Push Vs Pull

Today I wanted to briefly discuss the push-pull method in fitness, typically bodybuilding (but not always necessarily bodybuilding).

It's concept of splitting your workout days but not by body parts (biceps, triceps, chest, etc), but push-pull, and of course having leg day, where I'd generally add core (like abs and lower back).

However, because leg day and core day is self-explanatory, I want to focus on particularly push-pull.

Okay, why push-pull?

The biggest difference lies in your chest and back. They are the primary muscles in a push or pull movement, with secondary muscles supporting them. Therefore, when you workout a primary muscle, all blood goes there and the secondary muscle. And because the blood is in both the primary and secondary, why workout the secondary muscle on a separate day?

Here, let's look at it a little more in-depth:


Your chest pushes. It's the primary muscle in the push movement. Your triceps are secondary. Therefore, triceps push as well.


Back pulls. It's also the primary muscle, but for the pull movement. And, like triceps, biceps are the secondary in pulling.

Shoulders actually do both: push (think overhead press) and pull (think upright row).

So, the fact that making a specific muscle grow big and strong requires blood to flow in there (from working out), allows tricep workouts on chest days, and bicep workouts on back days, make scientific sense.

For example: a superset of bench press and tricep overhead. Or, pullups and then bicep curls.

At the end of the day, each to their own. But I strongly believe in the push-pull method.

- Ethan


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