T Nation

Help With a Push/Pull Routine


I set aside 3 months to put on some decent size. My 3 worst areas is my delts, biceps, and traps. I would like to improve my upper chest a little too. As of right now I want to do a push/pull workout set up like this. I would do my workouts in this order.

Mon: Shoulders/chest/tricep/quads
Teu: Back/trap/bicep/forearms/hams

Is it ok to set it up with doing shoulders and biceps first on those days or not.
Also is it ok to do close grip upright rows for taps on the pull day as that also works the delts. Thanks in advance.


I'm sorry to say that I think there's some contradiction in your post and program. Having good delts can be important, but I don't necessarily associate 'decent size' with working on your bis and traps. I think that if you stress your back--esp. with lots and lots of pullups and good rows--and overhead presses, you'll get a lot farther with getting good size.

Always stress the major lifts. Part of the problem with your split as you describe it here is that when people say "shoulders" they often mean 'side raises' and similar things, when they should be doing heavy overhead presses.

I hope this is helpful. Feel free to clarify what exercises you'll be doing and what you mean by 'decent size.' Then we can make more helpful suggestions.


Thanks for the reply. By decent size I mean that I would like to gain maybe 10 lbs of muscle. I know that this may not be possible, but it would be nice. I need help especially on my delts, traps, and biceps. but I will be working on getting bigger all over also.

I will be doing mainly heavy compound exercises with some isolation exercises (only on the 3rd and 4th workout of the week). Yes this definately includes overhead presses for the bulk of my delt workout, and before anyone says it I will be doing squats and deadlifts. thanks again.


Okay, this is something to work with. In addition to the overhead presses, I'd do some power cleans and clean & presses. If you're doing those three exercises and eating a lot [can't stress that part enough, of course], you should fill out through your arms, shoulders, and neck area nicely. Doing flat and incline benches will help too, of course.

I also think that you'll want to do barbell rows, too; I feel that doing those with heavy weight and low reps, and strict form, will help fill out all the body parts you're listing here and ensure that you maintain a strength balance between your front and back.

The only other advice I can think of right now is to keep those goals realistic. Putting on 10 pounds of good weight will take even the gifted of us months and months of hard work. Make sure you stay focused and don't get discouraged from having false expectations of gaining 10 pounds in a month, like the mags say. Good luck to you.


If you want to use a push/pull routine and you want to work on your traps and arms, then you need to prioritize them within the workout.

So yes, you need to be doing your arm and trap exercises first in the workout. Otherwise, you're going to keep developing an imbalance by hitting the other bodyparts and neglecting your weaknesses.


I disagree with this advice. Although power cleans and clean and presses are good exercises, I wouldn't use them in your program.

For your shoulders (if that's an area you want to work on), I would suggest an overhead pressing movement (dumbbells or barbell), a lateral movement (dumbbell lateral raises/variations) and a rear dumbbell lateral movement as well as shrugs and/or upright rows and facepulls for traps.

For arms, I'd hit them with basic arm exercises like barbell curls, dumbbell curls, etc. Triceps will benefit from pushdowns and triceps extensions. Use compound sets, supersets, tri-sets, drop sets and other techniques for your arms.

After you hit your weak parts with specific exercises, then use compound exercises for other body parts with less volume (barbell bench presses, dips, barbell rows, chins, etc.).


I'm on pretty much the same program right now. I think you'd do just fine if you stuck with big compound lifts and just salt & pepper the program with isolation stuff.

I'm doing heavy/low rep on the first two days, then fast/med rep on the second two. I mainly stick with lifts like bench/squat/mil press, then deads/rows/pullups.

If I have extra time, I throw in heavy cheat curls, leg extensions or curls, GHRs, skull crushers, or calf raises.

Hindsight there's no direct advice in there but hopefully you can take something from it haha. My strengths are the same as your weaknesses, so who knows.


TC wrote an article a couple of weeks back about his push-pull routine, hopefully it will provide some information for you in addition to the help you've received so far.



Thanks for all the help so far guys.


If you're really wanting to just hit your delts and arms basically, I'd suggest to do the superhero program CT describes.

I'm not one for just taking the authors programs, but I find some of CT's to be the best as I favor the traditional bodypart splits.

You won't hit the legs much, but that's not what the program is aimed to do. I tried something similar, hitting the shoulders about twice a week and traps 2 - 3 times a week and I noticed a difference in their growth. I even had a couple people that hadn't seen me in about 1 month say I looked bigger than before.