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

6 Day Push, Pull, Legs Powerbuilding Split
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
download pdfDownload Workout

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.

101 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Sun, 10/15/2017 - 14:25
Miles Fuchs

Hi. What would you recomand an 18 year old who is been training for a while and wants to look astetic. I have some muscle but also belly fat. So now my question, should I cut First and then start a lean bulk or just continue bulking? I hope this side is still up to date. Hopefully someone can hell me out

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 10/16/2017 - 09:51
JoshEngland
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Posted Sat, 10/07/2017 - 12:26
Ricardo

Hi. Doing the RDL just one day after doing a Snatch Grip DL + Barbell rows isn't putting too much stress on the lower back? I would say this whole workout is very "lower back stressful" but on this specifically case there isn't even 24h to rest... I could be wrong tho, just wanting to know for sure. Thanks!

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Posted Fri, 10/06/2017 - 00:52
Logan

Hi. What is your recommendation for choosing a weight on the heavy compound exercises? For Barbell Bench Press, would you do 5 sets of 3 with the same weight or start heavy and progressively get lighter or vice versa?

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Posted Tue, 10/03/2017 - 12:20
Alan

Hi - When your talking about rep goal, and going over that rep goal, what do you mean? I assume I would not be doing a straight 5 X 3 = 15. Or would it be since its my six rep max more like 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 = 20 and since I went over my goal rep by 5 I add 5-10 lbs next time.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 10/03/2017 - 16:53
JoshEngland

Hi Alan,

Rep goal is referring to the total amount of reps you should aim to accomplish during the prescribed number of sets.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 09/17/2017 - 07:24
Elias

Great workout routine! It works even with 3 times! It works greatly for martial artists! It keeps me fit and strong! I lift 3 times per week with 1 day off between workout days and the off day, I am training in Kickboxing! I just added some aerobic activity at the start and at the end!

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Posted Fri, 08/11/2017 - 14:57
Cortney Mattila

Doing legs B tomorrow morning and curious what i could do in place of the hanging leg raise ??

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 08/11/2017 - 16:33
JoshEngland

Hi Cortney,

Any ab movement targeting the lower abs would work here. Since it's not a leg movement and your core is worked frequently during the week indirectly by the compound movements, you could honestly just skip it if you dont have the equipment or ability to perform them.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 08/10/2017 - 18:38
Cortney Mattila

It says Romanian deadlift for legs B but when I click on it to watch video and get form tips the stiff let deadlift comes up ..which should I do?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 08/11/2017 - 09:07
JoshEngland

Hi Cortney,

Thank you for bringing this to our attention and I apologize for the confusion. You should perform RDLs. The link has been updated on the website and I'm working on updating it on the PDF.

Thanks again!

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Posted Fri, 08/11/2017 - 10:24
Cortney Mattila

Thank you!!!!! :) love this workout routine! I'm definitely feeling it and it's awesome

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Posted Mon, 08/07/2017 - 13:41
Ernest

Hi,
When you say tricep dips 3 sets of 30 reps, you are wondering 3 sets of 10 reps each no?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/07/2017 - 13:48
JoshEngland

Hi Ernest,

3 sets, 30 total reps. So yes, 3 10 could work or 12, 10, 8 - whatever rep scheme you feel most comfortable with.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 08/08/2017 - 05:58
Ernest

Sure! Thank you :)

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Posted Sat, 07/22/2017 - 12:08
Craig

Hi. I've just started this program I'm 42. Work out over the 7 days and do light cardio 3 mornings a week also .im wanting to lose weight from 17st 6 to get to 15 stone. What do you recommend my calories intake to be..im over weight due to just unhealthy eating. I've been eating healthy for 5 weeks plus training but my weight hasn't began shifting yet in fact gone up but my body shape is looking better.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/24/2017 - 09:24
JoshEngland

Hi Craig,

You can find you daily calorie needs here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator

For fat loss you'll want to be in a slight calorie deficit. Subtract ~250-500 calories from the total the calculator gives you.

Aim to eat that amount of calories each day from quality whole food sources.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 07/14/2017 - 06:16
Loganj23

Would this be ok for my girlfriend to do with me?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 07/14/2017 - 09:23
JoshEngland

Hi Logan,

It depends on your girlfriend's weight training experience, knowledge of the exercises listed within the program, and ability to preform and recover properly from the amount of volume this program recommends.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 07/12/2017 - 10:57
Stevenj101

Hi i think the idea of doing deadlifts and then legs the next day isnt very smart , squats and deadlifts have to ve split by one day so i think pull push legs is the better way to go to get a beter squat and also risk injury less , i usualy squat 170kg for 3 reps , after deadlifting 200kg for reps last night i only get out 140kg for 3 reps and strugling

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Posted Tue, 07/11/2017 - 05:16
stevenj101

hi when you say 6 egss foe breakfast , is that whole egss or just egg white?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 07/11/2017 - 09:47
JoshEngland

Hi Steven,

Judging by the macro count in the table, I'd say it is meant to be 6 whole eggs.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 07/06/2017 - 10:47
Colin

I'm wondering with the one arm rows is it 5 sets of 10 with each arm or 50 reps total ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 07/06/2017 - 12:12
JoshEngland

Hi Colin,

It is 5 sets of 10 for each arm. 100 total repetitions, 50 reps per arm.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 07/07/2017 - 02:39
Colin

Thanks for the reply Josh one more question standing cable lateral raises is that not a pull exercise ?? It's in push B

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 07/07/2017 - 09:14
JoshEngland

Hi Colin,

You're welcome! Yes, technically you are correct. I can't speak for the author of the article, but I know personally when I designed a push/pull program, a lot of times I break it down by muscle group (i.e shoulders to me are a push muscle), not necessarily movement pattern (a lot of movements that target the shoulders can be pulls). While not technically correct, it shouldn't throw off your workout schedule at all.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 06/29/2017 - 11:15
Nuance

I don't understand.
When picking a start weight for this lift It would be recommended using your 5-6 rep max (RM).
How can one reach 15 reps with his 6RM?
Do I miss something?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 06/29/2017 - 11:35
JoshEngland

Hi Nuance,

15 total reps through 5 sets, not 5 sets of 15 reps.

