Arnold Split vs PPL: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Split Workout Routine

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The world of fitness is a labyrinth of workout routines, each promising to deliver the best results. In the heart of this maze, we find a classic debate: Arnold Split vs PPL.


This article will guide you through the nuances of these two workout regimes, their benefits, and how to choose the one that suits you best.


Key Takeaways

  • The Arnold Split and PPL are two popular workout splits, each with its unique approach and benefits.
  • The Arnold Split focuses on training each muscle group twice a week, while the PPL routine divides workouts into push, pull, and legs.
  • Both routines can help you build muscle and improve your fitness, but the best choice depends on your individual goals and circumstances.
  • The key difference lies in the grouping of muscle groups. Lear how to chose the right ones.
  • PPL approach allows athletes to train each muscle group twice a week.


Understanding the difference between the Arnold Split and PPL can help you make an informed decision about your workout routine, leading to better results and a more enjoyable fitness journey.


Significant Difference

Arnold Split vs PPL: Is There a Significant Difference?

The Arnold split and PPL routine are both effective for muscle building, but they differ in their approach. The Arnold split separates chest and back training from shoulders and arms, while the PPL routine groups chest, shoulders, and triceps, as well as back and biceps. This structure gives the Arnold split a slight advantage in building shoulder and arm muscles, as these muscles are trained when they’re relatively fresh.


However, both workout splits can yield substantial gains for lifters in the late intermediate and advanced stages of training. The choice between the two often boils down to personal preference and consistency.


The Arnold Split Routine: A Glimpse into the Past

What is the Arnold Split?

The Arnold Split, named after the legendary bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a high-volume, 6-day workout split that targets each muscle group twice a week. This routine is designed for intermediate and advanced lifters seeking to maximize muscle hypertrophy.


How does the Arnold Split Work?

The Arnold Split divides the week into three separate days of workout: chest and back, shoulders and arms, and legs. Each workout session is repeated twice, resulting in a 6-day workout routine.


As Arnold Schwarzenegger himself once said, “The best activities for your health are pumping and huffing.”


This routine embodies that philosophy, focusing on high volume and intensity to stimulate muscle growth.


The Arnold Split Workout Routine: A Detailed Look

The Arnold split, named after Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a 6-day workout routine that separates training for chest and back, shoulders and arms, and legs.


Here’s what a typical week might look like:




Chest and back day might include exercises like the bench press, incline dumbbell press, pull-ups, and barbell row. Shoulders and arms day could involve the overhead press, barbell curls, and triceps pressdown.


Lower body exercises like the deadlift, lunge, squat, leg extension, and calf raise would be performed on leg day. Arnold also recommended daily ab training, alternating between incline sit-ups and leg raises.


The PPL Routine

The PPL Routine: A Modern Approach to Fitness

What is the PPL Routine?

PPL stands for Push, Pull, Legs. It’s a common workout split that divides exercises based on the type of movement and the muscle groups they target. This routine is suitable for beginners and advanced lifters alike, offering flexibility and a balanced approach to training.


How does the PPL Routine Work?

The PPL routine is typically performed over six days, with one rest day. The “push” day focuses on the muscles used for pushing exercises (like chest, shoulders, and triceps), the “pull” day targets muscles used for pulling (like back and biceps), and the “legs” day is dedicated to lower body exercises.


“The PPL routine is a versatile and balanced approach to training, allowing for customization based on individual goals and fitness levels.”


What is a Push/Pull/Legs (PPL) Split?

The PPL routine is a training program that dedicates one day to upper body pushing movements (chest, shoulders, and triceps), another day to upper body pulling movements (back and biceps), and a third day to leg exercises (quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves).


A 6-day PPL split might look like this:



Workout Split Showdown

Arnold Split vs PPL: The Workout Split Showdown

Pros and Cons of the Arnold Split

The Arnold Split allows for a high volume of work for each muscle group, which can lead to significant muscle growth. However, its intensity may not be suitable for beginners or those with limited recovery capacity.


Pros and Cons of the PPL Routine

The PPL routine offers a balanced and flexible approach to training, making it suitable for a wide range of fitness levels. However, it may not provide the same level of intensity or volume as the Arnold Split for those seeking maximal hypertrophy.


Choosing the Right Workout Routine for You

Consider Your Fitness Level

Beginners may find the PPL routine more manageable, while intermediate and advanced lifters might benefit from the intensity of the Arnold Split.


Consider Your Goals

If your goal is to build muscle mass, the Arnold Split may be a better choice. If you’re looking for a balanced routine that can fit into a busy schedule, the PPL routine might be more suitable.


Consider Your Recovery Capacity

High-volume routines like the Arnold Split require good recovery capacity. If you struggle with recovery, the PPL routine may be a better choice.


Hypertrophy Showdown

Arnold Split vs Push/Pull/Legs (PPL): Hypertrophy Showdown

Both the Arnold split and the PPL routine share similarities, such as a similar training frequency (six days a week) and each muscle group being trained directly twice a week. Both routines also dedicate an entire workout to leg training.


