Introduction

Hello All,

Recently I decided to forego a full body routine and switch to a split routine. It went very well. During the 5 weeks cycle I decided to write this post.  Changes were made to the traditional Push Pull Legs routine to best fit my needs. The order was changed to Legs Push Pull. There is also an additional day where I decided to work on anything I may have missed during the week.

Please consult your physician before trying any exercise routine or changing your diet. 

Nutrition: Nutrition will vary depending on what is trying to be accomplished (e.g. weight loss, weight gain) Appropriate nutrition must be maintained for the specific goal you want to achieve. Below are some links to help you with regards to nutrition.

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

http://examine.com/

Scheduling: The order for this routine is Legs, Push, and Pull. This version deviates from traditional forms of this split routine which go Push Pull Legs. Some versions run in consecutive days with 1-2 days rest before the order repeats.1 Others are even done 4-5 times a week.2  It can be used for strength training, bodybuilding or general health. This might be the routine I use to prepare for a powerlifting meet later this year. 😉 maybe…. Below is the suggested schedule for this routine. As previously mentioned avoid doing Pull and Legs on consecutive days.

Su M T W Th F Sa
Legs Rest Push Rest Pull Optional Rest

 

Parts of the Routine: Each day is divided into 4 parts. These parts are warm up, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary movements. Primary movements will be the main focus of the session. It is the movement you want to improve, and should be the most difficult. The Secondary movement is essentially assistance for the Primary movement. Tertiary movements are used to hit a certain muscle group from a different angle.

Warm Ups: The first and most important part of these workouts are the warm ups. My reasons for warming up are more mental than physical. However, there are benefits to warming up. The benefits include:

  • Increase body temperature3
  • Exercise Rehearsal4
  • Stretching of connective tissues5
  • Reduces incidence and likelihood of musculoskeletal injuries6

Exercise Selection: Be care with your choice of exercises. Focus on your weaknesses, but don’t entirely neglect your strengths either.  Look at this example below:

  • Front Squat
  • Reverse Barbell Lunge
  • Goblet Squat
  • Leg Extension
  • Barbell Lunge

All of the aforementioned movements are quad dominant. A work out shown below would be more appropriate because it works out the posterior and anterior part of the upper leg. Try to create an appropriate balance when choosing exercises:

  • Front Squat
  • Reverse Barbell Lunge
  • Good Mornings
  • Leg Curls
  • Calf Raises

Sets and Reps: Provided are recommended set and rep ranges for the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary movements. Set ranges include warm up sets. Performing 2-4 warm up sets, and 3 work sets for the Primary Movement are recommended. This is subject to change depending on how a person wants to train. For the Secondary and Tertiary movements it may not be necessary to perform as many warm up sets. One warm up set might suffice for Secondary and Tertiary movements. Regardless of how many work sets you decide to perform make sure you have enough energy to finish the entire session.* Feel free to deviate from the recommended sets and reps if you choose depending on what you want to accomplish.

Rest: For movements in which you are lifting relatively heavy (3-6 reps) I would recommend taking 3-5 minutes of rest. For other small movements (curls, lateral raises) you can take take 30-90 seconds of rest. It all depends on how you feel.

Progression: From week to week you want to try to increase the amount of weight lifted for the compound movements. For smaller movements like curls or lateral raises, increase at your own discretion.  I like to increase 5 – 10 lbs every week if attain the required reps for squats, deadlifts and rowing movements. For pressing movements I like to increase 2.5 – 5 lbs.  Just remember, don’t sacrifice form for weight.

Intensity: Intensity is how hard you are working during an exercise. This can vary from week to week. If you did 3 sets of 5 for Squats on Leg day, a way to increase intensity is to add weight, do more reps, or take less rest between sets.  Do not sacrifice form and technique for more weight on the bar. If you do, then you will only reinforce bad habits and risk injury.  For more experienced lifters, choosing to use percentages of your 1 Rep max is an option. However, I will not cover that here. Check out my article, Rotating Rep Ranges , to see how I use percentages.

*Note – work sets are the sets done after your warm up sets. If you plan to do 3 sets of 5 for the squat, those are your work sets. Warm up sets do not count as part of the 3 sets of 5.

Legs

Warm up:

  • Foam Rolling (optional)
  • Static Stretching of forearms and calves
  • Arm Circles Forward
  • Torso Twist
  • Arm Circles Backward
  • Side Bends
  • Arm Crossovers
  • Push Ups
  • Reverse Lunges
  • Bodyweight Squats
  • Monster Walks (optional)
  • Standing Leg Abduction

Primary Compound Movement

Select 1 movement and Perform 3-7 sets of 3-6 reps

  • High Bar Squat
  • Front Squat
  • Low Bar Squat

Secondary Compound Movements

Select 1 movement and Perform 5-8 sets of 6-8

  • Barbell Lunge
  • Straight Leg Deadlift
  • Reverse Barbell Lunge
  • Goblet Squat
  • Barbell Hip Thrust
  • Barbell Glute Bridge
  • Good Morning

Tertiary Movements

Select 2 movements and Perform 5 sets of 12+ reps)

  • Good Mornings
  • Kettle Bell Swings
  • Leg Curls
  • Leg Extension
  • Glute Bridge
  • Calf Raises

Push

Warm Up:

  • Band Pull Aparts
  • Arm Circles Forward
  • Torso Twist
  • Arm Circles Backward
  • Side Bends
  • Arm Crossovers
  • Push Ups
  • Static stretching of forearms and calves
  • Bodyweight Squats

Primary Compound Movement

Select 1 movement and Perform 3-7 sets of 3-6 reps

  • Barbell Bench Press
  • Barbell Overhead Press
  • Incline Barbell Bench Press
  • Decline Barbell Bench Press
  • Push Press

Secondary Compound Movement*

Select 1 movement and Perform sets 5-8 of 6-8 reps

  • Barbell Bench Press
  • Barbell Overhead Press
  • Dips
  • Incline Barbell Press
  • Decline Barbell Press
  • Push Press
  • Dumbbell Overhead Press
  • Incline Dumbbell Press
  • Close Grip Bench Press (Incline, Decline or Flat)

* Note – Just to be clear, if your Primary movement is a vertical press (overhead press or push press) then do a benching variation as your Secondary movement. Example: If your Primary movement is the overhead press, then your secondary movement should be a bench press variation.

