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Pulling versus Pushing lifts
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The Beast1 Offline
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Post: #1
Pulling versus Pushing lifts
I was look at a video of a military press and a pull up. I'm going to get flamed for this, but I got a sense that both moves are relatively the same. The difference being whether it is a pull or a push against gravity.

What's the difference between the two? Should I incorporate a pull up (pull) versus a pushing lift?

What's the general theory and consensus for this?

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11-18-2014 02:19 PM
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roberto Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Pulling versus Pushing lifts
Benchpress and barbell row are another pair of opposite exercises.

I find pull exercises much harder than push ones.

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11-18-2014 02:35 PM
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RexImperator Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Pulling versus Pushing lifts
Generally they do say it's good to do a push with a pull, in order to have balanced musculature development.

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11-18-2014 03:05 PM
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Blackwell Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Pulling versus Pushing lifts
They are entirely different.

The human body uses different muscle groups to pull itself up than it does to push something above the head.

The starting position of a pull up is different to that of a military press.

In a military press you are moving the weight up and above your head using your shoulders and your triceps. These are some of the muscles that are used when you push against resistance.

In a pull up, you are using a combination of your lats, traps, rhomboids and biceps. These are some of the muscles you use when you pull weight towards you.

What kind of workout split do you use? Assuming you are training for bodybuilding purposes.

I use a Push/Pull/Legs 3 on 1 off. I do all my pushing exercises on 1 day and all my pulling on a separate day.

Edit: You gotta incorporate equal parts pulling exercises to your pushing in order to develop a well rounded and balanced physique. If anything you want to pull more than you push. Many people develop imbalances from over pressing.
(This post was last modified: 11-18-2014 03:24 PM by Blackwell.)
11-18-2014 03:18 PM
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BagelConsultant Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Pulling versus Pushing lifts
Blackwell's right, you need both pulling and pushing exercises. Strict pull-ups are great and you can scale with an assisted pull-up machine until you're strong enough to crank 'em out on your own. For shoulder pushing, military press and strict press are both good options.

Handstand push-ups are a good goal to work up to, they not only are a great strength exercise but are also great for balance and coordination. See here for some ways to scale and develop them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3QUCK51B7c
11-18-2014 03:31 PM
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The Beast1 Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Pulling versus Pushing lifts
I modified my workout to focus on my chest which has been woefully lacking. My recent results have been stellar, but I don't want to lose what I worked on in terms of upper back and shoulder development.

Monday:
weighted dips
bench press (mid grip one week, wide grip another)
incline flies
flat bench flies
dumb bell bench (only done during mid grip work out week)
tricep pull over

Tuesday:
Military press
Pull up
stand up row
bent over row

Wednesday:
Squats
Deadlifts

Thursday:
Rest

Friday:
Incline dumbbell Bench press
Flat bench press
Weighted dips

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11-18-2014 03:34 PM
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Dhorv9 Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Pulling versus Pushing lifts
They work completely different muscles. An over head press is mainly shoulders and triceps, while a pull-up is mainly biceps and lats. Too many people focus on pushing exercises more than pulling. They should be done at a 1:1 ratio at least, but it is actually beneficial to do a bit more pulling.
A strong, wide and thick upper back will make you broader, will make your chest and shoulders look bigger.
Most guys always want a bigger chest, and often times the limiting factor in chest development is actually your upper back and lat strength.
You should be able to pull as much weight as you can push. If not, focus more on pulling for a while.
I was stuck progressing on bench press and overhead press for a long time. I added more and more, with only marginal improvements. I then cut waay back on pressing movements, and did tons of pull-ups, BB rows, DB rows, Cable rows, etc while maintaing my pushing movements. My pulling strength greatly surpassed my pushing strength.
After this, I went back to focusing on pushing, and the numbers leaped up to keep on par with my pulls.
11-18-2014 06:41 PM
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Vaun Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Pulling versus Pushing lifts
I like the pull up, because at least for me, it truly shapes my physique. My lats get big and I get a V shape really easy, especially when I have no stomach fat. Ideally you would combine the two because presses will blow up your shoulders into giant softballs, so combined with larger lats, and a trim mid section, you can have a really impressive V shape, and easily alter your physique. If I had to pick one it would be pullups because I have to work really hard at them to get 15 or 20 consecutive. At least compared to other guys, my press comes more naturally and I plateau on it quickly, so its not as fun.
(This post was last modified: 11-18-2014 08:25 PM by Vaun.)
11-18-2014 08:14 PM
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Beyond Borders Away
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Post: #9
RE: Pulling versus Pushing lifts
When digging through the strongman stuff, I came across the idea somewhere that pull movements were more effective for building strength and muscle, though both are obviously still important. Not sure where I saw that, but does anyone have anything to say on that idea?

