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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Correct, Chris. That would work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hello, and thank you for reading M&S!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Use this one, Khaled.

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

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

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

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

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

2 cups of tomato sauce for dinner??

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks a ton for putting up this plan!!

Gaston
Posted on: Mon, 03/07/2022 - 10:08

Nice workout. I have a doubt regarding the sets and reps:
Push Workout A - Chest, Shoulders & Triceps
Chest 5 sets of 15 reps looks okay, however 3 sets of 30 reps each on weighted pull ups looks like a lot. Do i have to do a total of 30 reps withing 3 sets (3x10 for ex) or 3x30?
Thanks!!

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 03/13/2022 - 19:57

3 x 10 would work. 30 total reps for all three sets is the goal. Do the best you can do, Gaston. Just focus on getting one more each workout until you get there.

Sean
Posted on: Tue, 03/29/2022 - 13:39

I just do lat pull downs. I always chuckle when I see a program that includes weighted pull ups. Asking me to do an weighted pull up is like asking me to bench 235. It's just not gonna happen for at least another year of training.

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 03/31/2022 - 10:12

If that works for you, then go for it, Sean.

dan
Posted on: Wed, 03/02/2022 - 21:07

hey mate
just want to clarify the compound movements 5 sets 15 rep total, so working up around 80-90% 3rm for each set ?
thanks

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 03/10/2022 - 19:25

Hi, Dan. I would suggest starting with 80% so you know the form is on point. Then, as it gets easier, go up to 85, then 90%. 90 would be where you should peak.

Chris
Posted on: Wed, 03/02/2022 - 07:09

Can’t wait to try this workout thank you

Sunder
Posted on: Sun, 02/27/2022 - 02:05

Hi Nick, I have downloaded your PPL workout for a 12 week program. Just wanted to thank you for this wonderful website. It's as exhaustive as the workouts and the simplicity of the plans is refreshing.
Great stuff !

Jason
Posted on: Thu, 02/24/2022 - 09:11

I am a 20 year old male and would like to build muscle and get bigger. I'm on the slimmer side. What is the difference between this workout and the "8 WEEK MASS BUILDING
HYPERTROPHY WORKOUT" and which should I choose? I can't figure out which should be better.

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 02/24/2022 - 20:36

Hi, Jason. The 8 Week Mass Building Hypertrophy Workout is mine, but I'll do my best to be objective here.

Mine is focused on training each muscle group once a week, but using more intense training methods. This one has you hit everything twice a week.

This one has a structured nutrition and supplementation plan in place, which is great for beginners. Mine is for people that may already have their nutrition and supplementation strategy in place, but need a new program to kick start growth.

Which is better? Honestly, you're going to get results with either. So, now the focus is on you. Which one will serve you better? Think about your schedule, level of experience, and the amount of structure you need. Regardless of which program you choose, let us know the results. Success stories go over well around here.

Ahmad Khalil
Posted on: Mon, 02/21/2022 - 21:18

You didn’t notify about the abs exercises or any cardio before or after the workout so if i want to build muscle and burn fats what should i do and tbt your workout its amazing thanks for helping other people to build up muscles

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 02/24/2022 - 20:31

Hi, Ahmad. If you want an ab program to go with this, check this out.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/core-destroyer-8-week-home-ab...

As for cardio, moderate intensity cardio for 20-30 minutes 3-4 days a week would serve you well.

cormac
Posted on: Sun, 02/20/2022 - 19:01

Too much volume. Something like 10x3 pushing to failure promotes more muscle growth

David
Posted on: Tue, 02/15/2022 - 14:24

Hi was wondering once I have completed the 12 weeks program what would be the best workout program to do next maybe a 5-2 split in regards to training days to rest days?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 02/18/2022 - 19:30

Hey David, it depends on what your goal is. If you were to consider fat loss, muscle building, strength, or endurance, which would you place as the highest priority?

David Ellison
Posted on: Tue, 02/22/2022 - 14:50

Hi I would like to try muscle building workout after this program what can you recommend

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 02/24/2022 - 20:47
Ben O’Connell
Posted on: Fri, 02/04/2022 - 00:09

Wanted to clarify something. Say im doing dumbell lat raises the total rep goal is 50. That means that over the course of 5 sets by the end I want a total of 50 reps. So 5 sets of 10 reps = 50. Just wanted clarity because this is how Ive been doing it?

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 02/05/2022 - 19:56

I had to double check this for someone else as well. Yes, 5 x 10 would work. Don't feel like you have to do it that way though. 4 sets of 20, 15, 10, and 5 would get you there as well.

Ben O’Connell
Posted on: Thu, 02/03/2022 - 23:45

I can’t tell if the plan is working. Been on it for about 4 weeks or so I have seen increased numbers in strength, I am lifting the heaviest I ever have but when I look in the mirror I am not seeing much? I’m pretty large dude at 6”4, 240 eating around 3500 calories atm. Roughly 220-250 grams of protein a day. I am gaining the strength but not size? Am i sketching out or should I look to add more to diet?

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 02/05/2022 - 19:55

How are your clothes fitting, Ben? Also, have you had your bodyfat checked? You may be losing fat and building muscle. Measurements and photos are another good way to monitor the progress. If everything is still similar, then add 500 calories to the plan. 250 calories of protein and split the other 250 between fats and carbs.

Good job on getting stronger. Keep it up!

Darryl Hennessy
Posted on: Sat, 01/29/2022 - 18:43

I'm following 3 days on ,one off intermediate stage to the best of my understanding of it . Not knowing what the program would do for me physique wise ,on week twelve I can judge , but already I feel more confident in my training and enjoyment is back. This is a great change to make to concentrate your gym time on

Ray Valois
Posted on: Fri, 01/28/2022 - 06:44

The rep goal is per set. Is this correct?
Thanks for your help!

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 01/28/2022 - 10:03

Correct, Ray. Per set.