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!

574 Comments
Jayson Cathuray
Posted on: Sun, 09/25/2022 - 03:35

Hello, someone recommend me to follow this program, I'm doing the Bro split workout for 6 months now and I think I need a new routine, do you think this routine is good for me?

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 09/25/2022 - 20:07

Sure, Jayson. I believe this would be a great one to follow the bro split with. If you try it, let us know how it goes for you. Thanks for reading M&S!

Kabir Shahi
Posted on: Fri, 09/23/2022 - 14:26

All these supplements are okay to take all together?

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 09/25/2022 - 20:00

Yes, but if you have concerns, talk to your personal physician.

faisal
Posted on: Sat, 09/17/2022 - 08:55

can a begginer start with program

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 09/22/2022 - 16:56

I would suggest a simpler program for a couple months before starting this one.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/start-from-scratch-beginner-w...

Burhan
Posted on: Mon, 09/12/2022 - 08:16

I'm a beginner so sorry for the silly question:
"Rep Goal Total"
does that means the number of rep in one set or the whole number of sets.
for example:
Exercise Sets Rep Goal Total
Seated Triceps Extensions 5 50

Does that means I will do 50 rep per 1 set ?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 09/19/2022 - 08:15

Hi, Burhan. Not a silly question at all. In this case, the reps are a total goal. So, using your 5 x 50 example. 15 + 15 + 10 + 10 + 10 = 50 reps. You don't have to be locked into those numbers either. However many reps you do on the first set, just pick up on counting where you left off when you start again. That's not normally how it works on these programs, but the author of this one did it a little different.

Jashandeep Singh
Posted on: Fri, 09/09/2022 - 09:44

Hi, I’m weighing 71-74kgs, with the height - 182cm ,and consuming around like 3200-3500 calories a day, which includes Fat - 106g, Carbs - 314g, Protein - 186g, it goes up and down.
My question, firstly, is the advanced mode of this workout is good for bulking?(did it for 8-9 days and continuing)
Secondly, Am i consuming the the right amount of food? (All natural diet)

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 09/18/2022 - 10:43

Yes and yea, Jashandeep. Let us know how it goes once you complete the program. I feel good about your chances of success.

Gavin
Posted on: Thu, 09/08/2022 - 03:05

Will doing a week like this with low weight a lot of reps and then doing a week lower reps and Max weight be beneficial

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 09/15/2022 - 20:52

It can be, Gavin. Try it for yourself and let us know how it goes.

Pedro Vieira
Posted on: Sat, 09/03/2022 - 13:21

Can I combine this with a Upper/Lower routine?
I can only train 5 days a week and would like to do: Upper-Lower-Rest-Push-Pull-Legs-Rest with this plan and the Upper/Lower plan in M S.

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 09/03/2022 - 21:05

Go for it, Pedro. Let us know how it works for you. Thanks for reading M&S!

Rohit Modi
Posted on: Sat, 08/27/2022 - 04:16

If we in calorie deficit is this workout plan enough to fat loss

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 08/27/2022 - 13:07

You will need to add 20-30 minutes of cardio 4 days a week as well, but yes.

Sharafadin nagi
Posted on: Fri, 08/26/2022 - 02:02

I was just wondering when the conventional deadlift is in the back traps and bicep section if it works out your hamstring

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 08/26/2022 - 09:21

The top half of the movement works your lower back, the overall pull challenges your traps, and the biceps are playing a supporting role as well. Hope this helps!

Uriah West
Posted on: Wed, 08/24/2022 - 13:03

I just started and I was wondering if there’s any more chest workouts I should add or do you suggest to leave it as it is? Because I want my chest to get stronger and bigger as wel.

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 08/25/2022 - 10:56

Leave it as is. Just make the sets count, and flex the chest in between sets. You should notice improvement with that alone on this program.

Colton
Posted on: Mon, 08/22/2022 - 18:57

Hello, I was wondering if its possible to replace any of the exercises involving cables with a barbell or dumbbell. If so, can you give the exercise names that works the same muscle as the cables except with a traditional barbell or dumbbell? This would be greatly appreciated as I usually work out at my house and don’t have access to those types of machines.

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 08/23/2022 - 08:43

Hi, Colton. You can go to the Exercises section by clicking the link at the top of the page. From there, you can find exercises for all muscle groups to replace the cable and machine movements. As long as they work the same muscle group, you should be fine.

