Your Workouts Reviewed: the Push-Pull Split


Everyone’s got a workout of their own—your “go-to” routine. But is your routine good enough? We asked our Men’s Fitness Facebook friends if they had a killer routine to share and subject to the scrutiny of our readers. The big catch? Our team of training experts also review it, critique it and tweak it if necessary.

Workout Submission

JORDAN HAUSSERMANN Men’s Fitness Facebook Friend

Monday: Chest and Biceps     Barbell chest press, 4 sets x 8 reps (1 minute rest between sets)     Rope curls, 3 sets x 15 reps (30 seconds rest between sets)     Incline DB chest press, 4 sets x 8 reps (1 min rest between sets)     DB alternating hammer curls, 3 sets x 15 reps (30 seconds rest between sets)     DB decline chest press, 4 sets x 8 reps (1 minute rest)     Curls with EZ bar, 3 sets x 15 reps (30 seconds rest)     DB flys, 4 sets x 12 reps (45 seconds rest) Cardio: 15 minutes intervals on treadmill (20 sec run, 10 sec rest, 30 total times = 15 minutes) 5 minute cool down Tuesday: Legs and Shoulders     Barbell bench squats, 4 sets x 8 reps (1 minute rest between sets)     DB front raises, 4 sets x 8 reps (30 seconds rest between sets)     Hip sled, 4 sets x 8 reps (1 minute rest between sets)     DB lateral raises, 3 sets x 15 reps (30 seconds rest)     DB deadlift, 4 sets x 8 reps (1 minute rest)     DB shoulder press, 3 sets x 15 reps (30 seconds rest)     Squat jumps, 4 sets x 12 reps (45 seconds rest) Cardio: 10 minute run, 5 minute jump rope intervals (20 sec jump, 10 sec rest, 10 times = 5 minutes), then 5 minute run, 5 minute cool down. Wednesday: Back and Triceps     Cable low row, 4 sets x 8 reps (1 minute rest between sets)     Weighted dips, 3 sets x 15 reps (30 seconds between sets)     Barbell bent over rows, 4 sets x 8 reps (1 minute rest)     Skull crushers, 3 sets x 15 reps (30 second rest)     Lat pull downs, 4 sets x 8 reps (1 minute rest)     Rope push downs, 3 sets x 15 reps (30 seconds rest)     Pull ups, 4 sets x 12 reps (45 seconds rest) Cardio: 5 minute warm up on treadmill, speed ladder drills for 10 minutes, boxing for 10 minutes, 5 minute cool down. “I go heavy on chest, legs and back and go lighter with biceps, shoulders and triceps. Thursday is an off day from lifting, but I do 45 minutes of cardio, consisting of a combination of everything I have already done during the week cardio wise. I come back Friday and do the same lifts as Monday, but switch the rep scheme to 4×8 with biceps, and 3×15 for chest. I do the same thing on Saturday with Tuesday’s workout, and Sunday with Wednesday’s workout while keeping the cardio the same.”

Expert Assessment #1

Rob Sulaver C.S.C.S. is the owner and founder of Follow Sulaver on Twitter @BandanaTraining

Pros: Your workouts are organized, thoughtful, and systematic. You’re paying attention to rest period. Your weekly resistance routine – 3 days on, 1 day off – solid. And you’ve included 4 x 8’s – which 1) is an ideal set x rep scheme for both strength and hypertrophy development and 2) means you’re moving some serious weight. This all makes me happy on the inside. Cons: These workouts are massive and I feel like I need a degree in differential equations to understand your rotating rep schemes. Unfortunately your body isn’t this smart and can only adapt to 1-2 stimulus at a time. So don’t be afraid to keep things a bit simpler. Your body part splits (chest/bi, leg/shoulders, back/tri) are solid pairings because working the chest will not pre-fatigue of the bi’s, working the legs will not pre-fatigue the shoulders, and working the back will not pre-fatigue the tri’s. Take advantage of this by super-setting. Then give yourself a little more rest and you’ve got something magical. Comments: I’d recommend pairing your 4 x 8 BB chest press with a 4 x 8 EZ bar curl and 90s rest in between. Then pair your 4 x 8 incline DB chest press with a 4 x 8 hammer curl. Same rest period. If you’d like to get some longer sets in your last block (totally legit), include a 3 x 12 decline chest press (and/or a push-up) with a 3 x 12 rope curl. You’ve just made your workout more efficient, more effective, and more f’in awesome. Do the same with your other days. Mission accomplished. As for your cardio – I’m glad to see that it’s predominately intervals but if you’re trying to get big and strong, cut down the volume and figure out a way to get a day off in your week somewhere. From both a psychological and a physiological perspective, it’s important. Hey, even God took a day off. Unless you’re a deity, I’d do the same.

Expert Assessment #2

Dan Trink C.S.C.S., CPT is the Director of Personal Training Operations at Peak Performance NYC and the trainer in our 8-Week Fitness Transformassacre Follow Trink on Twitter @TrinkFitness

Pros: “Programs that combine this amount of volume and variety can really increase muscle size. That, along with the short rest periods, is a recipe bodybuilders have been using for a long time with great success. I also like combining chest with biceps and back with triceps (as oppossed to the more classic chest/tris, back/bis) as these are antagonist pairings (one is a ‘push’ while the other is a ‘pull’) which will allow you to get more out of each muscle group. Plus the fact that you are willing to do this much work and still finish off with cardio intervals shows that you definitely gutsy and a hard worker.” Cons: “The thing that clearly stands out is that you are just doing too much work on any given day. As I mentioned above, volume is great for hypertrophy, but you are performing 25 sets 4 times per week which makes it hard to get quality work done. Your exercise order is a bit out of whack as you have some major compound movements (dealifts, for example) coming in the middle of the workout. Anything that demanding should come early in the training session. I would train legs on it’s own separate day and I would never perform deadlifts and squats on the same day. If you are looking to get both into your program consider moving the deadlifts to back day as they work the entire posterior chain.” Comments: “Think about breaking this program into a chest/biceps, legs, back/triceps, shoulders/abs/accessory split if you want to train 4 times a week. And you may want to consider dropping one or two exercises for each of those muscle groups in order to improve the quality of work. Shifting the interval cardio to days that your not lifting weights or saving them for the next phase may be a wise move as well. Finally, if you are going to train with this much volume you have to make sure your nutrition and recovery are in order. Otherwise your body won’t produce the gains you are looking for at best and, at worst, you’ll end up overtrained.”