A push-pull workout trains the target muscles based on whether they involve pushing or pulling. These exercises are popular with bodybuilders and other athletes because they improve recovery time between training and help build a balanced body.
Push-pull workouts are a great way to push your body to the limits. They’re all about building muscle and burning fat so that you can look like an athlete! With this workout, you’ll be doing several exercises for both your push muscles and pull muscles. For each activity in the workout, do 8-12 reps before moving on to the next one—rest 60 seconds between sets. You’ll need a set of dumbbells and a barbell if you want to get started with this push-pull workout!
What is a push-pull workout?
Push-pull is training that uses muscle movement patterns to perform specific exercises on the same day. Push exercises push the weight away from your body, while pull exercises pull the weight toward your body. The muscles to your body’s front (anterior) push the weight away from your body while the muscles to the back (posterior) of your body pull weight to your body. The shoulders, arms, and glutes are the exception. While the shoulders and glutes act as a push or pull muscle depending on the exercise, the arms work in reverse as the biceps are pull muscles, and the triceps are push muscles. In this training, you train the upper body muscles that perform pushing movements on the first workout day and the upper body muscles that perform pulling movements on the second workout day. Finally, you will use the third workout day to do push-pull leg exercises. Apart from that, it depends on your level of experience.
Here are the muscles that do the pushing and pulling movements.
- Push: chest, shoulders, triceps, quadriceps, glutes
- Pull: back, biceps, shoulders, hamstrings, glutes
A push-pull workout always includes leg day and core training. Having a nice-looking pair of legs and glutes is often the envy of many, but that’s not all there is to it. If you want core strength and leg power (and who doesn’t?), you need to train them together.
Some people advise against training the legs and abdominals together because it puts a lot of work on the back muscles. However, this is incorrect since many athletes train their lower body on their off day from their upper body but still maintain a solid core. The reason is that they are engaging in full-body workouts with full-range lifts. Therefore, if you want size and power, you need to use full-range lifts with heavyweights.
Here are examples of workouts for beginners, intermediate, and advanced lifters:
Beginner Push-Pull Workout:
- Monday: Push.
- Tuesday: Rest
- Wednesday: Pull
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: Legs and cover
Intermediate and Advanced Push-Pull Workout:
- Monday: Push
- Tuesday: Pull
- Wednesday: Legs and cover
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: Push
- Saturday: Pull
- Sunday: Legs and cover
You can increase or decrease the volume (repetition, set, and weight) per exercise for specific muscle groups according to your preferences and training goals.
Here is a typical push-pull routine in which you can determine the days of the week you work and rest. Perform 3-5 sets of 8-12 repetitions for each exercise, and rest 60 seconds between sets.
Day 1: On the first day of a push-pull workout program, focus on push exercises.
What do you need to know about the bench press exercise to use in a push-pull workout?
The bench press is an upper body strength training exercise that involves pressing a weight upwards from a prone position. It is one of the major compound exercises in weightlifting to improve your physical performance and appearance. The weight’s movement is entirely horizontal, not vertical, like the overhead press. We consider bench presses one of the most important exercises for strengthening the torso, shoulders, and arms. The exercise also targets many other major muscle groups in the body, including the forearms, biceps, and triceps. Thus, bench presses are a vital exercise for creating a powerful upper body.
You can perform bench presses with dumbbells, an adjustable bench machine, or a barbell. Also, it can be performed both flat on your back or inclined using an adjustable bench. We consider this exercise as one of the best exercises for building upper body strength and mass. The Bench Press provides necessary resistance for muscle strengthening, and progressive overload is required for muscle hypertrophy.
All Bench Press exercises require you to lift weights to complete the movement. You perform bench presses on a weight training bench. Beginner and intermediate lifters should perform the bench presses with a bar and reasonably light weights and higher repetitions. More advanced bench pressers use heavier weights with lower repetitions. Advanced lifters also may use dumbbells to improve agility and work on imbalances. Bench Press exercises are often included in push-pull workouts to strengthen muscles, gain muscle endurance, build muscle mass, and define muscles.
