How To Do The Push Pull Legs Routine In 3 Days: All You Need To Know

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Push pull legs or PPL routine has been popular for many years now. In fact, just about each strength and muscle-building program suits this basic mold, and that’s impossible to change. I, myself, have been doing different variations of push pull legs routine for years now, and it has helped me build muscles and recover fast.

The push pull workout is perhaps the most efficient routine because the muscle groups get a total benefit from the overlap of the movements. It also allows you to train more often and burn more fat. What I’m going to teach you below is the basic push pull workout routine where you do three exercises a day, three days a week.

What You’ll Need

  • Barbell

You’ll need a barbell to execute these exercises: deadlifts, bent-over row, close-grip bench, and front squat. When buying a new barbell, you want to bend them. This will keep the end plates steady on the floor for longer in a deadlift. You should also consider purchasing a single bar with a lot of weight plates because purchasing an entire assortment of bars is expensive.

  • Pull-Up Bar

A pull-up bar is very useful when you’ll be doing the weighted pull-ups. When choosing a pull-up bar you have to consider the mounting style and features. It’s important that you consider your location and portability because pull-up bars may be mounted in the doorway, wall, or ceiling. 

  • Dumbbells

You can use a dumbbell to put weight on your pull-ups. If you don’t have a dumbbell, you can use a kettlebell- assuming that your pull-up bar is tall enough to allow you to hang out with legs straight. If you want more efficiency, you can use resistance bands to wrap around your shoulders. The bands will stretch as you pull yourself up to the bar.

You might also need a pair of dumbbells to perform the bench press and shoulder press. To challenge the difficulty of lunges, you can also use two dumbbells in your hands.

  • Pre-Workout Supplement

If you want to get optimal results in your push and pull workout, then you probably need to take some pre-workout supplement. The supplement will give all the energy and focus that you need during the exercise. When buying the best pre-workout supplement, look for energy-boosting ingredients, like amino acids, caffeine, and nitric oxide. 

Step-By-Step Instructions

Day 1: Pull Exercises


Push pull legs routine

The conventional deadlift is probably one of the best exercises around. It helps build mass, burn fat, and increase athleticism. To do this exercise, first, stand in front of a barbell. Make sure that your shins are near to the bar and stand with feet shoulder-width apart.

Next, grab the bar outside your legs with your arms straight, legs bent, and back flat. Do this like you’re doing a squat with the barbell in front of you at arm’s length. Now, pull the barbell off the ground by straightening your legs and torso. Pull your shoulders back and lower the bar back to the ground.

For variations, you can try sumo, snatch-grip, and trip bar. Complete the deadlifts in five sets of five reps.

  1. Rows

There are a lot of row variations that you can do: barbell, dumbbell, machine or t-bar. My favorite is the fundamental barbell row that targets your back muscles. To do a barbell row, begin by standing with your feet about hip-width apart.

Bend over and hold a barbell in front of your thighs in an overhand grip. You should forward at a 45-90 degree angle and keep your back straight. Now, pull the bar against your chest and return the bar to the ground on every rep. Do this exercise for five sets of five reps.

  1. Weighted Pull-Ups

The weighted pull-up is a great exercise to activate your lats and traps. First, attach the weight by holding the dumbbell between your ankles or inserting your feet into the kettlebell’s handle. Now, do the starting position by grabbing the pull-up bar with your arms extending upwards, torso back about 20 degrees, and chest out.

Next, breath out and pull your chest to the bar until your head is above your hands. Squeeze your shoulders back and down. When you reach the top, breathe in and slowly bring your torso back to the starting position. Do this for five sets of five reps. 

Day 2: Push Exercises

Bench Press

Push pull legs routine

The bench press is a strength exercise which targets the chest. There are a lot of bench press variations you can do: flat, incline, dumbbell, or machine. What I’ll teach you is the dumbbell bench press.

First, lie on a flat bench or a hard ground with a dumbbell in every hand. Let the dumbbells rest on top of your things with the palms of your hands facing each other. Next, use your things to raise the dumbbells up. Lift the dumbbell one at a time and hold them in front of you at shoulder width with palms facing away from you.

Now, exhale and push the dumbbells up using your chest. Hold the dumbbells for a second and start to come down slowly. Perform this exercise for five rep in five sets.

  1. Shoulder Press

Just like the bench press, shoulder press can be done in several variations: military, dumbbell, or machine. This strength exercise targets the shoulders. To execute this strength exercise, first, sit on a utility bench and hold a dumbbell upright in each hand on top of your thighs.

Using your thighs, help drive the dumbbells up to shoulder height one at a time. Ensure that your palms are facing forward. This is your first position.

Now, breathe out and push the dumbbells upward. When they touch at the top, slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the first position while breathing in. Repeat this exercise for 5 reps in 5 sets.

  1. Close-Grip Bench Press

A close-grip bench press is a strength exercise that targets the triceps as well as the chest and shoulders. To begin, lie on a bench and position your hands at shoulder width. Hold the bar straight over you with arms locked. This will be your first position.

Now, inhale and bring down the bar slowly until it touches your middle chest. To maximize the triceps involvement, keep your elbows close always. After a second pause, descend the bar and get back to the first position as you exhale. Repeat this movement for five reps in five sets.

Day 3: Legs Exercises

Back Or Front Squats

Push pull legs routine

The squat is a compound exercise that works almost every muscle of your core and lower body. It mainly targets the quads, hamstrings, glutes, back, and core. For the squat exercise, you can do it in two variations: front and back.

The front squat is a great strength exercise to work the quadriceps. To begin, set the barbell on top of the deltoids and cross your arms to grasp the bar for total control. Now, bend your knees and slowly descend the bar until your upper leg and calves slightly form a 90-degree angle. Start to raise the bar as you breathe out by pushing the floor with the middle of your foot. Perform this for 6-10 reps in four sets. 

  1. Lunges

The lunge is a great exercise for the legs, more specifically the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. You can do a stationary lunge by stepping one foot ahead and leaning forward until your knee forms a 90-degree angle.

Push up and go back to the original position where you stand with your torso upright. Repeat this movement for 6-10 reps in five sets.

To up your level, you can hold two dumbbells in your hands. For variety, try split squats or step-ups.

  1. Calf Raises

The calf raise works in strengthening your calves. To begin, set your feet hip-width apart. Slowly raise your heels. When you’re on your toes, slowly descend your back down to the floor. Next, slowly raise and lower your heels. Do 6-10 reps in three sets.

Pro Tips

  • Take a day off between workouts
  • The best balance between volume and frequency is to train your muscle group every 5-7 days
  • Rest intervals are 45 seconds between sets on light to moderate days and 60 seconds on heavy days


The push pull legs routine is perhaps a great weight training program for beginners. It works because it trains each major muscle group and allows adequate rest or every muscle group to allow for progressive overload to happen. If you don’t like these exercises options, customize it to your physiology.

I encourage you to try to this routine and let me know how you go. You can also leave any questions in the comment section. If you like this article, share this with your friends or family.

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