Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Originally posted on NaturalStrength.com on October 14, 2006

O.K. you do chest/shoulders/triceps on Mondays and Thursdays, and legs/back/biceps on Tuesdays and Fridays. Cardio three times a week, and then, wait a minute, where am I. Is this the "good old days". Thank God its not the "good (bad) old days". I remember doing this and being told that I wasn't doing enough because I was only doing 3-4 different exercises per bodypart. Wow! ... Even if this program worked, who would want to do it? Who would have the time?

One idea that has stayed with me is the push/pull split. I believe the whole body workout is a great system also. But hear me out. There are a few benefits to the P/P split. My favorite reason for this system is that it allows you to perform more exercises per workout yet get more recovery time. I'll explain, I enjoy benching, pressing overhead and dipping. With whole body workouts it is difficult to incorporate these lifts into one day and cover the whole body. Something will have to go. The next benefit is minimal overlap between the two days, providing more recovery between workouts. Also I find it easier to focus on just pushing or just pulling on a particular day. Another advantage is if your pushing and pulling muscles recover at a different rate splitting them up will eliminate going into the gym ready to bench but not ready to chin, for example. Here is a sample routine and some explanation.

Day one: Press overhead 1x8-10 bench press 1x8-10 dip 1x8-10 Incline dumbell 1x8-10 (optional) dumbell crunch,grip, calf work

Day two: Chin 1x8-10 dumbell row 1x8-10 squat 1x20 deadlift 1x8-10 curl 1x6 crunch, grip, calf

Notes: incline dumbell is pushing it a little, should be a finisher. Deadlift is done conventional rest/pause style (this helps keep form tight after twenty reppers). This routine should be done once a week when the weights start to get heavy (monday-thursday). Maybe three days off between both days late in the cycle. It sounds like not enough frequency, but if you go to death's door on the squat and deadlifts and add a couple cardio days you will change your mind. You will feel both physically and mentally ready every workout, even when those twenty reppers and deadlifts almost kill you! The added volume (exercises) is offset by the less frequently you train the push/pull structures. To keep progression going pyramid the reps when you hit the wall (can't make your rep target 3-4 workouts in a row) or drop an exercise (or both). Whatever exercise you do first in a day will be your strongest and if you plan to drop an exercise later, you might want that one to be an earlier one so the ones behind it will be positively effected. Give it a shot, I think you will like it.

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