Chris
Posted on: Sat, 08/13/2022 - 04:04

I’m back on this PPL workout I absolutely love it the fact your not hours I’m the gym. I have a question please with the compound Exercise could u make the rep goal 25 instead of 15 for Example bench press 7, 6, 5, 4 ,3. Thanks

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 08/16/2022 - 09:55

If you're going for size, then yes, Chris. If you want to make strength a priority, then you need heavier weights, and 15 would be better. Up to you, though.

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 08/16/2022 - 09:55

If you're going for size, then yes, Chris. If you want to make strength a priority, then you need heavier weights, and 15 would be better. Up to you, though.

GB
Posted on: Wed, 08/10/2022 - 19:56

Would this be sufficient stimulus for the biceps?
There's only one dedicated exercise for the biceps every pull day.. (same question for triceps)

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 08/15/2022 - 10:17

Short answer, yes.

Biceps are working with back and triceps are working with chest and shoulders. So, they're getting indirect work with those exercises.

Nathan
Posted on: Tue, 08/09/2022 - 11:06

Hey - I just want to verify your "rep goal total" is the sum of all reps between the sets?
E.G Bench press.. 5 sets and 15 reps. So are you saying to do like 3 Reps each set or are you saying to do 5 sets of 15 reps?

Thanks

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 08/14/2022 - 09:58

Your goal is to accomplish 15 reps total. So it could be 5 sets of 3, or even 5 sets of 1,2,3,4,5. As long as you hit 15 total.

If you use a weight and can get 15 total in three or four sets, go heavier next time. Strength is the goal!

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 09/25/2022 - 20:05

I suggest going from 5 to 1, and yes, that first set of 5 should be as heavy as you can do it with good form.

Sam
Posted on: Sat, 09/24/2022 - 19:48

if I follow the 5 sets of 1,2,3,4,5. Do you recommend starting with the 5 reps till 1 rep? and if so, should the first 5 reps be RM?

Niko
Posted on: Mon, 08/08/2022 - 08:27

Hey, I have been following this routine for over 6 months now and I am seeing big progress, especially on my back and legs. I ramp up the weight from 0 to my last working weight as warm ups and try to add some weight everytime but it is not consistent which is still fine and I have no complaints. But my chest is lacking relatively. Would you suggest I go hypertrophy on the bench presses instead?

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 08/14/2022 - 09:52

Hey Niko, actually I suggest starting that workout with chest while you're fresh, then do the shoulders work after. You can also swap the bench in for incline if you like.

Frank Thomas
Posted on: Wed, 08/03/2022 - 19:46

Hi, I’m new to push/pull/legs. I noticed after doing each day I don’t get the pump I did in my previous schedule, but it’s obvious because I had more workouts each day in my previous schedule. My questions to you is, does a pump affect the total outcome (I’m used to being destroyed after each day by my previous schedule), and can I get ripped off this schedule as did my other one or this just for bulk/strength?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 08/12/2022 - 09:12

Thanks for the questions, Frank. Pump does NOT affect the total outcome, believe it or not. You shouldn't have to feel trashed after a workout.

You can get ripped on this one, but if strength isn't a focus as well, you may need another one. If you want suggestions, let me know.

Thomas Frank
Posted on: Fri, 08/12/2022 - 10:59

If you know any workout schedule that revolves purely on muscle definition and muscle mass rather than strengthening for the most part, that would be greatly appreciated. I’m just looking to get a great physique, with the thought of sacrificing pure strength if needed.

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 08/16/2022 - 09:54

My most successful one on M&S. 1.6 million reads so far, and I've personally gotten a lot of good feedback from this one.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/8-week-spring-shred-program

Jeff
Posted on: Wed, 08/03/2022 - 17:27

Question, would this schedule work well still if I would change the reps and sets around? Me personally on the bench I would like to do 3 sets. Starting off high on the first set would be 10 reps then to drop down to 8 reps then the final set only being 6 reps. Im trying to make myself have a ripped/bulky physique rather than building just for pure strength if that makes sense?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 08/12/2022 - 09:11

You can do that, Jeff, but you may need a different workout because this one is more for people that do want to get stronger. We all want to be big and ripped, but which one would be the priority if you had to pick one?

Aland
Posted on: Sun, 07/31/2022 - 08:15

Hey do I need to work on the same weight for all of the 15 reps?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 08/11/2022 - 07:55

Yes. Same weight until you achieve 15 reps.

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?