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


Lee Hayward is a former competitive bodybuilder and muscle building coach who has been online coaching people since 1997. His work has been featured in several international magazines such as: FLEX, Muscle Insider, Muscle Mag International, Testosterone, Ironmag, and Forbes. Lee's main focus right now is with helping men over 40 - who don't want to be fat anymore - lose the gut, build muscle, and get back in shape. If you're ready to "Start Again" for the last time and finally build a lean healthy body that you can be proud of, just e-mail Lee to discuss a realistic action plan that's right for you... lee@leehayward.com


  • Chad

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

    • Arnold Gutierrez

      How many days a week should we be doing,the push and pull routine ?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Bill

    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?

  • 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.

    • J

      Is this program a muscle builder, fat burner, or strength gainer

      • It can be “all of the above”. What determines if a program is a mass building program or a fat burning program is your diet. If you are in a caloric surplus you’ll gain muscular bodyweight, if you are in a caloric deficit you’ll lose bodyfat. If you’d like for me to help you customize your diet to meet your fitness goals, just click on the “COACHING” tab in the top menu bar for more information.

  • Liverson D Fete

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

  • 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


  • 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

  • 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: https://leehayward.com/blog/customized-programs

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Andy


    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?


  • Rob

    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 ,


    Rob Capone.

  • Sam

    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?

  • Andrew

    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?

  • Bobby

    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!

  • Dan

    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.

    • 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.

  • 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.


  • Prashanth

    Thanks Lee for the insight. Please advise if my understanding is correct
    Day 1 – Push
    Day 2 – Pull
    Day 3 – Recovery
    Day 4 – Push
    Day 5 – Pull
    Day 6 – Recovery
    black coffee r fresh beetroot juice as pre-workout
    whey protein powder along with Creatinine Monohydrate post workout

  • Prashanth,

    Yes, that’s the proper way to structure a push / pull workout. And your pre and post workout routine of coffee and beetjuice pre, and whey protein and creatine post is fine.

  • Arnold Gutierrez

    Arnold Gutierrez:
    How many days a week should we be doing,the push and pull routine ?
    Every other day,two days on 2 off?

  • Arnold Gutierrez

    I stop training couple of years due to a car accident. MY only limitations are not to squat or leg press past 45 degrees.Will it be good idea to start the push pull workout.I was going to start every other day,since I am 55 years old and starting to workout again.

  • Gingercat


    If a body part refuses to respond to training you are either doing wrong kind of training, aren’t eating enough food, are too impatient to actually see it respond or have a degenerative disease which will soon destroy all your muscle tissue.

    There isn’t such a thing as muscles not responding to well balanced training under optimal nutrition.

    Most likely, however, is that you are merely impatient. Some muscles take much more to visibly grow than others. Keep in mind that, for example, your biceps need to add just several hundred grams of muscle to get visibly bigger, while adding 2-3 kg of muscle to thighs can be virtually invisible on a tall person.

  • Andrew

    Hi Lee, if I want to incoporate deadlifts in to this, the only way I see it possible is to alternative the squat with the deadlift ever push day.

    What do you reckon?

    • You could swap out the stiff leg deadlifts for regular deadlifts.