How to perform the bench press exercise
While lying flat on your back, grab the barbell with an overhand grip that is about shoulder-width apart. When you begin your lift of the barbell, take it off of the rack and hold it straight over your chest with your arms fully extended. Slowly pull the bar down while inhaling and maintaining control over it until it rests about an inch from your chest. Pause for a second at the bottom while squeezing your muscles together. Now press both arms up toward the ceiling while exhaling and pressing your feet into the floor. Do not arch your back because this will overwork your back and underwork your other muscles, including your abdominals. Breathe during the exercise. It helps you keep the correct pace and fuels the body with oxygen to burn fat and build muscle.
Bench press grip width is the distance between both hands while gripping a weight bar. The palms of your hands should face each other with the legs extended, hinged at the knees with your feet on the floor. Grip width can vary based on individual bench press goals, typically related to personal genetics or training goals. For example, people with short fingers or longer torsos usually have a broader grip on bench presses. Therefore, bench Press grip widths vary from narrow, wide, and shoulder-width.
Preference is the most significant factor when considering bench press grip width. Bench press grip width is typically about shoulder-width apart, but bench press with a wide grip develops the upper chest muscles. While bench pressing with a narrow grip works the triceps and bench pressing with a shoulder-width grip targets the mid-back muscles. Powerlifters and bodybuilders typically prefer slight deviations from shoulder width. Bench press grip affects the chest muscles, triceps, and rear deltoid muscles when close to shoulder-width apart.
What do you need to know about the dumbbell shoulder press exercise to use in a push-pull workout?
The dumbbell shoulder press is a great compound movement for the shoulders. You can vary this exercise to engage different muscles or use it as a helping lift for activities like the military press, bench press, or barbell shoulder press.
Performing this exercise on a separate day from your other upper body pressing movements is usually suitable for most people, as it allows enough time to recover from the previous workout.
How to perform the dumbbell shoulder press
Position dumbbells at shoulder height. Hold your torso erect while leaning forward slightly from the hips. Hold the dumbbells at shoulder height. Slowly lift both weights to your shoulders, rotate your elbows outward as you do this. Make sure that the dumbbells touch each other behind your head without resting on top of each other. You will use this for your starting position.
The last movement involves pushing the weights upward to full arm extension. Tip: When you are ready to push the weights, breathe deeply while slowly counting to three. Hold your breath at the top position and contract your shoulder muscles for a moment. Slowly exhale while lowering the dumbbells back down to your starting position when you have counted to three again. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
To avoid injury, always start with a lightweight and slowly increase the load as you gain strength. Your back should not be rounded or excessively arched when lifting. Another critical factor is preparing correctly for this movement by performing other shoulder exercises first to warm up the muscles and prepare them for this exercise. If you do not, serious injury can occur, such as a torn bicep or rotator cuff.
What do you need to know about the bodyweight tricep dip exercise to use in a push-pull workout?
Tricep dips are a great way to develop overall arm strength and mass. They work the triceps, which are the muscle on the back of your upper arm. When you do tricep dips, you engage your core as a stabilizer and other muscles in your body throughout the movement. You can either perform this exercise at a dip station or on the ground.
How to perform the bodyweight tricep dip exercise
Stand with your back facing a sturdy surface, such as a chair or bench (avoid things that wobble). Hold on to the edge of the surface and straighten your arms behind you. Keep your legs together and maintain a straight back.
Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body towards the surface, then push yourself up again until you straighten your arms behind you. The movement should be fluid and not jerky. Repeat this process for the required number of repetitions.
When doing tricep dips on a bench or chair, make sure that your feet are touching the ground so you can balance yourself. It is also essential to keep a straight back and not arch it as you perform the dips. To vary this exercise and work different muscles in your arm, try elevating one foot off the ground by standing on an elevated surface such as a step or sturdy weight bench—finally, lean backward to work the tricep more and forward to work the chest more.
What do you need to know about the cable rope triceps pushdown exercise to use in a push-pull workout?
Cable rope triceps pushdown is an excellent alternative to dumbbell triceps extensions when you lack equipment. It’s also easy to do it in an even more strict fashion by taking the upper arm entirely out of play, which may be helpful for some people. The cable rope triceps pushdown primarily works the tricep muscles (triceps brachii).
