If you’re serious about building muscle and training your upper body more than once a week, you may want to add push and pull days to your routine.
In Coach's guide to push/pull workouts, training and nutrition specialist David Wiener explains that push and pull are “two fundamental movements”. Push exercises work your chest, triceps and shoulders, while pull exercises train your back and biceps.
By including both, you can increase your training volume for maximum muscle gain. Targeting certain muscle groups in one session also means your training can be more focused for greater intensity.
For your next push day, try this workout recently shared by trainer Christian Poulous on Instagram. It promises to maximize hypertrophy (building muscle mass), with smarter exercise selection.
Take a look at Poulos’ Instagram Reel where he runs you through his ideal push day, as well as exercises he avoids and what he does instead.
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Poulos shares lots of tips in his video. He recommends tucking your elbows close to your chest during the incline bench press for maximum upper-chest gains and no matter which type of cable triceps extension you choose, Pulis advises that the cable and your upper arm are pointing in the same direction. He also adds that consistency and adequate nutrition are key to increasing muscle mass.
With this workout, you'll be working at a low to medium rep range, so make sure you choose challenging weights, depending on the exercise. Your chosen weight shouldn’t compromise your form but make sure the last rep or two feel tough. If you can easily finish the reps you probably need to up the weight to experience muscle growth.
Add this workout to your routine, gradually increasing the weight used when you repeat workout to see results. And make sure you’re eating enough protein to support muscle recovery and growth. Take a look at our seven-day meal plan for muscle growth for help keeping your protein intake high.
When a push/pull split doesn’t cut it anymore, move on to this four-workouts-a-week upper-body workout plan.
Find out more about these tried-and-tested picks in our guide to the best protein powder.
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Alice Porter is a journalist who covers health, fitness and wellbeing, among other topics, for titles including Stylist, Fit & Well, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, VICE and Refinery29. When she’s not writing about these topics, you can probably find her at her local CrossFit box.