Push-pull exercises are a great way to build muscle. They help you gain strength in your upper body, which can help you perform better in everyday activities and sports.
These exercises can help you boost upper body strength and your performance in the gym.
Best Push-Pull Exercises for Men
Here’s a look at six such exercises:
#1 Chest Press
The chest press is a great exercise for building upper body strength and improving your posture. Here’s how it’s done:
- Lie on the bench with your feet flat on the floor. Adjust the seat to fit your height. Place it in position so that when you lie down, your shoulder blades are off it, and there’s a slight arch in your lower back to maintain proper posture.
- Grab dumbbells or a barbell with an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder-width apart (or if using resistance bands, hook them around each end of a bench).
- Press upward till your arms are straight but not locked out at the ends.
- Look up towards the ceiling with your chest fully extended. Keep your elbows tucked into the sides throughout the entire motion, and don’t let them flare out away from the body.
#2 Triceps Extension
Here’s how it’s done:
- Sit up straight on a bench, with your back straight.
- Hold a pair of dumbbells straight over your head, with arms slightly bent and elbows locked out.
- Slowly lower the dumbbells behind you till they’re in line with your forehead and upper back. Make sure not to arch your back, or lower them behind you; that’ll put undue strain on your shoulder joints).
- Pause briefly at this point before raising them as high as possible to return them to their original position where they started—without locking out at the top of each rep.
- Repeat for reps on both sides before switching sides (so if you start with left arm down first then switch hands after completing all reps for that side).
#3 Seated Row
The seated row is one of the best push-pull exercises for men, as it targets a large area of your back and works your biceps, shoulders, and upper back.
It’s also a compound exercise, which means it uses multiple muscle groups at once, ensuring more calories get burned in less time. You can perform seated rows with a barbell or dumbbells.
However, if you’re just starting out, use dumbbells so that you’re able to focus on form without worrying about stabilizing the weight.
#4 Bicep Curl
To do a bicep curl, you’ll need to use dumbbells and a bench or back support. Sit on the edge of the bench with your legs together. Grasp one dumbbell in each hand, and rest your elbows on your thighs with your palms facing forward.
Here’s how this exercise is done:
- With this exercise, you’ll use two arm motions: one where you pull the weight up and another where you lower it again.
- Inhale as you bend forward at the hips to grasp the weight, and exhale as you straighten up, lifting them till they’re shoulder level or higher.
- Hold for a count of two, and slowly lower the weights back down to their starting position (inhale).
- Repeat ten times.
#5 Lat Pulldown
Here’s how it’s done:
- Sit on a high-backed chair or bench with your feet flat on the floor.
- Grasp the lat pulldown bar with an overhand grip and palms facing away from you (supinated).
- Lean back slightly, and lift your hips up till they’re almost at a right angle to the floor.
- Keep your knees bent at this point to make sure you’re in line with the machine’s seat without being too far forward or backward relative to it. If necessary, shift backward till you’ve got this position locked down.
- Keeping your arms straight and elbows tucked against your sides as much as possible throughout the movement, pull down on the handles till they reach behind their head.
- Pause briefly at this point before contracting the muscles in front of your chest to raise yourself back up to the starting position again.
- Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions (typically 10–20).
#6 Overhead Press
This exercise requires you to stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and hold the weight in front of your body with both hands.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Keep your back straight and tight, so that it’s parallel to the floor. Your head should be in line with your spine; don’t let it jut forward or round over.
- Keep your elbows tucked in as you push the weight up overhead, squeezing them close together at the top of each rep. That ensures you get a better range of motion and also isolate the muscles being worked on (triceps).
- Breathe out as you push up; that helps keep the pressure off your lower back and makes it easier for you to lift heavier weights safely without risking injury from improper form or breathing technique.
- As soon as possible after finishing one rep, take another breath in before lowering yourself down completely into a relaxed position.
- Perform another set of reps till all the sets are completed.
If you want to build muscle, strengthen your core, and boost your metabolism, push-pull exercises should be a part of your workout routine.
These exercises are great, as they provide both an upper and lower body workout in one exercise. They also help with balance, coordination, endurance, and strength.
Q. Do you train push and pull movements?