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Push vs Pull Day: What's The Difference?

Push vs Pull Day: What's The Difference?

If you're new to the world of strength training, you may have come across the terms' push day' and 'pull day' and wondered what they mean. In this article, we'll explain the key differences between push and pull workouts and the benefits of using both exercises in your fitness routine.

Table of Contents

So whether you're just starting or are an experienced gym-goer looking to switch up your routine, read on to learn more about the push and pull days.

1. Push Days in Your Workout

Push days are a type of strength training workout focusing on exercises involving pushing movement patterns. These exercises typically target the chest, shoulders, and triceps muscles.

Push workouts are typically performed on alternating days with pull workouts, focusing on exercises involving pulling movement patterns (such as rows and pull-ups).

2. Push Day Exercises

Here are some examples of exercises that are typically included in push workouts:

2.1. Bench Press

This exercise targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps muscles. It can be performed with a barbell or dumbbell on a flat bench.

2.2. Push-Ups

It targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps muscles. You can do them with your body weight on the floor or an elevated surface, such as a bench or step.

2.3. Shoulder Press

This exercise is for the shoulders and triceps muscles. It can easily be performed with a barbell, dumbbell, or machine.

2.4. Dips

They are best for triceps muscles. You can do the dips with parallel bars or on a dip machine.

2.5. Chest Fly

It is helpful for your chest muscles and can be done with dumbbells or a cable machine.

2.6. Lateral Raise

Lateral raises are beneficial for shoulder strength and are performed with dumbbells or a cable machine.

2.7. Tricep Extensions

This exercise targets the triceps muscles. It can be performed with a barbell, dumbbells, or a cable machine.

These are just a few exercises that can be included in push workouts. It's good to vary your exercises to keep your muscles guessing and prevent plateaus.

3. Pull Days in Your Workout

Pull days mainly focus on exercises that train your back muscles and shoulder, bicep and triceps muscles. It has a bunch of exercises that focus on strengthening the posterior chain, which includes upper body pulling muscles such as rhomboids and lats, in addition to assisting with grip strength development.

Pull-day training also helps improve posture by strengthening postural muscles like scapular retractors, which keep the shoulders stable while performing overhead movements, lifting weights, or doing sports activities.

4. Pull Days Exercises

This workout includes underneath exercises that are:

4.1. Rows

This exercise targets your back and biceps muscles. You can perform with a barbell, dumbbell, or cable machine.

4.2. Pull-ups

It is for the back and biceps muscles. You can do this with a pull-up bar or an assisted pull-up machine.

4.3. Bicep Curls

Bicep curls target the bicep muscles and can be performed with a barbell, dumbbells, or a cable machine.

4.4. Lateral Pull-Downs

This exercise targets the back muscles and requires a cable machine.

4.5. Forearm Curls

Forearm curls are best for forearm muscles. You can do it with a barbell, dumbbells, or a cable machine.

4.6. Lat Pull-Downs

Lat pull-downs target the back muscles; you can do them at home with a cable machine.

4.7. Inverted Rows

This exercise is a perfect option for the back and biceps muscles. It can be performed with a barbell or TRX bands.

5. Push & Pull Days - An Effective Fitness Method

The push-pull fitness method is a strength training program that involves alternating between push and pull workouts. Push workouts focus on exercises that involve pushing movement patterns (such as the bench press or shoulder press). In contrast, pull workouts concentrate on exercises that involve pulling movement patterns (such as rows or pull-ups).

Push & Pull Days - An Effective Fitness Method

The push-pull method is a popular way to structure a strength training program because it allows for adequate recovery time for the targeted muscles between workouts. It is also an excellent way to ensure that all major muscle groups are being worked evenly and to prevent muscle imbalances.

This routine can be modified to fit your fitness goals and schedule. For example, you may perform push and pull workouts on consecutive days if you have a more advanced fitness level and can recover quickly.

6. Push Vs Pull Days - What are the Differences?

In recent years, the terms' push days' and 'pull days' have become increasingly popular amongst fitness enthusiasts. But what are these terms exactly? Push and pull days are workout plans that help individuals reach their fitness goals. The key differences are:

6.1. Movement Patterns

Push workouts focus on exercises that involve pushing movement patterns (such as the bench press or shoulder press). In contrast, pull workouts concentrate on exercises that involve pulling movement patterns (such as rows or pull-ups).

6.2. Targeted Muscles

Push workouts primarily target the chest, shoulders, and triceps muscles, while pull workouts primarily target the back, biceps, and forearm muscles.

6.3. Benefits

Both push and pull workouts have their unique benefits. Push workouts can help improve upper body strength and muscle definition, while pull workouts can help improve posture and reduce the risk of upper body injuries.

6.4. Repetitions and Sets

The number of reps and sets and the weight used for push and pull workouts will depend on your fitness level and goals. However, it is generally recommended to perform more reps with lighter weights for muscle endurance and fewer reps with heavier weights for muscle strength and size.

6.5. Frequency

Push and pull workouts are performed on alternating days as part of a split routine. This allows for adequate recovery time for the targeted muscles between workouts.

7. Benefits of Push & Pull Workouts in your Routine

Some potential benefits of incorporating push workouts into your routine include the following:

7.1. Boost Upper Body Strength

Push and pull workouts can help improve strength in the chest, shoulders, back, biceps, triceps, and forearms. This can improve your ability to perform daily tasks and activities and reduce the risk of upper-body injuries.

7.2. Increased Muscle Definition

This exercise can help improve muscle definition and tone in the upper body. This can give you a more defined, toned appearance and boost your confidence.

7.3. Improved Posture

Pull exercises, in particular, can help improve posture by strengthening the muscles in the back and shoulders. This can help reduce neck and lower back strain and improve overall body alignment.

