A Hands-On Review Of GymGeek’s 5 Day ULPPL Workout Routine

a vector image of a musucalr man - it is the main image for my review of GymGeek's ULPPL plan

GymGeek’s 5 day ULPPL workout plan has been gaining some traction in the industry lately, and in an attempt to see whether or not this routine has any merit, we decided to give it a try ourselves. 

In this article, we will be going through GymGeek’s ULPPL workout routine, touching upon who GymGeek are, what their workout entails, the pros and cons, and giving our overall thoughts on the split. So, let’s get right into it. 

Who Are GymGeek?

Before diving into the workout, let’s first take a look at GymGeek. GymGeek was launched in 2014 as a personal blog but quickly turned into a small health and fitness site with a small team of writers behind the helm. 

With over 10 years of experience, a team of dedicated contributors, and over 100 published articles, it’s fair to say that GymGeek knows what they are doing. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean the workouts they create are good (in fact, it’s fair to say that most well-established companies produce the worst workouts), but it is safe to say that they have established some level of trust in the industry. 

GymGeek’s 5-Day ULPPL Explained

An image of me performing bench press while sampling GymGeek’s ULPPL routine.

So, what exactly is GymGeek’s 5-day ULPPL plan? Well, it’s a combination of the upper lower body split as well as the push pull legs split. 

Here’s a quick overview of how it works:

  • Day 1 – Upper body day: Chest, back, shoulders, biceps and triceps.
  • Day 2 – Lower body day: Quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves.
  • Day 3 – Rest day.
  • Day 4 – Push day: Chest, shoulders and triceps.
  • Day 5 – Pull day: Back, biceps and rear delts.
  • Day 6 – Leg day: Quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves.
  • Day 7 – Rest day.

This is quite an interesting split – it’s not something that you see very often. It involves doing one full upper body day, one full lower body day, one push day, one pull day, and one leg day. 

We will go into the positives and negatives of this structure shortly, but it is worth noting this split has some unique properties. 

If you would like to check out the full routine, you can do so here: GymGeek’s ULPPL program

A Review Of GymGeek’s Program 

Structure

An image of me performing bicep curls while sampling GymGeek’s ULPPL routine.

First of all, let’s take a look at the structure of GymGeek’s plan. The upper lower body split and push pull legs split are two of the most popular training splits, and it can often be quite difficult for trainees to choose between them.

GymGeek gets rid of this problem completely. By combining the upper lower split and push pull legs, you get to have a comprehensive workout on the upper lower days and then specify more on the push pull legs days. 

This means you get the best of both worlds – you get room to add more volume and target individual muscle groups on the PPL days while still covering all your bases on the UL days. It’s a perfect combination. 

Of course, this does mean that you won’t be able to put all of your cards on the table as you would be with a straight UL or PPL plan, so this is something you need to consider. However, for the vast majority of trainees, GymGeek’s ULPPL split is going to be the best option when it comes to overall muscle and strength gains. 

It also includes two rest days – one in the middle of the week and one at the end of the week. Once again, GymGeek has hit the nail on the head with this – this is an ideal amount of rest time. The fact that the rest days are also spread out is a huge plus as it facilitates better recovery and injury prevention than having rest days back to back. 

Exercise Selection

When it comes to exercise selection, GymGeek has done a good job by including plenty of compound lifts as well as a sprinkle of isolation exercises for extra development and specificity. 

For example, GymGeek’s plan features three shoulder exercises. On Monday (upper), there are side lateral raises that target the side delts. On Thursday (push), there is then the cable crossover that targets the shoulder, and we also have the shoulder press, a classic exercise that hits all three heads.

This means that not only are you doing a compound movement for shoulders, but you are also isolating specific muscles in the shoulder for further development.

This is only one example – the same pattern follows for pretty much every muscle group. 

On top of this, the exercises overall are pretty solid. You can find classic movements included here like the bench press, squat, shoulder press, pull-ups, and other hallmark movements, and even the isolation exercises they included are all tried and tested. 

There is nothing included in the plan that is put there just to make it unique (as so many other plans do) – this plan is straightforward and functional.

It is built for the readers, not as a way to try and stand out by introducing strange or unconventional exercises. 

Reps, Sets & Rest

An image of me performing pull-ups while sampling GymGeek’s ULPPL routine.

As a general rule of thumb, GymGeek suggests performing around 3 sets of each exercise for around 8-12 reps. 

There are exceptions to this rule (such as the bench press, where they suggest performing 3 sets of 5-8 reps), but most exercises follow this set and rep range. This is an ideal number of sets and reps, both in terms of muscle mass, recovery, and the length of sessions.

You are going to be able to get enough volume in to maximise muscle and strength growth without spending hours in the gym or sacrificing recovery, and for all intents and purposes, these ranges are going to be perfect for the vast majority of lifters.

This does mean that you are only going to be getting around 6 sets of overall volume for each muscle group. This may be off-putting to some, as there are studies that show workouts with more volume tend to be superior when it comes to muscle growth. 

However, this isn’t a cause for concern. It isn’t even a real negative. With a minimum of 6 sets per muscle group per week, you will be able to build muscle effectively without leaving gains on the table. 

Increasing volume further could lead to slightly more growth, but you could end up sacrificing recovery and making your workouts much longer. 

When it comes to rest times, GymGeek’s recommendations are near-perfect. They suggest resting for 2-3 minutes per set, giving you enough time to fully recover for the next set and optimising hypertrophy. 

In fact, recent studies have shown that resting for 3 minutes plus is optimal for muscle growth, but this is only by a small margin. Nevertheless; a rest time of 2-3 minutes per exercise is pretty much ideal. 

Drawbacks

An image of me performing squats while sampling GymGeek’s ULPPL routine.

While Gymgeek’s ULPPL plan does have a lot of positives, there are a couple of areas that could be improved. 

First, there are no ab exercises included in the workout. They do state that ab exercises should be included, preferably on leg days, but it seems like a strange choice not to just include some in the workout plan. 

Secondly, there is some overlap with exercises. For example, on leg day, Gymgeek suggests that you do 3 sets of squats followed by 3 sets of leg press. 

If it were me personally, I would change this to just be 4-5 sets of squats and take out the leg press entirely. Squats are generally the better compound movement between the two, and it seems somewhat pointless to do two exercises targeting the same muscle group with one being slightly less effective. 

However, despite these minor drawbacks, GymGeek’s routine is still completely viable on its own without any changes. Compared to most other workout plans out there, this plan is solid in all aspects. 

Final Thoughts 

Overall, GymGeek’s ULPPL program is a well-thought-out, straightforward, and optimised routine that is going to be near-perfect for the vast majority of trainees. 

It features a good variety of compound movements as well as a nice assortment of isolation exercises, and its recommended sets, reps, and rest times are ideal. 

The only changes I would make to this plan are to include an exercise for abs both on lower days and legs days and take any crossover exercises out of the picture and just add more volume to the main compound movements. 

Even on its own without these changes, you will be able to achieve great muscle and strength gains if you stick to it for long enough.

So, would I recommend this program? Most definitely. It’s the most practical routine I have seen in a long time. It clearly shows that a lot of thought was put into this plan – you wouldn’t get any better if you paid for a professionally tailor-made gym plan. 

For more reviews, fitness content, or exercise guides, feel free to check out the rest of the content we have at MovingForwards.