Sunday, June 5, 2016

Pushing and Pulling

Pushing and Pulling
In your everyday life there is some sort of action where you are either pushing something away from, or pulling something toward, yourself. You see pushing when passing a dish of healthy food to the person sitting across from you at the table or pushing a wheelbarrow around the yard while doing some gardening. Pulling happens whenever you are helping someone lift a heavy chest of drawers while rearranging the house or when you are using a shovel to dig a hole for the new swimming pool the kids have always wanted. We know that pushing and pulling is a huge part of our life so we must be good at it. This is why every workout involves pushing and pulling; to prepare you for life's adventures.
The pushing and pulling scheme is for the primary block of our daily workout. The exercises are arranged with one muscle group pulling and another muscle group pushing.1 An example of this for the upper body would be completing a set of single arm dumbbell row, then immediately starting a dumbbell incline press. During the single arm row, we are pulling the dumbbell towards ourselves, and during the incline press we are pushing the dumbbell away from ourselves.2 Since it is easy to understand how the upper body works we will also provide an example of a lower body push and pull pair. A pull for the lower body could be a barbell Romanian deadlift (hamstring dominant) paired with a single leg dumbbell reverse lunge (quadriceps dominant). It is paired this way because our pulling exercise stresses the hamstring muscle group and our pushing exercise stresses the quadriceps muscle group.2 Each of these workouts will be completed in a superset fashion (superset will be explained more in a future article).1
To ensure that we do not overstress one particular muscle group at a time we pair the exercises this way. This also lets us complete more exercises throughout the daily workouts without the worry of experiencing an overuse injury.1 The workouts also prevent injury because the program gives each particular muscle group stressed an ample 48 hours of recovery time until that muscle group is stressed again.2 Since we are able to complete more exercises throughout the workout we will also complete more exercise throughout each week and each phase helping us develop every muscle we could need for all of our daily activities. Pushing and pulling is a part of everyone’s life so we must exercise the way that we live.  
1Clark, M., Lucett, S., & Sutton, B. (2014). NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training.
Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.
2Verstegen, M., & William, P. (2006). Core Performance Essentials. New York,  NY:


  1. Nice article! Lift the way you live- I like that.

  2. Nice, good read Tom! I agree, we must be good at pushing and pulling as it's essential in life and in workouts! I look forward to your future articles.