T Nation

Opinion on My Push/Pull Workout


#1

I have written a workout based on the HST and push and pull workouts that many people advocate, as I have signed up on here recently (I was an askscooby member until it was shut down) I just wondered if you guys had any constructive criticism on the routine below;

Week 1 Pull - Push - Pull
Week 2 Push - Pull - Push
Cardio Cycle 6 miles twice per day 5 days per week

Each exercise has a light set and a heavy set to failure or to 10 reps whichever is first.

Pull

Deadlift
Ab Rollers
Wide Grip Pull Ups
Hanging Leg Raises
Narrow Grip Chin Ups
Dumbell Shrugs
Crunches
Reverse Flys
Lat Raises
Hammer Curls

Push

Incline Barbell Press
Squats
Tricep Dips
Shoulder Press
OHP
Calf Raises
Dumbell Flys
Wide Grip Push Ups
Side Raises
Tricep Kickbacks


#2

I can see some flaws with this routine.

I think you are doing far too many exercises per session. This will either mean that you don't train with enough volume or intensity on each lift OR that each session will take FAR too long. I'd literally half the number of exercises.

You are missing out some vital movement patterns. You are doing no horizontal pulling - and that should be one of the staples of your "pull" day. Something like dumbbell row/machine row/inverted row/t-bar row - any sort of row HAS to be included. They are far more important than shrugs or reverse flyes or anything like that.

You are only doing one proper lower body lift each day, which is pretty imbalanced. At a minimum I'd add in some single leg work (such as lunges, split squats or pistol squats) and some more hamstring/glute work (hamstring curl, back extension, glute-ham raise).

What is the difference between a lat raise and a side raise? What is the difference between a shoulder press and an OHP? Conventionally these terms are inter-changeable and mean the exact same exercise, so you shouldn't be doing them twice.

If I were going to do a push-pull split, I'd do something more like this:

Push:
Back Squat
Barbell Lunge
Bench Press
Shoulder Press
Dip

Pull:
Deadlift
Back Extension
Pull-Up (Any Grip)
Dumbbell Row
Dumbbell Curl

If you want to add in more exercises, then a push-pull split really won't work - you'll have to split it up more. Commonly used options would be a upper body push-upper body pull-lower body split or, similarly, a chest and triceps, back and biceps, shoulders and legs split.

Hope this helps


#3

Thanks for the input furo

First comment about too many exercises I'm not certain if you noticed I only do a light set and a heavy set both up to maximum of 10 reps per set so 20 reps per exercise max, do you think the volume is still too much? The workouts take about 1:15 from start to finish.

Horizontal Pulling I do agree with actually and that is an error on my part which would you say is the best exercise to include for this?

Lower body I have kept to lower volume due to the 10 x 6 miles I cycle each week do you think this compensates for this? I kept just the compounds really for lower body would you say with the cycling I am missing any part of the lower body in particular?

Next one is a terminology thing by OHP I mean standing overhead press and by shoulder press I mean seated behind the neck press.

What's a back extension by the way?

Cheers

Sam


#4

Thanks for clarifying those points.

If you do your sets like that (one light and one heavy) then I think the overall volume would be more manageable, but I personally would struggle to keep the intensity up. I also still think the volume is quite unbalanced - for example a lot of your "push" exercises hit the triceps very hard so you'll be hitting that one muscle loads, while other muscles seem to be neglected (midback, hamstrings and glutes stand out to me). I feel that if I were to do your "push" day my legs and chest would be understimulated by the end, and my shoulders and certainly my triceps would be fried.

I really like all the horizontal pulling variations I listed earlier, but my top 2 would probably be one-arm dumbbell rows and inverted rows.

Fair enough with keeping the lower body volume a bit lower because of the cycling, but I feel like your posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes and erectors) are still a bit neglected. The deadlift does hit those muscles, but I've personally always found that they need a bit of individual attention too.

I've attached a video of a back extension:

I'm really no expert at all, as I'm sure you can tell. These are just my ideas. Hopefully someone more knowledgable than me can pop in and help out.


#5

Too many exercises matey.

You've got three hours a week in the gym to do as much damage and stimulate as much growth as possible. Cut the fat and focus on your core exercises, then tack on a couple of fluff exercises at the end if you want.

By only doing two sets per exercise you're allocating as much importance to deadlifts as you are to reverse flys and tricep kickbacks, which is poor prioritising.

I'd suggest you focus on two heavy exercises each workout for 3 - 5 sets each, followed by 2 - 4 smaller exercises. You can cycle through the smaller exercises each week to get variety if you want.

You'll build more strength and muscle, and improve your skill at the exercises.


#6

@furo

The main message I'm getting from you is there are a few muscles hit too much and some lacking so I have tried to balance it out, do you think this hits all muscle groups a bit more evenly? The idea is to have 10 exercises per workout which pull has but I have left push at 9 so what should I add to make that one more even now do you think?

