Push Pull Workout For Athletic Bodybuilding 

March 31, 2021

By Troy Adashun


A push pull workout is your best option if your goal is to build an athletic body. These workouts focus on specific muscle groups every time you push and pull in your training. They result in very toned bodies and proportional physiques, which is perfect for athletes.

Additionally, the recovery period between two workouts also significantly reduces. Your muscles recover faster, giving you more time to hustle in the gym. There are various exercises for your triceps, glutes, back, and abs that you can follow in the gym to achieve an athletic physique.

Troy Adashun wearing a black baseball cap and no shirt

This is 1 of my go-to push pull athletic bodybuilding workouts I’m doing to make progress in not only gaining muscle and losing fat but also becoming stronger, faster, and more explosive.

Keep reading to find out more about this push pull workout and how you can do it correctly. Also, learn about the benefits of push pull workouts and how to optimize your workouts in the gym!

NFL WR Push-Pull Workout For Performance And Aesthetics

For a killer physique, you have to train like a superhuman! You can do that with this uniquely designed NFL-WR style push pull workout routine.

Troy wearing a white baseball cap and blue tank top smiling at the gym

If your schedule is too busy for the gym, then this workout routine is meant for you. You only need to do this push pull workout plan twice a week in a gym, and as a superset, you save up on valuable time! The intensity of the exercises included in this workout is optimal for packing on slabs of mass.

A push workout will work your chest, shoulders, and triceps. Pull workouts, on the other hand, help with building back muscles and biceps.

This push-pull training also includes a legs workout. When you combine push - pull - legs workouts, you create a balanced training routine emphasizing multi-joint exercises. Let's take a look at this workout routine and how you should correctly perform the exercises to build muscle.

#1 BARBELL INCLINE BENCH PRESS SUPERSET WITH WIDE GRIP PULL-UPS

Target

Back, Chest

Sets

3

Reps

6-10

Rest Time

2-2.5 minutes between sets

By targeting your chest and back, this superset adds volume to your upper back and chest, shoulders, and biceps! The best part about the barbell incline bench press is that you will not feel too strained to perform a pulling exercise like pull-ups.

EXECUTION

Incline bench press exercise

For the barbell incline bench press, you will lie down on a bench, preferably inclined at a 45-degree angle. Your feet should be flat on the floor, and you grip the barbell bar with an overhand grip, with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

When the bar is slightly touching your chest, hold for a moment before pressing. This will improve your power as you raise or press the barbell bar up top. Then slowly lower back to the original position.

Static Hold Pull Up

Once you complete the rep range for this exercise, move directly to pull-ups. You will use a wide grip here, with your arms wider than shoulder-width apart. As you do the pulling movement, make sure your legs and back are straight. You keep pulling yourself up until your shoulders are aligned, then lower yourself back down and repeat.

#2 BARBELL DEADLIFT OVERLOAD SETS

Target

Lower back, Upper back, Hamstrings

Sets

3

Reps

5-8

Rest Time

3 minutes between sets

Since the barbell deadlift represents a heavyweight, this exercise specifically focuses on your pulling strength. Barbell deadlift overload sets use pulling movements to develop your lower and upper back muscle groups and hamstrings. The development of these muscles will improve your core strength and stability.

EXECUTION

Troy barbell deadlift

You will be in a standing position with your feet right below the barbell deadlift bar. Then bend down to pick up the deadlift weight with an overhand grip, hips thrusting out, arms straight, and hands wider than shoulder-width apart.

As you pull the barbell deadlift weight, tighten your core, and really drive down the heels and your lower body.

Then pull the barbell bar up your legs, pushing your hips forward and chest up to stand tall.

Pause for a moment for muscle contraction to work your glutes, lats, back biceps, and hamstrings. After that, you can bend your knees forward to lower the deadlift weight to the floor.

#3 DB FARMERS WALKS SUPERSET WITH PUSH-UPS UNTIL FAILURE

Target

Back, Traps, Shoulders, Arms

Sets

3

Reps

45 seconds

Rest Time

75 seconds between sets

This superset counts as a Balloon Method finisher for push-pull workout routines by forcing muscle growth in a lesser amount of time. Farmers Walk can be a great exercise that works your back, traps, shoulders, and arms and improves your grip strength. Push-ups until failure will build on this with increased endurance by hitting the chest and front delts.

EXECUTION

Farmers Walk

To really work the muscles, it is recommended that you use fairly heavy weighted dumbbells for Farmers Walk. You will walk while holding them for 45 seconds, keeping your back straight.

The key to this bodybuilding exercise is to shrug the shoulders up the entire walk to really blast your traps and delts.

As a result, this exercise involving dumbbells produces upper back and trap hypertrophy with high muscular tension levels.

Slow Motion Pushups

Right after you finish the rep range for this, take no rest and get straight into push-ups until failure. So keep pushing yourself up to keep the muscles under constant tension. You will continue to do this set until you can no longer push-up.

