April 04, 2024 2 min read

By Shane Robert

The push/pull split is simply what it sounds like—one day is all of the “pushing” or movements, and the other is everything “pulling”. Another way to think of this is day one is exercises that the weight moves away from the body, and day two is weights that are brought toward the body. 

It is a less common way of setting up training these days, but an effective one nonetheless. Its lack of popularity likely stems from the awkwardness of setting the split up. In a pure push-and-pull workout, there is no distinction for legs, rather, they are trained right along with the rest of the muscles of the category. This means squats, leg presses, leg extensions, etc. are all trained, or at least potentially trained, along with the other pressing muscles of the chest, shoulders, triceps and calves. Conversely, leg curls, back extensions, and deadlifts are all trained along with back and biceps movements. If you’re the type of person who breaks the body down further, glutes would also be trained with day one, which makes for a potentially long training day. 

In most cases, a four-day-per-week system is followed, allowing each movement category to be trained twice per week. However, it isn’t uncommon to see six days per week, or even as few as three on a Push/Pull/Push week one and Pull/Push/Pull week two setup.  

A typical day breaks down as follows:


  • Quadriceps 
  • Chest 
  • Shoulders (front and side delts)
  • Triceps
  • Calves


  • Hamstrings
  • Back
  • Biceps
  • Shoulders (rear delts)
  • Forearms

How many exercises, sets and reps to do will depend on your individual goals and abilities, but a good number to shoot for is somewhere between 10 and 20 sets per muscle per week, for 6-12 reps. One advantage of a higher frequency is that fewer sets can be done per workout, and there is no need to do the same number of sets for all muscle groups at each workout.


  • Potential for higher training frequency of muscle groups
  • Easy for circuit type of training
  • Potentially time saving 


  • Potential for long workouts depending on total sets per movement 
  • Later movements might suffer due to accumulated fatigue 
  • Can be challenging to complete if all movements are compounds

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