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ppl beginner workout program

How To Use The PPL Beginner Workout Program To Build Muscle

Are you a beginner searching for a workout program to build some muscle and aesthetics? Then you will find the PPL beginner workout program useful.

As a beginner, this was the workout program that I started with and continue using till this day.

What I like about the PPL beginner workout program is that it focusses primarily on building muscle by using hypertrophy.

And you can perform this workout six days a week. So it’s useful for those who don’t want to miss a single day at the gym.

Note that it’s a bit different than the 5×5 beginner workout program that focusses primarily on building strength and building muscle is a part of the process.

What is the PPL beginner workout program?

PPL stands for Push, Pull, and Legs. This means the workout split consists of a push day, a pull day, and legs or lower body day.

The aim of the PPL beginner workout program is to provide you hypertrophy training with a schedule such as PPLRPPL (Push, Pull, Legs, Rest, Push, Pull, Legs).

So basically you will be working out six days a week with a rest day in between.

Push day

A push day consists of workouts that involve pushing movements. So this will include exercises like the barbell bench press, barbell incline bench press, dumbbell bench press, shoulder press, triceps pushdowns, etc.

Pull day

A pull day will consist of exercises that involve pulling movements. This includes exercises such as pullups, pulldowns, barbell rows, face pulls, bicep curls, etc.

Legs day

As the name implies, this day consists of workout out your legs and lower body. This will involve using exercises such as squats, deadlifts, leg press, leg extensions, leg curls, etc.

You will start each workout day of the PPL beginner workout program with compound exercises such as bench press, squats, deadlifts, etc. And only when done with those will you work with accessory exercises such as triceps pushdowns, bicep curls, leg press, etc.

What are the benefits of the PPL beginner workout program?

Focus on building muscle

The main focus of the PPL beginner workout program is to build muscle. This is a bit different than some other workouts for beginners that tend to focus more on building strength.

While this workout will also build strength, the exercises with the sets and reps are tailored for building muscle. There is also an addition of isolation exercises or accessory lifts for this very purpose.

This workout also has a lot of compound movements that are the optimal exercises for a beginner to start building some good muscle.

Ideal for beginners who want higher frequency

Beginner workouts such as the 5×5 workout program have the frequency of working out three times per week

Some beginners get really excited about joining the gym and want to be there every day.

The PPL workout program is useful for them as it makes you train six days a week.

It gives you a great pump

The PPL workout focusses on both compound movements and isolation exercises.

This targets each group of muscles such as the pushing muscles, the pulling muscles, and the leg muscles.

As a result, at the end of each workout, the muscles that you focus on will get a good pump and you will feel the bodybuilder’s natural high.

How the PPL workout program will help you build muscle

The PPL workout program makes use of heavy, compound movements as a major part of the workout.

It has been proven that compound movements are the key to building muscle. They hit the major muscle groups and stimulate the most growth especially in a beginner.

These compound movements are exercises such as squat, deadlift, bench press, barbell row, overhead press, etc.

What equipment do you need to perform the exercises?

To perform the PPL beginner workout program, you will need access to a gym.

Before joining the gym, please take a tour and ensure that it at least has the below equipment.

Barbell

One of the most essential equipment that you will need in the gym is the barbell.

This is a horizontal Olympic barbell that weighs 20kg/44lbs.

barbell

The barbell will be used for a lot of the compound exercises such as squat, deadlift, bench press, barbell row, and overhead press.

 

Plates

For the barbell, you will need weight plates such as iron plates.

iron plates

The more plates the gym has the better because if you are a beginner you can make good progress and keep lifting heavier weights.

Also try to check if the gym has plates with a variety of weights such as 2.5lbs, 5lbs, 10lbs, 20lbs, etc. so that you can always add the correct amount of weight as you progress.

Remember, that even a small increase in weights with every workout will do wonders to your confidence and progression.

Power Rack

The power rack is an essential piece of equipment if you want to lift heavy weights without access to a spotter.

This is because it has safety pins that you can use during the squat, bench press, etc. that can protect you in case you fail while lifting the weights.

power rack

Bench

In addition to the barbell, you will need the flat bench to perform the bench press.

flat bench

 

Make sure the gym has a variety of benches or at least a bench that is adjustable for inclines and declines.

bench

Dumbbells

Make sure the gym is also equipped with a good set of dumbbells.

dumbbells

They are great for both compound and isolation exercises where you want to focus on a particular muscle.

They also help in avoiding muscle imbalances when you use them correctly as you need to balance the weight using both your arms and they work both sides of the body.

Pull-up bar

You will also need a pullup bar to perform both pull-ups and chin-ups.

pullup bar

If the gym does not have a pull-up bar, check if the power rack has a pull-up bar at the top.

Lat pulldown and cable row machine

Check that the gym has the lat pulldown and cable row machine. This will be very useful for the time when you are unable to perform pull-ups.

lat pulldown

It is also useful to hit your back from different angles when you perform the pulldowns and the cable rows.

