Best 5 Day Spilt For Size and Strength The Pendulum PPL Program

This is a program I created using and combining different parts of the most effective workout programs I have used for strength and size.  It is a simple workout that uses a 5 day split (for optimal results) and is basically a modified Push, Pull, Legs routine with a couple changes to make it more effective and more interesting. 

The reason I like Push, Pull, Legs, as a base for this program is because a lot of lifters are familiar with it, it gives you the opportunity to work each major muscle group  two times a week (which is optimal training frequency), and it is easy to sub in and out different exercises without to much thought.

The Push, Pull, Legs, base is also easy to run on a variety of splits. The most optimal being the 5 day split, however you can do 6, 4, or even 3 day splits and still be able to incorporate the “Big 3” lifts: Deadlifts, Bench Press, and Squats.

This is how we will be running the Push, Pull, Legs, in the Pendulum  PPL program:

Monday: Push Main lift: Bench Press 

Tuesday: Pull Main lift: Barbell Row

Wednesday: Legs Main lift: Squats

Thursday: Push Main lift: Shoulder Press

Friday: Legs/Pull Main lift: Deadlift

Saturday: Off

Sunday: Off

 

Here is an example of a PPL system run 3 days a week.

Monday: Push 

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: Pull 

Thursday: Off

Friday: Legs 

Saturday: Off

Sunday: Off


Or, as many as 6 days a week:

Monday: Push 

Tuesday: Pull 

Wednesday: Legs 

Thursday: Push 

Friday: Pull 

Saturday: Legs

Sunday: Off


It is all really up to you, your schedule, and your preference. 


As I said earlier, 5 days is the sweet spot. You get the frequency you need for your major muscle groups, and you get the 2 consecutive days off  to recover.

Now that we have a base let’s go into what makes the Pendulum PPL different then the average PPL routine.

The philosophy behind the Pendulum PPL, is to get big and strong as fast, as simply, and as effectively as possible.

That means no wasting time on silly ineffective exercises. It means focusing mainly on compound lifts (Bench press, Squats, Deadlifts, etc), and on targeted, proven assistance exercises. There is no need for 10 different exercises per session, I will stick to the 5 most effective and get my all out of them

When I lift weights, I first want to get strong AF, and a very close second is getting Big AF. 

That means only working out within optimal rep and set ranges for my goals: 3-5 reps per set for strength,  6-8 for strength/size, 9-11 for hypertrophy (size). And, 3 sets per exercise.

I am also busy (as I am sure you are), I don’t want to spend 2 hours a day in the gym, this is why each workout only lasts about 50 minutes. Also, after about 50 minutes to an hour of working out, you start doing more harm than good.

If the Pendulum PPL sounds like a program for your goals, then check out the details below.


Program outline:

As I mentioned earlier, when I lift I am looking to gain size and strength. And, that is exactly what the Pendulum PPL is designed to do. It is nothing fancy, just a simple, highly effective way to get big and strong.


Here are the basics:

5 Different Exercises a Day x 5 Days a week x 50 min per workout 


3 sets per exercise x 3-6-9 weeks of same exercises x 3 weeks same rep ranges


Day 1: Push Main lift: Bench Press or variation

Day 2: Pull Main lift: Barbell Row or variation

Day 3: Legs Main lift: Squats or variation

Day 4: Push Main lift: Shoulder Press or variation

Day 5: Legs/Pull Main lift: Deadlift or variation

Day 6: Off

Day 7: Off


Pendulum Cycle (3 week rep scheme):


(Cycle 1) 3 weeks 6-8 reps

(Cycle 2) 3 weeks 9-11 reps

(Cycle 3) 3 weeks 6-8 reps

(Cycle 4) 3 weeks 3-5 reps

And so on ….


This is what makes the Pendulum PPL special. Just like a Pendulum swinging back and forth. This program will have you moving rep ranges back and forth, 3 weeks at a time, cycling through the most optimal rep ranges for strength and size. This will ensure you are always challenging your body with new rep ranges, while continuing to build strength and size.


Here are the rep ranges you will be working in the Pendulum PPL Program: 


3-5 reps for strength, 6-8 reps for strength/size, and 9-11  for hypertrophy (size).


The pendulum starts hanging in the middle, pointing to the most optimal for both size and strength 6-8 reps per set. This rep range is where you will start the program, this will be the rep range you will be working in your first 3 weeks (Cycle #1).


Then, after you have completed your first 3 weeks (Cycle #1), the Pendulum will swing to the right, over the 9-11 rep range. The 9-11 rep range is optimal for hypertrophy (gaining muscle size). You will continue the program for the next 3 weeks (Cycle #2) in this rep range.


After that, the pendulum starts to swing down again back over the center 6-8 optimal for strength and size for another 3 weeks (Cycle #3)


Next, it will swing to the far right for the next 3 weeks The rep range here is 3-5 optimal for strength gains (Cycle #4)


Again, the pendulum will swing back over 6-8 for 3 weeks (Cycle #5)


Then, up to 9-11 for 3 weeks. This will continue back and forth cycling through the rep ranges every 3 weeks as long as you continue the program.



