The Ultimate Planet Fitness Workout Plan with PDF

Our Planet Fitness Workout Plan, utilizing a Push-Pull-Legs format, offers flexibility to fit your schedule and needs. It can be customized into a 3-day or 6-day split, allowing you to choose the intensity and frequency of your workouts.

Whether you’re pushing, pulling, or working your legs, each routine is designed to be fun and effective. With built-in rest days for recovery, this plan is about making fitness enjoyable and sustainable, enhancing your overall health and mood.

I’ve taken my own personal PPL resistance training routine and customized it so that it can be done at any Planet Fitness location, taking advantage of the range of quality equipment Planet Fitness offers.

Jump to the program now!

Alternatively, you can download the free PDF version of the program using the link below:

The Planet Fitness Workout Plan In a Nutshell

Program styleResistance training
Workout duration1-2 hours
Scheduling3 or 6 days a week
GoalBuild muscle
LevelBeginners to advanced
Target GenderMale and Female

Is This Planet Fitness Workout Plan Right for You?

Are you already a Planet Fitness member? Are you on a tight budget and looking for a health club home? Do you live near one of Planet Fitness’ 2400 locations? Or do you travel a lot and need a reliable place to work out on the road other than the hotel fitness center.

This Planet Fitness Workout Routine ideally suits two groups of people:

  1. Planet Fitness members or prospective members who are looking to improve their body shape and composition; and,
  2. Business or leisure travelers who want a place to work out other than the hotel fitness center. (This is the primary reason why I keep a Planet Fitness membership. If Leg Day falls during a business trip, no big deal.)

Planet Fitness gyms will work for almost anyone. The routine you can download here applies that  solid workout method to the uniqueness of those clubs and the hardware you’ll find there.

You’ll find that every location is similar, so you can do this workout at any Planet Fitness.

Planet Fitness franchisees rotate their equipment every couple of years, so the machines are contemporary and in good working order. Of the dozens of times I’ve visited Planet Fitness in locations everywhere I go, I think I’ve seen one piece of equipment that was down for repair. By contrast, the other large gym I attend when not traveling typically always has equipment down

Planet Fitness facilities are all outfitted with high-end machinery, both weightlifting and cardio. Depending on the location, you can expect to find Cybex, LifeFitness, Hammer Strength, and Matrix brands.

Not all these machines are the best for what they’re intended to do. Some of the machine types aren’t biomechanically aligned, and even with adjustable seats and arms, sometimes they just won’t line up. I have very long arms for my height, so the chest press machines are less than ideal for me. But there are dumbbells and Smith machines available, so I’ve got options for chest day.

But Planet Fitness isn’t for everyone…

Who Might This Workout Plan Not Be Right For?

If you need barbells or power racks for your routines, this is not the program for you.

Serious competitors in the iron sports who rely on barbells, dumbbells 75 lbs (35 kg) and up, or specific equipment like hack squat machines will not be able to train as they routinely need to. Powerlifters, Olympic lifters, upper-echelon bodybuilders, and CrossFit enthusiasts–should look elsewhere and follow a program useful for those endeavors.

This program would work fine as a supplemental off-season workout for a serious bodybuilder. Just be conscious that there are no free weight barbells or dumbbells heavier than 70 lbs (31 kg).

There’s very little functional training equipment such as sleds or plyo boxes, so the functional fitness folks will also have a difficult go of it at Planet Fitness for their everyday needs.

What To Expect

You can expect good to great results, building and shaping your muscles when following this workout plan. Planet Fitness offers more than enough of the right kind of equipment to do this routine.

You can also expect to be working out in a well-laid-out fitness facility that offers the latest in equipment and is more often than not sparsely crowded. I’ve seldom had to wait on equipment when I work out at a Planet Fitness facility.

Planet Fitness Workout Plan Structure

This Planet Fitness workout routine utilizes an “A-B” Push-Pull-Legs (PPL) structure. This is very close to the workout program I follow myself.

You’re probably familiar with the PPL format. It divides the body into logical subdivisions, allowing intense concentration on a couple of muscle groups per workout while considering recovery needs on days following.

PushChest, Anterior shoulders, Triceps
PullBack (Lats, Trapezius, Posterior shoulders), Biceps
LegsQuads, Hams, Lower legs, Glutes (and some lower back stuff)

You may not have heard of the A-B format.

A-B formats employ different exercises for Push, Pull, and Leg days, separating those exercises into an “A” group and a “B” group.  One isn’t necessarily more intense, heavier, or lighter than the other.

What A-B allows are those additional exercises that work well that can’t be done all in the same workout. This helps prevent overtraining while getting the nuanced benefits of similar exercises.

