The Best “Push Pull” Workout Routines for Building Your Chest, Back, and Arms


The push pull exercise routine is one among my favourite exercise splits for constructing a robust and muscular higher physique.

The gist of a push pull exercise is easy: you do a handful of workout routines for each your pushing (chest, triceps, shoulders) and pulling (again, biceps) muscle mass. 

It’s value noting proper off the bat that it’s greatest to think about the push pull exercise “cut up” as extra of a person exercise than a full-fledged exercise routine, because it doesn’t embody your decrease physique.

That mentioned, the push pull exercise paradigm is easy, efficient, and time-efficient technique to manage your higher physique coaching,

And on this article, you’ll be taught every thing it’s essential learn about how one can do the push pull exercise plan proper, together with . . .

  • What a push pull exercise is
  • The advantages of push pull exercises
  • The greatest push pull exercise for mass (together with examples of a 3-day push pull exercise routine, a 4-day push pull exercise routine, and 5-day push pull exercise routine)
  • Suggestions for making your push pull exercises simpler

What Is a Push Pull Exercise?

A push pull exercise is precisely what it appears like: you practice your pushing and pulling muscle mass in the identical exercise. 

As a substitute of dedicating complete exercises to 1 muscle group, like coaching your chest on in the future, your back on one other, and so forth, with the push-pull method, you design your exercises in accordance with “motion patterns.”

The pushing sample primarily trains your . . .

And the pulling sample your . . .

A easy instance of a push pull exercise could be one thing like bench press and incline bench press (chest, shoulders, triceps) and lat pulldowns and dumbbell rows (again, biceps).

That mentioned, relying on the place you look on-line, you’ll discover totally different takes on the “correct” technique to design push pull exercises.

Some folks solely apply this framework to upper-body exercises and assume that you just’ll handle legs in different exercises. Others attempt to match their leg coaching into this push pull mildew as properly, normally coaching hamstrings of their pull exercises and quads, calves, and glutes of their push exercises. 

Mainly, with the primary choice you’re simply following an higher/decrease cut up the place you do each pushing and pulling workout routines in your higher physique days, and with the second choice, you’re doing full-body exercises, not strictly push and pull exercises.

The previous choice makes extra sense to me as a result of it makes for shorter, extra satisfying, and normally increased high quality exercises. 

“What in regards to the push pull legs (PPL) split?” it’s possible you’ll be questioning.

The PPL cut up is barely totally different than a push pull exercise template as a result of with PPL, you do not less than one exercise per week in your pushing muscle mass, one in your pulling muscle mass, and one in your leg muscle mass. With push pull coaching, nevertheless, you mix pushing and pulling workout routines into one exercise.

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Push Pull Exercise Routine Advantages

1. They practice all upper-body muscle teams.

A typical newbie mistake is dedicating an excessive amount of time to coaching the “mirror muscle mass”—the pecs, shoulders, and biceps—and neglecting the again, traps, and triceps. 

This not solely spoils your “aesthetics” over time, it could additionally increase your danger of harm. (We don’t have to get into the nitty gritty particulars right here, however a big energy or muscle imbalance between numerous upper-body muscle teams might precipitate an harm, particularly a shoulder injury).

Properly-designed push pull exercises keep away from this subject by making certain all your upper-body muscle mass are educated proportionately.

2. They’re time-efficient.

As a substitute of spending a whole exercise coaching your chest, again, shoulders, arms, or no matter, push pull exercises permit you to practice all your upper-body muscle mass in a single exercise.

That is helpful for a few causes:

  1. It’s extra enjoyable than body-part exercises and makes for higher-quality coaching as a result of whenever you practice one muscle group in a exercise, its efficiency normally begins to plummet earlier than your exercise is completed.
  2. If in case you have time for 3 or extra exercises per week, you may repeat your push pull exercise not less than twice. That is helpful as a result of research shows that coaching your muscle mass extra usually than as soon as every week is probably going higher for constructing muscle.

