Push / Pull Workout Split Routine

The PUSH / PULL workout program is a way of organizing your workouts so that you do pushing or pressing exercises during one workout, and pulling or rowing movements in the next workout.

This is a great workout routine because it allows you to work your muscle groups based on similar movement patterns. One of the flaws with a lot of workout programs is that they train one major muscle group per day, and this often leads to overlapping similar movement patterns over the course of multiple workouts.

For example, if you train chest one day, shoulders the next, and triceps the following day you are literally working your “pressing” muscles 3 days in a row. This movement pattern overlap may cause repetitive use injuries. This is part of the reason why nagging injuries like rotator cuff problems and elbow tendonitis is so common among serious lifters.

Push-Pull workouts help to prevent these problems by grouping all the muscles involved in pushing (chest, triceps, quads, front and side delts) and all the muscles involved in pulling (back, biceps, rear delts, traps, forearms, hamstrings) together in their own workouts.

By separating your body parts by function, you’re able to give each muscle group adequate recovery between workouts and also hit the gym more often because the muscles you’re training each time are not beat up from your previous days workout.

In Part 1 – The PUSH Workout we’re going to do:
– Squats 4 sets of 8-10 reps
– Bench Press 4 sets of 8-10 reps
– Overhead Press 4 sets of 8-10 reps
– Tricep Push Downs 4 sets of 8-10 reps
– Standing Calf Raise 4 sets of 10-15 reps


Watch the Push Workout Video Below…

Note: if you can’t watch the embedded video clip above,
you can watch it right on my YouTube Channel by Clicking Here

In Part 2 – The PULL Workout we’re going to do:
– Bent Over Barbell Rows 4 sets of 8-10 reps
– Bicep Curls 4 sets of 8-10 reps
– Pull Ups 4 sets of 8-10 reps
– Stiff Leg Deadlifts 4 sets of 8-10 reps
– Pull Down Cable Crunches 4 sets of 10-15 reps


Watch the Pull Workout Video Below…

Note: if you can’t watch the embedded video clip above,
you can watch it right on my YouTube Channel by Clicking Here

Begin each exercise by doing a couple progressively heavier warm up sets, before moving into the working sets.

When you can get all 4 sets of 10+ reps by yourself with good form, increase the weight by 5 pounds for your next workout.

Give this routine a try for yourself and if you have any questions, comments, or feedback please feel free to post them in the comments below…

About The Author

leehayward

Lee Hayward is a competitive bodybuilder and muscle building coach who has been online helping people build muscle, lose bodyfat, and get in shape since 1999. Lee was selected as one of the Top Fitness Trainers Online through YouTube's Next Trainer Program and his work has been featured in several international magazines such as: FLEX, Muscle Insider, Muscle Mag International, Testosterone, Ironmag, and Forbes.

19 Comments

  • Chad

    Reply Reply

    Lee, how much rest do you suggest between working sets?

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  • Lee

    My favorite split is the Superset Split.
    Day 1 – Back/Chest
    Day 2 – Quads/Hamstrings
    Day 3 – Bi’s/Tri’s
    Day 4 -off
    Day 5 – off
    Day 6 – repeat Day 1

    Supersetting allows me to rest less between sets and gives me a great pump.

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  • Chad,

    The rest times will vary depending on your training goals.
    For strength gains you should rest at least 2 minutes between sets.
    For muscular endurance and conditioning you can limit the rest to 1 minute between sets.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Bill

    Reply Reply

    Hi Lee great videos
    At the moment I’m doing flat bench press for a full 2 months; and then I’ll move onto the lats for one month; and then I’ll recycle. I don’t do the other exercises because they don’t give me any results. What do you think?

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  • Bill,
    Personally I feel that you should train all your major muscle groups in order to create a well balanced physique. Only training upper body is a mistake in my opinion.

