With so many different workout plans to choose from, it can be difficult for you to find one which ticks all the boxes. What’s the best workout to build muscle?  What will work best for weight loss?  What type of plan should you use whilst cutting?  What’s the best way to get slim and toned?

We have tried all manner of workout programs over the last few years: Stronglifts 5×5, Power Bodybuilding, standard body part splits and more.  However, there’s one program we always return to: Push-Pull. The Push-Pull split is our favourite because it allows both the upper and lower body to be trained every session.

Instead of splitting workouts by body parts, Push-Pull divides workouts by functional muscle groups – pushing muscles and pulling muscles.  For example, pushes include squats, bench press or shoulder press, and pulls include deadlifts, chin ups or curls. Training upper and lower body muscles each time is great for both guys & girls, whether you want to build muscle or burn fat.

“Training upper and lower body muscles each time is great for both guys & girls, whether you want to build muscle or burn fat.”

For guys it maximises  your natural muscle-building potential by keeping testosterone levels maxed out all week.  Girls, you will love the results from training lower body every time – this will burn more calories than a body part split, and pairing this with upper body movements will help you tone up and improve definition.

To top it off, this method of training is incredibly efficient.  It enables entire muscle groups to be trained whilst all the opposing muscles are recovering. Traditionally you might train chest one day, arms the next, and then shoulders the day after.  By the time you are training shoulders, you are probably so tired out from your previous workouts that your arms feel heavy before you’re even using any weight. In this fatigued state, you can no longer effectively train shoulders and your shoulders will be sacrificed! With Push-Pull, the muscles are trained together in a functional group to ensure they all get an equal amount of work!

The following push-pull workouts are designed to build a well-balanced physique (if you are unsure of an exercise, check out the images below each workout for tips and the correct form).

Workout Schedule

Here is our suggested 2-week workout program. Feel free to can change the days around to suit your schedule:

Week 1

  • Monday – Push 1
  • Tuesday – Pull 1
  • Wednesday – Rest
  • Thursday – Push 2
  • Friday – Pull 2
  • Saturday – Rest
  • Sunday – Rest

Week 2

  • Monday – Push 3
  • Tuesday – Pull 3
  • Wednesday – Rest
  • Thursday – Push 4
  • Friday – Pull 4
  • Saturday – Rest
  • Sunday – Rest

Push Workout 1

1 – Squat 5 x 10

2a – Rotator cuff dumbell raises 4 x 10-12

2b – Dumbbell Skull Crusher 4 x 10-12

3 – Dumbbell Chest Press 5 x 10

4a – Seated Side Lateral Raise 4 x 8-10

4b – Bodyweight Skull crusher 4 x 8-10

5 – Bodyweight Calf Raise 100 reps, 2 second hold at top

Pull Workout 1

1a – Straight Leg Deadlift 4 x 8-10

1b – Barbell Hip Thrust 4 x 8-10

2a – Dumbbell Reverse Curl 4 x 8-10

2b – Wide Grip Barbell Curl 4 x 8-10

3a – Bodyweight Hamstring Curl (Hyperextension) 5 x 10-12

3b – Decline Bench Leg Raise 5 x failure

4a – Face Pull 4 x 10-12

4b – Close Grip Pull Up 4 x failure

5a – Dumbbell Supernated 21s  3 x 21 (7 bottom, 7 top, 7 full)

5b – Hanging Leg Raise 3 x 30 (10 LHS, 10 RHS, 10 Centre)

Push Workout 2

1 – Squat 5 x 8 Increasing weight through sets

2a – Barbell bench press 4 x 12-15

2b – Bodyweight dips 4 x 12-15

3a – Machine fly 4 x 10-15

3b – Side lateral raise 4 x 10-15

4a – Tricep pushdown 3 x 10-15

4b – Tricep pulldown 3 x 10-15

5a – Leg Raise 3 x failure

5b – Floor Wipers 3 x failure

Pull Workout 2

1 – Prone row 4 x 10

2a – Rear delt fly 3 x 10

2b – Spider curl 3 x 10

3 – Glute/hamstring raise 4 x 8-10

4a – Close grip chin up 4 x Failure

4b – Face pull 4 x 10

5a – Seated cable row 3 x 10

5b – Wide grip barbell curl

6 – Decline bench leg raise 5 x Failure (slow and controlled)

Push Workout 3

1 – Squat 4 x 10

2 – Dumbell walking lunge 3 x 12

3 – Overhead Press 4 x 10

4a – 45 degree triceps rope pulldown 4 x 8

4b – Triceps rope pulldown 4 x failure (same weight)

5a – Side Lateral Raise 3 x 10

5b – Partial Side Lateral Raise 3 x 8 (same weight)

5c – Single arm overhead triceps extension 3 x 10

6 – Leg press machine calf raise 2 x drop set (7 Levels, 5 reps each)

Pull Workout 3

1a – Bodyweight glute/ham raise – 3 x failure

1b – Bodyweight glute raise – 3 x failure

2a – Wide grip weighted pull up – 5 x 6

2b – T-bar row – 5 x 8

3a – Prone row – 4 x 10

3b – DB Preacher curl 4 x 10

4a – Machine calf raise 4 x 6-8

4b – Bodyweight calf raise 4 x failure

4c – Rear delt fly 4 x 10-15

5a – Dip bar leg raise 4 x failure

5b – Dip bar air sprints 4 x failure

5c – Lying leg raise 4 x failure

6 – 20 minute HIIT on exercise bike

Push Workout 4

1a – Squat 5 x 6

1b – Push up 5 x failure

2 – Standing overhead press 4 x 10

3a – Flat DB press 4 x 6-8

3b – Flat DB resisted fly 4 x 12

4a – 45 deg Rope pulldown 3 x 6-8

4b – Z bar pulldown 3 x 10-12

4c – Machine incline chest press

Pull Workout 4

1a – Bodyweight glute/ham raise – 3 x failure

1b – Bodyweight glute kickback – 3 x failure

2a – Deadlift – 5 x 6

2b – Wide grip weighted pull up – 5 x 6

3a – Pull up 4 x 10

3b – Hip thrust 4 x 10

4a – Romanian Deadlift 4 x 10

4b – Inverted row 4 x 10

5a – Cable pull through 3 x 12

5b – Face pull 3 x 12

Workout Notes

  • Keep rest periods to within 60-90 seconds
  • The notation 1a & 1b  means superset those exercises i.e. do the first exercise and go straight into the second exercise without any rest

Be sure to let us know how you get on and send your progress photos to us via our social media pages so we can share it with our followers!