Crafting the Perfect Push-Pull Workout Routine

It’s often true that people passionate about something develop their own language. Weightlifters and exercise enthusiasts have a peculiar terminology of their own. Take, for example, the term below.

Push-Pull Legs Split 

Push-Pull Legs Split

Don’t worry! This term doesn’t mean you will have to perform a ballerina split. (Although, Revive athlete and 4-time Olympian Arash Rahbar can do it!) Split means cutting things in parts, unusually in two, and you want to keep your body whole. No, for this split, we’re going to split your workout into parts or different days. 

You may wonder what the expression, push-pull muscles, refers to. Push-pull muscles are a combination of the muscles to perform two functions: pushing and pulling.

Pushing is, of course, exerting force on something to move it away from the body. One of the most common ways to think about pushing in working out is any exercise that involves pressing. 

The opposite of pushing is, naturally, pulling. Pulling means anytime you use force to bring something inward, towards the body. Some of the main muscles in a pull workout may include:

  • Back muscles
  • Biceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Obliques 
  • Trapezius muscles

Pull exercises can involve actions like tugging or towing. Rowing is also a classic pull exercise.

But when you do a push-pull split, you’re going to focus on pushing and pulling on separate days. 

On a push day workout, you might want to incorporate any of these moves for your arms and chest:

  • Bench press
  • Incline press with dumbbells
  • Shoulder press with dumbbells
  • Chest flies
  • Side Laterals

A pull day workout may focus on moves like these:

  • Barbell rows
  • Pull-ups
  • One-bar Rows

A push-pull legs workout will probably mean more push than pull, but it’s focused on the legs. 

Common leg exercises for push-pull workouts are shown in the table below.

The goal of split training is to alternate days for body parts (arms one day, legs the next) or the types of muscle use (push one day, pull the next day). Split training allows you to build muscle and strength while giving time for the muscle groups to recover. Your arms recover for a day while you train your legs, and the fibers of muscles involved in pulling one day rest when you exert the muscles in pushing a different day.

Here’s one push-pull workout split schedule.

It’s designed for 5-6 days:

MONDAY - PUSH

FRIDAY - PUSH

TUESDAY - PULL

SATURDAY - PULL

WEDNESDAY - LEGS

SUNDAY - LEGS

THURSDAY - REST

MONDAY - REST


Here’s a sample push-pull legs workout routine. You’ll see push day exercises in the first column, for example, and pull in the middle. Lower body workouts incorporate both in the last column.

PUSH DAY

PULL DAY

LEG DAY

Choose any 4-5:

  • Bench Press
  • Dumbbell Incline Press
  • Dumbbell Overhead Press
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raises
  • Triceps Pushdowns
  • Chest Flies

Choose any 4-5:

  • Weighted Pull-Ups
  • Barbell Row
  • Seated Row
  • Shrugs
  • Biceps Curls
  • Face Pulls

Choose any 4-5:

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Lunges
  • Leg Extensions
  • Leg Curls
  • Calf Raises

You will want to do 3-5 sets and 6-12 Reps of each exercise you choose, according to your fitness level and allocated time for training.

What to Avoid in Push-Pull Workouts

What to Avoid in Push-Pull Workouts

With any push or pull exercise, you want to avoid several errors that can cause injury.

  • Opt for the level appropriate for your time logged in training. For beginners, a push-pull leg routine twice a week can be too much. But intermediate or advanced lifters will benefit from incorporating it twice a week with a 6-day routine. In fact, research shows that twice per week training can be more beneficial than once per week in terms of muscle growth.
  • Be careful with jerking motions. Olympic weightlifters are often injured when performing a clean jerk or snatch. This is also true of squats with very heavy weights.
  • Straining or working to excess. Take care to train at reasonable limits of weight. Avoid trying to heave too much weight, whether you’re pushing or pulling with your arms or your legs. 

Revive 

Revive has many products to help those who are interested in achieving the ultimate push-pull workout routine. Since the main idea of splitting workouts by these muscle functions is to give the muscles a chance to recover, check out Revive’s Recovery supplements. In particular, you may wish to learn more about the brand’s best-selling Turmeric+ capsules. Turmeric is known to be useful for treating inflammation.   

If you’re into serious lifting, you’ll want to consider Revive’s joint health collection. These are especially important as you start to get older and continue working out, or if you’ve experienced injuries from training.

Finally, if you want the maximum energy for your push exercises, Revive’s AdrenalCORE supplement may be the solution for you. Supporting the adrenal gland function can help the body’s stress responses. This supplement is designed to improve mental and physical performance.

Takeaway

Most regular weight training is essentially a push-pull workout just by the way muscles work. Even most sports naturally have push-pull elements. Wrestling involves a lot of pushing, but it also involves pulling, like when you flip someone. Even a game like pool involves pushing activities and then a quick pulling as you retract the cue stick.

As you get more familiar with the focus of these workouts, you’ll naturally start to think in terms of whether your weight training moves fall more into a push workout routine or a pull workout. Make sure that you’re taking time to rest, recover, fuel right, and eat right for all your training. For training, that can mean taking supplements, and you should make sure to get the best available.

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