3 Day Beginner Push/Pull/Legs Split Routine

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By Alex
Last updated on

This 3 day beginner push/pull/legs split routine is a simple and convenient training method, which is best for novice "hardgainers" who have trouble recovering from more frequent training splits.

This split is perfect for any lifter who is simply trying to maintain his current strength and muscle mass.

I typically advise new lifters to do full body training (see MYx8, Rippetoe's Starting Strength and Beginner Full Body Workout Routine) because it trains each muscle group very frequently (3x/week), which is optimal for gaining strength and building muscle if you can handle it.

However, there are a small number of true "hardgainers" who can't handle this much training frequency, and would do better on a push/pull/legs split that hits each muscle 1x/week.

So, what does a push/pull/legs split routine entail? It's simple: the first workout is upper body push exercises, the second workout is upper body pull exercises and the final workout is all leg exercises

Beginner Push/Pull/Legs Split Routine – Template

Week 1PushPullLegs
Week 2PushPullLegs

Bench Press
3 x 5
3 x 5
3 x 5
Barbell Overhead Press
3 x 5
(Weighted) Pull Up
3 x 5
Romanian Deadlift
3 x 5
(Weighted) Dip
3 x 8
Barbell Bent Over Row
3 x 8
Leg Press
3 x 8
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
2 x 8
Dumbbell One-Arm Row
2 x 8
Barbell Glute Bridge
2 x 8
Dumbbell Triceps Extension
3 x 12
Barbell Curl
3 x 12
Standing Calf Raise
3 x 5
Weighted Crunch
2 x 12
Weighted Hyperextension
2 x 12
Seated Calf Raise
3 x 12

Beginner Push/Pull/Legs Split Routine – Guidelines

Warm Up

Use this warm up routine before each workout. Perform 3 warm up sets for the first exercise, and 1-2 for each exercise after that (if any at all).

Rest Time Between Sets

Rest 2-3 minutes between the heavier sets (i.e. sets of 5 reps). Rest 90 seconds to 2 minutes between sets with more moderate loads (i.e. sets of 8 reps and 12 reps).

Weight & Progression

Use the same weight on all sets of a given exercise. Lift to within 2 reps of failure on all exercises.

It's okay to hit failure on the your lifts occasionally, especially the heavier lifts. But failure shouldn't be your goal.

Try to increase the weight of each lift as much as you can, every workout, without sacrificing your form.

Alex from King of the Gym
Hey! My name is Alex and I'm the founder and author of King of the Gym. I've been lifting weights seriously since 2005 in high school when I started a home gym in my parents' basement. I started writing about fitness in 2009. Then, in 2014, I got into writing home gym equipment reviews and I haven't looked back. My current home gym is in my own house and it's constantly growing and evolving. My goal is to help you build the home gym of your dreams! Read more about me here.

18 thoughts on “3 Day Beginner Push/Pull/Legs Split Routine”

    • Hey Will, thanks for the heads up. I’ll have to update that in the email so future people who sign up won’t have the same error.

      Please check your email. I sent you an updated spreadsheet that should solve exercise drop-down issue.


    • Hi Mel,

      I checked my database for your email address, and it looks like you never signed up. Just click the link at the top of the page (right after it says “FREE Workout Template:”). A form will pop up. After you submit the form, check your email inbox and it should be there within a minute or two. Let me know if you have any issues.

  1. I just tried to download the excel file on my computer and it isn’t downloading. Either link in the email. The ebook worked great but this link isn’t. Could you resend it to me please to try again?

  2. Hi Alex,

    Might be a stupid question here. When doing these exercises, do I ever increase the number of reps in each set? Or do I focus on increasing the weight?


    • That’s a good question. This program is designed to focus on increasing weight. However, if you plateau for a few weeks, you can modify the program with a slight switch in strategy — switch to increasing reps (by up to 2 more reps than prescribed) from workout to workout. Once you get to doing you plateaued weight for 2 more reps than when you first plateaued (e.g. you plateaued at 200×5; work to get to 200×7 over time), then you can switch back to increasing weight over time.

    • I looked in my email software and it shows you opened the email with the link. However, I just sent you a follow up email directly with the link to the 3 Day Beginner Push/Pull/Legs Split Routine spreadsheet. Enjoy!


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