What Is The Push-Pull-Legs Workout Method? How Will It Benefit Me?

What is the Push-Pull Training Method?

The Push-Pull training method is a popular and effective method. It is a versatile training format that can be used to build effective programs. Push-Pull refers to the type of training performed, typically alternating each day. Typically Push exercises include those that target the chest, shoulders, triceps, and some of the legs. Pulling exercises typically include the biceps, forearms, and a multitude of back muscles.

On the Push day, one would perform push exercises such as bench press, military press, dips, etc. On the following Pull day one would complete pulling exercises such as deadlifts, pull-ups, bicep curls, etc. There is a very high level of variability for this training method which depends on the desired intensity, number of days per week, and overall training experience. The Push-Pull method of training can benefit anyone doing resistance training.

Variability and Diversity of Push-Pull Training

The variability and diversity of Push-Pull training is one of the reasons it is so popular. By using this method you can give adequate rest time between body parts as to not overexert yourself. For example, If you start with a Push routine on Monday and Pull routine Tuesday with a rest day Wednesday, you are giving your body more than enough time to recover from the previous workout. This is also why you can train harder during session.

push pull legs

Another way to further modify this classic routine is to add a third day specifically for training legs. To do this you would divide the three major compound lifts (deadlifts, squats, and bench press) into three training days which gives more time to rest body parts and dedicates more time to each compound lift. You can further increase intensity by adding in super sets. There are truly a limitless number of Push-Pull  training combinations that can be created to suit any needs.

Push-Pull Training Split Example

Below is a three days on, one day off off example of a Push-Pull routine with an added day for working the legs. This is a high intensity example, a more simplified program can be created by removing the supersets or changing the overall workload. After the single rest day you would begin with day one again. The benefit of this type of program is that it gives more attention to body parts rather than the traditional two day split. While utilizing the two day split however, you may train either two or four days in a row with one or two rest days in between. It can also be split into a seven day cycle by training every other day and resting on the weekends.

push pull legs

Day 1 (Push):

  1. Bench Press
  2. Military Press
  3. Triceps Kickback superset with Side to Front Lateral Raises
  4. Reverse Grip Triceps Pushdown
  5. Hanging Leg Raise
  6. Incline Dumbbell Press tri-set with Arnold Press and Lying Triceps Extension
  7. Cable Crunch

Day 2 (Pull):

  1. Deadlift
  2. Hammer Curl superset with Seated Forearm Dumbbell Curl
  3. Long Bar Row superset with One-Arm Long Bar Row
  4. Standing EZ Bar Curl superset with Barbell Reverse Curl
  5. Weighted Crunches
  6. Wide Grip Lat Pull Down superset with Pull-ups
  7. Hanging Leg Raise
  8. Cable Reverse Curl superset with Cable Wrist Curl

Day 3 (Legs):

  1. Barbell Squat
  2. Seated Leg Curl
  3. Calf Press
  4. Walking Dumbbell Lunges
  5. Clean & Press
  6. Standing Kettlebell Calf Raise
  7. Leg Press

Day 4:


Potential Drawbacks

Due to the large grouping of muscles in this type of training, intensity for each individual body part is not as high as a five day split for example. High intensity can still be reached using supersets and lowering rest time but in general the Push-Pull method is not the most intense way of strength training.

Take-Home Message

The Push-Pull strength training method is a longstanding and time testing method that has many benefits with minimal drawbacks. The high versatility and limitless number of ways to build effective programs is one of the reasons it is so popular. Push-Pull method training can be utilized by individuals of any skill level, there are numerous books that highlight the benefits of Push-Pull training as well as hundreds of pre-made programs online. Push-Pull training is a great way to build strength, size, burn extra calories, or simply maintain a healthy lifestyle.



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