Safe to say, this exercise is very popular for achieving progress in pushing and pulling training that challenges your muscles in every way.

#4 Squat Jump

Target

Legs, Quads

Sets

3-5

Reps

10 jumps

Rest Time

60 seconds between sets

This is one of the legs workout exercises. The squat jump exercise is popular for giving you explosive power like no other. Like regular squats, they work your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core. With the addition of a jump, this fast-twitch exercise uses a different muscle fiber than most exercises to work your lower body muscles.

EXECUTION

Squat Jump

You perform the squat jump by having your hands by your side and feet shoulder-width apart for even weight distribution. Then bend your knees, squat down, and push your butt out to put pressure on your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Avoid curving your lower back by only slightly bending the knees forward.

Then do the jump by using your arms to gain momentum and propel your body upwards. You should drive from your heels and base of the feet and relax the upper body while doing the squat jump.

It's recommended that you descend until your knees are at least 90 degrees and then sprint up as high as you can. Do 9 more reps before moving on to the next exercise.

#5 Lean Away Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Target

Shoulders, Side Delts

Sets

2-3

Reps

15

Rest Time

15 seconds between sets

These lateral raises focus on building your side delts. It is important to add a side delts exercise to your push-pull training, and general workout plan since developing this muscle group can give you that ripped physique.

EXECUTION

Dumbbell Lat Raise

This exercise involves the use of a dumbbell and a squat rack so best that you do this in the gym.

Stand next to the squat rack and hold the dumbbell weight with the one arm farthest away from the rack. Your arms should be hanging at your side with palms facing towards you and chest and back straightened.

Once the workout position is assumed, grab the squat rack or cable tower with your free hand for support. Then lift the dumbbell to your side until you reach shoulder level. For the lateral raise to be effective, slightly lean towards the direction of the raise. This slight shift will immediately put muscle tension on your delts. Follow this with 14 more reps.

#6 Prone Hamstring Curl

Target

Glutes, Hamstrings

Time Under Tension

30 seconds

Reps

10-12

Your legs workout targets the physique muscle groups consisting of hamstrings, glutes, and hip flexors with this leg movement. The prone hamstring curl also increases the strength and endurance level of your calves.

EXECUTION

Prone Hamstring Curl

Lie down on the hamstring curl machine and grab the handles with your hands, then place your feet under the pad, narrower than shoulder width.

Next, curl the weight up, contracting the hamstrings. Go back down slowly, without allowing the hamstrings to relax completely at the bottom.

After completing ~10 repetitions, lift the torso up and rest on your knees. You can continue curling for a more prominent hamstring activation.

#7 Barbell Overhead Press

Target

Front Delts, Side Delts, Upper Traps

Sets

5

Reps

6-10

Rest Time

90 seconds between sets

Doing compound movements like the barbell overhead press should be your main priority when your goal is gaining muscle. This specific exercise is a classic one for the shoulders – it mostly engages the shoulders, but also involves its synergists – the traps and the upper chest, though at a lesser extent.

EXECUTION

Troy barbell overhead press

You will stand with your body upright, chest and face up. Legs should be shoulder-width apart. When you grip the bar, hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width and palms facing away from the body. The barbell bar should be at your upper chest, resting around your collarbone. Start the movement by driving the bar up top.

As you do this, brace the core, push your hips forward and slightly tilt your head back at this moment. Once the bar reaches the top, return your head to its neutral place.

At the top of this push press or lift, make sure the abs and glute muscles are still engaged. To go back to the original position, slowly lower the bar down to shoulder level. Follow this with 5-9 more reps before moving to the next set.

#8 Incline Dumbbell Press

Target

Upper Chest, Rear Delts

Sets

3

Reps

8-12

Rest Time

60 seconds between sets

The dumbbell incline press targets the upper chest and shoulder muscles like the delts. This dumbbell bench press exercise will help you develop an overall well-weighted chest and shoulder musculature.

With the barbell incline bench press, we might easily experience a more prominent development of the stronger side that takes over. And this is not the case here, making this the perfect exercise to even out imbalances.

EXECUTION

Incline Dumbbell Press

Lie down on a bench inclined at a 45-degree angle, ideal for hitting the upper chest. Dumbbells lighter than the ones used for flat bench dumbbell press will be best for this exercise.

Lean back on the bench and grip the dumbbells, with hands positioned at shoulder width and level. Elbows should be bent, angled below the ribs. As you press or lift the dumbbell straight up, tighten your core and keep the wrists straight.

When the dumbbells reach the top of the movement, they should almost be touching each other. Arms should be perpendicular to the floor. Then, lower the weights down with elbows coming down at a 45-degree angle towards the torso.

