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Balancing Push and Pull Exercises


Sup guys, right now on my push day I do Flat Bench, Decline Bench, Incline Bench, and Close Grip Flat bench. I also do pull downs and dips.

Now on my push day I do Barbell Rows, Dead Lifts, Preacher Curls, and either reverse grip curls or Zottman Curls.

There is obviously an imbalance here. What would be the recomendation? Should I do less pushing excercises or perhaps should I add cable rows and chinups? I really dont know.

Id say my goals are geared more towards body building then powerlifting, but I do get off on setting new PR's. If you have a good idea for me post up! Thanks!!!!


If theres "obviously and imbalance" why dont you solve it on your own?

You're doing 4 horizontal (for the most part) pushes and 1 pull. You'll have shoulder problems very fuckin soon.

Try Waterbury's ABBH series. He uses different rep schemes and pushing/pulling planes as different workouts.


I think you meant to say pull when talking about the back/bicep stuff.

I do a siliar split. Where do you think there is an imbalance? I would subtract one of the bench variations, and replace with more of a straight shoulder move, like seated or military press. Maybe also replace one of the curl variants with pullups or chins.

Also, you should probably throw a "core" day in there, where you do some kind of core or lower body move (squats, lunges or some variant, or leg press if you're at a gym).


My wife and I always do a 1:1 ratio with vertical and horizontal push/pulls. We feel this helps keep our shoulders, chest, and back healthy.



Thats alot of benching! Honestly I don't think its needed as long as your training with proper intensity. I myself generally only use the bench for the beginning of my workout then use things like flyes,crossover and pec deck to finish it off. With that being said I've found good results finishing off my chest workout with a drop set of incline presses.

Another problem I see is I have to doubt how much intensity you can truely have by the time you get to the last few sets of last couple of exercises.


Your right I messed that up above.
I have a seperate day for legs and core but for the purpose of this question I want to focus on Push/Pull.

Here comes the noob question...
What makes a chin different then a pullup?? My first thought is adding more pulling excercises is better then ditching a push, is this correct?


Im going to monitor this. By intensity I presume you mean the shut up and move the weight fire that ignites when walking into the gym? Just want to be clear on my terms.

If you were to suggest ditching a press what would it be? Incline or decline, and if you could explain why that would help as well. Thanks.


Alternate them,one day do incline and decline,the next time do flat bench and decline. This is kind of what I do.Something as simple as changing from decline to incline or whatever can make it a completely different animal.

When I say intensity I'm talking about the amount of weight you can move and how fatigued you are. I can't believe your working out with anywhere near the same intensity on your 9th set of pressing(whether it be flat bench,close grip,decline or whatever)as you were on your first 3 or 4. If your trying to really pump the blood into that area then there are more effective less damaging ways to do this.


Well I wont lie, among many other aspects of this sport, there is still a lot I have to learn about routine planning. Is there a recomended article here on the site the covers the guidelines??

As per an earlier reply (sorry I dont remember your SN!!) I read the ABBH program and that sounds brutal!! and I mean that in the best sense of the word.


I was really struck by Dave Draper's most recent newsletter, in which he wrote that pressing movements are quite difficult/painful for him now, but he can still pull hard.

So you're right to be concerned about this imbalance. On push days, I'd cut back to two bench exercises per workout, picking different ones each time as per K-Narf's suggestion. I'm not even sure you need two, since you're also doing dips. Add one overhead pressing exercise as squeezer suggested. Substitute pullups for pulldowns, and consider moving them to pull day.

On pull days, I'd add low pulley cable rows. Deadlifts do help balance the horizontal pressing movements, particularly if you squeeze your scapula back at the top of each rep. So that gives you a pretty good balance of horizontal push and pull movements.

Personally, I actually do more pulling movements than pressing movements. Find what works best for you.


Okay, maybe I'm a beginner...but IMHO, 4 variations of bench in the same workout looks redundant...add dips and my shoulders hurt already...
Now, in order for total balance, you'd need to have exact antagonist exercises for each...now that would be a lot of rowing. And a lot of external rotation.


I'd give ABBH a try. After all, more of your muscle is in your legs. Why would you want to do 2x the upper body work vs. lower body work, especially if you're not sure what you are doing?


I agree I think ABBH is a good program to start with simply because its very simple and there is no guess work at all. We know its effective and it will also teach you how your body responds to certain things and how to implement it and gain from it.To me this and good old fashioned hard work are the two key elements to long term success.


You're forgetting curls, incline curls, preacher curls, concentration curls, power curls, and of course the ever famed squat rack curl....I do at least 20 different exercises for my upperbody pull days.

On your push day you're probably nor doing enough bench work. I would do narrow grips of all those as well as super-ultra wide grip work, too, plus some board max effort board presses. No pain no gain, dude.


Aright, ABBH it is. Damn I cant wait to start this program!!

For anyone reading this who is having similar problems here is the link to the article.



pullup is with an overhand grip (palms away), chins is an underhand grip (palms towards you).