How to perform the cable rope triceps pushdown exercise
Grab a straight or EZ-curl bar with a rope attachment and hold the ends of the rope. Make sure you keep your upper arms stationary throughout the exercise. Most of the movement will be at your elbow so that you can isolate the triceps. Keep your elbows tucked in close to your sides and placed securely against your ribs the entire time. Don’t let them flare out to your sides. There are many grip positions to choose from, but a narrow overhand grip is suitable for an oblique-focused workout. You can perform the cable rope triceps pushdown with either or two arms at a time.
What do you need to know about the dumbbell chest fly exercise to use in a push-pull workout?
The chest fly is a great chest exercise that targets both the upper and lower chest, and many bodybuilders include it in their push-pull workout program. This exercise is a great mass builder for the pectorals, and you can do it with flat or incline variations. It also works your shoulders, triceps, back muscles, biceps, forearms, and abs and makes it a great exercise to use as a warm-up for more advanced lifts.
This is an excellent exercise for beginners who want to develop the pectorals to progress toward more advanced movements like the bench press and overhead press. You can also use it as part of a pull-push workout for beginners who become more advanced and want to continue working on their chest without doing a high number of bench presses.
The Dumbbell Bench Chest Fly is also essential for those who do not have access to any equipment or weights and can be done with just one arm to tone the muscles on either side of the body. This exercise requires a bench but works well if an incline bench is used instead of a flat bench.
How to perform the dumbbell chest fly exercise
Position dumbbells on the side of the bench with open ends facing out away from each other. Lie down on the same end of the bench as weights or opposite end. Place feet flat on the bench, hip-width apart or slightly closer. Lift dumbbells so elbows are bent and palms face each other at the same height as shoulders. Press weights up towards the ceiling while keeping elbows close to your body. Lower in 2 counts. Pause for a second, then press upward in 2 counts until you extend your arms, but elbows are not locked. Pause. Lower weights in 4 counts until you bend your elbows to 90 degrees. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions. When finished with a set, place dumbbells on the floor shoulder-width apart, arm’s length away from the bench, and facing forward.
What do you need to know about the dumbbell lateral shoulder raise exercise to use in a push-pull workout?
The lateral deltoid is the smallest of the three heads of the shoulder. It works in tandem with the supraspinatus and infraspinatus to raise the arm away from the body. This movement occurs in two planes, increasing muscle activation in both planes, but maximum in one plane over another. You can best develop lateral deltoid by combining it with a frontal abduction. The lateral deltoid can be isolated using dumbbells, but this is less effective than using them with the anterior and posterior shoulders. The lateral deltoid will have a lower range of motion than other shoulder lifts because it does not pass through anatomical rotation.
How to perform the dumbbell lateral shoulder raise exercise
Hold the dumbbells at arm’s length next to your sides. Keep your elbows slightly bent throughout the movement. This will be your starting position. While keeping the arms stationary, slowly lift the dumbbells out to the side until they are at shoulder level or slightly higher. Breathe in as you perform this step. Tip: keep the pinky higher than the thumb when holding the dumbbells. Lower the weights slowly to the starting position as you breathe out. Make sure that you don’t allow your elbows to lock, and also make sure that you don’t swing the weight or use momentum to lift the weight up. Repeat for desired reps.
Day 3: On the second day of a push-pull workout program, focus on pull exercises.
What do you need to know about the bent-over barbell row exercise to use in a push-pull workout?
The bent-over barbell row is one of the most frequently used and misused exercises in gyms and weightlifting clubs worldwide. It is a compound, multi-joint exercise that targets the back, biceps, and forearms muscles.
The correct performance of this movement requires extensive coordination between two large muscle groups–the back and the biceps–which puts bent over barbell row on top of my list of basic exercises that you should do in every powerlifting workout. In addition, the bent-over barbell row will improve your strength, muscle mass, postural alignment, and general appearance.
Bent over rows are often performed incorrectly, especially for people with no formal weight training education. In addition, bending over while performing bent-over barbell rows requires careful attention because of the high risk of lower back and knees injury. To do this movement correctly, you must follow specific guidelines.