When should you deload?

You should deload every 6-9 weeks sending how you feel. If you are feeling extra exhausted, deload after your second 3 weeks cycle, or every 6 weeks. If you are feeling particularly good run 3 cycles, or deload every 9 weeks.


It will look like this:


(Cycle #1) 3 weeks 6-8, (Cycle #2) 3 weeks 9-11

Deload 1 week  

(Cycle #3) 3 weeks 6-8, (Cycle #4) 3 weeks 3-5

Deload 1 week, and so on ....


Or


(Cycle #1) 3 weeks 6-8, (Cycle #2) 3 weeks 9-11,  (Cycle #3) 3 weeks 6-8

Deload 1 week  

(Cycle #4) 3 weeks 3-5, (Cycle #5) 3 weeks 6-8, (Cycle #6) 3 weeks 9-11

Deload 1 week, and so on ....


Rep ranges for assistance exercises:

When doing your assistance work you want to go up in rep range by one over your current main lifts rep range. For example: If you main lift is bench at 6-8 reps, do your assistance work tricep extensions at the next higher rep range 9-11. If your main lift is 9-11, go up to 12-15 for assistance lifts.


When to change exercises:


Just like deloads, I would change exercise selection every 1 - 3 Cycles (3-6-9 weeks). I also prefer to do them inline with my deloads, that way after the deload I get to start fresh with a new workout. 


Rest between sets:

3-5 reps per set: 3-4 minutes rest between sets

6-8 reps per set: 2-3 minutes rest between sets

9-11 reps per set: 1-2 minutes rest between sets

12-15 reps per set: 1 minute or less rest between sets (this rep range will only be for certain assistance exercises, the main lifts will never be 12-15 reps)


Rep speed:

This isn’t super important, however my favorite rep speed is:

About 1-2 seconds on the way down, about a second pause, then up as fast as I can generating the most power possible. Feel free to adjust rep speed as needed for exercises based on your preference. Also, if you are new to weight lifting use the rep speed outlined above.


How close to failure should you push your sets:

I like to push my sets on main lifts to 1 reps shy of technical failure. That means for me at least, to stop after the first rep when your form is looking compromised. For the assistance lifts, the more isolated non compound movements, I say go to technical failure. These more isolated exercises (like dumbbell curls) won’t have as much of an effect on your CNS, so you can push them farther and still recover well.


Diet while running the Pendulum PPL program:

What to eat while running this program is up to you and your goals. 

Bulking:

When you are bulking the goal is gaining a lot of muscle and minimizing fat gain. To gain muscle, eat a surplus of calories, lift heavy (this program will have you doing that), and get enough protein (about 1 gram per pound of body weight). To minimize fat gain, eat high quality foods, and stay in a caloric surplus of only about 10-15% above your BMR. If you start eating unlimited calories and nothing but junk, you will put on more fat than muscle and have to do double the work to get it off. Eat smart to get big, only 10-15% surplus only.

Cutting:

When you are cutting the goal is to burn fat and preserve muscle.  To burn body fat you need to be eating a deficit in calories about 15-25% below your BMR. To preserve as much muscle as possible, lift heavy (you will be doing that in this program), and make sure to eat about a gram of protein per pound of body weight a day. 

Maintaining:

If you are planning to just “maintain”, meaning you don’t want to lose fat or gain muscle, I am going to have to assume you are at your ideal body composition, you have the perfect physique, and you have reached your full human potential. Since, I doubt this is true, I only recommend maintaining when you just want a break from tracking food for a while. This should only be done a few weeks out of the year. You should always be maximizing your training by either cutting to lose fat, or bulking to gain muscle. 


The Pendulum PPL Program Template

I have set this program up in 3 different ways. They are based on what equipment you have access to.

A lot of equipment:

This would mean you have a bench, a power rack, dumbbells, a single pulley system, etc. A pretty nice home gym. You won’t need any machines for this, but you will need basic weight lifting equipment.

A little equipment:

This means you have some bands, some light dumbbells (or at least a backpack you can fill for weight). You don’t need much, but you have some stuff.

No equipment:

This is if you don't have shit. All bodyweight, you can do it anywhere, very primal.


What template is best for you?

Based on your current situation you could be one of these or you could be in between. Who knows you could have a home gym, but you may be staying at a hotel with no gym. Or, you could normally work out at a state of the art gym, but a pandemic has you working out in quarantine at home? Hey, you never know, anything can happen, right? In that situation you can swap equipment days and no equipment days based on what you have access to at the time. No excuses to miss your workouts now!

Also, if there is an exercise you do not know how to do, please just youtube it and see how it is done correctly, form is not only important for progress, but it is important to prevent injuries. I will be posting links to each exercise as I film them soon, until then just youtube it.

One more thing, if an exercise is not for you, it hurts, you hate it, etc. Don’t do it. Swap it for another exercise that targets the same muscle groups. I will also be updating this with links to the best push, pull, and leg exercises, so stay tuned.


