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Push-Pull Workout: Benefits & Complete Exercises Routine

A push-pull workout is a training style that structures the exercises based on the movement patterns of your muscles. With a push-pull routine, you train your upper body muscles that are responsible for pushing movements one day, and on another day you train your upper body muscles that are responsible for pulling movements. You can perform these exercises on consecutive days or alternate days depending on your training experience. 

Here your chest, triceps, and shoulders are responsible for the pushing movements whereas your back, forearms, and biceps perform the pulling movements. The leg muscles involved here are the quadriceps, hamstrings of your thighs, calves, and glutes. 

How to warm up for the push-pull exercises

One of the main benefits of the push-pull exercise is that you can train for longer hours or more often. However, this requires you to plan a proper warm-up routine to ensure that your body can handle the regular training. Warming up before training will not only reduce the delayed-onset muscle soreness that you experience after a workout but also prevent the risk of severe injuries. 

Start your warm-up routine with a dynamic stretches series that will get your muscles moving. It works up all the key muscle groups to prepare your body for the training. Now, perform a set or two of each push-pull exercise using no weights or light weights to prepare your body for lifting heavy stuff. Continue this for 10-15 minutes and then start with the main training.

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Benefits of a Push-pull Routine

A push-pull routine has multiple benefits for your body. It provides time for optional recovery of your body as you can train your shoulders one day, triceps the next, and chest the day after. You can train a key muscle group using a push-pull workout only once every three days. Moreover, anyone can do the push-pull workout routine and improve their muscle strength. 

If you are a beginner with training of fewer than 6 months, then train for three days each week with one day gap in between. If you have 6 months to 2 years of intermediate weightlifting experience, then train for 3 to 4 days each week. If you have advanced resistance training then you can train 6 times a week with a one-day rest on the 4th day of the week. 

Push-Pull Exercises 

Here is a sample routine for push-pull exercises with a gap of one day in between. Practice 3 to 4 sets of 8-12 repetitions for each push-pull exercise. Rest for 2-5 minutes between each set. 

Day 1: Push

Seated Shoulder Press with Dumbbells

Keep your elbows below your wrists, place one dumbbell on each side of your shoulders and press up while extending your arms over your head. Take a one-second pause at the top and slowly lower your arms back down to the initial position. 

Incline Chest Press with Dumbbells

Hold your dumbbells on both hands and raise your arms so that the dumbbells are parallel to your upper chest. Lower your elbows slowly to the starting position. 

Bodyweight Triceps Dips 

Place your hands on the edge of a bench or chair or grip parallel bars while facing away from it. Keep your knees and hips bent with your arms straight and bend your arms to lower your body until you feel a stretch right in your chest. Now use the strength of your hands to push back up until your arms are fully extended. 

Cable Rope Triceps Pushdown

Face towards a high pulley cable system and grasp the rope. Now place your elbows to your sides and extend your arms down with your palms facing the ground. Let your forearms slowly come back up while pinning your elbows to your sides. 

Lateral Shoulder Raises using Dumbbell

Hold dumbbells on each side and raise your arms sidewise to your shoulder height while slightly bending your elbows. Lower your elbows slowly back down and repeat the process. 

Day 3: Pull

Bent-over Barbell Row

Hold the barbell using a shoulder-width overhand grip and keep your feet apart at a distance of hip-width with your knees slightly bent. Now push your hips back and slowly hinge while keeping the barbells and your arms close to the legs. Bend your elbows while keeping your spine neutral and drag them back alongside your body. Now, straighten your arms slowly again. 

Cable pulldown

Grip a cable bar that is wider than your shoulders slightly and sit with your thighs positioned under the support pads. Now, pull down the cable bar to your support chest and keep your back curved slightly. Now slowly start to straighten your arms and get back to your starting position. 

Biceps Curls

Hold dumbbells or barbells using a shoulder-width underhand grip. Position your elbows to the sides and raise the weights until you have your forearms vertical. Pause for a second at the top and then lower the weight back down slowly. 

Dumbbell Shrugs

Hold dumbbells at each side and shrug your shoulders up as high as possible. Now relax your shoulders back down. 

You can get a personalized workout plan by joining any online exercise class. These gym instructors use a sales crm software to manage their clients.

Day 5: Core and Legs


Hold the barbell using a shoulder-width overhand grip and squat down while keeping your feet flat on the ground. Extend your knees and hips to lift the bar up and then lower the bar slowly back down to the floor by slightly bending your knees and hinging at the hips. 

Seated Hamstring Leg Curls

Sit on a leg curl workout machine and flex your knees to bring your lower legs towards the back of your thighs. Now straighten your legs slowly. 

Standing Calf Raise with Dumbbell

Hold the dumbbells in each hand to your sides. Now position the feet on a platform in a way that your heels are hanging over. Now raise your heels up as high as possible and lower them slowly back down.

Barbell Back Squat

Hold the ends of the barbell and position it on the back of your shoulders. Now bend your knees and hips to squat down and return to the initial standing position by squeezing your glutes and pressing with your heels.

Quadriceps Leg Extensions

Sit on a leg extension exercise machine and make your legs fully straight by extending your knees. Now bend your knees slowly to the starting position.

Push-Pull Workout: Summing Up

The push-pull workout routine allows you to train all your major muscle groups. Moreover, studies have shown that push-pull exercises assist with maximal strength gains as they focus on a sole muscle group every day. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced-level trainer, the push-pull routine can greatly benefit you. 


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