Hope this helps alleviate any confusion!

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Posted Wed, 06/28/2017 - 06:27
Elias

What about cardio?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 06/28/2017 - 09:39
JoshEngland

Hi Elias,

You're more than welcome to add cardio to this program. My best advice is to find a form of cardio you enjoy doing and adding it in during the course of the week.

Personally, I stick to Low Intensity Steady State cardio in the form of walking in the morning. I find this aids in recovery and extra calorie expenditure without jeopardizing my performance in the weight room.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 06/08/2017 - 11:07
Thiago Correa C...

That's a really cool program, I just started following it. A question about the Push B Seated Machine Fly. I expected the regilar Fly for chest, but the link sends to a lateral raise for shoulders, which one is it? (Actually I guess both would fit that day of exercise)

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 06/08/2017 - 11:15
JoshEngland

Hi Thiago,

You know, I'm not sure? This program is quite old and people tend to call certain exercises different things, which can get a bit confusing at times.

I believe you're right and it should be linked to the pec deck fly when looking at the program in it's entirety. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 06/20/2017 - 07:50
Thiago Correa C...

Hi Josh, thanks for looking into it! You mentioned this program is quite old, do you know/suggest other 6 day programs for intermediate level? I like this PPL split
I'll be following this program for 3 months (2 and a half to go) and I'm looking for a next routine to follow afterwards.

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 06/20/2017 - 09:09
JoshEngland

Hi Thiago,

Absolutely, we have tons of great workout programs in our workout database. See this link: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workout-routines

In terms of a 6 day split to do after this workout, our classic 1970's bodybuilding routine would be a good option. It doesn't contain the 5x5 lifts as it is geared more towards hypertrophy, but would be a great 6 day program to compliment this one.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/old-school-series-1970s-bodyb...

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 06/07/2017 - 04:18
Daniel Friberg

Just trying to figure out how to make this work when you don't work normal hours. I work Mon-Thu 15:00-00:00, which means the only time I have for the gym is between 10:00-14:00. Do I eat the pre-workout snack with the breakfast, or do I swap and eat the pre-workout snack as breakfast, dinner meal immediately after the workout, and eat the lunch and breakfast meals while at work?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 06/07/2017 - 10:31
JoshEngland

Hi Daniel,

When you eat the food isn't all that important. So long as you get the appropriate amount of calories for your goals down during the course of the day, you'll be fine.

With that said, it's beneficial to get a solid preworkout meal down 1-2 hours before your workout (for fuel) and a post workout meal down after your workout (for recovery). Outside of that, when you eat your meals and how many meals you eat per day will have a minimal effect on your results at best.

Find out your daily calorie needs here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator

Then aim to eat that many calories each day (or slightly more or less depending on your goals).

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 05/24/2017 - 14:15
Leoric

Hi, will try that next week just one question: in "Push B" the 1-arm rows: are the 50 reps total per arm or combined? Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 05/24/2017 - 14:50
JoshEngland

Hi Leoric,

50 total per arm. Good luck and I hope you enjoy the program!

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 04/28/2017 - 13:01
Sky Wolf

Came for the push, stayed for the pull

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Posted Tue, 03/28/2017 - 22:05
Tom N

I noticed there's no ab days on here, so I added abs to the end of days 1, 4 and 6. On day 4 my abs were very sore. Are there enough indirect ab workouts in this routine that I shouldn't bother adding to it, or should I keep going?

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Posted Sun, 03/26/2017 - 16:01
Tom N

I noticed there's not a specific ab workout listed. I tried to ad and a couple days a week, but they were very sore. Does this routine provide enough indirect ab work that I don't need to do more?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/27/2017 - 09:47
JoshEngland

Hi Tom,

Yes, it should provide enough ab work indirectly to not need a separate ab workout. However, if you enjoy adding in additional ab work, you're more than welcome to continue to do so.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 02/22/2017 - 13:53
Mitch

Does anyone have a 5 day split for this workout? Or something very similar?

Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 02/22/2017 - 14:23
JoshEngland
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Posted Thu, 02/23/2017 - 16:00
Mitch

Thanks a lot. Will check them out.

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Posted Mon, 02/20/2017 - 13:36
Malik

So if rep goal is 50 we should be using about 40% of our max to lift 50 reps back to back?

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Posted Wed, 02/15/2017 - 12:59
JK

How long should I stay on the plan before switching to a different plan? thanks,

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 02/15/2017 - 15:45
JoshEngland

Hi JK,

Typically, you'll want to run a workout program for 6-8 weeks before taking to week to deload. During that deload week ask yourself a few questions:

1. Is this program helping me reach my current goals?

2. Am I seeing progress towards my goal with this workout program?

3. Am I still enjoying this workout program?

If you answered yes to all of those questions, continue on with this weight lifting program. If you answered no to any of them, it's time to select a new one and we've got plenty in our workouts database:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workout-routines

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 02/06/2017 - 06:39
Mohammed Osama

how much i need to rest between heavy compound lift Exercises, is it 90-120 or 30-60 sec?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 02/06/2017 - 09:44
JoshEngland

Hi Mohammed,

Rest for 90-120 seconds, or longer if you really need to. But try to keep it under 3 mins.