Cable station

The cable station is a great machine to perform compound movements such as cable chest press.

It is also a versatile machine to perform several isolation movements such as cable flyes, triceps pushdowns, bicep curls, etc.

cable station

Leg press and hack squat machine

Along with the squat, the leg press and hack squat machine will be the one that you frequently use to build your leg muscles.

leg press

Leg extension and leg curl machine

To perform some isolation exercises for your legs, you will need to make use of the leg extension and leg curl machine.

leg extension machine

So make sure your gym has one of these.

What are the exercises under the PPL beginner workout program?

The PPL beginner workout program focusses on both compound movements and isolation exercises to hit all body parts with the maximum frequency for beginners.

Below are some of the exercises that you perform as part of this workout program.

Squat

The squat is the king of all full-body exercises that will work your lower body parts such as quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. It will also work your abs and back since you need those to keep the bar stable on your back.

Here is a video that shows the correct way to squat.

Bench Press

Probably the most famous exercise at the gym is the bench press.

This compound exercise will hit your chest, shoulders, and triceps all in one movement so make full use of it.

Here is a video that shows you how to bench press.

Deadlift

If squat is the king of compound exercises then deadlift is the queen. This exercise will hit your quads, hamstrings, calves, and adductors as well as a lot of muscles on your back.

Check out the video below to perform the deadlift correctly.

Overhead Press

This full-body compound exercise will hit your shoulders, triceps, and upper chest. It will also work your abs, legs, and back since you will need those to stabilize the weight.

Check out the video below on how to perform the overhead press correctly.

Barbell Row

The barbell row is a compound exercise that will work your upper back, lats, traps, and biceps. It will also hit your abs, lower back, and legs as you hold the bar to stabilize the weight.

Here is a video to show you how to perform the barbell row.

Chin-ups

Chin-ups are a compound exercise that target your back muscles such as the lats and upper back. They also workout your biceps.

Here is a video on how to perform chin-ups.

Seated cable row

The seated cable row is another compound exercise that will target your lower back and lats.

Here is a video that will help you perform the seated cable row.

Barbell curls

Barbell curls are an isolation exercise that target your biceps. Below is a video that will show you how to perform these.

Incline dumbbell press

This is a great exercise that targets your chest muscles focussing on the upper chest. It will also work your shoulders and triceps.

Upright rows

This is a good compound exercise that will target all three heads of your shoulders and also your traps.

Check the video on how to perform them.

Dips

Dips are a compound exercise that focusses on the chest and the triceps.

Cable pushdowns

This is a good isolation exercise that targets your triceps.

Leg press

The leg press is a good compound exercise to target your leg muscles especially your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.

Check the video below on how to perform this exercise.

Stiff-legged deadlift

The stiff-legged deadlift is an isolation exercise that targets your hamstrings. It also hits a bit of your lower back as well.

Check out the video below on how to perform the stiff-legged deadlift.

Leg extensions

Leg extensions are an isolation exercise that will target your quad muscles.

Here is a video that shows how to do this using a leg extension machine.

How you can start using the PPL beginner workout program

As you know by now, the PPL stands for the push, pull, and legs for the type of movements you will perform the exercises every day.

The aim of the PPL beginner workout program is to provide you hypertrophy training with a schedule such as PPLRPPL (Push, Pull, Legs, Rest, Push, Pull, Legs).

So basically you will be working out six days a week with a rest day in between. If you are comfortable with it, you can also start with three days a week with one day of exercise and one day of rest. This is also perfectly fine for a beginner just starting out. But if are restless and want to hit the gym every day then, by all means, use this workout six days a week.

Warm up before you begin the workout

Before every workout session, make sure to warm up your body so that you avoid injury when lifting heavy loads.

Warming up will get the blood flowing through your muscles so that they are ready to handle the heavy loads from the actual workout.

A warm up will also help you get used to the motion of the exercise before you use the heavy weights. This will help you with your form and technique.

I find the best way to warm up is to perform the actual exercise but with a lighter weight.

So for example, if it’s push day and you are going to start with a bench press then you can warm up with a bench press and lighter weights.

For example, you could start with one set with the empty bar. Then add 5lbs on each side and perform another set. Then add another 5lbs on each side of the bar and perform the third set.

Three to four sets should be more than sufficient to warm your muscles up.

You can follow the same warm up process before attempting any compound movements such as bench press, squat, deadlift, barbell row, etc.

You won’t need to warm up for isolation exercises because your body will already be warmed up after you perform the heavy, compound movements.

Perform the PPL beginner workout as shown

Here 2×8-12 reps mean that you need to perform 2 sets each with 8-12 repetitions.

Just click on the exercise name below to view the video on how to perform the exercise.

