way. If you want to make strength a priority, then start light and go all out on the fifth set. If you'd rather go for stimulation and quality reps, use the same weight for all five sets.

Khaled Issa
Posted on: Sat, 03/26/2022 - 13:55

Hello I fast in Ramadan from sun set to set down now for one month how can I get my food and my supplement all at night in like 7 hours??please if u could help me

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 03/26/2022 - 18:25

If you eat every 90 minutes, then you should get there. Or, you should eat bigger meals every 2 hours.

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 04/13/2022 - 19:23

Whatever supplements you pick, follow the directions that are on the bottle.

Khaled Issa
Posted on: Tue, 03/29/2022 - 21:44

How can I take the supplements I bought everything u said on lthe plane how can I take them when I break my fast

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 03/30/2022 - 20:53

Whey Protein, Multivitamin, and BCAA's as soon as you break the fast. Literally make these the first things you have.
Citrulline Malate, Agmatime and Beta-Alanine right before training.
Creatine, and ZMA with last meal.

Also, make sure you stay as hydrated as possible when you're not fasting.

Khaled Issa
Posted on: Thu, 03/31/2022 - 17:27

Thanks that helped me alot and one more thing what the amount of supplement to in each supplement

Khaled Issa
Posted on: Sat, 03/26/2022 - 03:17

I'm low fat and I want to build muscle the faster way should I go with this plane and the suplmet writing or should I use other plan

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 03/26/2022 - 18:24

Use this one, Khaled.

Fahad Almalki
Posted on: Sat, 03/19/2022 - 15:16

i have been doing this workout plan for 6 month and i ask from you to recommend a new workout plan thanks

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 03/26/2022 - 18:23

What are your goals now, Fahad? I want to make sure we pick the right one for you based on what you want to do.

Kyle
Posted on: Sat, 03/12/2022 - 18:40

2 cups of tomato sauce for dinner??

Chris
Posted on: Fri, 03/11/2022 - 11:30

Would it be ok to include 2 sets of Dumbbell pull overs with in the programme as I do love the Exercise thanks

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 03/15/2022 - 18:08

Sure, Chris. Plug them in somewhere on Pull Day B.

saket deshmukh
Posted on: Tue, 03/08/2022 - 11:02

Thanks a ton for putting up this plan!!