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Pull:Push Ratios

Push:Pull Ratio - I Have Questions
Good evening folks. Like a lot of you (I’m assuming), I’ve fallen victim to many years of focusing too much on my chest while giving not nearly enough attention to my back and posterior chain in general. As a result, I’ve got a slightly irritated left shoulder, most likely result of bad form on some overhead pressing. And I’ve got hardly any rear delt development.

I’ve also fallen victim to “program hop-itis”, where I’ve jumped from program to program. Some were published programs, some were ones I out together. I’ve now seen the error of my ways and am following NROL by Alwyn Cosgrove (& Lou Schuler).

My questions are:
Should I follow the NROL program as written, hoping it’ll help balance out the muscular imbalance between my front delts and lack of development in my rear delts?

Should I add a few extra sets of rows, chins, pull-ups, deadlifts, etc. when the program calls for those movements?

Or, should I back off of some of the chest work in the program, and do some push-ups in place of the (heavier) chest work?

From what I’ve been reading, Alwyn Cosgrove had a reputation for designing very sound, functional programs as opposed to programs that are nothing more than a hodge-podge of seemingly random exercises tossed together.

Any and all help will be appreciated. I’ve got a fire if motivation burning in me like you wouldn’t believe. However, I don’t want to spin my wheels or cause further muscular imbalances. I want to get the most return on my sweat investment. I’m willing to admit that I don’t know everything and leave my program design to the professionals.


Rule of thumb is 1:1 ratio bare minimum preferable 2:1 that being 2 pulls for every 1 push to maintain balance between the muscle groups.

I wouldn’t include deadlifts in this regard.

Quick question… while standing relaxed with your arms to your sides what direction are your palms of your hands facing. Do they face towards you or do the tend to rotate back facing behind you.

Good news/bad news;

The bad news is that The 2:1 ratio is for normal people. With no rear delts, an irritated shoulder, you will need even more “pulling” work.

The good news is that you are burning with motivation. It will be easy for you to add 2-4 mini sessions, apart from your Regular Routine, away from the gym.

Band Pull aparts
Scrap pushups
Thorasic Extensions
Rear delt raises

I can’t tell you exactly what it will take, but you have to find a way to “feel” those rear delts. You’ll know your on the right track when the shoulder feels better. Then, once you can feel them, do some work for them. Pump them up! Make them grow. After awhile, in your real workouts, your rear delts will contribute and stabilize your shoulders, instead of just coming along for the ride.

The key is to make sure this work supports and enhances your Regular routine. The extra work is a bonus, designed to bring up a weakness. Not grind you down and crush you.

Thanks guys. I wasn’t sure if deadlifts would constitute a pull, but now I see what you guys are saying. I’ll add some face pulls, cable tows, etc, really concentrating on feeling the rear delts.

Funny thing is, when I do bb rows and db rows, I’ll lighten the weight a bit and really concentrate on feeling my back. And guess what? My lats are actually sore, haha.

I’ve got to get past “looking at the weights/pounds” and just concentrate on feeling the muscle I’m working, instead of just trying to move the weight from point A to point B.

Thanks again, guys. Anybody else have more suggestions? All are appreciated.


Be sure you get a good mind/ muscle connection on the cable rows. Or you will blow up your middle back instead. Don’t ask me how I know…lol

The strongest muscles tend to take over, especially if you are “more experienced.” They have gotten stronger, and more dominant for a long time.

Sometimes, it takes a lot of trial and error to find the movement that makes things go. But the results are like, doubled when you get it.

Changing a flat tire improves your car’s performance dramatically.

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I myself would add in some direct external rotation work of some sort

What’s your favorite, I know you’ve had some shoulder issues.

My go to has been for PM work >>> band pull aparts , standing Band external rotation work and time to time the shoulder horn

I’m following the routines in The 7 Minute Rotator Cuff Simution. That seems to be a well respected book. I’m doing 1-2 sets of lying L flyes and 1-2 sets of lying flyes to strengthen my external rotators.

Are company physical therapist worked with the us weightlifting team during so found that, the rotater cuff strength was not much greater then average man in about a third of lifters it is hard for me to believe. At time i was benching high fours, duing 180lbs one arm row for 20 rep. I was barely stronger then him in rotated cuff exercises, with is one reason i tore pec.

My palms face my thighs relaxed what does this mean?

From what I’ve been told and from what I’ve read, with your arms hanging down at your sides in a relaxed position, if your thumbs point forward, your shoulders are “aligned” properly. If your thumbs point towards each other, then your internal rotators are tight and pulling your shoulders forward.

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You hit the nail on the Head :+1:

I’m completely kicking myself in the butt for ignoring, or at the very least, giving little attention to, my posterior chain all these years. I wish I had those training years back from when I was in my 20s and indestructible, haha! But I’m sure we all do.

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, my motivation is on fire, so I’m going to be blasting my back and posterior chain, squatting like I mean it, and trying to educate myself as much as I can along the way.

I was so obsessed with “mirror muscles” and now I’m paying the price. I’ve got a ski trip planned for Feb 2017, so my goal is to have some strong legs and a strong back so i can ski with my boys (14 & 15). Plus I want to look good for my wife in the hot tub!!!

Dont feel bad its VERY easy to do… Im the freaking poster Boy for it.

  • 2:1 pull push ratio.
  • Don’t add pullup/ bent over row sets ; add face pull, band pull apart, high row, prone delt raise, etc…
  • Stretch pecs & quads.
  • Avoid BP if you have pain and fuck the dogma of “necessary exercise”. Try weighted pushup, pushup with elastic bands or even an isolation exercise.
  • Posterior chain is not only the back. Add hip thrust / glute bridge to work hams and glutes.
  • Go to see a doctor for your shoulders… Shoulders are sensitive joints and often hurt.
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Thanks for the reply. My left shoulder is pretty tender at the moment, not sure what I did. I definitely understand what you’re saying about avoiding the dogma of how some exercises are “necessary.” I’ve started reading more and more of the articles by Doug Brignole. What he says about training the muscle and not the movement really made sense to me. Also, I know he has his critics, but I also like watching the videos of Jeff C over at Athlean X. He definitely shows how muscles work on certain movements. That dude is so lean that it’s easy to see what muscles are doing during certain movements.

In my opinion you could probably do very little push work and try to right the ship. Has anyone ever seen a person with too much posterior development? Is it possible to have an over-developed back, rear delts, hams, & glutes? Anyone heard of shoulder impingement from over-developed rear delts?

I sure haven’t.

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I’m reminded of a line that I read once in one of Alwyn Cosgrove’s books: “No one ever died from small pecs.”

Not that chest training isn’t important, but like you said, posterior development is what I (and arguably, most people) need to focus on.