Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Work Smarter With Push/Pull Exercises

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Last night, after a very productive chest workout, I decided it was time to consider adjusting my six-day split routine into a three-day split. More specifically, I am interested in the push/pull concept.

You may recall the article, "The Plan For A Better Body" where I outlined my workout routine for the week. In short, my plan was to work on a different body part each night.

So far, everything is going good. I am losing fat, increasing strength, and maintaining as much muscles as I can.

During last nights chest exercise, I felt this incredibly swollen feeling in my triceps. While not exactly a new phenomenon, I just realized how pumped that particular muscle gets when I work on my pectoral muscles.

It was at that moment that I remembered what Kevin Levrone does in his workouts. He explained that he practices the push/pull method because related muscles are already warmed up and full of blood. He was right.

Throughout the night and into this morning, I have pondered on the potential response my body would have if I increased the intensity of my routine to include only push muscles one night and pull muscles the next night.

What Are Push/Pull Muscles?
Push/pull muscles is one way to describe the muscles used in a particular push/pull motion. Think about the bench press. In this exercise, one would lie on a flat bench and push the barbell away from the body.

An example of a pulling exercise would include the bent-over row. For this move, one bends over with slightly bent knees. Take a barbell from the floor and pull it into the lower stomach.

So, as you can see, push muscles include the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Pull muscles involve biceps and back.

You may wonder about the legs. Where do they fit?

Well, legs are another beast in itself. I'm sure there are those that may work upper and lower on the same day, but for this article we will keep them on yet another day.

The Plan
Starting Monday, I am going to adjust my plan to focus on grouping my push muscles, pull muscles, and legs. See below for details.



Monday (Chest/Shoulders/Triceps)
  • Barbell Bench Press
  • Decline Barbell Bench Press
  • Incline Barbell Bench Press
  • Arnold Press
  • Side Raises
  • Tricep Extensions
  • Pulldowns
Wednesday (Back/Biceps)
  • Wide-grip Lat Pulldown
  • Barbell Row
  • Upright Row   
  • Stiff-legged Deadlift
  • Barbell Curls
  • Concentration Curls 
Friday (Legs/Abs)
  • Squats
  • Angled Leg Press
  • Lying Leg Curl
  • Seated Calf Raises
  • Standing Calf Raises
  • Roman Chair Sit-Ups
  • Hanging Leg Raises
Note: On the 2nd and 4th days, I will do 45-60 minutes of cardio.

Discussion
Are you currently using a push/pull routine? If so, what are your thoughts? For those not yet involved, do you have any particular questions about this method? Let's talk about this in the comment section below.

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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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