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Feedback on 6-Day PPL vs. 4-Day U/L (at Home, with Dumbbells)

Hey all. Hoping to get your feedback and advice. I’m a 30-year-old male, 163 lbs, 5’11". I have been working out regularly since Sept. 2019 with the help of a trainer, but I’m now flying solo and developing my own routine. So, I’m a relative beginner, but not an absolute beginner. Like everyone, I don’t have access to a gym these days, so I’m limited to what I have at home: adjustable dumbbells (up to 55 lbs each), resistance bands, a bench, and a pull-up bar.

Given those constraints, I did my best to make adequate substitutions to any exercise that required a barbell or other gym equipment (like a leg press machine). The first and second PPL sets are almost identical, with a few minor variations from one to the next.

The proposed routine is below, but before I get to that, I have a more general question: For someone in my situation, is a 6-day PPL or 4-day U/L recommended? I can absolutely commit to 6 days per week, but I want to go with whichever routine is better for increasing strength and muscle mass.

Please let me know what you think about the general question above, as well as the proposed routine below. I really appreciate any feedback! (Note that I haven’t gotten around to adding sets/reps to this list, so it just includes the exercises themselves)

Push 1
Incline Bench Press
Overhead Press
Flat Dumbbell Bench Press
Resistance Band Tricep Pushdown
Overhead Tricep Extension
Lateral Raise

Pull 1
Dumbbell Deadlift
Single-Arm Bent-Over Row
Pull-up
Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise
Bicep Curl
Hammer Curl

Legs 1
Dumbbell Squat
Goblet Squat
RDL
Bulgarian Split Squat
Seated Calf Raise
Donkey Calf Raise

Push 2
Flat Dumbbell Chest Fly
Overhead Press
Incline Chest Fly
Resistance Band Tricep Pushdown
Overhead Tricep Extension
Lateral Raise

Pull 2
Bent-Over Row
Single-Arm Bent-Over Row
Pull-up
Shrug
Bicep Curl
Hammer Curl

Legs 2
Dumbbell Squat
Goblet Squat
RDL
Dumbbell Lunge
Standing Calf Raise
Seated Calf Raise

It will probably work though I think it’s overkill for a beginner (you’ve got three different types of squats on one of your work-outs). You’ve also got two different calf raises, cutback on these and i think your routine will be better.

I’d also try learning a DB snatch & Turkish get-up. Work some kind of carries in there too.

Like instead of Bent-over Rows followed by One-arm Rows, maybe you follow your initial rows up with DB snatch. And maybe you do Bent Rows one day and One-arm the other? Lots of possibilities. Snatches also pair really well with pressing.

I’d also ditch all the flyes, probably not necessary and can better spend that training energy on Turkish get-ups or farmer carry. Pullovers are good too.

Double dumbbell cleans would be badass too.

Could not agree more:

Do this 6 days a week.

Thank you all for the advice! So it sounds like the exercises themselves could use some improvement, but that the key change is reducing the number of exercises per day (probably to four, rather than six). For my own understanding and knowledge, is the concern that six exercises would burn me out, or that it might actually be counterproductive to building muscle in general? It’s helpful for me to understand as I start this! Thanks for the insight.

If you do a bunch of lifts it’s hard to really put ass-busting effort into every set/exercise. Sometimes lifters (experienced and inexperienced) do too much stuff, not hard enough.

Also there is a lot of overlap of exercises, like overhead press on both push days, rows/pullups on both pull days… If you work a muscle then work it again before it’s recovered you can limit progress, or burn yourself out.

If you want to stay kind of close to your plan you could have one push day chest focused (flat and inclines, some kind of flies) and one push day shoulder (overheads and delt raises) focused.

One pull day could be lat focused with pull ups and 1 arm rows and the other could be mid back/trap focused with bent rows, shrugs.

I think it’s OK to hit some triceps on both push days and biceps on both pull days.

100% right. When you’re just starting out - you need very little exercise to get the body to adapt. Anything past this point is just punishment. And can be counter productive. More is not always better.
When you get bigger and stronger it becomes harder to get the body to adapt and you need more more exercises. Even then a fairly heavy duty leg day can include 3 exercises done with the right intensity.

For now 1-2 compound exercises per muscle group with an isolation thrown in there will do just fine. Which is kinda what the attached programme is.

Makes sense, thanks! That’s helpful. Just to clarify though, when you say “starting out,” I assume you’d consider me still in that phase even though I’ve been working out regularly since Sept. 2019? I’m currently restructuring my routine, but wouldn’t say I’m totally going from zero to sixty.

6 months of training is just starting out. I mean if you’re training hard and eating right you have 12-18 months of “easy” / “newbie” gains to make. Make use of them. They don’t come around again.

This is a long term hobby. Its taken me a long time to see that ironically.

Absolutely, yes, and you’ll remain in that phase for a number of years, assuming you manage to stick with it.

Look up current Home workout thread, -pick any Tnation program linked and will see results

Getting a time for Murph workout (100 pullup, 200 push, 300 squat, run mile before and after)and testing it say once a fortnight will also be great for building along term base.

If reeeally want to push it, try this guys stuff…