Pull

Deadlift
Wide Grip Pull Ups
Narrow Grip Chin Ups
Inverted Rows
Dumbell Rows
Hanging Leg Raises
Ab Rollers
Dumbell Shrugs
Reverse Flys
Hammer Curls

Push

Incline Barbell Press
Squats
Dips
Lunges
OHP
Calf Raises
Dumbell Flys
Side Raises
Tricep Kickbacks


#7

@crushkilldestroy

1st question is that all natural? Good physique mate.

I know exactly what you are saying I too normally do a 4 day split with two main exercises on each workout and then add 3 minor exercises to each which get swapped out as and when I reach a plateau on them.

I'm actually finding it very hard to add any more muscle naturally at the moment and wanted to try a few different kind of workout techniques before resorting to steroids, I probably am going to do a cycle but wanted to make sure I got my natural potential filled first.

This workout I am currently experimenting with is based on a few schools of thought which I am sure you are familiar with;

HST hypertrophy specific training which a lot of people advocate, basically this is 10 exercises full body workout light set and heavy set of 10 reps for each exercise 3 times per week.

Push and Pull training which is 2 workout split obvious by the name

Training exercises multiple times per week -- This one a lot of people are going on about and seems to be where I was going wrong before, I have read a lot of article that say to progress past a certain point on some movements they have to be performed twice per week.

With these 3 in mind I am trying to create a hybrid a push workout with 10 exercises and reps like HST and a pull one of the same which I can alternate and build up in few weeks to do the following;

Day1 Pull
Day2 Rest
Day3 Push
Day4 Rest
Day5 Pull
Day6 Rest
Day7 Push
Day 8 Rest
and repeat

Along with cycling 6 miles twice per day 5 days per week.

What do you think of this concept and could you offer some tips at putting it together please?

Thanks

Sam


#8

I haven't read up on HST at all Sam, perhaps I should be more open-minded but I've used and seen really, really simple programs my whole training life without ever using a program with an acronym like HST. I think there are so many other variables to alter and play with before you change things as far as 10 exercises a session for 2 sets each.

On a practical level I don't think I could really get into and feel an exercise within one heavy and one light set, and if you're training in a commercial gym or facility I doubt you could access all the equipment at the right times to make all 10 exercises work well.

All of the biggest and strongest guys i've trained under or with have used simple programs like a 5 day bodypart split, or simple linear or undulating progression. The key thing all of them did was train heavy and hard, allocate most of their effort to big lifts and eat properly. I am simply not convinced that the key to any further progression for you would lie in HST.

If you're simply doing it as an experiment to try it all out then cool, but I predict that will not be where your new growth lies.

Incidentally i'm not sure if you're being serious about my physique or not, frankly it's pretty poor these days due to external influences like having two babies and a full-on job. But if you are serious and you think I would - or you would need steroids to attain that physique then you need to reconsider, because i've been 10kg heavier and just as lean completely natural.


#9

I completely agree with this.

But if you are determined to stick with this type of training, I think that the option you just posted looks a lot better than the one in the OP.


#10

You know... this seems to be a common problem when people who are use to doing 4-6 day splits trying to switch over to a push/pull routine. They just can't seem to 'dump' the body split mindset and try to incorporate it into the push/pull.

Stick to larger compounds and just have faith that the rest of the muscle will come along for the ride, granted that you have programmed a good method of progression.


#11

I agree, but I think you can have your cake and eat it too. By having two different sets of assistance exercises each to push and pull, but using the same core compound exercises, you can have progression and hit all your isolation exercises almost as well as a body part split.


#12

@crushkilldestroy

Firstly never take anything I say as sarcastic because it won't be, I meant it sincerely about your physique you had a different profile picture up and looked hench and in proportion which is why I asked if it was natural because it looked it. I've also been slack this year up until last month due to buying my first house so know exactly what you mean mate.

I agree with everything you have said, I started training with a FBW 3 x per week and after 6 months switched to a 4 day split and then gradually up to a 5 day split and had great success. I don't think after 7 months slack I could go straight back to that though so thought I'd give this a go so I could build up i.e. week 1 and 2 I did one workout each week 3 I did both and week 4 I did 3, I'm now in week 5 sore as anything and have my next workout tomorrow if I'm going to stick with the 3 a week. I will go back to the 4 day then the 5 day split just giving something different a go, have a read up about HST if you get a chance and let me know your thoughts.

@furo

Cheers mate I will switch to that one this week and see how it goes, I may drop some of the isolation exercises in a week or two as per your previous advice.

@geewud

I think I understand what you are saying but not certain, have you tried a push pull routine before? If so would be interested in what it looks like for comparison etc.


#13

not sure if my other response just got lost or will appear shortly but just to add to it if it does I am doing all my workouts at home. If this appears before my other response I will write it again ...