The way you manage your exercises is dependent upon what you wish to emphasize. If you wish to prioritize your higher physique, a great answer could be to do two push pull exercises and one lower-body exercise per week. Like this: 

  • Monday: Push pull exercise
  • Tuesday: Relaxation
  • Wednesday: Decrease-body exercise
  • Thursday: Relaxation
  • Friday: Push pull exercise
  • Saturday and Sunday: Relaxation

And if you wish to emphasize your decrease physique, you can do one push pull exercise and two lower-body exercises per week. Like this:

  • Monday: Decrease-body exercise
  • Tuesday: Relaxation
  • Wednesday: Push pull exercise
  • Thursday: Relaxation
  • Friday: Decrease-body exercise
  • Saturday and Sunday: Relaxation

If you wish to develop your higher and decrease physique roughly equally, then you definitely’d be higher off doing a 4-day push pull exercise routine like this:

  • Monday: Push pull exercise
  • Tuesday: Decrease-body exercise
  • Wednesday: Relaxation
  • Thursday: Push pull exercise
  • Friday: Decrease-body exercise
  • Saturday and Sunday: Relaxation

And in case you’d like to coach develop your higher or decrease physique even sooner, a  5-day push pull exercise routine like this could work properly (simply swap the push pull exercises for lower-body exercises and vice versa if you wish to emphasize your legs as an alternative of your higher physique):

  • Monday: Push pull exercise
  • Tuesday: Decrease-body exercise
  • Wednesday: Push pull exercise
  • Thursday: Decrease-body exercise
  • Friday: Push pull exercise
  • Saturday and Sunday: Relaxation

3. They permit for loads of relaxation.

Many individuals make the error of pondering that the extra usually they practice a muscle, the sooner it’ll develop, however that is wrongheaded. 

rule of thumb when constructing a exercise program is that you just wish to leave not less than 48 hours or so between coaching the identical muscle group. In the event you practice biceps on Monday, as an example, then you definitely usually don’t wish to practice them once more till Wednesday.

There are two main causes for this: 

  1. It reduces your danger of harm (particularly repetitive pressure accidents).
  2. It ensures you can provide maximal effort in your exercises, which helps with progressive tension overload.

As you’ll see, every of the push pull exercise routines on this article offer you not less than two-to-four days of relaxation between coaching the identical muscle group.

The Greatest Push Pull Exercise for Mass

If you wish to practice all of your upper-body muscle mass in a single push and pull exercise, it’s important to ensure you embody a . . .

  • Horizontal “push” train, which includes sitting or mendacity in your again and pushing a weight away out of your chest, equivalent to a bench press, dumbbell bench press, or chest press machine.
  • Horizontal “pull” train, which includes sitting, mendacity in your chest, or leaning over, and pulling a weight towards your chest, equivalent to a dumbbell row, barbell row, or machine row.
  • Vertical “push” train, which includes sitting or standing and pushing a weight over your head, equivalent to a barbell overhead press, Arnold press, or machine overhead press.
  • Vertical “pull” train, which includes sitting and pulling a weight down towards the ground or hanging and pulling your physique up towards the ceiling, equivalent to a lat pulldown or pull-up/chin-up.

In the event you really feel your arm growth is missing, it’s additionally a good suggestion to incorporate a number of isolation workout routines in your biceps and/or triceps, as these aren’t always adequately educated by compound exercises

With that in thoughts, right here’s the greatest push pull exercise for mass:

Flat Barbell Bench Press

3 units | 4-to-6 reps | Relaxation: 3-to-5 min

Lie on a flat bench together with your ft flat on the ground, instantly underneath your knees. Pull your shoulder blades collectively and down, and with out lifting your butt or shoulders off the bench, barely arch your again. Seize the bar together with your fingers barely wider than shoulder width aside, take a deep breath, brace your core, and unrack the barbell.

Carry the barbell to the center of your chest, ensuring to maintain your elbows tucked at a couple of 45-degree angle relative to your physique. When the bar touches your chest, explosively press the bar again to the beginning place.

Barbell Row

3 units | 4-to-6 reps | Relaxation: 3-to-5 min

Place your ft underneath a loaded barbell about shoulder-width aside together with your toes pointed barely outward. Bend over and seize the bar with a barely wider than shoulder-width grip and together with your palms going through towards you. Straighten your again and lift your hips till your again is roughly parallel to the ground.

Provoke the motion by driving by your legs, then, utilizing the momentum generated by your decrease physique, pull the barbell to your higher physique, touching it anyplace between your decrease chest and stomach button. As soon as the bar touches your physique, reverse the motion and return to the beginning place. 