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11-18-2014 09:53 PM
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Frank Rook Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Pulling versus Pushing lifts
(11-18-2014 09:53 PM)Beyond Borders Wrote:  When digging through the strongman stuff, I came across the idea somewhere that pull movements were more effective for building strength and muscle, though both are obviously still important. Not sure where I saw that, but does anyone have anything to say on that idea?

I'm no certified fitness or anatomy expert but i've been consistently doing old school bodyweight strongman programs for just a little over a year.
Just to share what i've read & experienced so far.
For simplicity, let's use press ups (pushing motion) & pull ups (pulling) as examples.
Pull ups, for most people, would be more challenging as the body's entire weight is being moved by the upper body.
Contrast this with the push up where only a proportion of the body's weight is borne by the upper body. The legs play some part in weight bearing (unless one is doing a hand stand variation).
Don't know about pulling being MORE effective than pushing but i'd say that doing push exercises with minimal or no pulling exercises in a program (far more common among average gym goers than pulling without pushing) creates a lot of imbalance & potential for injury.
Another added benefit i find when adding good pulling exercises is increased grip strength.
If you've ever done rope & rock climbing, you'll notice how having highly developed pulling muscles & grip come more into play compared to push developed (push ups & bench presses etc) muscles.
11-19-2014 12:08 PM
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The Beast1 Offline
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Post: #11
RE: Pulling versus Pushing lifts
(11-18-2014 06:41 PM)Dhorv9 Wrote:  They work completely different muscles. An over head press is mainly shoulders and triceps, while a pull-up is mainly biceps and lats. Too many people focus on pushing exercises more than pulling. They should be done at a 1:1 ratio at least, but it is actually beneficial to do a bit more pulling.
A strong, wide and thick upper back will make you broader, will make your chest and shoulders look bigger.
Most guys always want a bigger chest, and often times the limiting factor in chest development is actually your upper back and lat strength.
You should be able to pull as much weight as you can push. If not, focus more on pulling for a while.
I was stuck progressing on bench press and overhead press for a long time. I added more and more, with only marginal improvements. I then cut waay back on pressing movements, and did tons of pull-ups, BB rows, DB rows, Cable rows, etc while maintaing my pushing movements. My pulling strength greatly surpassed my pushing strength.
After this, I went back to focusing on pushing, and the numbers leaped up to keep on par with my pulls.

Thanks for the tip. I'm going to swap out the over head press for now and only do pull ups.

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11-19-2014 03:19 PM
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birdie num num Offline
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Post: #12
RE: Pulling versus Pushing lifts
If you are looking to try something different and mix up your push-pull routine, try super setting pullups with the dumbbell shoulder press.

Get underneath a pullup bar and place two dumbbells on the floor at both sides. Do a set of pullups and drop down and immediately do a set of dumbbell presses. Rest anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute and then perform 2-3 more sets. The concentric and eccentric phases are reversed with each exercise, resulting in a well-balanced super set.

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11-19-2014 05:06 PM
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Veloce Offline
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Post: #13
RE: Pulling versus Pushing lifts
(11-18-2014 03:34 PM)frenchie Wrote:  I modified my workout to focus on my chest which has been woefully lacking. My recent results have been stellar, but I don't want to lose what I worked on in terms of upper back and shoulder development.

