T Nation

My Full Body Routine

The Reverse Push-Pull Routine

I wanted to share a routine that I have used for years and have taught to others to use with great results. The reverse push-pull routine is not so much a routine as it is a template of a routine, which can be tailored to meet the needs of the individual. The basic objective of this template is to combine compound movements with assistance/isolation movements in a full body workout.

The templates are as follows:

Day “A” 1st part of workout: Compound Pushing Movements, Presses, Dips, Squats, etc

2nd part of workout: Assistance/Isolation Movements for Back, Biceps and Hamstrings

calves, abs, & stretching

Day “B” 1st part of workout: Compound Pulling Movements, Rows, Cleans, Deadlifts, Chins

2nd part of workout: Assistance/Isolation Movements for Chest, Shoulders, Triceps & Quads

calves, abs, & stretching

On the compound movements, do straight sets to positive failure or until targeted reps are achieved. Keep written records of every set and rep and strive to increase weight and reps whenever possible. Select any exercises you like as long as they are compound movements. On the “A” day, I prefer incline presses, narrow grip bench presses, overhead presses, full squats & front squats. If I want some variety, I can substitute JM presses for the narrow grip presses or I can do the narrow grip presses from the bottom position in the power rack. On the “B” day, I prefer bent over rows, high pulls, deadlifts, power shrugs, hyperextensions and hammer curls.

You can put these movements in any order you desire or can rotate them on a regular basis. I have found that if I do my presses first, I still have plenty of energy to do my squats, but if I squat first, then my overall energy and strength is greatly diminished and my presses suffer as a result.

On the assistance/isolation movements you select a couple of exercises and perform them in more of a “bodybuilding fashion” which can include supersets, drop sets, pre-exhaust, etc. You can also use compound movements combined with isolation movements such as performing strict lateral raises followed immediately by overhead presses to failure or leg extensions followed by non-lock front squats. An aspiring powerlifter can use the assistance/isolation time to strengthen their sticking points, perform power rack exercises, grip work and targeted tricep and lat work.

The workouts are performed in a sequential fashion, meaning you perform the “A” session, rest as needed, then perform “B”, rest as needed and repeat. I have always believed in having flexibility in your rest and recovery times. Just because 72 hours have passed, does not necessarily mean you have fully recovered from your last workout. You have to factor in the quality of your food intake, your rest, stress levels ( ie Christmas holidays!) You can also use this plan for very abbreviated workouts as well by selecting two compound movements for 2 sets each followed by one assistance movement for 2 sets.

I hope everyone has a blessed holiday and that you have your 2005 goals and a written game plan for accomplishing those goals in writing. Where will you be 365 days from now?

Keith Wassung

Very useful routine template.
I’ll probably use it from now on, in conjunction with my rugby training.
Would it be okay to add instead of the assistance exercises stuff like skill work or maybe even weight GPP work like keg lifting.
I personally detest doing leg extensions and lateral raises.

sure, that is the beauty of a template in that you are not stuck doing the same thing over and over. I do GPP/Conditioning on seperate days but often do them on lifting days when my schedule is packed.