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  • Liverson D Fete

    Reply Reply

    The push/pull workout seems to be an awsome programme but how many days per week should i workout.
    Thanks in advance

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  • Hi Lee
    By the way everything you have put on your web site is awesome !
    The question I want to ask is am doing your 12 week mass and power, strength
    Programme. Yes it has made me stronger and bigger in a short space of time!
    Do you think once I have finished the 12 week programme could I try your new one
    You have posted? Or should I do the 12 week again!
    I am nearly 50 years but pretty fit, but don’t know how to get ripped.
    Is there a programme telling you how to get ripped.
    Kind regards

    Alan

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Andy

    Reply Reply

    Hi Lee
    Due to the nature of my job I find it hard to eat at regular intervals during my shift , so by the time I get to the gym Im already tired . Would you recommend this Push / Pull workout as a good way to shake things up to hopefully give muscles more recovery and make gains

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  • Alan,

    The biggest thing that you need to change in order to get ripped is your diet and cardio. If you would like me to help with this personally, than I suggest you sign up for a customized diet and training program at: http://leehayward.com/blog/customized-programs

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Liverson D Fete,

    With this program I recommend working out every second day and alternating back and forth between the Pushing & Pulling workouts each time you go to the gym.

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  • Andy:
    Hi Lee
    Due to the nature of my job I find it hard to eat at regular intervals during my shift , so by the time I get to the gym Im already tired . Would you recommend this Push / Pull workout as a good way to shake things up to hopefully give muscles more recovery and make gains

    The Push / Pull workout can certainly change up your workouts. But it’s not going to address your nutrition issue. I recommend mixing up a protein shake in a shaker bottle or large thermos and sipping while at work. This will help provide some extra protein in your system. Then before you leave for the gym, eat a piece of fruit (i.e. apple, banana, etc.) to give you some extra energy for the gym.

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  • Andy

    Reply Reply

    leehayward,

    Hi Lee
    Thanks for your reply and the info but the main problem which I should have been clearer to you about is that during an 8 hour shift I only get a 30 min break and cant take food or drink on to the warehouse floor so once Im at work I only get that 1 opportunity for a meal so would it be more beneficial to have maybe another meal after the shift just before the gym? and what would I be looking to eat?

    Andy

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Rob

    Reply Reply

    Hi Lee how are you?
    You have been a great inspiration .
    I train at home, due to affordability and have all the necessary equipment and weights to carry pretty much all exercises.

    My question for the push pull programs for each of the days are:
    Are they enough exercise ( being 1 item per muscle group)
    Enough for maximum muscle growth?

    Thanks Lee ,

    Regards,

    Rob Capone.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Sam

    Reply Reply

    Hi Lee
    If a body part refuses to respond to exercise then I don’t see the point of doing very much for that body part. What do you think?

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  • Andrew

    Reply Reply

    Work out looks good. Will be giving it a try soon. A few questions tho:

    Tricep push downs. Can you replace then with Skull crushers?

    Why are Bicep curls ahead of pull ups? Surley that should be the other way round?

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  • Bobby

    Reply Reply

    Hi Lee.
    I would like to get your opinion on adding more exercises into the routine. I only lift 2 days a week, so i am curious if adding more exercises into the routine would be beneficiary. Probably about 3/4 exercises at 2 sets each. Let me know what you think and thankyou for the videos!

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  • Dan

    Reply Reply

    Hi Lee, i like this program but my question is, would you recommend any accessory work?
    for example, i would be doing this program monday, tuesday, thursday and friday and on wednesday some cardio, would you say it would be a good idea to do some rear delt / lower back light work to keep your physique looking well rounded, thanks.

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    • That’s totally up to you, if you want to add to this routine you can certainly do so. All of these workout programs are just sample templates to go by, but you can modify them to better suit your needs.

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  • Nice post, Lee.

    It’s also worth mentioning that beginners and advanced lifters should have different splits. For a beginner we recommend building a solid foundation and lifting 3 days a week, so a push/leg/pull or push/pull/leg would be best. For an advanced lifter who spends more time in the gym, a pull/legs(push)/push/legs(pull)/pull or a push/pull/legs/push/pull would suit them best.

    Cheers!

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