Barbell Overhead Press

3 units | 6-to-8 reps | Relaxation: 2-to-3 min

Set a barbell in a rack on the similar peak as your higher chest. Grip the bar with a shoulder-width grip and your palms going through away from you. Unrack the barbell and take a small step backwards with every foot, conserving your wrists stacked over your elbows, and your elbows tucked near your sides.

Plant your ft simply exterior of shoulder-width, arch your higher again sufficient so the bar is instantly over your midfoot and your head is barely behind the bar. Take a deep breath into your abdomen and tighten your core muscle mass, squeeze your glutes as onerous as you may, and push the bar off your chest towards the ceiling. As soon as your arms are straight and your elbows are locked out, reverse the motion to return to the beginning place.

Pull-up (weighted if doable)

3 units | 6-to-8 reps | Relaxation: 2-to-3 min

Grip a pull-up bar together with your palms going through away from you and barely wider than shoulder width aside, then carry up your ft so that you just’re hanging together with your arms straight.  With out swinging your ft or your knees, pull your physique upward till your chin rises above your fingers. After your chin rises above the bar, decrease your self to the beginning place. Preserve reducing your self till your arms are utterly outstretched and you are feeling a deep stretch in your lats.

Dumbbell Curl

3 units | 8-to-10 reps | Relaxation: 2-to-3 min

Get up straight holding a dumbbell in every hand, together with your palms going through one another and your arms hanging straight at your sides. Maintaining your left arm at your aspect, flex your proper arm and curl the dumbbell up till it’s in entrance of your proper shoulder. As you carry the dumbbell, rotate your wrist in order that your palm is going through towards your shoulder on the prime of the rep. Decrease the dumbbell to the beginning place, and repeat together with your left arm.

3 Suggestions for Extra Productive Push Pull Exercises

1. Finish each set 1-to-2 reps shy of muscle failure.

With a view to maximize muscle and energy beneficial properties, it’s essential take most of your units shut (however not all the best way) to muscle failure, which is the purpose at which you’ll’t full a rep regardless of giving most effort.

To make sure you’re taking your units shut sufficient to failure, ask your self this query on the finish of every set, simply earlier than re-racking the load: “If I completely needed to, what number of extra reps may I get with good type?”

If the reply is greater than two, then it is best to improve the load or reps to make your subsequent set more difficult. This ensures you’re together with the best steadiness of volume and intensity in your push pull exercises.

2. When you hit the highest of your rep vary for one set, transfer up in weight.

As an example, let’s say your exercise requires 4-to-6 reps of flat barbell bench press (as this one does). In the event you get 6 reps for a set of bench press, add 5 kilos to every aspect of the bar (10 kilos whole) in your subsequent set and work with that weight till you may (ultimately) press it for six reps, and so forth.

In the event you get 3 or fewer reps together with your new (increased) weight in your subsequent units, scale back the load by 5 kilos to make sure you can keep inside your goal rep vary (4-to-6) for all units.

Observe this similar sample of attempting so as to add reps or weight to each train in each exercise. This methodology is named double progression, and it’s a extremely efficient technique to get fitter and stronger.

3. Take the best dietary supplements.

Sadly, no quantity of capsules and powders are going to offer you a “godlike” higher physique. In actual fact, most muscle-building dietary supplements are completely worthless.

However right here’s the excellent news:

If you understand how to eat and practice to construct muscle, sure dietary supplements can pace up the method.  

Listed below are the most effective dietary supplements for supporting your push pull exercises:

  • 0.8-to-1.2 grams of protein per pound of physique weight per day. This provides your physique with the “constructing blocks” it must construct and restore muscle tissue and allow you to recuperate out of your exercises. In order for you a clear, handy, and scrumptious supply of protein, attempt Whey+ or Casein+.
  • 3-to-5 grams of creatine per day. This can boost muscle and energy acquire, improve anaerobic endurance, and reduce muscle injury and soreness out of your push pull exercises. In order for you a 100% pure supply of creatine that additionally contains two different elements that can assist increase muscle progress and enhance restoration, attempt Recharge.
  • One serving of Pulse per day. Pulse is a 100% pure pre-workout drink that enhances vitality, temper, and focus; will increase energy and endurance; and reduces fatigue. You can too get Pulse with caffeine or without.

+ Scientific References

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