How Would You Set Up a Simple Push-Pull Routine?

I’ve been doing a full-body routine for a while now, but I feel like my delts don’t recover fully between workouts. I want to try a push-pull routine for a couple months to see if the extra recovery time between pushing movements helps. Primary goal is to put some mass on my upper body. I’m fine leaving my lower body on maintenance for a while. I’m thinking something like this.

deadlift variation to include snatch-grip or rack pulls for upper back
vertical push
horizontal push
isolation work - rear delt, arms, abs

squat variation
horizontal pull
vertical pull
isolation work - rear delt, arms, abs

You generally see squats on push day and deadlift on pull day with this type of split. I want to switch that because I find my lats are taxed after deadlifting, which affects upper body pulling. I also find my delts taxed after front squatting, which affect upper body pushing. I figure this setup avoids that.

I’d like some ideas on how to fill in the details - set, reps, exercise selection, etc. Right now I’m thinking of doing this 3 days a week

Last thought. Would this work better with the following setup?

  • Push 1 - horizontal push (chest emphasis)
  • Pull 1 - horizontal pull (row emphasis)
  • Push 2 - vertical push (shoulder emphasis)
  • Pull 2 - vertical pull (pull-up variation emphasis)

Thanks for the input!

I’m not sure what you mean about 3 days per week.

A way I’ve used before is:
Monday-push moderate
Tuesday- pull moderate
Thursday-push heavy
Saturday-pull heavy

I would cycle like:
Moderate - 3 sets of 12, rest 2min
Heavy - 3 sets of 6, rest 2 min

Moderate - 4 sets of 10, rest 1.5min
Heavy - 4 sets of 5, rest 1.5min

Moderate - 5 sets of 8, rest 1min
Heavy - 6 sets of 3, rest 1min


Why not give legs their own day and go Legs, Push, Pull?

I’m only able to get to the gym 3 days a week. So, the layout would look like this

week 1 - push/pull/push
week 2 - pull/push/pull

I like the idea of varying the rep scheme, but wouldn’t you want to take longer rests as the weights get heavier and the reps per set go up?

I did notice that article. There are some good concepts there, which I may incorporate, but I think I’d struggle with some of the supersets (press + dips, for example).

Frequency. If I can only make it to the gym 3 days a week, I’ll be hitting each body part just once a week. If I do a push/pull, I can hit each body part every 4-5 days.

Volume and intensity also play a role and there is no way I would personally be able to hit upper body efficiently after squats and/or deadlifts.

Yes that is a way to do it. I like adding volume and intensity and the same time in an accumulation style pattern. Try and get close to over training then back it off. Also more sets and longer rests doesn’t fit time constraints as well.

So are you using the same weight each week of the cycle or increasing the weight as the reps per set go down?

Yes increasing but you may find by week three weights are going down. I used a weight that by the last rep I was reaching failure.

I’ve been doing push pull legs. An article I based it on wanted the user to do it like this
Day 1 push
Day 2 pull
Day 3 rest
Day 4 legs
Day 5 rest, then repeat the cycle, that way you won’t do the same shit every day

I just got done with my 8th week but after the 1st week of doing it their way, I felt there were too many rest days so I tweaked it to
Day 1 push
Day 2 pull
Day 3 legs
Day 4 push
Day 5 pull
Day 6 legs and so on…
I’ve increased strength and mass and my body was ready for the exercises each day

On push days I would work chest, shoulders and triceps

On pull days I would work deadlift, Back and biceps

Leg days hit the legs hard

Throw in an abs and core exercises each day to finish off the session and wa-lah

So you went from 2 rest days every 5days to no rest days ever?

Yes sir. Only because the muscles I work together are worked every 4th day so they get 2 rest days between, granted I’m working other parts on the on between days. The hardest part is just getting my was to the gym everyday. Some days I go in later in evening, some days, mornings or afternoons. Just depends on my sxhedule