Bent over barbell rows are difficult for beginners; this movement requires extensive coordination between your back and biceps muscles. The bent-over row builds strength in the entire back, but especially in the upper back. In addition, this exercise develops size and stability in your biceps, latissimus dorsi (the broadest muscle of your back), traps, rear deltoids, forearms, and grip.
The bent-over barbell row is an excellent compound exercise that will improve your athletic performance and your appearance. If you have never performed bent-over barbell rows before, I recommend incorporating it into your workout program one or two times a week. Do bent-over barbell rows after other compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts.
How to perform the bent-over barbell row exercise
First, grip the bar just wider than shoulder-width apart using an overhand grip. The bent-over barbell row is always performed with both feet on the ground because it’s much easier to maintain outstanding balance.
Second, bend your legs slightly and tighten your core muscles to create intra-abdominal pressure, which will stabilize your spine. If you do not maintain this position, the bent-over barbell row may cause lower back injuries.
Finally, with your arms straight but not locked, pull the barbell up to touch your upper abdomen or chest while keeping it close to your body. Don’t lean back too far during bent-over rows because this position will make it challenging to maintain outstanding balance and correct form. After you’ve pulled the bar up as high as it can go, slowly lower the bar to the starting position. You should do this movement smoothly and control to get the full benefits of bent-over barbell rows.
If you have been performing bent-over barbell rows for a while and want to increase your training intensity, try doing bent-over barbell rows on an incline bench. However, this change will make bent-over barbell rows more difficult because it changes the angle of pull.
Hold the barbell with a shoulder-width, overhand grip. Keep the feet hip-width apart and the knees slightly bent. Slowly push your hips back and keep your arms and barbell close to your feet. Maintaining a long, neutral spine, bend the elbows backward with your body, and then slowly straighten the arms again.
What do you need to know about the cable pull-down exercise to use in a push-pull workout?
Cable pull-downs are a great exercise to add to your workout routine. It works on all the major muscles of the upper body, including the biceps and triceps. You can perform cable pull-downs with a variety of different attachments. In addition, you can create a vast array of practical exercises by changing up your grip and elbow position during the cable pull-down.
Cable pull-downs also work your core muscles as you stabilize yourself during the exercise. You can perform it in a seated or standing position, depending on which variation you choose. Cable pull-downs are considered an advanced exercise, so those with little to no experience should start with a lighter weight and focus on proper form. Cable machines vary in types of attachments available, but you need an extension that can be held with both hands and pulled down towards your thighs for this exercise.
Before performing cable pull-downs, it is vital to take the time to warm up the muscles used in the exercise. Perform this exercise after basic exercises like rows, barbell curls, and overhead presses. Warm-up exercises for the cable pull-down include seated cable rows and arm circles with light weights.
How to perform the cable pull-down exercise
Cable pull-downs start with you standing in front of a pulley machine you set on top of the highest weight stack. Use an attachment that you will pull back down to your thighs. You can best do cable pull-downs with a V bar shape attachment. The V bar should not have any additional handles attached. Grasp the cable attachment with both hands, ensuring that one hand is on top of the other. You are going to have your palms facing away from you.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and let the cable attachment hang at arm’s length. This is the starting position. Take a deep breath in and slowly pull the bar down to your outer thigh, making sure that you keep your upper arms motionless as you go. Your elbows should be slightly lower than 90 degrees so that your biceps are closer to you than your forearms. Exhale as you perform the motion and pause when the bar reaches thigh level. Keep a slight bend in your elbows and breathe in as you go back up to starting position, making sure that you do not move your upper arms during this process.
Cable pull-downs can be performed at a slow and controlled speed or as a fast force movement. It can also be done for multiple reps, depending on your fitness goals. Cable pull-downs work the entire shoulder and back muscles, biceps, and triceps (secondary muscle groups).
What do you need to know about the dumbbell shrug exercise to use in a push-pull workout?
Dumbbell shrugs are a great strength exercise that can help build your trapezius muscles. It is an isolation exercise done to strengthen the upper back and traps. Dumbbell shrugs should be part of your training routine, whether to focus on your traps or work them as a side benefit. This exercise is excellent for working on your traps, and it works out all the tiny stabilizing muscles around your shoulders and neck that keep the big-ticket muscles working safely and effectively.
