The Complete Push Day Workout for Bodybuilders

If you go to the gym often or have bodybuilder friends, you might have come across terms like “Push day” and “Pull day” but what do they mean?  In simple terms, push days refer to the days on which you train your upper body muscles like the chest, triceps, and shoulders, which are involved in the pushing motion. Pull days, on the other hand, refer to days on which you train your upper body muscles like the biceps, forearms, and back, which are involved in the pulling motion.

This article is a brief overview of the perfect push day i.e. what to do, which exercises to perform, how to perform them, and what weights and equipment to use. Before we get started, let’s try to understand how these pushing exercises work. As the name suggests, push exercises exert your muscles by contracting them as you “push” the weight away from your body. Common examples of push exercises are bench presses, shoulder presses, push-ups, etc.

 

Benefits of Push Day Exercises:

Push exercises are not only important for giving you a strong upper body, but they have other benefits including the following:

  1. Balanced Physique: Push exercises can create a more balanced physique as they tend to target several muscles at the same time, eliminating all chances of imbalanced exertion. Working different muscles on different days often leads to an imbalance in physique and therefore, results in slouches in your posture.
  2. Preventing Injuries: Having overexerted muscles often lead to injuries. Since push exercises target major muscles all at once, the workload is balanced and your muscles are not overstressed or overworked thus preventing injuries.
  3. Less Time Consuming: Because you are working all your major muscles at the same time, you do not have to worry about not having enough time for all the muscles individually or about overtraining one muscle or undertraining the other. This way you can make exercise a part of your daily routine without compromising on other activities!

Now that we are aware of the basics, let’s find out what exercises are included in the Push Day.

 

Push Day Exercises:

These push workouts are designed for people who are trying to gain mass, strength, and stability in their upper body muscles as well as maintain structural strength, metabolic stress, and function.

  1. Push-ups: This simple exercise targets your arms, shoulders, core, and chest. To perform this exercise:
  •   Get on the floor with all four limbs such that your back is facing the ceiling, your face towards the floor, and your body is in a straight line.
  •   Place your palms on the ground wider than shoulder-width apart.
  •   Stretch out your legs so your toes and palms are balancing your body and your feet should be hip-width apart.
  •   Tighten your core and engage your abs.
  •   Now inhale as you lower your chest down to the ground by bending your elbows to a 90 degrees angle. Keep in mind not to touch the ground with your chest and not to bend your elbows completely.
  •   This is the top position. Hold this position for a moment.
  •   Now exhale as you lift your body to its initial position.
  •   Avoid raising or lowering your hips. Maintain the straight-line position.
  •   This is one rep.
  •   Reps: 2 sets, 10 reps.

 

  1. Triceps Pushdown: This exercise targets the later, medial, and long heads of the tricep muscles. It also builds strength and endurance. To perform this exercise:
  •   Stand before a cable machine with feet slightly apart.
  •   Grab the cable rope or bar with palms facing downwards and your elbows tucked in at your sides.
  •   Tighten your core and straighten your back.
  •   Now push the cable rope down as you exhale, until your elbows are extended but not completely straight.
  •   Keep your knees slightly bent and be careful not to lean forward.
  •   This is the top position. Hold this position for a moment.
  •   Now return to your initial position by pushing the cable rope or bar up while exhaling.
  •   To maintain balance, avoid flaring your elbows out and overworking your back.
  •   This is one rep.
  •   Reps: 4 sets, 10 reps.

  1. Power Shrugs: This exercise targets your upper and middle traps and also helps build strength. To perform this exercise:
  •   Stand upright and grab a barbell.
  •   The barbell should be in front of you, lifted to the height of your thighs.
  •   Now grab the barbell with both hands, palms facing inwards. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart on the bar.
  •   Straighten your back, tighten your core and lift your shoulders only up to your ears without bending your elbows, leaning forwards, or slouching.
  •   Avoid lifting the weight with your elbows.
  •   Once you have lifted your shoulders to your ears by “shrugging”, hold that position for a moment and then relax your shoulders back to their initial position.
  •   This is one rep.
  •   If you cannot lift your shoulders to their maximum height, it means the weight load is too much and should be reduced.
  •   Reps: 2 sets, 8 reps.