Day 1: Pull day

ExercisesSets & Reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”-4qRntuXBSc&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Deadlifts”]3 x 5-8 reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”b-ztMQpj8yc&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Chin-ups”]To failure
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”9efgcAjQe7E&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Barbell Rows”]2 x 8-12 reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”GZbfZ033f74&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Seated Cable Row”]2 x 10-12 reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”kwG2ipFRgfo&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Barbell Curls”]2 x 12-15 reps

Day 2: Push day

ExercisesSets & Reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”gRVjAtPip0Y&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Flat Barbell Bench Press”]3 x 8-12 reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”8iPEnn-ltC8&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Incline Dumbbell Press”]2 x 10-12 reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”F3QY5vMz_6I&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Overhead Press”]3 x 6-8 reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”jaAV-rD45I0&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Wide-Grip Upright Rows”]2 x 12-15 reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”wjUmnZH528Y&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Narrow Grip Dips”]To failure
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”8WL0m0vLAPo&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Cable Pushdowns”]2 x 12-15 reps

Day 3: Leg day

ExercisesSets & Reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”Dy28eq2PjcM&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Squats”]2 x 10-12 reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”Aq5uxXrXq7c&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Leg Press”]3 x 6-8 reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”1uDiW5–rAE&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Stiff-legged deadlift”]2 x 12-15 reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”YyvSfVjQeL0&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Leg Extensions”]2 x 15-20 reps

Day 4: Rest day

Do not perform any exercise on this day. Allow your body and muscles to recover so you can perform at full strength for the next three days.

Day 5: Pull day

ExercisesSets & Reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”-4qRntuXBSc&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Deadlifts”]3 x 5-8 reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”b-ztMQpj8yc&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Chin-ups”]To failure
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”9efgcAjQe7E&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Barbell Rows”]2 x 8-12 reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”GZbfZ033f74&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Seated Cable Row”]2 x 10-12 reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”kwG2ipFRgfo&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Barbell Curls”]2 x 12-15 reps
Day 6: Push day
ExercisesSets & Reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”gRVjAtPip0Y&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Flat Barbell Bench Press”]3 x 8-12 reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”8iPEnn-ltC8&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Incline Dumbbell Press”]2 x 10-12 reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”F3QY5vMz_6I&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Overhead Press”]3 x 6-8 reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”jaAV-rD45I0&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Wide-Grip Upright Rows”]2 x 12-15 reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”wjUmnZH528Y&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Narrow Grip Dips”]To failure
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”8WL0m0vLAPo&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Cable Pushdowns”]2 x 12-15 reps
 Day 7: Leg day
ExercisesSets & Reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”Dy28eq2PjcM&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Squats”]2 x 10-12 reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”Aq5uxXrXq7c&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Leg Press”]3 x 6-8 reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”1uDiW5–rAE&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Stiff-legged deadlift”]2 x 12-15 reps
[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”YyvSfVjQeL0&rel=0″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Leg Extensions”]2 x 15-20 reps

And you can continue this workout cycle as long as you want. I would recommend following any program for at least 90 days to know how it works for you.

Some important factors to consider when you work out

Progressive overload

Progressive overload means that with each workout session your goal should be to progress either with the weight that you lift or the number of repetitions that you can perform.

Please make sure you do this with proper form and don’t compromise form trying to lift heavier weights or perform more sets. That may build your ego but it will do nothing to build you muscle.

As a beginner, you can attempt to add 5lbs every workout session to the compound movements such as the squat, bench press, barbell row, etc.

For the isolation movements, you can keep adding a small amount of weight. As much as you can lift and try to progress.

Progressive overload is the key to building muscle as your body needs to adapt and grow to keep lifting heavier weights. If you are not progressing in the following weeks and months, then you are not growing muscle.

Rest period

You will need to rest for some time at the end of each set. This will allow your muscles to recover so you can hit them again with the next set.

The amount of time you need to rest will depend on how fast you recover. But I would recommend around 2-3 minutes rest between sets for the compound exercises. And around 60-90 seconds rest between sets for the isolation exercises.

Failure

When lifting heavy weights, it is possible that you may not be able to perform all the repetitions. Suppose, you wanted to perform eight repetitions on the bench press but managed only seven and could not perform the eighth. That is known as a failure.

Form

Form is the technique that you use to lift the heavy weights. Always make sure to use good form when lifting weights even if you have to lower the weights. It’s important that you are able to control the weight without swinging the weights or trying to lift more than you currently can.

Incorrect form can lead to injury that will put you out of the gym for several weeks or months and are detrimental to your muscle gains.

Resources

Below are a few resources that will give you some more information about the PPL workout program.

Conclusion

I hope this post has helped you learn all about the PPL beginner workout program to build muscle and aesthetics.

Now you should have a clear understanding of what the PPL workout program is and the benefits you can gain from it.

You should also know what are the equipment and exercises that you need to perform as part of this workout.

And finally, I hope you learned how you can start using the PPL beginner workout program.

If you have any questions do let me know so I can try to help you in the best way possible.

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