T Nation

Push-Pull Question


hey guys im doing the push pull workout and i was a little confused about heavy days vs light days. my question is how much lighter should i go on light days than the heavy days?

this is what ive been doing so far and im not quite sure this is correct since i never fully recover in between workouts no matter how much i eat and sleep.

for example ill do front squats on heavy push days, 4x5 for 225 lbs and for light push days i will do 4x8 for 205.

should it be more like 4x8 for 180 or something considerably lighter?

thanks ahead of time.


Bodybuilding isn't a long series of spells where if you line up the numbers perfectly you get results.

The whole point is to sweat and strain and work as hard as you can to force out more reps, and/or use more weight than last workout.

Doing an arbitrary amount of weight for "4x8" isn't going to satisfy some bodybuilding math gods, it's just going to mean that you squatted less than you could have squatted, and you didn't give your body any good reason to grow.


Personally I don't change the weight from light/heavy days. I change the number of sets, and I work closer to failure on a heavy day. Heavy days are more intense, but not actually heavier.
Just me though. Maybe I'm doing it different than other people. You just have to try different things and see what works...


Can you explain with stes/reps? Thanks.


Just so we're on the same page, you're referring to this push-pull plan and not something else, right?

Don't stress over the weight as much as the reps. Use a weight you can handle for whatever the rep range calls for that day. For example, that plan calls for sets of 3 on the heavy days and sets of 6 or 12 on the light days. So, whatever exercise you're using, use a weight that allows only those reps (with solid technique). I'm not sure why this is confusing.

Then you're doing something wrong. It might sound like a meathead maxim, but it's incredibly hard to legitimately overtrain; it's more likely just under-eating and/or under-sleeping. Simple as that.

Let's even say you're getting as much sleep as you can (by the way, in an average week, how many hours per night do you get?)

Are you having a post-workout shake with protein and carbs after each training session?

What's your age, height, and weight?

How long have you been lifting?

Exactly what did you eat yesterday?

Also, if you're new to the plan, there's a chance that you're just not conditioned to the high frequency (training the same bodypart two or more times per week). That's something that can/should be built up within the first few weeks.

If you can handle 205 for 4x8, do you think there's any benefit to doing only 180 for 4x8 and short-changing yourself those 25 pounds per rep?


Light day I might do 3 sets of 225, on a heavy day I'll do 4 sets of 225, the last set to failure.


I don't think that constitutes heavy/light days. You're just changing up volume and intensity, but not the load.




@ mr popular - interesting point you made about giving your body a reason to grow. never thought of it like that

@ TPreuss - i find it really hard to lift that heavy for both days when on heavy days the rest period is a minute and on light days its 45 seconds, but hey if it works for you than great. how has your progress been so far and how long have you been doing push/pull?

@ Chris - yeah im talking about that push/pull. i havent been following the exact parameters that TC said to use in the article such as 8x3 etc, but am doing it how i did it 2 years ago when i followed to program. ( just so we are on the same page, the push/pull workout used to be even more basic than it is now because TC recently revised the article and changed up quite a few things. i went back to my old log book and im following basically the same set rep schemes that i used because i got great results after following the program for 3 months.) with that said, i figured out my problem. i missed the rest times at the bottom of the page. 1 min for heavy. 45 seconds for light. this gave me a better understanding of weights i should be using. i experimented with it and found it to be much more effective in terms of my recover, which doesnt make a lot of sense to me, but i guess it makes sense to my body so im not gonna argue. thanks for the help



I never followed a written push/pull workout from someone else, but I've essentially been doing push/pull as long as I've been training. My first year or so I didn't see much progress mainly because I didn't eat enough. Once I got my diet in line my progress has been good and pretty steady (a few plateaus here and there). I started splitting up heavy and light days (doing them the way I described to you) the last 6 months or so, and since then I've been progressing pretty good. My lifts seem to constantly get heavier, and my body weight is slowly climbing all the while.

I like using the same weight each workout, but I make the workout a little easier in other ways. It's worked for me, and might work for you. Maybe I'm not doing it the 'right' way, but progress is progress, and you can't argue with that. Try a number of ways and see what works for you.


TP - Sounds like you have consistently worked hard and when you do that, you will see results. thanks for sharing how you push/pull