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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How much training experience do you have, Jitesh?

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

Early-intermediate lifters should perform the routine in an every-other-day manner – Push A/Rest/Pull A/Rest/Legs A/Rest/Push B/Rest/Pull B/ Rest/Legs B/Rest/Repeat
Intermediate lifters should perform the routine in a 3-on/1-off manner – Push A/Pull A/Legs A/Rest/Push B/ Pull B/Legs B/Rest/Repeat
Advanced lifters should perform the routine in a 6-on/1-off manner – Push A/Pull A/Legs A/Push B/ Pull B/Legs B/Rest/Repeat

This could help you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

50 total reps by the end of the fifth set.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hello, this program does not require abdominal exercises ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 11/25/2022 - 20:50

It will help with both, Jerry.

Muhammed
Posted on: Sat, 11/12/2022 - 02:18

Great workout plan. I followed this plan for a while and I managed to build some muscles. However, didn't follow the nutrition plan unfortunately. I'm 187cm/82 kg, and I'm starting this plan again next week and I want to ask:

1. Is it possible to split it over 5 days instead of 6?
2. I work as a researcher and my work is about doing experiments and moving all the time. Do I need to add more calories to the original plan?
3. May I take Whey Mass protein (high carbs load) to cover for the daily requirement of carbs?

Any other advice before I start is very much appreciated. Many thanks in advance

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 11/18/2022 - 08:58

Analyze which parts of your physique are your strongest. Let's say your push muscles are best. If that is the case, train those areas only once a week. Taking that part out makes it a five-day workout.

Yes, you need to add more calories. Don't go crazy, but an extra meal wouldn't hurt.

They Whey Mass is a good idea.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

Houssam Rezek
Posted on: Sun, 11/06/2022 - 09:34

Hello and thank you for the program,

I have a question plz, i want to know if this program is the ideal for me to gain muscle and weight, i m in stability weight phase. My body is blocked.

Thank you in advance for your respond.

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 11/12/2022 - 10:57

It will help you build muscle as long as you eat properly to support that goal.

George
Posted on: Mon, 10/31/2022 - 16:10

Hello, great split i love it. My question is, in what order should i perform the exercises? I have been doing them by the order written, is that okay? Thanks!

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 11/02/2022 - 08:27

That is the way you do them, George! Thanks for reading M&S!

Vincenzo Russo
Posted on: Wed, 10/19/2022 - 09:40

Hi, first of all I absolutely love your routine. Programme is great for sure. I would consider myself an advanced lifter and I have a question in order to make sure I personally get the most out of this programme. When we're considering percentages of PRs for example we have standing over head press 5 sets 15 reps...How should we choose the weight for each of the reps? Should we do 80% of our max capacity? Should we increase each round? Also I am a little confused about 15 reps in 5 sets what exactly do you mean by that? 3 reps per set? Thank you again.

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 10/20/2022 - 11:04

80-85% of your one rep max is a good range to work with, Vincenzo. If you're feeling good, you could even try 90% occasionally.

The 15 reps is total over 5 sets. So, it could be 3,3,3,3,3 or 5,4,3,2,1, or any other combination. As long as the total reps you did after the fifth set is 15.

Rikesh
Posted on: Tue, 10/18/2022 - 13:24

Can you use workout if you’re someone who wants to lose weight but try to keep some strength?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 10/19/2022 - 08:15

Sure can!

Andy Gratton
Posted on: Sat, 10/01/2022 - 16:26

Hi brilliant program by the way. When ever a do good morning s a always hurt my back so what can I swap good morning for thanks in advance

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 10/04/2022 - 07:26

What do you have access to, Andy? Let us know if you're training in a gym or at home and I'll make some proper recommendations.

Andy
Posted on: Tue, 10/04/2022 - 07:35

Thanks for replying.i train at home a have power rack with powerbar ssb and deadlift bar also a bow bar and a revers hyper but a struggle to use it as am like 5ft4 so don't really use it i also have dumbells. Thank you

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 10/07/2022 - 07:17

I have a solution for your reverse hyper issue. This substitution may work for you.

Take two 2x6 boards that will fit across your rack and place them on the safety arms. Place yourself stomach down on the boards while holding on to the pillars of the rack. Let your legs hang from the waist down and perform your reverse hypers that way. Since you can place the boards where you want on the safety arms, you don't have to worry about height or reach.

As for other lower back issues, rack pulls are a great substitution. Hyperextensions are another. If those bother your back, go see a doc because you may have a bigger issue.

Andy
Posted on: Fri, 10/07/2022 - 07:56

Brilliant thank you a will try that.

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!

Jayson Cathuray
Posted on: Sun, 09/25/2022 - 20:17

Hello thank you for the fast response I really Appreciate it. One last question do you think it is good if I do this in Drop Set mode always?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 09/26/2022 - 09:05

You don't have to. If finding other ways to do it such as rest-pause works for you, you can throw those in occasionally instead. Hope this helps.

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, 10/24/2022 - 11:05

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 + 5 + 5 = 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!