7.4. Support Functional Fitness

Push and pull workouts can help improve functional fitness, which is the ability to perform daily tasks and activities efficiently. This can make everyday tasks, such as lifting boxes or carrying groceries, feel less strenuous.

7.5. Variety in Your Workouts

Adding push-and-pull workouts into your routine can help prevent boredom and keep your workouts interesting. It can also help prevent muscle imbalances by ensuring that all major muscle groups are being worked evenly.

8. Workout Plan for Push Days

Here is an example of a workout plan for push days:

Workout Plan for Push Days

8.1 Warm-Up

5-10 minutes of light cardio (such as jogging or jumping jacks) to get the blood flowing and the muscles warmed up.

8.2 Bench Press

3 sets of 8-12 reps with a moderate to heavy weight. Rest for 60-90 seconds between sets.

8.3 Push-Ups

3 sets of 8-12 reps. Rest for 60-90 seconds between sets.

8.4 Shoulder Press

3 sets of 8-12 reps with a moderate to heavy weight. Rest for 60-90 seconds between sets.

8.5 Tricep Dips

3 sets of 8-12 reps. Rest for 60-90 seconds between sets.

8.6 Cool Down

5-10 minutes of stretching to help improve flexibility and reduce muscle soreness.

Note: This workout plan can be modified to your fitness level and goals. For example, if you are a beginner, start with lighter weights and more reps. If you are more advanced, you should increase the weight and decrease the reps. It's also good to vary your exercises on push days to keep your muscles guessing and prevent plateaus.

9. Workout Plan for Pull Days

Workout Plan for Pull Days

Here is an example of a workout plan for pull days:

9.1. Warm-Up

5-10 minutes of light cardio (such as jogging or jumping jacks) to get the blood flowing and the muscles warmed up.

9.2. Bent-Over Rows

3 sets of 8-12 reps with a moderate to heavy weight. Rest for 60-90 seconds between sets.

9.3. Pull-Ups

3 sets of 8-12 reps. If you cannot perform pull-ups, you can use an assisted pull-up machine or perform inverted rows with a barbell. Rest for 60-90 seconds between sets.

9.4. Bicep Curls

3 sets of 8-12 reps with a moderate to heavy weight. Rest for 60-90 seconds between sets.

9.5. Forearm Curls

3 sets of 8-12 reps with a medium to heavy weight. Rest for 60-90 seconds between sets.

9.6. Cool Down

5-10 minutes of stretching to help improve flexibility and reduce muscle soreness.

Note: This workout plan can be modified to fit your fitness level and goals. You can begin with minimal reps and sets when you are a beginner. And when you become a pro, you can increase the sets and reps.

10. Tips for Using Push and Pull Days into Your Fitness Plan

Things become a bit easier when you use aids to do them. Here are some valuable tips for doing push and pull day workouts.

10.1. Choose a Mix of Exercises

In each push or pull workout, make sure to include a variety of exercises that target different muscle groups and use different movement patterns. This will help ensure that you are working all the muscles in your upper body and preventing muscle imbalances.

10.2. Alternate Between Push and Pull Workouts

You can do push and pull workouts on alternating days or separate days of the week, depending on your schedule and fitness goals. For example, you might do a push workout on Monday, a pull workout on Wednesday, and a push workout on Friday.

10.3. Pay Attention to Your Form

Proper form is vital in any workout, but it's especially crucial when doing push and pull exercises. Make sure to use a full range of motion and control the weight during each rep to get the most out of your workouts and prevent injury.

10.4. Gradually Increase the Weight

As you get stronger, gradually increase your weight to continue challenging your muscles and making progress.

10.5. Remember the Lower Body

While push-and-pull workouts focus on upper-body muscles, it's essential not to neglect your lower body. Make sure to include exercises for your legs and core in your fitness routine.

11. FAQs

11.1. Are 'pull' exercises more important than 'push' ones? If so, why?

Pull exercises engage more muscles, and as a result, they help to increase stability through increased strength of various muscle groups. On the other hand, pulling movements also target the back muscles, which helps to improve posture and can reduce back pain caused by weak muscles in this area. So, they have their own perks

11.2. Is it okay to push and pull on the day if I miss a workout?

Combining both types of exercises into one workout can help increase muscle strength, but there are potential drawbacks to doing this. For example, performing too many sets or reps of either exercise with insufficient rest periods can lead to fatigue or injury.

11.3. Should I train shoulders on push day, pull day, or leg day?

It's generally recommended to train your shoulders on push day, as the shoulder muscles are typically classified as push muscles. This means they are trained along with other push muscles, such as the chest and triceps, during push workouts.

11.4. Can I train on pull day while still being sore from push day?

If you are still sore from a previous push workout and planning to do a pull workout, it is crucial to listen to your body and pay attention to any pain or discomfort you may be feeling. If you are experiencing significant soreness or pain, take an extra day of rest or do a lower-intensity workout that focuses on different muscle groups.

12. Last to Say

Push and pull workouts are a popular way to split up your weight training routine and focus on specific muscle groups. Push workouts target the chest, shoulders, and triceps, while pull workouts target the back, biceps, and forearms.

The number of reps and sets you do for push and pull workouts can vary based on your fitness goals, but generally speaking, push workouts tend to involve higher reps (8-12) and fewer sets (3-4), while pull workouts tend to involve lower reps (6-8) and more sets (4-6).

Both push and pull workouts have unique benefits and can be incorporated into a full-body workout routine or done as part of a split routine. Whether you choose to do push-pull legs or pull-push legs, or alternate between push-and-pull workouts on different days, the important thing is to find a routine that works for you and your goals.

Remember to increase the weight gradually you lift as you get stronger, pay attention to your form, and listen to your body to ensure that you are training safely and effectively.

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