Push and pull your way to added strength

Push and pull your way to added strength

In a recent blog  I discussed how you don’t have to keep changing your exercise routine in order to get stronger/faster/fitter. I recommended that you do some key exercises that use a large number of muscles and as long as you push yourself you can maintain your fitness.

Since then, I’ve had a few questions about what exercises I do and recommend. So I thought I’d share my basic upper body strength routine. I don’t do this all the time, and if I have the time I’ll do more than just these exercises, but these form the basis of nearly all my workouts.

In the name of time efficiency, I superset two opposing exercises and do an abdominal exercise as my recovery. By opposing exercises I mean one is a push exercise and the other a pull exercise.

I do Bench Press(push) followed by Seated Row(pull). I’ll then do some form of abdominal exercise (eg. crunch). Those three make up one set and I’ll typically do 3 or 4 sets, gradually increasing the weight and decreasing the number (reps).

Then I’ll combine Lat Pulldown(pull) with Shoulder Press(push). Then I’ll do a different abdominal exercise (e.g. reverse crunch) as my recovery. Three or 4 sets of these completes my upper body workout.

All up, this takes about 20 minutes.

If I’m short of time, I might only do two sets of each. If I’ve only got a few minutes I might just do one set of each. This takes about 5 minutes and while it won’t make me stronger, it is better than nothing and keeps me in the routine.

If your thinking that all sounds a bit boring, there are plenty of ways to vary it.

Sometimes I don’t use weights, but use my bodyweight as resistance(pushing exercises) and an elastic tube for the pulling exercises. Or I’ll do chin-ups instead of lat pulldowns.

Changing the position of your hands or the angle you push or pull can make the exercise feel different.

Have a go and see how much you can do in a short period of time.

And let me know how you go.

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David Beard
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