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


Wake Up


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



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



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


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


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)




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



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



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!

Posted on: Wed, 11/15/2023 - 10:54

Hi, Should we progressively overload for each set? or should not?

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Posted on: Mon, 11/27/2023 - 19:45

When you can, yes, but if you aren't able to that day, don't beat yourself up about it. Do the best you can.

Posted on: Sun, 10/22/2023 - 12:49

I used to do 15 reps can I switch to 50reps is that Ok?

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Posted on: Mon, 10/23/2023 - 20:38

I would suggest going with heavier weight for the 15 instead of changing the reps to 50.

Posted on: Sun, 10/08/2023 - 20:52

Hi, just a quick question. So, if i reach the 15 rep total target in just 3 sets i move on and don't need to do the other 2 sets? Then, the following week i would have to increase the weight?

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Posted on: Sun, 10/22/2023 - 10:54

Correct, Anthony. Definitely time to up the weight.

Posted on: Mon, 10/30/2023 - 01:33

I completed 5 sets of 3 reps for the bench press with the same weight. Then the next week i upped the weight by 2.5 kilos but could only manage 3,3,2,2,2 reps of that weight. Should i stick with this new weight or drop back the weight

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Posted on: Mon, 10/30/2023 - 18:04

Stick with it. Have a spotter assist with the last reps so you can five on at least the sets that you don't get three.

Posted on: Sat, 08/12/2023 - 20:32

How many calories should a 70 kg (5'7) consume? I'm a bit on the bulkier side and trying to cut. Please include with macros.

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Posted on: Sat, 08/26/2023 - 21:30

This can help you figure those out, Shreyas.


Posted on: Wed, 08/09/2023 - 22:26

Hi guys. Just starting out. I'll learn all different exercises and choose my starting weight. Thanks!

Posted on: Tue, 08/01/2023 - 05:58

Good day. I wanted to ask if I do these exercises, and for the next week, for example, replace the barbell with dumbbells and, where possible, vice versa, will this option work?

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Posted on: Tue, 08/15/2023 - 10:13

I like that idea, Nikita, and I think it would serve you well. If you do it, let us know how it works.

Posted on: Wed, 07/26/2023 - 14:28

Hi,what is 3-on/1-off manner ?
Can you please explain

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Posted on: Thu, 07/27/2023 - 06:38

Train three days in a row, then take a day off, Peter. You would then start over again after the day off.

Posted on: Sun, 07/09/2023 - 18:30

Hi again, so I need to play plan a and plan b from this workout or just one and repeat?

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Posted on: Mon, 07/10/2023 - 07:57

Do all six workouts. So, A and B.

Posted on: Sun, 07/09/2023 - 18:12

Hi,am 16 years old and been training for 5 month,I wanna know if that workout good for me or not , before that workout I used to use 5-days workout?

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Posted on: Mon, 07/10/2023 - 07:55

I think you're ready to advance up to this. Just pay attention to your recovery. If you find yourself staying tired, not feeling as energized, or losing strength, pull out from this one. Overall, I think you'll be fine, though.

Posted on: Mon, 07/03/2023 - 22:10

Is there a replacement for reverse hyper extension? I don’t have a machine for it.

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Posted on: Mon, 07/10/2023 - 07:55

The Good mornings should be enough for the lower back. So, I feel you can skip this.

Posted on: Mon, 07/03/2023 - 22:03

Does this workout build strength?

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Posted on: Mon, 07/10/2023 - 07:53

With the right nutrition and recovery, it sure can.

Posted on: Fri, 06/30/2023 - 01:11

So do we train to failure at all on these? I ask because if so are the rest times enough?

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Posted on: Wed, 07/05/2023 - 08:08

Failure each time, and yes, the rest time should be plenty. We will use this exercise as an example. Remember that the reps are the goal for all sets, not each set.

Barbell Front Squat 5 sets of 15 reps total with 90-120 sec rest

You should be trying for around 5 sets of 3 reps so you can get 15 total. If you're able to get a fourth or fifth rep, that is ok. As long as you hit 15 by set 5. If you can do it in set four, then you should up the weight.

Posted on: Mon, 06/26/2023 - 16:16

hey again i have never been in gym before and im 19 years old
is this ok for me?

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Posted on: Tue, 06/27/2023 - 08:02

Hi, Hamid. I suggest doing this one first before taking on the PPL workout.


Posted on: Mon, 06/26/2023 - 06:55

Hey i dont know how old is this article is but is there a new updated version of this?
just wanna know if u maybe changed anything

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Posted on: Mon, 06/26/2023 - 11:05

It's been here for a while, and I don't know if any updates are planned. If I hear about any, I will update this comment.

Posted on: Thu, 06/15/2023 - 15:26

Is there any exercise to replace barbell good morning?

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Posted on: Fri, 06/16/2023 - 07:23

What equipment do you have access to, and why do you need to replace it?

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Posted on: Mon, 07/10/2023 - 07:52

You can do Good Mornings on a Smith Machine. If anything, it will be safer for you since the bar is on a fixed path of travel.

Posted on: Mon, 07/03/2023 - 21:45

I have a smith machine, I need a replacement because I don’t know if it works my muscle.

Muhammad Usama Aslam
Posted on: Thu, 05/25/2023 - 11:27

Is this PPL program good for fat burn? If yes after 12 week what workout plan should i follow? I'm over 120kg 5.9 in heigh i want to lose weight with muscle building please suggest me what long term workout plan is best for me.

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Posted on: Fri, 06/02/2023 - 06:10

This can help you with fat loss as long as your nutrition plan supports fat loss as well.

As far as what to do after this, I would suggest focusing more on doing this one and reaching the end. Your goals may change based on your results. When that time does come, this article may help.


Posted on: Fri, 05/05/2023 - 10:41

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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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.


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 ?

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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.

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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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.

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

Can this become a build muscle plan instead?

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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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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!