Push-Pull Workout

Push-Pull Workout Routine For Maximum Gains

You’re probably wondering what the heck a push-pull workout even is? It may sound complicated, but actually, it’s quite simple.

Push-Pull Workout

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A push workout is a when the muscle contracts during an eccentric movement (your muscle is lengthening).

An example of this would be leg press. The majority of work is being done during the pushing movement (when the muscle is lengthening). Less work is required when bringing the muscle back (shortening).

The pull workout is the other way around. Your muscles are contracting the most during a concentric movement (when the muscle is shortening).

A good example of this would be a bicep curl. Your body is doing the majority of the work when you are pulling the weight towards you and less when it is going away from you.

How is a push-pull workout different from other workouts?

In my opinion, this is very similar to an upper-lower split type routine. The only notable difference being you are incorporating muscles that utilize a pushing and pulling motion vs splitting into upper and lower body muscles.

This obviously differs from a full-body workout where you would try to utilize ALL of the muscles into one workout.

Full-Body Workout Vs Push-Pull Workout (split)

Pros of a push-pull workout:

  • You can focus on one individual muscle more effectively
  • Are able to work out more often (pro and con)

Con’s of a push-pull workout:

  • Must work out more consistently to see results

Bottom line:  A Push pull workout is a type of split routine

Pros of a full-body workout:

  • Can hit more muscles in one workout
  • Good for people with time constraints

Con’s of a full-body workout:

  • You have to train less frequently (muscles need at least 48 hours rest)
  • The muscles won’t get the most effective workout
  • The workouts generally are more intense since you’re squeezing in as much as possible in a short time frame

How Would I Go About Doing A Push-Pull Workout?

Push-Pull Workout

There are several different ways you could “split up” your push-pull workout. It also depends on how many times per week you want to hit the weights.

Let’s start with a…

3-Day Push-Pull Workout Split Routine

For this type of workout, it’s easier to do your workouts on the same day every week. For this example, we will be doing our workout on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We’ll make week one have Monday as a push a day, Wednesday a pull day, and Friday back to Push.

As the weeks alternate, so will your workouts. Week two would have Monday become a pull day, Wednesday a push day, and Friday back to being a pull day.

Here’s how it would look.

Week 1

Monday: Chest, Triceps, Shoulders (Push-Day)

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Back, Biceps, Hamstrings, Abs (Pull Day)

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Quads, Glutes, Calves (Push-Day)

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Rest

 

Week 2

Monday: Back, Biceps (Pull Day)

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Chest, Triceps, Quads, Glutes (Push-Day)

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Hamstrings, Abs (Pull Day)

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Rest

The issue with only doing these exercises 3 times per week is you may potentially miss a specific muscle group. For example, week 2 on push day I skipped out on shoulders.

The reason we missed out was because we were already squeezing in quite a few muscle groups as it was. If we were to put any more groups in there, we’re leaning closer to a full body workout instead of a push-pull workout.

Another issue with training this infrequently is it’s going to take longer to reach your end goal, whether it’s to build muscle or lose weight. If it’s between not exercising at all, or following this type of schedule, this is obviously the better option.

Three days a week is the bare minimum you should strive for if you want to reach your goals.

4-Day Split Routine

This is a much more acceptable training frequency. You are training enough to reach your fitness goals at in an optimal time frame and you are not letting exercise consume your life either.

Another upside is you can still enjoy your weekends. The schedule would resemble something similar to this.

Monday: Chest, Triceps, Shoulders (Push-Day)

Tuesday: Back, Biceps, Abs (Pull Day)

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Hamstrings, Forearms, Abs (Pull Day)

Friday: Quads, Glutes, Calves (Push-Day)

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Rest

What I like about this routine is you are able to hit all the muscle groups in one week WITHOUT needing to alternate (unless you want to).

5-Day Split Routine

This is usually the training routine I prefer to follow. The problem with this routine is it usually ends up requiring at least one workout on the weekend.

I personally don’t mind, but I’m aware that others enjoy their weekends and prefer not to exercise. So, I am going to give two different examples of how you can incorporate this into your busy schedule.

5-Day Workout Example #1

Monday: Chest, Triceps (Push-Day)

Tuesday: Back, Biceps, Abs (Pull Day)

Wednesday: Shoulders, Calves (Push-Day)

Thursday: Hamstrings, Forearms, Abs (Pull Day)

Friday: Quads, Glutes (Push-Day)

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Rest

For this example, we did 5 days in a row without any days off. Some people SWEAR that having a rest day in between yields them better results for optimal muscle growth.

Whether you choose to believe that or not, I can tell you that you MUST give your muscles at least 48 hours of rest before you work them again. This is why we alternate push pull workout days, this way there’s no chance of hitting the same muscle group within that time frame.

5-Day Push-Pull Workout Example #2

Monday: Chest, Triceps (Push-Day)

Tuesday: Back, Biceps, Abs (Pull Day)

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Hamstrings, Forearms, Abs (Pull Day)

Friday: Quads, Glutes (Push-Day)

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Shoulders, Calves (Push-Day)

As you can see, the only notable difference is we gave ourselves a rest day in the middle of the week and sacrificed one day of the weekend. Personally, I switch around between these two schedules. At the end of the day, you have to find the routine that works best for you.

Also, sometimes it’s to plan your exact workout routine because things sometimes just pop up. The best workout routine is the one you actually follow.

That about wraps it up for the push-pull workout article.

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