A good example might be doing Smith Machine presses on Push Day A, where Dumbbell Bench Press is done on Push Day B. You could do both on the same day, but splitting them into A and B allows for higher intensity on each.

The Push Days are divided into chest and shoulder days. Here, Pull Days split focus between lats, middle, and lower trapezius muscles with biceps worked each day. Leg Days divide up quad, hamstring, glute, and lower leg work into two days, spreading out tried-and-true muscle building movements to prevent overtraining.

The differences between the A and B days are subtle. Done properly, any of these exercises will train and develop the target muscles. The A-B subdivision highlights the variety of equipment you’ll find at any Planet Fitness.

Pay attention to how each exercise feels to personally evaluate the piece of equipment that seems to work best for you. Don’t switch back and forth – give each one an honest try and critically assess your results.

Scheduling your A and B Days

Here’s how you might schedule a 3-Day PPL program with an A-B split over a 2 week block:

1Push AChest, Anterior shoulders, Triceps
Pull ABack (Lats, Trapezius, Posterior shoulders), Biceps
Legs AQuads, Hams, Lower legs, Glutes (and some lower back stuff)
2Push BChest, Anterior shoulders, Triceps
Pull BBack (Lats, Trapezius, Posterior shoulders)
Legs BQuads, Hams, Lower legs, Glutes (and some lower back stuff)

Or, you can easily turn this into a one week 6-Day PPL program with an A-B split:

SundayPush AChest, Anterior shoulders, Triceps
MondayPull ABack (Lats, Trapezius, Posterior shoulders), Biceps
TuesdayLegs AQuads, Hams, Lower legs, Glutes (and some lower back stuff)
WednesdayPush BChest, Anterior shoulders, Triceps
ThursdayPull BBack (Lats, Trapezius, Posterior shoulders)
FridayLegs BQuads, Hams, Lower legs, Glutes (and some lower back stuff)

The Planet Fitness Workout Plan

Push Day (A)

ExerciseSet 1Set 2Set 3Set 4
Chest Press15-2010-128-108-10
Close Grip Chest Press15-2010-128-108-10
Neutral or Underhand Press15-2010-128-108-10
Cable Crossover Standing
Decline Cable Press
(Bilateral or Single Side, kneeling)
Front Raises15-2010-128-108-10
Cable Triceps Extensions
(Attachment of Choice)

Pull Day (A)

ExerciseSet 1Set 2Set 3Set 4
Dumbbell Hammer Curls
Palms-up Curls
Lat Pulldowns15-2010-128-10
Seated Row15-2010-128-10
Cable Rows
(Single Side or Bilateral)
“Y” Raises
Lu Raises
Chest Supported Prone
Reverse DB Flyes

Leg Day (A)

ExerciseSet 1Set 2Set 3Set 4
Heel Elevated Squats15-2010-128-108-10
Leg Extensions15-2010-128-10
Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts (RDLs)
Single-Leg B-Stance RDLs
Hip Extensions15-2010-128-10 8-10
Seated Leg Curls15-2010-1210-128-10
Calf Raises15-2015-2015-20
Tibialis Anterior Raises202020

Push Day (B)

ExerciseSet 1Set 2Set 3Set 4
Low Incline Chest Press15-2010-128-108-10
High Incline Chest Press15-2010-128-108-10
High-Low Cable Flyes
(Single Side)
Lateral Raises15-2010-128-108-10
Cable Triceps Extensions15-2010-128-108-10

Pull Day (B)

ExerciseSet 1Set 2Set 3Set 4
Biceps Curls15-2010-128-108-10
Pull-ups with BW or Machine-assisted10-1210-128-108-10
Motorcycle Rows10-1210-1210-1210-12
BB Plate Raises15-2010-1210-12
Reverse Flyes15-2010-128-108-10

Leg Day (B)

ExerciseSet 1Set 2Set 3Set 4
Sissy Squats (Cable Sissies Optional)
Leg Extensions15-2010-128-10
Hip Abductions15-2010-128-108-10
Seated Leg Curls15-2010-1210-128-10
Calf Raises15-2015-2015-20
Tibialis Anterior Raises202020

Exercise Selection

I picked exercises for this routine that have been proven to work anywhere but feature equipment that Planet Fitness has. Among them are my favorites – moves I’ve tried and that have delivered results for me over the span of 43 years.

I’ve got a couple of faves that aren’t in the program because Planet Fitness doesn’t have the necessary hardware, like hack squats and sumo deadlifts that I rotate through my routine.

