What Workouts Are Push and Pull?

If you’re wondering what workouts are considered push and pull exercises, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a quick breakdown of each type of movement and some examples to get you started.


Push and pull exercises are among the most beneficial types of workouts because they target large muscle groups that can handle heavier weights. By engaging two opposing muscle groups at the same time, you can achieve maximum muscular strength and size. This type of training involves both pushing and pulling motions to work these muscles in opposing directions within the same exercise, such as a chest press or an upright row. Knowing what exercises to choose for your specific goals is key to a successful workout routine.

By understanding the basics of push and pull movements, you can develop an effective workout designed to help you reach your goal. Pushing movements like the bench press or overhead press use the muscles in the chest, shoulders, triceps, and other miscellaneous muscles. Pulling exercises typically involve muscles in your arms, back and core such as bicep curls, lat pulldowns or seated rows. Understanding what type of muscles are involved in each movement will help you create an effective workout that fits your individual goals efficiently.

Push Exercises

Push exercises are those that involve pushing a weight away from the body. Examples of these exercises are the bench press and overhead press. Push exercises are important for building strength and power, as well as engaging the chest and shoulder muscles. They are effective when done in both high-rep and low-rep ranges. Let’s take a closer look at what are the different types of push exercises.


The push-up is a dynamic exercise that targets the muscles of your core, chest, and shoulders. This exercise can be performed in any number of ways and with different levels of difficulty. It is an excellent full body workout that can be done anywhere without any special equipment or machines.

To complete this exercise, you need to begin lying face down on the ground with your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor in front of you. Push up until your arms are straight and your entire body is lifted off the ground, then lower back to starting position. To make it more challenging, you can vary the kind of push-up you do by varying hand placement or performing reps from feet elevated on a bench instead from flat on the ground.

Push-ups are great for improving posture and strengthening large muscle groups in your body like those in your back and chest. Because there are so many variations, one can adjust their routine to work a specific target area such as their shoulders or triceps muscles as well as conditioning their cardiovascular system by increasing repetitions or speed to reach fatigue quickly while also increasing strength. Push-ups are an effective form of exercise for beginners who want to improve overall fitness or experienced gym goers looking for something new to try.

Shoulder Presses

Shoulder presses are a type of weight-training exercise that focuses on your shoulders and upper arms. This push exercise involves an overhead press where you slowly drive the weights up with your arms while simultaneously pressing your shoulder blades together. To perform this workout correctly, it’s important to keep your wrists straight and maintain a stable spine position throughout the exercise. Shoulder presses should be performed with light weights initially and gradually increase the weight as strength progresses. This is an effective form of strengthening for people interested in properly maintaining posture and stability, as it strengthens the muscles in your upper body needed for a healthy everyday life.

Chest Presses

Chest presses are a popular workout for targeting the muscles in the chest, triceps, and shoulders. This workout requires the use of either a set of free weights, or a bench press machine.

A Chest press is categorized as a pushing exercise as you are pushing weight away from your body, and not working against gravity. It typically consists of lifting a weight plate up to chest height, and then slowly lowering it back down using controllable movements.

When properly executed, chest presses target and develop your pectoral muscles (chest), deltoids (shoulders), triceps (back of arms), and even some lower lats neurons that support the shoulder joint. With an effective chest pressing routine you can expect to strengthen existing muscle mass in addition to building new muscle through hypertrophy (growth). Overall there are numerous benefits that come with incorporating chest presses into your regular workouts; increased upper body strength, improved shoulder stability, better posture, and improved movement patterns being just some examples.

Triceps Pushdowns

Triceps pushdowns are a common exercise used to target the triceps brachii muscles, which is composed of three heads – medial, lateral, and long. Typically performed as a cable exercise, highlights of the movement include holding an attachment like a rope or straight bar with your palms facing downwards and pushing it down towards your thighs. By targeting all three heads of the triceps muscle group, tricep pushdowns can improve overall tricep strength used in pushing exercises. Furthermore, they can be beneficial in improving overall upper body performance and alignment such as back support and overhead movements. Additionally, since they involve stabilizing muscles such as shoulders and forearms as well as balance from hips and feet to perform the exercise correctly with proper form, tricep pushdowns can provide full- body benefits for overall strength development.