Monday:
weighted dips
bench press (mid grip one week, wide grip another)
incline flies
flat bench flies
dumb bell bench (only done during mid grip work out week)
tricep pull over

Tuesday:
Military press
Pull up
stand up row
bent over row

Wednesday:
Squats
Deadlifts

Thursday:
Rest

Friday:
Incline dumbbell Bench press
Flat bench press
Weighted dips

I don't have a highly developed chest so take this with a grain of salt, but this is just some input based on what I think is a balanced workout:

I would move your military press to your chest day (Monday) and honestly I would modify your Monday to look like:
Incline bench
Flat db bench
incline flies
db shoulder press (not necessary imo but if you're hell bend on traps and shoulders then throw it in, possible arm raises too)
triceps
dips to fail

On Tuesday you're doing lats and back, so I would move your deadlift to that day. Not sure if you're going for strength or size or what but you could superset with lat pulldowns or do assisted pullups.

I'd add more leg work to squat day. Leg press, leg ext, calves, etc.

Thursday rest.

I'd repeat from here. 3 days in, 1 day of rest (this is what I'm doing atm)

Just my .02

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(This post was last modified: 11-19-2014 10:02 PM by Veloce.)
11-19-2014 10:00 PM
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Nascimento Offline
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Post: #14
RE: Pulling versus Pushing lifts
Someone might have addressed this in an earlier post, I only read the OP.

I took some courses on muscular anatomy and neuromuscular physiology, so here's my quick breakdown on the difference.

A major difference between the pullup and the shoulder press is the effect on the scapula. There are other parts at work, for sure, but the main difference is that during a shoulder press you are superiorly rotating the scapula, whereas during a pullup you are inferiorly rotating it.

Stick out both your hands in front of you as if you were to give a double high five, thumbs perpendicular to your fingers. This is the starting position for your scapulas before a shoulder press. Now rotate both your hands outward, so that you end with fingers pointing toward each other and thumbs pointing down. This is the end position for your scapula at the top of the shoulder press movement. This movement is known as superior rotation of the scapula.

These positions are reversed for the pullup. Inferior rotation.

Most people seem to think of these exercising working the shoulders, triceps, biceps, and such. But there is much more going on here. Many muscles of the posterior chain are at work to produce the scapular rotations, and they are different, and sometimes overlap as well.

I did an article on this over on RoK some time ago, I broke down the shoulder press if anyone is interested: http://www.returnofkings.com/21112/the-b...y-exercise
(This post was last modified: 11-20-2014 07:28 AM by Nascimento.)
11-20-2014 07:26 AM
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RDF Offline
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Post: #15
RE: Pulling versus Pushing lifts
Probably a newbie statement here, but isn't push-pull considered to be one of the better forms of workout because you work certain muscle groups that don't overlap. From what I know, pushing exercises generally work the chest, triceps, and shoulders, whereas pulling exercises work biceps, back, and certain other shoulder muscles. I usually do:

Push day:
Chest flys
Bench press
Incline press
Skull crusher
Dips


Pull day:
Bicep curl (with bar)
Hammer curls
Pull ups wide grip
Pull ups narrow grip
Rowing

Is this too simplistic?
11-20-2014 11:31 AM
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Dhorv9 Offline
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Post: #16
RE: Pulling versus Pushing lifts
^^
I would do the bigger compound movements before the smaller isolation movements.
For example, start your pull day with the pull-ups and rowing, and do the bicep curls last.
Also, make sure you have an overhead pressing movement in the program. I would swap chest flys for dumbbell or barbell shoulder pressing.
Don't worry about a workout being too simplistic. It isn't the complexity of the workout that makes gains, but how hard you are going at it, and if you are progressively over loading the muscle with heavier weights, or more reps, or less rest, etc.
But as a general rule, balance everything out over the course of the week.
So if you have a horizontal pushing exercise, (bench) make sure you do a horizontal pulling exercise (row)
or a verticle pushing exercise (shoulder press) make sure you have a vertical pull (chin-ups, pull-ups)
11-21-2014 01:32 AM
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civpro Offline
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Post: #17
RE: Pulling versus Pushing lifts
A pushing lift works chest, shoulders, and triceps.

A pulling lift works upper back and biceps.

They are the two categories of upper body lifts.
11-21-2014 06:55 PM
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