Planet Fitness has no hack squat machines nor barbells (and I don’t personally like Smith Machine for deadlifts). Maybe someday.

There are dozens of potentially-effective exercises you can do at Planet Fitness that aren’t in this program. Any exercise you can do with dumbbells, Smith Machines, or cables can be done at Planet Fitness, as well as any type of cardio you want other than swimming. No pool.

Exercises I considered but didn’t include because I had to draw the line somewhere:

  • Bulgarian Split Squats, dumbbell or Smith Machine
  • Lunges with Dumbbells (I love Walking Lunges for general upper leg work, but doing them at Planet Fitness might get you the Lunk Alarm. I’ve seen it happen.)
  • Leg Press, free weight and cable sled
  • Cable Ab Crunches
  • “Arnold” Presses
  • Dumbbell Triceps Extensions

These are the ones I seriously considered writing into the routine, just didn’t due to others I personally think are better for muscle development and have shown the best results in my personal application.

Feel free to substitute any favorites. In keeping with being Judgment Free, the purpose here isn’t to criticize or omit for anything other than efficiency.

What about Abs and Cardio?

Add ab and cardio work at your discretion. I personally don’t do a lot of ab work because I get what I need from the other exercises I do, and use diet to keep the mid-section in check. That’s worked for me. I have the same waist size at age 63 that I did at 28.

I’ve recently changed my opinion of cardio. I never saw much benefit to it because my weight room workouts were so strenuous. When I added cardio, I skirted the boundary of overtraining.

I noticed though that superficial body fat was lowest during periods when I walked a lot, as in 7000 to 10000 steps daily. I never noticed anything like that when cycling or doing any type of cardio outside of brisk walking.


I’m now a big fan of LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) cardio.

My personal favorite is treadmill, alternating between walking a steep incline at a brisk setting and walking backwards at the lowest setting. A 30-minute session gets me about a mile and works quads, hips, and both front and back musculature of the lower leg. And, the heart rate stays reasonably elevated for a half hour.

Do abs and cardio as you wish and as-tolerated.

Exploring Planet Fitness: Equipment Selection

This workout plan lets you pick the piece of equipment from the Equipment Selection column that you like best for a specific exercise.

You’ll find free weight and machine choices for most of the exercises. For exercises like leg extensions and leg curls, well, there’s one piece of gear for those and that’s that.

Turns out that Planet Fitness’ leg curl and extension machines are really good. In fact, the Matrix brand that is now in many PF locations are my favorites and I’ll go out of my way to do leg days at Planet Fitness just to use those machines.

Planet fitness shoulder press machine

Shoulder Press Machine. This one shows up in the routine as an alternative for High Incline Chest Press.

Planet fitness seated row machine

Seated Row Machine.

Planet fitness matrix leg extension machine

Matrix Leg Extension. Move the seat far back for best quad isolation.

Planet fitness matrix leg machine articulating shin pads

Articulating shin pad adapts to different leg lengths. Clever design feature.

Planet fitness matrix leg curl machine

Matrix Leg Curl Machine. Another favorite. Excellent design for hamstring isolation.

Planet fitness cable machine with incremental weight cylinders

Cable machines are well-designed and heavy-duty. Their newer models include incremental weight cylinders.

Planet fitness cable machine accessories

Cable machines include some old-school extras like back pads for triceps pushdowns.

Planet fitness cable hip abduction machine being used by Perry

I bring my own cuffs for glute and deltoid work. Here’s my setup for Cable Hip Abductions. (By the way, those beat-up Nike cross-training shoes are the best lifting footwear I’ve ever owned.)

How to apply Equipment Selection?

If you already have favorites, use those. If you prefer dumbbells for your upper body work for instance, keep using them. Or, you could experiment with machines or cables. Just don’t bounce around between equipment choices until you’ve had time to honestly assess the ones that work best.

Speaking for myself, some of the chest machines can’t accommodate my long arms, no matter where I position the seat or handles. There’s just no sweet spot for me. So I end up using Smith Machine, cables, and dumbbells instead.

Program Guide

1. Warm Up and Stretch!

Man warming up and stretching

Warm up before your workout to prevent injury and practice the movements. Warm-ups are important for anyone and even more crucial for older adults. If you’re a newcomer to the gym but a veteran in another sport, you’ll already understand the value of a good warm-up.

The warm-ups included in this workout program are composed of very light sets of the movements you’ll be doing during the workout, an application of the SAID Principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands).

You should also get in the habit of stretching the target muscles before actually targeting them. This program will target basically every single muscle you have in your body, so getting those muscle loose is crucial.

