Athlean X’s Workout Split: Perfect Program for Big Results

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: May 10, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
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Jeff Cavaliere, the creator of Athlean X, offers various exercise and diet programs tailored to different goals and fitness levels. A typical workout split in Athlean X programs is push-pull-legs (PPL).

As a trainer, any program that takes the fitness world by storm grabs my attention, so I decided to dig into the world of Athlean X and look at its PPL split.

Read on to discover how the Athlean X PPL split can help you optimize your training for maximum results.

What is Athlean X’s Workout Split?

A person doing the Athlean X Workout-Split at the gym

Athlean X’s workout split is the PPL (push, pull, and leg). Jeff Cavaliere, former NY Mets head physical therapist, popularized the PPL split.

I have found from using this training approach that it offers a well-rounded and effective way to work different muscle groups.

You can perform this split once or twice a week for three or six workout days per week:

Consider incorporating a high-quality protein powder into your nutrition plan to support your progress further.

What is a Training Split?

A gym trainer writing down on a clipboard

According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a training split is the organization of an exercise routine where users divide training sessions into different days based on specific muscles or movement patterns [1].

There are various workout splits, and your goals, experience level, and availability will greatly influence your choice. Other than PPL, common training splits include:

  • Full-body workouts: Training all major muscles in a single session, 2-4 times weekly.
  • Upper-lower split: Dividing training sessions into upper-body and lower-body days. You complete this split 2-4 times weekly, alternating between upper and lower body workouts.
  • Body part split (bro split): Focusing on a single muscle group or two per session. This split usually involves working out 4-6 times weekly, with each group trained once per week.

This approach to training allows for adequate rest and recovery while maintaining a consistent training schedule and muscle gains.

Push-Pull-Leg Split by Jeff Cavaliere

A person doing the push pull leg split workout routine by Jeff Cavaliere

Pull Day One

  • Barbell deadlift (80% of 1RM): 1 x 5, 4 warm up, ramp up
  • Chest-supported rows: 3 x 10-12
  • Dumbbell lat pullover: 2-3 x 10-12
  • Dumbbell high pulls: 3 x 10-12
  • Biceps chin curls: 3 x to failure
  • Overhead tricep extensions: 3 x 10-12
  • Angels and devils: 3 x 15-20

Read more: Best Pull Workouts to Strengthen Your Back

Push Day One

  • Barbell bench press: 4 x 4-6
  • High-to-low cross-over: 3 x 10-12
  • Dumbbell shoulder press: 4 x 8-10
  • Dumbbell 1 ½ side lateral: 3 x 12-15
  • Dumbbell triceps extension: 3 x 10-12
  • Dumbbell waiter curls: 3 x 10-12
  • Rotator cuff external rotation: 3 x 15-20

Also read: Jeff Nippard Push Workout Routine

Leg Day One

A guy in the gym doing barbell squats
  • Barbell squat: 4 x 4-6
  • Barbell hip thrust: 3 x 8-10
  • Barbell or DB alternating reverse lunges: 2-3 x 10-12 each leg
  • DB single-leg RDL: 3 x 10-12 each leg
  • Slick floor bridge curls: 3 x to failure
  • Standing DB calf raises: 3 x 15-20
  • Seated DB calf raises: 3 x 15-20

Pull Day Two

  • Snatch-grip deadlift: 3 x 5
  • Weighted pull-up: 3 x 6-8
  • Alt. dumbbell gorilla row: 3 x 10-12
  • Straight-arm pushdown: 2-3 x 12-15
  • Barbell / EZ curl: 3 x 6-8
  • Triceps pushdown: 3 x 10-12
  • Face pull: 3 x 15-20

Push Day Two

A young man doing dumbbell curls
  • Barbell OHP: 4 x 4-6
  • Underhand dumbbell chest press: 3 x 8-10
  • Dumbbell abduction rows: 3 x 8-10
  • Floor flys: 10 reps, three sets
  • Close grip bench press: 3 x 6-8
  • Dumbbell curl (choice): 3 x 10-12
  • Push-up plus: 3 x to failure

Leg Day Two

  • Barbell squat: 4 x 4-6
  • Barbell hip thrust: 3 x 8-10
  • Barbell or DB alternating reverse lunges: 2-3 x 10-12 each leg
  • DB single-leg RDL: 3 x 10-12 each leg
  • Slick floor bridge curls: 3 x to failure
  • Standing DB calf raises: 3 x 15-20
  • Seated DB calf raises: 3 x 15-20

“Just like with every ATHLEAN-X workout, I want you to focus on quality, NOT quantity, especially if you’re doing the six-day splits”

- Jeff Cavaliere, MSPT, Athlean X

PPL Split Training Schedule

You have a couple of options when determining your schedule. You have to complete this split in one of two ways:

  • Synchronous split: Train for six consecutive days followed by one rest day.
  • Asynchronous split: Train for three straight days, one rest day, and three more consecutive training days.

Benefits of the Jeff Cavaliere PPL Training Split

A guy in the gym using a dumbbell in his workout

PPL splits provide many benefits other than building muscle.

They include:

  • Balanced muscle development: PPL splits divide workouts based on primary ensuring a balanced approach to training all major muscle groups.
  • Adequate recovery: By cycling through push, pull, and leg days, PPL splits allow each muscle group to rest and recover while you train other muscle groups.
  • Time efficiency: PPL splits can be performed 3-6 times weekly, depending on your schedule and recovery capacity making it an efficient option for those with limited time.
  • Customization: You can tailor PPL splits to individual goals, experience levels, and preferences. You can modify the exercises, rep ranges, and intensity to suit your needs.
  • Reduced risk of injury: By separating pushing and pulling movements, PPL splits can help reduce the risk of injury by allowing for a more balanced development of muscle groups, helping maintain joint stability.

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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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