Pull Exercises

Pull exercises are an important part of any fitness routine. Pull exercises typically involve pulling a weight towards the body and typically focus on the back muscles such as the lats, traps and rhomboids. Pull exercises can help to improve strength and posture, as well as build muscle and increase power. Pull exercises are often grouped into two categories; pull-ups and rows. Let’s explore some of the different types of pull exercises and how to perform them correctly.


One of the most iconic and effective exercises for building strength and muscle is pull-ups. The pull-up exercise can be a good introduction to upper body resistance training, allowing you to practice control and proper form with less weight than some other advanced exercises. Pull-ups are an example of a pulling exercise, used to build the back muscles in combination with bicep muscles.

Starting your pull-up workout without assistance may be easier said than done if you’re starting out without any upper body strength. If that’s the case, try jumping up slightly and holding onto the bar for as long as possible as your first step towards a full pull-up. When you do perform your first full pull-up, gradually increase your repetitions until you can do eight to 12 reps with proper form.

As you progress, there is no need to limit yourself to just basic pull-ups: there are plenty of variations available; use different grips (wide grip or chin up), pause at various points of the movement (mid point hold) or even use added weights on your back or legs (weighted vest/ankle weights). Make sure that progression is systematic and don’t overexert yourself – fatigue leads to improper form which might lead to injury in worst case scenarios. With commitment and patience, you’ll soon be able to reach your goals when it comes performing proper wide grip pull-ups!

Bent-over Rows

Bent-over rows are a type of pull exercise that target the back muscles in particular. This exercise is performed by using a barbell or dumbbells with an underhand grip and then hinging at the waist and bending the knees slightly. Keeping your shoulder blades down and back, you should pull the weight towards your abdominals. You should also strive for a fluid motion by stabilizing your core and keeping your elbows close to the body. This exercise can be performed for one to three sets of 8-15 repetitions depending on how many repetitions you can do without compromising form.
In addition to developing strength in your back, bent-over rows provide a number of additional benefits including improved mobility, improved posture, increased stability through the torso, enhanced sports performance, development of functional core strength and improved cardiovascular health. For best results, perform this exercise after completing push exercises such as squats and chest presses.

Lat Pull-downs

Lat pull-downs are one of the best upper body exercises for targeting your back muscles. As the name suggests, this exercise involves pulling a bar down from a stationary position above your head towards your chest. To do this exercise, start seated at a pull-down machine and grab the bar with an overhand grip that is slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your chest up and arms straight as you pull the bar down towards your upper chest. With control, release the bar back to starting position in a slow and controlled manner while maintaining tension on your lats (back muscles). Make sure to keep elbows close toed in at all times during each rep and keep core muscles engaged throughout each rep. Depending on the equipment available, you can use different attachments such as ropes or V-bars for variety in grip widths or shapes. Additionally, adding weight plates to increase difficulty level is an option for experienced lifters looking for more challenge from this routine.

Bicep Curls

Bicep curls are an effective workout for developing strength and size in the upper arms. Generally, these exercises involve using either a barbell, dumbbells, or cable machines and multiple repetitions of arm curl motions — hence the name ‘bicep curls’. Bicep curls are considered a pull exercise as they utilize muscles that primarily work to pull your arms towards your body. This includes muscles such as your biceps brachii, brachioradialis, and brachialis located around your elbow joint. By gradually overloading the biceps with enough resistance and performing multiple reps, you can increase endurance and optimize efficiency in this area of muscular development.


Overall, it is important to remember that push and pull exercises are not mutually exclusive and both should be integrated into any fitness program. Push exercises target certain muscles in the chest, shoulders and arms while pull exercises help strengthen the muscles of the back. When performed correctly and consistently, these types of workouts can help people achieve a healthy physique.

Whether you are looking to gain strength, improve physical fitness, or simply want to tone up your body; push and pull-based exercises will be beneficial for each individual’s specific needs. As a general rule of thumb for optimal benefits incorporate both pushing and pulling movements into every workout routine. Additionally, regularly mixing up routines is also helpful as it keeps your body from adapting and becoming used to any particular training regimen or style of exercise.

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