 

  1. Barbell Shoulder Press:  This exercise targets your shoulders, mid-back, upper back, and core. To perform this exercise:
  •   Stand upright on the ground with knees completely extended but not locked and your feet should be shoulder-width apart.
  •   Grab the barbell in such a way that it is held up in front of your shoulders and your elbows should be pointing outwards.
  •   Now tighten your core and lift the barbell over your head until your arms are fully extended.
  •   Avoid having your elbows bent when the barbell is over your head.
  •   Hold this position for a moment.
  •   Then lower the barbell back to its initial position while engaging your back muscles.
  •   This is one rep.
  •   Reps: 2 sets, 6 reps.

 

  1. Incline Dumbbell Press: This exercise targets your chest, shoulders, and triceps. To perform this exercise:
  •   Get seated on the bench with your feet flat on the floor and your back leaned against the seat.
  •   Grab a dumbbell in each hand with your elbows bent and place them just down the rib so that your hands are positioned with your shoulders.
  •   Tighten your core and lift both the dumbbells over your head until your arms are completely extended and the dumbbells are almost touching each other.
  •   Your body and arms should be perpendicular to one another.
  •   This is the top of your movement. Keep in mind not to bend your wrists.
  •   Hold this position for a moment.
  •   Now bring down the dumbbells over your chest to their initial position.
  •   Avoid flaring your elbows outwards while lifting and bringing the dumbbells down. Instead, keep them pointed towards the floor.
  •   This is one rep.
  •   Reps: 3 sets, 10 reps.

 

  1. Side Lateral Raises: This exercise targets your shoulders and helps build strength. To perform this exercise:
  •   Stand upright on the ground with feet hip-width apart and look ahead.
  •   Grab a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing your legs and position your hands along the sides of your body.
  •   Tighten your core, straighten your back.
  •   Now lift your arms to your shoulder height so that your body forms a “T” shape.
  •   Hold this position for a moment.
  •   Now return to your initial position by lowering your arms to the sides of your body but do not be quick. Take twice as much time in lowering your arms as you did while lifting them.
  •   This is one rep.
  •   Reps: 2 sets, 8 reps.

 

  1. French Press: This exercise targets your triceps and shoulders.  To perform this exercise:
  •   Lie down on a gym bench with your back flat, legs bent at the knees, and feet flat on the ground.
  •   Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  •   Extend your arms over your chest with shoulder-width apart and palms facing each other.
  •   Now shift your arms from the top of your chest to the top of your head.
  •   Keep lowering the weight to the top of your skull until your dumbbells are in line with the bench.
  •   The stress will shift from the triceps to your shoulders.
  •   Hold this position for a moment.
  •   Then bring the dumbbells back from the top of your head over your chest to their initial position.
  •   This is one rep.
  •   Reps: 2 sets, 10 reps.

Choosing the right weight:

To perform any exercise in the best form and position, you need to determine the right weight for it according to your body type and capability. The first step is to choose a random weight and start performing your exercise. It’s always best to start lighter than you think you are capable of and work your way up to avoid injury. Let’s assume that you are performing 12 repetitions for an exercise. If you get through all 12 repetitions easily and without struggle, the weight is too light for you. Now add some weight and start performing your repetitions. If you are struggling right from the start and can barely get through the first few repetitions, the weight load is too heavy for you. To have the perfect weight load, you should struggle with the last two or three repetitions only. So, if you have 12 repetitions to perform, you should feel worn out with the tenth repetition and struggle with the eleventh and twelfth one only. This is your perfect weight. You are very likely to get used to your “perfect” weight after some time. In that case, you can then increase the weight load and determine the perfect weight using the same strategy. 

The Complete Push Day Workout for Bodybuilders