There’s nothing worse than getting started on a heavy set of bench press and pulling a pectoral muscle, screaming, and then being lunk alarmed by a fellow Planet Fitness planeteer!

2. Apply Progressive Overload

Man getting heavier weights

If there’s anything that resistance training experts agree upon, it’s progressive overload. 

Progressive resistance sets you free; it’s simple.

Once a weight gets easy, raise the resistance.

Research is now suggesting that rep ranges don’t really matter as much as muscular tension. A study by Schoenfeld et al published in 2021 explains this clearly, concluding that “there is no ideal “hypertrophy zone.”

3. Have Reps in Reserve (RIR)

Best application for this program is a 1 to 2 RIR for the first couple of sets of each exercise and then increase the resistance so your last sets of each exercise leave no reps in reserve.

Leave a couple of reps in the tank for the early sets of an exercise and then amp up the intensity so that you’re straining (with good form of course) on the last sets of each exercise.

4. Be Mindful of Rep Cadence

Use a methodical, rhythmic, pumping motion.

No fast concentric-slow eccentric, etc. Your eccentric phases should be slow and controlled…just not timed.

Avoid adding momentum.

5. Rest between sets

Rest a minute or two between warm-up sets. Your “working” sets will require longer rest times.

Target three minutes between sets. Spend that time analyzing the set you just did. Ask:

  • Were the reps perfect?
  • Was my alignment correct?
  • How about my intensity? Could I really have done another rep?
  • Any discomfort that signals a problem?

Then, visualize your next set.

Please. Please. Please. Please…do NOT use your time between sets to whip out your smartphone, check your social media, or snap a photo of your beastly physique.

The Dark Side of the Planet

Planet Fitness judgement free zone

Planet Fitness brands itself as a “Judgment Free Zone” with an emphasis on making anyone and everyone comfortable while they pursue their fitness goals.

Gyms can be intimidating places, particularly the “serious” gyms where competitors train. The newbie, the overweight, the skinny…these people can be easily intimidated around the heavily muscled and ultra-fit.

Ironically, those seeking to not be judged are encouraged to do some judging of their own.

The Lunk Alarm

Consider the irony of the Lunk Alarm. The Lunk Alarm can be triggered by anyone of the Planet Fitness pod-people who spy someone else exhibiting bro behavior, or in Planet Fitness parlance, being a “lunk”.

Planet fitness lunk alarm

To use their own example lunk behavior: “Ricky is…wearing a bodybuilding tank top and [drinking from] a gallon water jug”. This along with banging weights is grounds for the Lunk Alarm.

I’ve witnessed the Lunk Alarm set off for two people talking between themselves on side-by-side exercise bikes, and for doing walking lunges. Go figure.

So there’s definitely judging going on, it’s only a matter of who’s doing it. For a business that prides itself in being non-judgemental, Planet Fitness does its fair share of judging.

Pizza, Tootsie Rolls, and Tanning Beds

Planet Fitness locations actually keep a fish bowl of Tootsie Roll candies at the front desk. I’d heard about this and didn’t actually believe it until I saw it for myself.

There’s Pizza Monday and now Bagel Tuesday. Planet Fitness positions these as making fitness fun. 

The Planet stands alone in offering extra calories from highly palatable-easily digestible-low fiber carbs as part of a fitness lifestyle.

Offerings like this have earned the chain the nickname “Planet Fatness”.

And for an extra fee, Black Card members have access to tanning beds, which would probably draw frowns from your friendly neighborhood dermatologist.

Branded Equipment

Then there’s the purple (some might call it pink) and yellow branded equipment. Colors have been shown to affect emotions and mood, and pink and yellow hues are not typically associated with athletic performance.

Warm colors like yellow are often associated with feelings of warmth, energy, and happiness. Old school gyms of yesteryear used a lot of black and deep red. Pink has been shown to create feelings of passivity and physical weakness.

Colors aside, the equipment is heavy duty, and seldom out of order.  Planet Fitness locations are clean…really clean. Not wiping down a piece of equipment can get you Lunk Alarmed.

If you can ignore the decidedly unfit features of Planet Fitness and focus on using their broad array of high-end equipment, you can get a good workout…like the one we’ve provided here.

Download our Planet Fitness Workout Plan PDF here:

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Perry Mykleby, ACE CPT

Perry started lifting weights in 1974. He is an ACE-certified personal trainer and holds the ACE Orthopedic Exercise certification.

He holds a journalism degree from the University of North Texas, where he competed in powerlifting. His final competition was the Texas State Open in December of 1982, but has continued to study and practice muscle strength and hypertrophy. He is a four-decade veteran of the medical device industry.

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