There are two important factors that are often ignored by weight-training novices: sequencing of exercises and balancing muscle groups. Sequence refers to the order in which your exercises are performed. Muscle balancing is crucial to muscular symmetry. There are two types of strength training exercises; those that involve pushing movements and those that involve pulling.
If you tend to favour one action more than the other, your body will lack symmetry. Additionally, these muscle imbalances can cause movement dysfunction, which might eventually lead to injury. Push and pull compound exercise routines might be the solution.
There are two ways to perform an push and pull compound exercise routine. You can either alternate push and pull exercises within your workout, or you can perform these exercises on alternate days of the week.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Gym clothes
- Access to free weights and weight machines
Learn about pushing exercises. In daily life, we use pushing movements to put something up on a shelf, close a car door or push down on the arm rest of a comfortable chair in order to get up. Pushing exercises are compound movements, which simultaneously extend the elbow and shoulder joints. These exercises work the chest, shoulder and triceps. Common pushing exercises include bench presses, overhead presses and triceps dips.
Learn about pulling movements. Pulling movements are used to bring things toward our body. This may include reaching up and bringing down the garage door. opening a door or lifting a suitcase from the floor. Pulling movements involve flexion of the elbows and retraction of the upper back muscles. These movements are crucial to muscular symmetry and functional balance. For example, people who perform more chest exercises than back exercises tend to have an upper body slouch. Pulling exercises involve the biceps and back. Common pulling exercises include rows, the lat pulldown, pull-ups, chin-ups and shrugs.
Create an exercise sequence. Always begin with compound exercises for the larger muscle groups. For example, in an overhead press, the shoulders are the prime movers, and the weaker triceps assist the movement. If you perform triceps exercises prior to the overhead press, you are fatiguing an already weaker muscle. Thus, your form on the shoulder press will be compromised.
The same thing applies to the biceps and the row. The back muscles are the prime movers and the weaker biceps assist the action. As such, the row should be performed prior to the bicep curl.
Devise a training plan. This will depend on how much time you can devote to your program, as well as your training goals. For example, if you have three days for a full body workout, you should alternate between pushing and pulling movements within your workout. Perform a chest fly, and then perform a set of rows. When you have finished three sets of each of each compound exercise for the larger muscle groups, you can perform the biceps and triceps isolation exercises.
If you have been weight training for awhile and wish to develop more definition, you can perform split routines on alternate days of the week. This means that one day would be devoted to pulling exercises and another devoted to pushing.
Push and Pull Exercises
Tips and warnings
- Good form is more important than repetition. Use control in both phases of your movements.
- A rest day between training sessions is crucial for muscle recovery.
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