Here is the Pendulum PPL program in the optimal way, the 5 day split, with access to all the equipment for the program. Below this I will have a text version of all the programs based on your level of equipment. It is also just the first 3 week cycle, you can use this exact template for up to 9 weeks (3 cycles) just change the Pendulum rep scheme every 3 weeks as outlined above. After that I suggest you change the exercises around at least slightly. If you sign up to the email list I will send new templates directly to your email for free for each cycle. That way you can ensure your training is always optimal, and you don’t have to check back everyday.

(Click image below to download The Pendulum PPL 5 Day Program)



Day 1 Push: A Lot


Flat Bench: 

3 x (6-8) Reps


Incline Dumbbell Press:

3 x (6-8) Reps


Weighted Dips:

3 x (9-11) Reps


Skull Crushers:

3 x (9-11) Reps


Hanging Leg Raises:

3 x AMRAP

Day 1 Push:  A Little


Weighted Push Ups:

3 x (6-8) Reps


Incline Dumbbell Press:

3 x (6-8) Reps


Dips:

3 x (9-11) Reps


Overhead Tricep Extensions:

3 x (9-11) Reps


V-Ups:

3 x AMRAP

Day 1 Push:  Bodyweight


Weighted Push Ups: 

3 x AMRAP


Feet Elevated Push Ups:

3 x AMRAP


Chair or Couch Dips:

3 x AMRAP


Diamond Push Ups:

3 x AMRAP


Planks:

3 x 1-2 minutes



Day 2 Pull: A Lot


Barbell Row: 

3 x (6-8) Reps


Pull Ups:

3 x (6-8) Reps


Seated cable row:

3 x (6-8) Reps


EZ Barbell Curls:

3 x (9-11) Reps


Trap shrugs:

3 x (9-11) Reps

Day 2 Pull: A Little


Weighted Pull Ups:

3 x (6-8) Reps


Inverted Row:

3 x AMRAP


Banded Face Pulls:

3 x (9-11) Reps


Dumbbell Curls:

3 x (9-11) Reps


Dumbbell Shrugs:

3 x AMRAP

Day 2 Pull:  Bodyweight


Pull Ups: 

3 x AMRAP


Inverted Row Low:

3 x AMRAP


Inverted Row High:

3 x AMRAP


Bar Hang:

3 x 30-1 minute


Bridges:

3 x 15 -25




Day 3 Legs: A Lot


Back Squat: 

3 x (6-8) Reps


RDL: 

3 x (6-8) Reps 


Dumbbell Lunges: 

3 x (6-8) Reps


Calf raises:

3 x (9-11) Reps


Cable crunches:

3 x (9-11) Reps

Day 3 Legs: A Little


Goblet Squat:

3 x (6-8) Reps


Banded Good Mornings:

3 x (6-8) Reps


Dumbbell Lunges:

3 x (9-11) Reps


Dumbbell Calf Raises:

3 x (9-11) Reps


Planks:

3 x 1-2 minutes

Day 3 Legs:  Bodyweight


Explosive Squat Jumps: 

3 x AMRAP


Natural Glute Ham Raise:

3 x AMRAP


Lunges:

3 x AMRAP


Calf Raises:

3 x AMRAP


V-Ups:

3 x AMRAP



Day 4 Push: A Lot


Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 

3 x (6-8) Reps


Incline Barbell Bench:

3 x (6-8) Reps


Lateral Raises:

3 x (9-11) Reps


Delt Raises: 

3 x (9-11) Reps


Rope Tricep Pushdown:

3 x (9-11) Reps

Day 4 Push: A Little


Handstand Pushup: 

3 x AMRAP


Incline Dumbbell Press:

3 x (6-8) Reps


Lateral Raises:

3 x (9-11) Reps


Delt Raises: 

3 x (9-11) Reps


Banded Tricep Extension:

3 x (9-11) Reps

Day 4 Push:  Bodyweight


Handstand Pushup: 

3 x AMRAP


Feet Elevated Push Ups:

3 x AMRAP


Single Arm Push Up Right:

3 x AMRAP


Single Arm Push Up Left:

3 x AMRAP


Diamond Push Ups:

3 x AMRAP



Day 5 Pull: A Lot


Trap Bar Deadlift:

3 x (6-8) Reps


Lat pulldown:

3 x (6-8) Reps


Single arm dumbbell row:

3 x (6-8) Reps


Hammer curls:

3 x (9-11) Reps


Ab rollout: 

3 x AMRAP

Day 5 Pull: A Little


Dumbbell Deadlift:

3 x (6-8) Reps


Weighted Pull Ups:

3 x (6-8) Reps


Single arm dumbbell row:

3 x (6-8) Reps


Hammer curls:

3 x (9-11) Reps


Bicycle Crunches:

3 x AMRAP

Day 5 Pull:  Bodyweight


Pull Ups: 

3 x AMRAP


Inverted Row Low:

3 x AMRAP


Inverted Row High:

3 x AMRAP


Chin Ups:

3 x AMRAP


Bicycle Crunches:

3 x AMRAP





Let me know if you have any questions, or if you have any comments below. Also, remember to sign up for the email list, that way you will be the first to get new information about how to build yourself to your highest potential.

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