Dumbbell Shrugs are often performed at the end of chest-workout to burn out those traps, which will improve your posture and appearance of that Y shape. Dumbbell Shrugs is a simple exercise. However, it is essential to perform them correctly and not just use too much weight, which can be ineffective and possibly increase the risk of injury.
How to perform the dumbbell shrug exercise
To do, dumbbell shrugs. Hold a dumbbell in each hand while standing with your feet shoulder-width apart to generate the most power and maintain balance. Keeping your feet flat on the floor, contract your traps to elevate your shoulders toward your ears. As you pull the weight up, don’t forget to press your feet into the ground. By pressing your feet into the floor, you will generate more power and incorporate more muscles into the lift. Next, you can perform dumbbell shrugs on an inclined bench or standing to target the upper portion of the trapezius muscles.
Do not lift the dumbbells as high as you can go; stop when your shoulders are slightly higher than square and hold for one second. Dumbbell Shrugs are a great strength exercise that can help build your trapezius muscles. Then, slowly lower the weights back to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
What do you need to know about the barbell curls exercise to use in a push-pull workout?
Barbell curls are an isolation exercise, or a single joint movement, that works the muscles of the upper arm. It is an exercise that targets the biceps (specifically, the short head). It has several variations. You can perform barbell curl exercises either by standing up, sitting down on the floor, bent over, with elbows supported on a bench, or using one of many types of specialized barbell curl bars. Most barbell curl exercises use either a straight bar or an EZ-curl bar for resistance. Some gyms may have specialized bars that are shorter or longer, allowing for different hand positions. We consider some barbell curl variations as pre-exhaust exercises.
You can perform barbell curls with a full range of motion. The upper arm and forearm are brought together at the bottom part of the movement or an abbreviated barbell curl that only moves up to about 90 degrees (elbow flexion). Barbells provide extra resistance at the top of each exercise, making it harder to cheat by swinging your body or using momentum. Barbells locked into the rack or pressing against your body limit the range of motion to mirror that of a preacher curl machine. Barbell curls are one of the most popular mass-building exercises for the biceps.
How to perform the barbell curls exercise
Stand with your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell in front of your thighs. Barbells should rest in front of your legs, not touching your body. Ensure that you use an underhand grip, your hands wider than shoulder-width apart. Curl the bar up toward your chest, hold for 1-2 seconds and lower to starting position.
While curling the weight, press your feet into the floor and keep your back straight. By pushing your feet into the floor and keeping your back straight, you will exert more power and control the weight better. Use the correct form to get the best results possible. By not swaying or bending, you will force the biceps and stabilizing muscles to perform the work. By doing this, your biceps will grow and reach their genetic potential. Also, you will increase your overall strength and do the most work with the bicep curl. Perform 8-12 reps to complete one set.
Day 5: Don’t forget to include legs and core in your push-pull workout program.
The deadlift is a weight training exercise that requires you to lift a barbell off the floor from a stabilized bent-over position until standing erect. The deadlift targets the lower back, the hamstrings, and the quadriceps primarily. However, it also engages the muscles of the abdomen, spine, arms, and calves. The deadlift is a compound movement, so it’s important to start light and work on perfecting your form before trying to go heavy.
The deadlift is an excellent exercise that can help you gain power and size through your upper body, hamstrings, back, and core. It also helps to develop balance by allowing you to rely on your strength rather than equipment when doing the lift. However, you should not take the exercise lightly if you want to avoid injury. One of the most common problems is when either the back muscles or the legs give out before the other. Therefore, it is not advisable to use this exercise if you have back problems or other issues that may cause complications during the lift.
How to perform the deadlift exercise
A tip for what weight to start with is to pick what you can lift at least six times. This will give you a good idea of what weight to begin with when doing the deadlift. The legs help the most in doing this exercise. The more you can bend your knees, the more weight you will lift. Once bent over with a bar in hand, keep your back straight and then move by pushing your feet away from the floor. Start in front of a mirror so you can see what exactly you’re doing when lifting and what mistakes you may be making.