#9 one arm Dumbbell Row

Target

Lats, Rhomboids

Sets

3

Reps

10-15

Rest Time

30 seconds between sets

The one arm dumbbell row is a great exercise because they allow you to devote all your focus to just a single arm at a time, which is going to help prevent any unwanted muscular imbalances from forming. The primary muscle groups you will train in this pull exercise are the lats and the rhomboids.

EXECUTION

Troy one arm dumbbell row

Perform these dumbbell rows by resting your left knee on the bench and placing your right leg upright on the floor. You will support your body weight with your left palm pressing on the bench. Then, pick up the dumbbell weight with your right hand while keeping your back flat. As you pick it up, start from the bottom and go up, leading with your elbow.

You keep going up until you bring your arm close to your chest. Squeeze the back muscles before returning the dumbbell weight to its original position to do more reps.

#10 

Target

Full Body

Sprint Intervals

6-8

Rest Time

90 seconds between each sprint

Sprints are added to the push-pull routine as an athletic finisher. With sprints, your push-pull training becomes much more effective as you get to build muscle and lose fat at the same time.

EXECUTION

Sprints

Sprints might seem like a no-brainer and easy enough for anyone to perform. But that's not entirely true - sprints require a proper warm up and stretching to prevent injury.

When performed properly, sprints can be the best shredding workout!

Top Benefits of a Push Pull Workout

Implementing a push-pull workout in your gym routine can help if you’re looking to get an athletic body. However, there are a ton of benefits that come along with this type of workout. Continue reading to find out what they are!

Helps prevent injuries

handsome guy in sport gym injury pain

One of the most common ways people end up injuring themselves in the gym is through overtraining. If you focus on a single muscle for too long and overtrain it, the chances of injuring it significantly increase.

This is not the case with push pull workouts.

 These workouts are meant to target all your muscles at once, preventing any unfortunate injuries in the gym. When all your muscles are getting a wholesome exercise, you are unlikely to injure any specific muscle group.

Reduces recovery time between workouts

A well-rounded workout like push pull training is the best for recovering quickly before your next session. You definitely do not want to waste a lot of time tending to sore body muscles so a traditional workout might be less than efficient for you.

On the other hand, if you opt for push and pull, you will be ready for your next session in no time!

Helps activate all muscle groups at once

Full Body Workout

One of the best parts about this workout is that it activates all the muscles in your body. You are in control of multiple muscle groups at once while you perform a single exercise. This is beneficial for you in many ways as you need a proportional bodies to perform well in the gym and your day to day life.

Workouts are shorter

Troy performing a barbell bench press exercise at the gym

In a typical workout, you can spend hours focusing on a specific muscle group. If you are a busy person and want to be in and out of the gym quickly with maximum benefits, then the push-pull workout is the way to go. With a single exercise, you get to target multiple muscle groups at once, cutting your workout short.

 However, just because your training is quicker, it doesn't mean it is less effective. You will feel the effect of this workout all over your body in no time!

Muscle balance is established

Back Exercises

As mentioned earlier, all your muscles are going to be engaged in push-pull workouts. You will be using a significant chunk of your energy towards different groups in each exercise. Unlike traditional workouts, you will not have to worry about just your triceps or your traps on a single day.

With such a well-rounded workout, you will be able to see proportional gains on your body. Your athletic build will be visible, and you will not have to dedicate specific days to particular groups again. You will build muscle all over your body effectively.

Tips for Implementing a Push Pull Workout in Your Routine

If you are planning to switch to a push pull routine, you will need some assistance. You will need to throw out your current workout plan and establish a new weekly routine. There are two easy ways to transition into this type of workout routine to build muscle overall. They are:

1. Doing supersets

Advanced Shrugs Superset

Supersets are performing two exercises back to back. This effectively doubles the amount of work you are doing, while still keeping the recovery periods the same as they are when you perform the exercises separately. This may sound very tiresome, but it is a great way to kick-start your push-pull workouts at the gym.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you want to try doing supersets for an athletic build:

  • Supersets will wear you out, so don't overdo them.
  • Alternate a push move with a pull move in your workout immediately.
  • Do as many reps as you can but make sure you choose the weight wisely so you can perform the exercises with proper form to prevent injury.

2. Alternating push and pull days

Face Pulls For Traps

Alternating a push day with a pull day is another excellent way to get into every exercise you do.

While supersets give you a killer workout and help you get into shape fast, alternate activities are just as effective. Doing this helps you focus on every single exercise properly.

Wrap Up

Push-pull workouts are great for when you want to build muscle all over your body or for bodybuilding. Their benefits are manifold, and you will undoubtedly start seeing the results if you stick to a regular workout routine.

These workouts are the quickest way to build muscle and be able to look and feel like an athlete. The only thing you need to focus on apart from religiously training at the gym is your form. You need to think with your mind and focus on engaging your muscles as you do these exercises to make the most out of them.

If you do everything correctly, right from eating healthy and sleeping well to maintaining good form at the gym, you will have an athletic build in no time!

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