The key difference lies in the grouping of muscle groups. In the Arnold split, chest and back are trained together, while in a PPL routine, chest is trained separately from the back. This results in the Arnold split hitting the biceps and triceps four times a week, both directly and indirectly, giving it a potential edge in muscle hypertrophy.


Arnold and PPL Split: The Final Showdown

The Arnold and PPL split both offer unique benefits for muscle growth, but their differences lie in the muscle groupings and frequency of training. 


The Arnold split, with its focus on chest and back together, and shoulders and arms separately, allows for a more intense focus on each muscle group. This split also hits the biceps and triceps four times a week, both directly and indirectly, potentially giving it an edge in muscle hypertrophy.


On the other hand, the PPL split, with its division of push, pull, and leg days, provides a balanced approach to training. It allows for ample recovery time for each muscle group, which can be beneficial for those who struggle with recovery.


A lesser-known fact is that Arnold Schwarzenegger himself often switched between different splits throughout his bodybuilding career, showing that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. The best split is the one that aligns with your personal goals, recovery capacity, and lifestyle.


Spotlight on the Push Pull Leg Split Routine: High-Intensity Training Meets High Frequency

The Push Pull Legs (PPL) split stands out in the fitness world for its emphasis on high-intensity and high-frequency training. This routine strategically divides the body’s major muscle groups into three separate workouts: push (chest, shoulders, and triceps), pull (back and biceps), and legs (quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves).


This approach allows athletes to train each muscle group twice a week, ensuring a high training frequency. For instance, an athlete might perform high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on push and pull days, focusing on explosive, compound movements like bench presses, overhead presses, deadlifts, and pull-ups. On leg days, they might incorporate high-intensity training (HIT) with exercises like squats, lunges, and calf raises.


The PPL split’s adaptability makes it suitable for both beginners and advanced lifters. Its effectiveness, however, ultimately hinges on personal goals, recovery capacity, and consistent application.


Trainer Conclusive Training Split

The Arnold split may offer a few advantages over the PPL routine. Training chest and back together can provide a satisfying pump in the upper body, especially when using supersets. This approach also reduces rest time between sets. The second upper body day on the Arnold split is also well-suited to supersets, as biceps and triceps are trained on the same day.


However, the choice between the Arnold split and PPL routine ultimately depends on individual preference and consistency. Both routines can yield good results when combined with hard training, proper nutrition, and consistency.


Arnold split and PPL routine


In conclusion, selecting between the Arnold split and PPL routine is a pivotal decision in your bodybuilding journey. Both workout plans, inspired by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s illustrious bodybuilding career, can produce good results when each body part is trained twice per week.


Your fitness goals, recovery ability, and personal preference should guide your choice. Remember, consistency in following either the Arnold or PPL split is key to achieving your desired outcomes.



Q: What was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s workout split?

A: Arnold Schwarzenegger followed a split routine known as the Arnold split or the “Golden Six.” This routine included exercises for the chest, back, shoulders, arms, legs, and abs, performed over a six-day week.


Q: Which split is better for bodybuilders?

A: The choice of split depends on individual preferences and goals. Some bodybuilders prefer the Arnold split, while others prefer the Push Pull Legs (PPL) split. Both splits have their advantages and can be effective for muscle growth.

Q: Are these training splits suitable for beginners?

A: Both the Arnold split and the PPL split can be intense and may not be ideal for beginners. Beginners should start with a full-body workout or a simpler split routine to build a foundation before moving on to more advanced splits.


Q: How do you split your arms?

A: To split your arms, you can dedicate a specific day to train your biceps and triceps. For example, on one day you can focus on biceps, and on another day, you can focus on triceps. This allows you to give each muscle group enough attention and ensure proper recovery.


Q: What split do bodybuilders use?

A: Bodybuilders use a variety of splits depending on their goals and preferences. The Arnold split and the PPL split are popular choices among bodybuilders, but there are many other splits that can be effective for muscle growth.


Q: Can you gain strength on a bro split?

A: Yes, it is possible to gain strength on a bro split. The key is to focus on progressive overload and proper nutrition. Consistently pushing your limits in the gym and providing your muscles with adequate nutrients can lead to strength gains.


Q: What is the difference between the Arnold split and the PPL split?

A: The Arnold split involves training each muscle group once a week with high volume and intensity. On the other hand, the PPL split focuses on training push muscles (chest, shoulders, triceps), pull muscles (back, biceps), and legs on separate days.


Q: What does a PPL workout consist of?

A: A PPL workout consists of three separate days dedicated to push, pull, and legs. On push day, you train chest, shoulders, and triceps. On pull day, you train back and biceps. On legs day, you focus on leg exercises.


Q: What does the Arnold split involve?

A: The Arnold split involves training each muscle group with high volume and intensity, usually once a week. This split is known for its focus on both compound and isolation exercises to target all major muscle groups.


Q: Can you provide a sample Arnold split?

A: Sure! Here’s a sample Arnold split:

Day 1: Chest and back exercises

Day 2: Shoulders and arms workout

Day 3: Legs and abs workout

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: Repeat cycle.