Once standing up straight, you should not rest the bar on your thighs or let it rest on the floor after each repetition. Instead, get into that same bent-over position and repeat the process. Focus on pushing down with your feet, not lifting with your hands. Lifting heavy can help improve your balance. Once standing, keep your back straight even if you’re wobbling slightly. If you bend your back, this means that either the weight is too heavy or one of your legs isn’t strong enough to lift and control the weight. People of any fitness level can achieve what they want by starting with low weight and perfecting their form before increasing what they are lifting. This is the best way to avoid injury while still getting what you want out of your training.
Squats are one of the best exercises for strengthening the muscles in your legs and butt. They’re a compound exercise, which means they work on several muscle groups at once. Compound exercises use more than one joint and incorporate multiple muscle groups to act. This synchronization helps you get the most from every rep. The squat also strengthens your bones, ligaments, and tendons.
Muscles worked: leg muscles, butt muscles, thigh muscles. You use all the big muscle groups while doing squats. Doing squats will help you gain muscle mass more quickly, especially if you eat a lot of protein throughout the day, so your body has what it needs to recover from what you just did. You should also have protein within an hour after finishing up one of these routines. Other exercises that are helpful with hard-gainers are pushups, pull-ups, and bench presses.
How to perform the barbell back squat
Place the barbell on the back of your shoulders and hold the bar to stabilize it. Use a barbell and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes slightly turned out, then slowly lower yourself into a squatting position while keeping your back straight and head up. You can perform a deep squat or a parallel squat. A deep squat requires you to go all the way down, while a parallel squat requires your thigh to be parallel to the ground. Once you complete the eccentric portion of the lift, press back up, using your feet to push into the floor and squeeze your glutes. Pause for a second to readjust and control the weight and then repeat the lift.
Use weights that you can handle to do this exercise – try nothing too heavy, or else the training will be ineffective. Most people can do their body weight in squats. So start there. If the weight is too light or heavy, make adjustments. Make sure not to let your knees turn inward or outward. Start by doing a few reps, then when you’re comfortable, add more reps and weight.
If you need to add in cardio, try walking for a bit after your squats. It will help burn off the extra fat you just gained and let your legs recover at their standard rate compared with what they could have if you had done nothing afterward. This way, it’s not too much all at once, and you won’t be sore from doing too much.
What do you need to know about the leg extension exercise to use in a push-pull workout?
Leg extensions are a weight training exercise that works the quads. They require an apparatus known as a leg extension machine. The quadriceps is the primary muscle group worked during leg extensions, which comprise knee flexion and extension. Leg extensions specifically target the vastus medialis muscle, but you also use the rectus femoris to extend the knee. The tibialis anterior muscle assists with stabilizing the ankle during leg extensions. Leg extensions may place some demand on the iliopsoas muscles.
You can perform leg extension exercises at various angles. The most common leg extension exercises you perform at two angles: one at greater than 90 degrees (seated leg extensions) and one less than 90 degrees (lying leg extensions). Lying leg extensions are more difficult because they require additional stabilization throughout the body. You can perform leg extensions as part of a resistance training regimen that promotes muscle growth, particularly quadriceps. They can also increase muscle mass and definition through a bodybuilding-specific regimen known as “high-volume training.”
How to perform the leg extension exercise
First, sit down on a leg extension machine. Adjust the knee pad so that it is directly under your knee. Next, align the sheen pad so that it can support the weight as you lift it. The pad should be on the sheen slightly above the ankle and well below the knee. You should be able to grasp the handles on each side of you. Then, lean back slightly and pull the side handle somewhat as you extend the lower part of your legs (against the resistance of the weight stack) until your legs fully extend in front of you. Pause for a moment and then slowly return to the starting position.
It is possible to perform leg extensions with both legs (bilateral leg extensions) or one leg (unilateral leg extensions). Some individuals also choose to hold weights as they perform leg extensions. Using weights provides additional resistance and can help strengthen your muscles.
Some athletes incorporate leg extensions into training routines designed to strengthen the knee, particularly after an injury. However, some experts advise against leg extensions for this reason, as they can strain or injure otherwise vulnerable knees. Individuals who experience discomfort or pain when performing leg extensions should immediately stop what they are doing and consult their doctor.