Tertiary Movements

Select 2 movements and Perform sets of 10-15+)

  • Dips
  • Any Push Up variation
  • Tricep Pull Downs
  • Tricep Extension
  • Skull Crushers
  • Dumbbell Flyes
  • Lateral Raises
  • Front Raises

Pull

Warm Up:

  • Foam Rolling (optional)
  • Static Stretching of forearms and calves
  • Arm Circles Forward
  • Torso Twist
  • Arm Circles Backward
  • Side Bends
  • Arm Crossovers
  • Push Ups
  • Reverse Lunges
  • Bodyweight Squats
  • Monster Walks (optional)
  • Standing Leg Abduction
  • Barbell Squat Variation*

* Note – Perform 3 easy sets of 5.  If you did a 200 pound squat on Leg Day, use a weight at or less than 100 lbs. The maximum resistance should be 50% of your max squat on Leg Day.

Primary Compound Movement

Select 1 movement and Perform 3-7 sets of 3-6 reps

  • Deadlift
  • Clean (Perform only if you can do a full clean)
  • Straight Leg Deadlift
  • Sumo Deadlift
  • Snatch (Perform only if you can do a full snatch)

Secondary Compound Movement

Select 1 movement and Perform 5-8 sets of 6-8

  • Wide Grip Pull Ups
  • Chin Ups
  • Barbell Row
  • T-Bar Row
  • Cable Row
  • Lat Pull Down
  • Dimel Deadlift
  • Dumbbell Rows

Tertiary Movements

Select 2 movements and Perform sets of 12+ reps

  • Face Pulls
  • Rear Delt Fly
  • Shrugs
  • Dumbbell Rows
  • Barbell Curl
  • Incline Dumbbell Curl
  • Wrist Curls
  • Deadlift hold with Dumbbells
  • Cable Row
  • Upright Row

Weakness Day (Optional)

Use this day to work on body parts you may have neglected during the week. If you have any weaknesses, then this is the day you should be working on it. I do not recommend max effort lifting on this day (e.g Heavy Squats).  You can do speed and technique work on these days, but keep the volume low. I take this day to do extra arm work, back and chest work. Find your weaknesses and work on them. Here is an example of what I have done*:

  • Incline Dumbbell Press
  • Incline Flys
  • Incline Curls
  • Dumbbell Shrugs
  • Lat Pull Down
  • Cable Row
  • Pull Ups
  • Dips
  • Squats
  • Leg Curls

* Note – This is what I have done, but your optional day of training can be whatever you want it to be.

Closing

There is no direct abdominal work listed in this routine. However, you do have the option of adding abdominal exercises of your choice. Keep in mind, that you do not want to over due ab training to the point that your abdominals are still sore 2 days later. In my experience it takes away from larger lifts. This is just a guide. These recommendations do not need to be done verbatim. Find what works for you. With that being said, below is a example of Legs Push Pull for 1 week. Sets x Reps (work sets only)

Leg Day Push Day Pull Day Optional Day
High Bar Squat 3×5 Overhead Press 6×3 High Bar Squat 2×5 Dips 80 Total Reps
Reverse Barbell Lunges 5×8 Bench Press 5×8 Deadlift 1×5,5×1 Chin Ups 50 Total Reps
Good Morning 5×12 Dips 5×10 Wide Grip Pull Up 5×8 Incline Press 3×8
Decline Sit Ups 4×8 Lateral Raises 5×15 Cable Row 5×12 Incline Curls 3×15
Calf Raises 3 sets MAX reps Incline Flys 5×12 Face Pull 5 x 15 Incline Flys 3×15
Close Grip Pulldown 5×15 Seated Dumbbell Shrugs 3×15
Leg Press 3×8-12

Once the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary movements are completed, if you have energy then you can essentially do what you want. You could also perform some abdominal work or light cardio. Do not take these recommendations as the end all be all.  This is just what I did that yielded the best results for me.

There are plenty of exercises I did not list. Feel free to use your favorite exercises. Give it a shot, and see how it goes.

That is all fans! 🙂

Notes

1. http://jacktylerperformance.com/2013/10/13/pushpulllegs-split-strength-size-and-athleticism/

2. http://www.myweightlifting.com/intermediate-and-advanced-push-pull-legs-split-routine/

3. http://www.exrx.net/ExInfo/WarmUp.html

4. Ibid

5. http://www.acsm.org/access-public-information/articles/2012/01/10/basic-injury-prevention-concepts

6. http://www.exrx.net/ExInfo/WarmUp.html

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Comments
  1. fit4review says:

    I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award! 🙂
    Check out this post for the details – http://fit4review.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/liebster-award-a-chance-to-get-to-know-me-a-little-better/

  2. Manuel says:

    Nice post man. Seems like a solid mass workout!
    Personally, I’m more into the minimalist full-body style, but this volume per day would definetly do a case for splits!

    • Thanks! I am also big on Full body routines with squats, benching and deadlift being the main lifts. That is how I got started. I did starting strength. I actually am using this routine to lose weight.

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