We’re going to do a two day split, movement based resistance training program. What this means is that the entire program is split over two days, and we’ll focus on pushing movements the first day, and pulling movements the next.
Today is going to be PUSH day and we’re going to SMASH some huge muscle groups such as chest (pectorals), legs (quadriceps) and shoulders (anterior and lateral deltoids). We’ll also hit the calves and triceps for good measure.
This will be a really simple (but effective!) routine, and we’ll mostly utilise machines since we’re just getting started.
Update: for the people training at home, here’s the At Home Push Routine with video.
Here we go.
Horizontal Pushing Movement.
Warm Up: Push Ups x 20.
Which ever form of pushups you’re able to do. Start out with your hands on a bench, or the bar of the smith machine if your gym has one. Make it as easy as you have to to get through 20 reps, it’s only a warm up. Try to make progress towards full push ups in the weeks ahead though.
Chest Press Machine: Your gym probably has one of these. If not, grab a barbell!
We’ll start with a warm up set of 16 – 18 reps. Don’t just blast them out though, choose a light weight, take your time, keep your chest up, shoulders back, and try to focus on keeping your chest muscles tensed and contracting them to move the weight. It takes some time to develop that “mind / muscle connection” so don’t get frustrated if you can’t feel it right away.
Now increase the weight and we’ll do another 4 sets of 8 – 10 reps. That is, if you can’t manage 8 reps you’ve gone a little too heavy, but if you could possibly do more than 10 reps then you haven’t gone heavy enough.
Rest for between 1.5 and 2 minutes between sets. If you don’t feel like you need 2 minutes rest, you definitely haven’t gone heavy enough.
Accessory Exercise: Pec Dec Machine.
This is a great follow up exercise also targeting the chest muscles. Again, focus on keeping your chest up and shoulders back… nice and proud! This time we will do 4 sets of 10 – 12 reps.
Between 1 and 1.5 minutes rest on these exercises that are more about technique than sheer power and force.
Lower Body, Pushing Movement.
Warm Up: Bodyweight Squats x 20.
People should be able to squat down to the ground and get back up again, but a lot of them can’t. We’re going to work on that though. You can start out with an exercise ball between your back and a wall, stand with your feet just beyond shoulder width, and squat down nice and deep. At the bottom of the movement your thighs should be parallel to the floor.
Leg Press Machine
Approach this exactly the same way we did with Chest Press. Warm up set of 16 – 18 reps, and then 4 sets of 8 – 10 reps. Sit up nice and proud with good posture, and push evenly with both legs. Think about the size of your quadricep muscles and try to squeeze every ounce of energy out of them by pushing a massive amount of weight. Again, don’t rush it. We do want an explosive, powerful pushing movement, but resist and control the weight on the way back to the starting position.
Accessory Exercise: Leg Extension Machine. 4 sets of 10 – 12 reps.
Just in case there is even the slightest trace of any energy left in your quadriceps, we will finish them off with some leg extensions. You may experience the horrible burning sensation of lactic acid building up in the muscles at this point. That’s normal. Embrace the horribleness! That means you are earning it.
Vertical Pushing Movement.
Shoulder Press Machine. Again most gyms will have one, but if not you can grab some dumbbells. Exactly the same as we did for the other exercises; good posture, and control those weights in both directions.
1 set of 16 – 18 to warm up, and then 4 sets of 8 – 10.
Accessory Exercise: Side Lateral Raises
Some gyms may have a machine for this, or you can use dumbbells. With dumbbells I want your arms by your sides, and then lift out until they are parallel to the floor. Control the weights and resist gravity on the way back down. 4 sets of 10 – 12.
Just for good measure we’ll finish off with some tricep work. Tricep pushdown is a pretty good choice to start off with. As always, use good posture, good technique, and control the weight in both directions.
This time let’s do 2 sets of 10 – 12, and then go a little lighter for 2 sets of 16 – 18 reps.
That’s it for day one!
Remember, on those pushing movements we really do want to be ambitious and try to move the largest amount of weight we possibly can, for up to 10 reps. If you can get through 10, test yourself. Try a little heavier and see how you go, you might surprise yourself.
Check out the training video of me running through this routine,and also see this entry on how to adapt and progress the free training program, for when you’re ready to mix things up a bit by moving on to more free weights.
Show your support: Please consider purchasing a DHPT Introduction To Resistance Training Program Card for just $5 to record your progress with this routine.
Further reading before you hit the gym, my article from a while back “heavier weights vs better technique in resistance training“. You know what to do!