T Nation

Push:Pull Ratio

I’d like to read some of the experiences from the field.
Probably overthinking it, but here goes:

  1. which ratio do you adhere to (if any)?
  2. what do you include in your pull count? Rows and chins obviously. Also band pull aparts, face pulls, curls, rear/side laterals…?
  3. do you include your warm up sets in your counts?
  4. do you try to get your pulling volume in versus your pushing per workout? or do you view it over your training week? or even training year, where you balance a cycle with lots of pushing out with a cycle with lots of pulling?


After the 5/3/1 reps I do equal amounts of pushing and pullling. For instance:

DIPS 5xMax
Pullups 5xMax



Pretty simple.

I do band pull-aparts every AM along with rotator cuff work. I don’t consider direct rear delt work to be a “pull” anymore than I consider a chest flye to be a “push”. Pull-aparts just fall under the category of prehab. But if you are programming either chest flyes or lateral raises into a template I would balance them with equal amounts of rear-delt flies…

I don’t really adhere to any ratio per say. I just make sure I am doing some pulling assistance. Like I said I am not really aiming for a given ratio, but here is what mine comes out to be and it works for me.

  1. For upper body pulling to pushing exercises I like to a do 1:1 as far as number of exercises and sets. To accomplish this I usually superset. For example 5/3/1 Bench with face pulls then 5’s Pro Incline with DB Rows. As far volume I do more like a 2:1 in favor of pulling since for pushing I typically do sets of ~5 and for pulling I typically do sets of 10+. I find pressing exercises as best to lower reps and planned progression like 5/3/1 while pulling takes less thought and I have better results with higher reps.

  2. I would count all those exercises listed as pulling, but like I said I do not keep a strict count of pushing vs pulling. Just keep in mind band pull aparts and rear delt raises/flys are minor compared to rows and chins. So, just don’t get the pulling exclusively from these exercises (and it doesn’t sound like you are).

  3. I don’t really count, but for what it’s worth I superset my pulls with my 5/3/1 warm up sets as well.

  4. I just try to just healthy and keep making progress long term. If that is happening I don’t worry about specif counts and ratios. Generally speaking a consisting do a similar volume of pushing and pulling, I don’t emphasize one more on any given cycle.

  1. None.
  2. Any kind of pulling. Except curls. In general, a full ROM “big” lift. Face pulls don’t count.
  3. Doesn’t matter at all.
  4. Only matters over time. Unless you are into popular training methods that ignore smart progrmming. I program in 6 week blocks with long term goals.