Push-Pull Workouts: Routines
A classic split that can be adapted to any training goal is the push-pull routine. This type of workout focuses on pushing movements one day, and pulling movements the next. The muscles involved in these movements are then allowed to recover in between workouts, which helps prevent overtraining and leads to greater strength gains. This type of routine is popular among bodybuilders and powerlifters looking to maximize strength in the upper body without overstraining the back and shoulders, and it can also be used for general muscle building.
In the past, many bodybuilders would isolate the chest and shoulders and neglect the back, biceps, and triceps, but this isn’t a great idea for long-term progress. Neglecting these muscles results in imbalances that can lead to postural problems and injury, as well as less than optimal strength gains in the other areas of the body. The push-pull routine allows you to train each muscle group twice a week, and you can also increase the intensity of your workouts to improve performance and speed.
Typically, a push-pull routine will be done in a six-day per week training schedule, with three days focused on the pushing muscles and three on the pulling muscles. The remaining two days of the week can then be devoted to upper-body and lower-body training, or you can perform both types of workouts in one session by performing all push day exercises followed by a pull day.
Another benefit of a push-pull routine is that it’s easy to personalize by altering the rep scheme. When you hit a training plateau, you can simply change the number of reps and start lifting heavier weights to overcome it. The result will be continued strength gains as you continue to increase the amount of weight you lift on each exercise, and it will keep your training fresh and challenging.
This kind of split is also great for managing fatigue and is often used by athletes who need to manage muscle fatigue while training for a competition. By separating the muscles into four groups, each muscle group is only trained twice a week and has time to recover before its next training session.
As you’re getting more comfortable with this type of training, you can also start to incorporate some other strategies to add variety to your routines. For example, you can begin to incorporate some body part-focused training, by doing chest days and shoulder days, or you can switch up your training method completely and try something new like pyramid training. Changing up your training methods every 6-12 weeks can help you avoid hitting a plateau and stalling your gains. This is especially important when trying to build muscle, as you need to continually increase the amount of weight you lift as you get stronger. This means you will need to be able to identify and correct any imbalances between the muscle groups, such as when the shoulders are growing faster than the chest, or when the triceps are developing at a higher rate than the bench press.
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