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Push & Pull Workouts
Push and pull workouts are commonly used among individuals looking to maximize their muscle mass. Award-winning natural bodybuilder Morris "Mo" Mendez notes the purpose of performing the push and pull workout is to be able to exert all your energy in either direction -- push or pull -- so that the opposite side has a full recovery. In addition, push-pull workouts provide your body with an overall balance and prevent you from overtraining.
Critical Bench Push-Pull Program
The push-pull program offered by Mo Mendez on CriticalBench.com breaks your workout up into two distinct workouts. The pull program includes four upper body exercises and one lower body exercise, for example chin-ups for biceps and back, and stiff-legged dead lifts for lower back and hamstrings. The push program incorporates six upper body movements and two leg movements that include bench press for the chest, shoulder press and squats. Each movement is completed in two to three sets with a rep range of six to 15 or failure, depending on the resistance and your fitness goal.
ExRx.net Push-Pull and Legs
ExRx.net offers a three-day split workout that breaks up the muscle groups into push, pull and leg days. The first day consists of a variety of pull exercises that work the back, deltoids, trapezius and biceps. The second day is the push day that trains the chest, front deltoids and triceps. Day three works the legs, with exercises that focus on the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and abdominals. Repeat the routine for the next three days, with workouts using different exercises or variations of the exercises performed earlier in the week. Rest on the seventh day.
Dave Draper Push-Pull Training
Dave Draper, professional bodybuilder, introduces a five-day push-pull workout that incorporates a leg day and cardio on each day. Day one and four are push days that train the chest and triceps using the same movements on both days; each exercise is performed for three to four sets of eight to 12 reps. Days two and five utilize the pull theory by incorporating back and biceps exercises. Day three intensely trains the legs with power moves that include lunges and squats; supersets are performed with a push and pull combination on the hamstrings and quadriceps with leg curl and leg extensions.
Muscle & Fitness Hers Push & Pull
Personal trainer and author Lara McGlashan of Muscle & Fitness Hers suggests a two-day upper body push and pull workout that is designed to improve your posture and increase your strength. Each training day is composed of nine to 10 exercises that require you to perform three sets of 12 to 15 reps. McGlashan gives you a second set of exercise options to mix things up or choose exercises according to preference. As with most workouts, you want to be sure to include at least one to two days of rest between each workout. On the days you don't perform the push-pull workout, you can incorporate a leg routine or add in some cardio. For best results in achieving total body balance, alternate your push and pull days with a leg workout.
Explore In Depth
- CriticalBench.com: The Push-Pull Program
- ExRx.net: 3 Day Split Workout
- DaveDraper.com: Push/Pull Training
- Castanheira RPM, Ferreira-junior JB, Celes RS, et al. Effects of Synergist vs. NonSynergist Split Resistance Training Routines on Acute Neuromuscular Performance in Resistance-Trained Men. J Strength Cond Res. 2017;31(12):3482-3488. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000001762
- Collins P. Functional Fitness: Build Your Fittest Body Ever. Maidenhead: Meyer & Meyer; 2009.
- American Council on Exercise. Weight Loss Plateaus and Pitfalls. Published January 29, 2009.
- Haltom RW, Kraemer RR, Sloan RA, Hebert EP, Frank K, Tryniecki JL. Circuit weight training and its effects on excess postexercise oxygen consumption. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999;31(11):1613-8.
Javonne Blackley began her career as a certified fitness trainer 6 years ago in a local gym while building clientele and developing tried and proven methods to achieving optimum health. After venturing off on her own, she currently oversees the business side of Dynamic Sports & Fitness, but continues to remain hands-on with personal trainer knowledge, and trains clients that have weight loss goals or sports-specific goals.