T Nation

Alwyn Cosgrove's Tip


I'm one of those people that is stronger in pulling movements than pushing movements, and I move more weight in them. Both pushing and pulling continue to improve, but the difference remains. I had always thought some difference was natural and to be expected given each individual's biomechanics, limb lengths, etc... This tip would seem to suggest otherwise. So, what should be done if the tip is correct? Should the load on pulling movements for awhile not be increased until pushing catches up?


I asked this same question a week or so back. I was told the pull movements should be lower. I don't really understand or agree with that.

I've been kicking around trying some AM workouts to try and build my hams and back.

For example I do body weight chins for 10x3 but I add 30lbs on the dips.


I wonder if gymnasts, rowers, and apes would agree that pulling movements should be lower...



I believe in the tip he was talking about total volume:

weight x sets x reps = total volume

Naturally certain exercises are more difficult because of biomechanical limitations. Just at more sets and reps of pulling exercises.



I agree with Alwyn's tip. The truth is in most gym's lifters do way more pushing than pulling, and any move toward equal volume(reps x weight) or NBL(number of barbell lifts) for opposing body parts is a good thing.


Yes, but would this mean that more sets should be done for lower weight antagonistic exercises? I would think not. For example, I use more weight for weighted chins and pullups than dips for the same set/rep scheme. Is this a mistake? I would think no. I can't imagine it's necessary to drop a set or decrease reps in a set of weighted chins so the totat weight lifted is the same as for dips.


I agree with Alwyn on the recommendation to balance exercises in sets and reps, but loading is one area in which I respectfully disagree. Different movements have different numbers of points of stability (bench=5, bent-over row=2), so it's unreasonable, IMO, to expect individuals to use identical weights on each. If you want to factor load into the equation to relate the two, it's better to use intensity. So, if you do 2x3 at 90% for both movements (assuming full ROM on both), you're "even."


Sounds good, EC. That's what I always thought. I couldn't imagine dropping a set or reps with the goal being to have the total amount of weight be equal on two antagonistic exercises.


I agree with Alwyn. Trying to match the volume and intensity of each lift is important. How many times have you seen a workout that has a pyramid for bench or incline and 4 sets of 10 for row or pulldown?
I am lucky enough to coach in a weight room that has some great pull stations. I have the weight room set up so that our 8 Hammer pulling exercises are directly across from our power racks. The athletes alternate bench and hammer pulls every set. The reps and intensity must match. I feel like this set up is perfect training with heavy weights. I vary the reps every 2-3 weeks.


You're missing the point; he's talking about absolute load in pounds - not intensity expressed as a percentage of 1RM.


It is impossible to match absolute load there are to many variables. If you use 200 lbs on bench press and acheive 8 reps you should use a weight that you can acheive 8 reps on a pull exercise, it may not be 200 lbs.
I thought his intent was to acheive balance between push and pull muscles. I must have missed the load issue.
By the way Eric I have created a menu of exercises that I rotate in my athletes workouts from your Neanderthal No More series. Thanks for that great information.


Thanks for the kind words, Chris; much appreciated!