Push Pull for muscle building and fat loss

Since the start of my weight lifting life, in 2009, I have been following the traditional bodybuilding split – a different body part on each workout day. I began by getting good results but over the last 3 years I have found that my progress has plateaued. I am constantly preaching to others that doing the same thing but expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity, but I actually didn’t think to apply this to myself! Four weeks ago I created and tried my first push pull programme, and now I cant imagine going back!


What is a push pull programme?

You split your workouts up between a push day that focuses on shoulders, triceps, chest and quads and a pull day that focuses on hamstrings, biceps, back and rear delts. Some people do push, pull and legs separately. I chose not to because I felt I had enough time during my push pull days to work legs, and I didn’t want to workout more than four times per week.

I include glute activation at the start of each workout and have glute specific exercises on my push days. I include ab work on my pull days.

What are the benefits?

The benefits of a push pull programme are:

  • You are working the same muscle group twice per week, providing you more opportunity to build muscle. In my previous split it may have been up to 6 days in between working some muscle groups!
  • You have the potential to burn more calories per workout by not just focusing on one body part. If I was only working my shoulders I would be limited to how much weight I could lift and therefore how much energy I expended.
  • I now only workout 4 times per week which suits my busy lifestyle very well.

Possible negatives?

It is possible for you to overwork your body so you must allow for proper rest periods in between your sessions. I will include the four workouts across a full 7 day week, making sure I am rested from previous workouts and also day-to-day life stresses!


I am following this workout programme whilst also undertaking a lifestyle fat loss phase. You can read more about how to lose fat in an earlier article of mine. I have not reduced my calories too low, and I have taken my time over 4 weeks to drop my weight from 62.9kg to 61.1kg (4lb fat loss). I will writing an update soon on my overall body composition.

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