What do you need to know about the hamstring leg curls exercise to use in a push-pull workout?
The seated hamstring leg curl is an isolation exercise that targets the hamstring muscle of the posterior thigh. It also works the calf muscles, which are synergists of the hamstrings. You perform the seated hamstring leg curl as a seated machine exercise with rubber padding that separates your buttocks from the seated surface and covers the back of your legs.
Muscles involved in seated hamstring leg curls:
- Hamstrings (biceps femoris, semitendinosus, semimembranosus)
- Gastrocnemius (calf)
- Gluteal muscles (gluteus Maximus, medius and minimus)
When seated, hamstring leg curls are performed sitting on a machine with a curved roller pad to fit the shape of the buttocks. It can also target the gluteal muscles.
The seated hamstring leg curl is used for resistance training to build strength and develop bulk in the hamstrings or as a rehabilitation exercise for athletes with knee injuries such as a torn meniscus, ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), MCL (medial collateral ligament), or other knee injuries. In physical therapy settings, therapists use the seated hamstring leg curls for lower back pain and sciatica. The seated hamstring leg curl is not a weight-bearing exercise since one sits on the machine while performing it.
How to perform the hamstring leg curls exercise
The seated hamstring leg curl comprises a seated body position with thighs externally rotated and hips flexed to approximately 45 degrees. The feet are placed hip-width apart on the seated hamstring curl machine. The supporting pad should rest between the back of the ankles and the calves.
To begin the exercise, grab and pull up on the side handles as you press the lower part of your legs down and toward your hamstrings. As you perform the seated hamstring curl, your hips and knees should flex to maintain maximal shear force on the hamstrings and calves. Also, sit up straight and press the weight back slowly without jerking or rocking. Once you complete the press, slowly release the weight and allow it to return to the starting position under your control.
You can perform the seated hamstring leg curl using either a seated hamstring machine or lying on a bench with your face downward, thighs rotated outward, and hips flexed toward the floor as the supporting pad rest slightly below the calves. The seated hamstring curl is one of many exercises you can do with resistance training equipment, such as seated or lying ham curl machines.
What do you need to know about the dumbbell standing calf raise exercise to use in a push-pull workout?
The dumbbell standing calf raise exercise is performed with dumbbells to target the soleus muscle in your calves, which are on the back of your lower leg. The dumbbell standing calf raise is a crucial exercise for increasing strength and size. If you are looking to get bigger calves, dumbbell standing calf raise is the perfect exercise.
Many studies have shown that the best muscle activation during dumbbell exercises occurs with your arms out in front of you at shoulder height. For example, the dumbbell standing calf raise starts in this position while balancing on one leg and then lowers while keeping your opposite foot lifted until your heels softly touch the ground.
As with any other exercise, it is crucial to warm up before starting any dumbbell exercise. Perform similar activities to the training you are about to perform. So, in this case, jumping jacks, ropes are just jumping in place can help you warm up. You should also perform static stretches at the end of your training session, holding each stretch for about 30 seconds to help release lactic acid build-up and assist with lymphatic drainage.
How to perform the dumbbell standing calf raise exercise
Stand on one leg with your hands to your sides and a pair of dumbbells by your side, or if you prefer to use just one, you can. Keep your back straight, chest up, eyes forward as you raise the heel of your foot off the ground. Press firmly into your working leg and squeeze your calf muscle at the top of the lift for a second. It is crucial to keep the rested foot slightly behind and off to the side of the engaged foot to maintain balance.
After you pause at the top of the lift, begin lowering yourself towards the ground by dropping your heel until it almost touches the floor, carefully controlling the dumbbell down. After a slight pause, repeat the rep to complete your set. This exercise is all about maintaining weight. Once you are in the dumbbell standing calf raise position, you should not be bouncing the dumbbells up and down; it is all about control at all times. Do not let the weight pull your shoulders downwards or your hips rise excessively.
What do you need to know about the hanging leg raise exercise to use in a push-pull workout?
