Create a Push-Pull Workout Plan with These Simple Workouts

Discover the benefits of adopting a push-pull exercise plan and how to get started.

If you hear someone refer to your recent “push day” at the gym, that doesn’t mean they spent the session working longer than usual. Push and pull exercises incorporate exercises that use a push and / or pull movement, respectively. For example, a push day may include squats (yes, the same movement patterns are also done with the lower body) and pushups, while a pull day may include biceps curls and sloping lines. Pushing and pulling are two of the basic movement patterns that make up functional training, along with movements such as articulation and rotation.

What is the draw? Adopting a push-pull exercise routine is one way to avoid working the same back-to-back muscles or overtraining the front of the body, ignoring the back chain. “Alternate days of push and pull exercises give your muscles a chance to rest and recover because you are exercising the opposite muscles,” explains Bryant Johnson, creator of the RBG workout and expert at The Vitamin Shoppe. “Right now, these exercises allow you to work hard while attacking muscle groups in a different way.”

You can choose from several ways to approach a push / pull exercise routine:

  • Upper / Lower: Make a day of pushing / pulling the upper body followed by a day of pushing / pulling the lower body.
  • Push Full Body / Pull Full Body: Spend a day in pulling movements (upper and lower body). The next day, do all the pushing movements (upper and lower body).
  • Push / Pull / Legs: Another popular option is a “push / pull / leg” exercise division, which means doing a day of upper body pushing, then a day of upper body pulling and then a general day of the leg.
  • Push / Pull Together: You can also combine both movement patterns and do a workout that incorporates push and pull exercises for a balanced workout. This can focus on the upper or lower body, or both.

No matter how you decide to split, the goal is to avoid working the same muscles on exercises or consecutive days. “Make sure you leave a day of rest between exercising a particular muscle group in whatever way you split it,” Johnson advises. “This is essential for your body to recover so that you can return to full strength and repeat the workout again.”

Below you will find two Johnson exercises, a push workout and a pull. He opted for simple movements – you’ve seen it all before – combined into two full body sequences. Use them to create your own push-pull exercise plan using equipment at the gym. Want to do it at home? Adjust your movements to use resistance bands the next time you need an easy travel workout.

Push Workout

Source: Shape

How it works: Perform 3-4 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions of each exercise.

Total time: up to 45 minutes

You will need: dumbbells

1. Chest Fly

A. Begin by lying on a bench or floor, holding a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended (but not locked) so that the dumbbells are hovering directly over your chest.

B. Keeping your elbows slightly bent, lower your arms to the sides. Take a break when you reach shoulder height.

C. Squeeze the chest to lift dumbbells and join them back to the beginning.

2. Chest Press

A. Begin by lying on a bench or floor, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your elbows open at your sides so that the triceps is perpendicular to the trunk with the palms facing the feet.

B. Press the dumbbells away from the chest, extending the arms so that the dumbbells are directly over the shoulders.

C. Lower dumbbells and bend elbows to return to top.

3. Overhead Triceps Press

A. Begin by holding one end of a dumbbell with both hands, arms extended above your head.

B. Keeping your elbows, slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head until it is aligned with your shoulders. Straighten your arms to return to the beginning.

4. Shoulder Press

A. Begin with a dumbbell in each hand, arms raised at shoulder height with a 90 degree bend at the elbows, palms facing forward.

B. Straighten the arms to lift the dumbbells above the head until the arms are fully extended. Take a break, slowly bend your arms to lower the dumbbells and return to the beginning.

5. Dumbbell Squats

A. Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell to your chest.

B. Bend the hip joints and bend the knees at a 90 degree angle, then tighten the buttocks and straighten the legs to return to the beginning.

Pull Workout

Source: Shape

How it works: Perform 3-4 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions of each exercise.

Total time: up to 45 minutes

You will need: dumbbells, a pull down machine and a seated row machine.

1. Biceps Curl

A. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at the sides, palms facing inward.

B. Raise the dumbbells to shoulder height as you rotate your wrists so that your palms face your chest.

C. Lower the dumbbells and rotate the wrists outward to return to the beginning.

 2. Knee Lift

A. Start standing with your feet together. Raise one knee so that it is bent at a 90 degree angle directly in front of the body.

B. Keeping the thigh parallel to the floor, rotate the leg out and into the hip for one repetition. Continue to swing your leg out and in, then switch sides and repeat.

3. Seated Line

A. Attach a narrow loop bar to the bottom cable of a seated row machine. Sit with your back straight and your legs extended with a slight bend in the knees.

B. Keeping the abdomen in place, pull the elbows back to the side of the ribs and squeeze the shoulder blades to pull the bar toward the navel.

C. Slowly extend your arms to return to the beginning.

4. Reverse Fly

A. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at the sides. Keeping your back straight and knees slightly bent, pivot your hips and bend forward until your torso is at a 45-degree angle. Let your hands fall directly below your shoulders, palms facing each other.

B. Keeping the core engaged and driving with your elbows, lift the dumbbells sideways until they reach shoulder height.

C. Pause at the top and then slowly lower the dumbbells until they are directly below the shoulders to return to the beginning.

5. Land Lifting

A. Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, with the dumbbells resting in front of your hips, palms facing your thighs.

B. Keeping the core engaged and the back straight, send the hips back and slightly bend the knees until the dumbbells reach the shins.

C. Send hips forward, straighten knees, and tighten buttocks to return to top.

6. Lat pull-down

A. Attach a large grip bar to a lat suspended machine. Sit facing the machine and adjust the cushions so that they rest safely but comfortably on your thighs. Stand up and grab the bar with your palms facing the side, then sit down, slide your legs under the cushions and lean back slightly with your arms extended above your head to begin.

B. Keeping your back straight and the core in place, pull the bar down toward your chest.

C. Pause and allow your elbows to straighten to extend the bar above your head with the control to return to the beginning.

1 thought on “Create a Push-Pull Workout Plan with These Simple Workouts

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.