The Push / Pull workout split is a simple workout routine based around training opposite muscle groups and therefore avoiding overstressing your muscles which can lead to your muscle tissue breaking down or even injury. It can also form a solid foundation for your split training which you can always return to and get results.
This workout generally involves a 3 day workout split which has an upper body pull day, an upper body push day, and a leg day. You will be focusing on doing bigger lifts in the routine (squats, deadlifts, bench press) at the beginning of the workout as they will be the most taxing.
For this workout we are targeting beginners or people that can only attend the gym 3 times per week as you can structure a push / pull split over more days.
Once again I have also written the split as a 7 day program to show you what is the optimal days for rest.
How to Structure your 3 day push / pull split
For this workout finding a structure that works isn’t too hard as you are working opposite muscle groups on different days making overtraining a muscle group very hard.
If you would like more information regarding the importance of resting your muscle groups and split training correctly have a look at our article [How your muscles repair and why it effects your split training]
We will be training triceps on the press day, biceps on the pull day and abdominals on the leg day. The reason for this is triceps are a secondary muscle to all press exercises while biceps are a secondary muscle for all pull exercises.
In this program the pull day and leg day or interchangeable, however I find it to be optimal the way I have laid it out as it provides the maximum amount of rest days between the two upper body workouts.
Your aim is to push to between 80% of your capability and muscle failure in the provided rep range.
Only train to failure on your sets sparingly. I would advise that if you choose to do so only perform a set to failure on the third or final set for the chosen exercise. Training to failure can be anabolic (promote muscle growth) if performed sparingly and catabolic (break down muscle tissue) if performed too often.
Recent studies have shown an improvement in muscle hypertrophy with longer rest times so you will be doing between 90 – 120 seconds rests between sets.
Perform 1 – 2 sets of the first exercise listed on each day at about 30% of your target weight for the rep range I have suggested.
The 3 Day Split Schedule
DAY 1 – PUSH
4 sets, 8- 12 reps Bench press
4 sets, 8 – 12 reps Incline dumbbell press
4 sets, 8 – 12 reps Overhead barbell press
4 sets, 10-15 reps One arm kettlebell military press
4 sets, 8 – 12 reps Tricep extensions on cable machine
DAY 2 – REST
DAY 3 – LEGS
4 sets, 8 – 12 reps Squats
3 sets, 8 – 12 reps Leg press
3 sets, 8 – 12 reps Leg extensions
3 sets, Hold 1 min TRX Plank
3 sets, 12 -15 reps Medicine ball crunches
DAY 4 – REST
DAY 5 – PULL
4 sets, 6 – 10 reps Deadlift
4 sets, 8 – 12 reps Lat pull down
4 sets, 8 – 12 reps Seated row
4 sets, 8 – 12 reps Upright rows
4 sets, 8 – 12 reps Barbell bicep curls
DAY 6 – REST
DAY 7 – REST
If you are looking to get started with split training and you really need to have 3 days a week to commit to it. This training routine should be a fantastic place to start. The Push / Pull split forms the basis of understanding how to split your training and forces you to rest your muscle groups which is when they will repair and grow.
If you have more time to commit or you are looking for something more advanced then try our [5 Day Workout Split with Functional Training]