As I mentioned in my “Push” workout routine post, I like to give my muscles 72 hours to recover. The push-pull routine accommodates this rest period. I usually do my pull routine on Tuesdays and Fridays. These are my favorite workout days; I think its because I like to work my back and biceps.
As in the push workout, I start with the largest muscles and work down to the smallest. When you work the larger upper back muscles, you are also working other muscles in the middle and lower back, the core, shoulders and biceps. If you start with biceps first, you won’t have the power to work the upper back because the biceps will be spent.
I like to mix up my pull workouts with various resistance exercises. One day, I’ll perform slow, deliberate exercises using lower resistance 65-70% of 1-RM) and a higher number of repetitions (15 – 20). On the next pull day, I’ll either work for power or hypertrophy. Increased muscle power and strength can be achieved with higher resistance 90% of 1-RM) and lower reps (6-8). For hypertrophy (increased muscle size), I’ll work at 75-80% of 1-RM and 8-12 reps. Remember, 1-RM stands for One Rep Maximum which is the most weight you can lift one time.
I also like to add core exercises into my push and pull days, which is something I forgot to mention in Part I. In between sets, I’ll do planks, side planks, supermans, or other core exercises while I’m waiting on my targeted muscles to recover. This helps strengthen the core muscles and keeps my heart rate elevated.
A sample “pull” routine might look like this…
- 5-7 minutes warm up on treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical
- Assisted Pull-Ups 4 sets of 15 reps (1st set is low resistance to warm up the muscles)
- Seated Low Rows (Life Fitness Cable Machine) 3 sets of 12 reps
- Lat Pull-Down (Cable Machine) 3 sets of 12 reps
- Upper Rows (Either on selectorized or bilateral machines) 3 sets of 12 reps
- Incline Reverse Dumbbell Flies, 3 sets of 12 reps
- Bent Over Unilateral Dumbbell Rows 3 sets of 12 reps, alternating arms
- Dumbbell Shoulder Shrugs, 3 sets of 12-15 reps
- Dumbbell Biceps Curls, 3-5 sets of 12-15 reps
- Dumbbell Reverse Biceps Curls, 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Forearm Curls with Curling Bar, 3 sets of 15-20 reps
- 10 minutes of cool-down cardio to help move blood through the muscles and remove waste. This will help with DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).
I also follow up with either a protein shake or high protein meal within about 30 minutes my workout to help with muscle repair.
There are a lot of variations of rows and biceps exercises. I’ll discuss those more in another post. But, by the time I get to the biceps exercises, my biceps are pretty fried. So, I do take a day every so often to just focus on biceps only with larger amounts of weight. I do a couple of lower resistance warm-up sets and then move to higher resistance and lower reps and work to failure. This tears the muscle fibers and allows them to rebuild, resulting in larger muscle size.This workout takes about 45-60 minutes. Be sure to check out Part III – Squats & Lunges.To Your Health!
Please see your physician before changing your diet, starting an exercise program, or taking any supplements of any kind.