The Push and Pull of Lifting

 

The gym experience can often be overwhelming for beginners. With all the machines and variety of exercises one can get lost in what to train and when. One question I often receive as a trainer is “Do I train my whole body at one time?” or “So I split it up into body parts”.

The first factor that must be looked at is how much time you are willing to commit to your new gym lifestyle? Whole Body workouts going 3 times a week will ensure you get a good workout and hit all the muscle groups.

If you are looking for muscular growth or a specific goal such as a physique competition or powerlifting PR and you are committed to follow a program that consists of at least 5 times a week, then a Split program might be your best bet.

Over the years I have used both training methods and to this day find it effective to alternate between them. When life gets busy I resort to a whole body workouts to ensure I am hitting all my muscle groups.

A Whole Body workout is exactly that. The workout consists of preforming one exercise per body part in each gym session. It is usually done at a faster pace, with less rest in between reps and sets. It can consist of supersets or plyometric training and tends to get your heart rate going. One advantage is feeling less sore as there is not the focus on one or two body parts per session. Using a Whole Body Routine can consist of as many sets and reps as you please. For simplicity I devised a program called 40’s. I do 4 sets of 10 reps of each body part. I move through these quickly and if needed drop the weight until the 10th rep is completed. There are a variety of ways to use this technique. For instance, I can do all 40 reps on one body part at a time one before moving to the next or 10 reps on body part then repeat it all 4 times.

 

A whole body workout might look like the following:

 

Weighted Squat 4 x 10

Shoulder Press 4 x 10

Bicep Curl 4 x 10

Tricep Dip 4 x 10

Ab crunch 4 x 10

Stationary Lunge 4 x 10

Deadlifts 4 x 10

 

I often incorporate a plyometric move such as jump lunges or pop squats between body parts, depending on my energy level and time.

 

In split routines you are often breaking the body down into Push/Pull movements. For example training the Chest and Triceps consists of a Pushing motion. Back and Bicep would be a pulling motion. I usually do 4 sets and reps anywhere from 6-10. If your goal is growth it is common to even break it down further to a singular muscle groups. By not hitting the same muscle each day it gives my body an opportunity to heal and recoup.

 

An example of a Split program is below:

 

Chest/Tricep:

Chest Press 4 x 6-10

Tricep Pull down 4 x 6-10

Chest Flys 4 x 6-10

Tricep Kickbacks 4 x 6-10

Pushups 4 x 6-10

Dips 4 x 6-10

 

Legs:

Squats 4 x 6-10

Leg Extensions 4 x 6-10

Hamstring Curls 4 x 6-10

Walking Lunge 4 x 6-10

Leg Pres 4 x 6-10

 

Back/Bicep:

 

Lat Pull downs 4 x 6-10

Bicep Curls using the cable machine 4 x 6-10

One Arm Dumbbell Rows 4 x 6-10

Alternating Bicep Curls 4 x 6-10

Deadlifts 4 x 6-10

Arm curls using a bar 4 x 6-10

 

Shoulders/Abs:

One Arm Lat Raises 4 x 6-10

Leg Raises 4 x 6-10

Overheard Press 4 x 6-10

Crunches on a Ball 4 x 6-10

Rear delt pull downs 4 x 6-10

Abs with Cable Rope 4 x 6-10

Front Raise 4 x 6-10

Bicycle Abs 4 x 6-10

 

These exercises and routines can be ordered however it suits you. I have used them over the years with much success both personally and with my clients. Paying attention to how you feel and finding something that works consistently will support you in achieving your goals.

*Remember to always advise your doctor before starting any new health and fitness program.

– Aeryon Ashlie