The hanging leg raise exercise is an abdominal exercise where individuals lift their legs to a hanging position. The hanging leg raise can be a part of your abdominal exercise regimen. If you are doing hanging leg raises to strengthen abdominals, also combine it with other abdominal exercises. People who want better core strength and abdominal strength should perform hanging leg raises, as they will provide an intense workout for the abdominals.
If you are a beginner, hanging leg raises can help you build the strength for more advanced hanging ab exercises, such as hanging knee tucks. When hanging from an elevated surface, be sure you maintain your body alignment by tightly gripping the pull-up bars. This hanging leg raise exercise will work almost all your abdominal muscles, including rectus abdominis, obliques, and transversus abdominis.
How to perform the hanging leg raise exercise
You can perform the hanging leg raises hanging from some sturdy apparatus, such as a pull-up bar, but you can also do it by hanging down from an elevated surface. To do hanging leg raises, hang with your arms extended and your back straight. Tighten your abdominal muscles and lift your feet towards the ceiling while keeping your legs parallel to the floor. Your body position while performing this exercise will resemble the letter “L.” The hanging leg raise exercise is usually performed slowly for six to eight reps on each set.
Hanging leg raises to strengthen your abdominal muscles. Be sure to include hanging leg raises in your abdominal workout if you want well-defined abdominal muscles. If you have difficulty performing hanging leg raises on your own, you can consider hanging from a resistance band or assisted pull-up machine in helping support some of your body weight while you perform hanging leg raises. There are several variations of hanging leg raises, including reverse hanging crunches, hanging bent knee raises, and hanging straight leg raises.
Tips and other factors that you should know before starting a push-pull workout:
Here are some tips and factors that you should know when implementing a push-pull training regimen.
Weight selection: Use a reasonably heavyweight that allows you to repeat the required number. For instance, if you aim to do ten repetitions for an exercise, use so much weight that you are trying to perform the 9th and 10th repetitions. Using the same example, increase your weight by doing more than ten repetitions in excellent form. It’s a good idea to record your repetitions and weights for each exercise so you can track your progress.
Add different types: Incorporating different styles into your exercise routine helps avoid boredom and stimulates your muscles in different ways. You can add different types to your workout routine by using various cable attachments and using dumbbells instead of barbells for specific exercises. For example, instead of attaching a rope cable to the triceps pushdown, you can use a straight bar or bend the chest using a barbell instead of dumbbells.
You can also do a lot of exercises with cables that you can do with dumbbells and barbells, such as bicep curls, chest flying, and lateral risers. In addition, you can add different exercises by using cables or dumbbells, both unilaterally and bilaterally. For example, one-sided exercises are performed with one arm or leg, while you perform two-sided activities with two arms or two legs.
Don’t skip out on nutrition and sleep to benefit from your push-pull workout.
Without proper nutrition and adequate sleep, you are at higher risk of injuries, diseases, and you will not get the results you would get if one or both of these components were in order. Eat mostly nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables, lean meats, low-fat milk, nuts, and beans. Limit your alcohol, highly processed foods such as frozen dinners, and foods that contain sugar, such as cakes, cookies, desserts, candies, and some spices.
Besides containing many calories with a few nutrients, these foods promote inflammation in the body, which, when eaten in excess – can be detrimental to your health and training goals. For sleep, teens should be recommended 8 to 10 hours per night, while adults should achieve 7-9 hours.
Here are some tips to improve your sleep:
- First, limit your exposure from screens to blue light before bed.
- Second, avoid caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime.
- Finally, use blackout curtains or sleep masks to induce deep sleep.
- Eventually, go to bed and get up at the same time every.
Last word on push-pull workouts and how to spice up your workout
Push-pull workouts are a great way to spice up and balance your training. It’s essential to consider the time of year, how many days you train, and your goals when deciding which exercises you should emphasize in each workout.
For example, if it is summer when you have more free time for exercise, then maybe push-pull would work best as an alternative to traditional three-day splits or five-day splits. On the other hand, if it’s wintertime when there isn’t much daylight left before bedtime, try switching from pushing to pulling during one week so that by next Monday morning, fatigue doesn’t set in too quickly.
Push-Pull Workouts are a great way to mix up your routine and get the most out of every workout. What is your experience with this type of training? Let us know in the comments below.