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How to Split Shoulder Workouts Between Push and Pull Days

    Knowing how to split shoulder workouts between push and pull days can be challenging. 

    If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering how to use this technique with your workout. Here’s how to do it the right way.

    The push/pull/legs split is one of the best training techniques in the world. You can do six, five, or even three-day splits. You will focus on push shoulder exercises on one day, pull exercises on the second day, and leg exercises on the third day. 

    How to Split Shoulder Workouts Between Push and Pull Days

    The deltoids consist of 3 heads: the anterior, lateral, and posterior. Therefore, you must perform movements targeting each head to train the deltoids effectively.

    You get both push and pull exercises for your shoulders. The push/pull/legs split reduces overlapping between muscles and helps you avoid injuries. Also, see  Best Calisthenics Shoulder Workouts and How to Master Shoulder Pull-Ups for more tips.

    If you are in a hurry to see the top products we recommend to help with your shoulder workouts see the table below.

     

     

    The Six-Day Split for Intermediate and Advanced

    Six-Day Split for Intermediate and Advanced

    The six-day split is used by many to gain muscle and strength.

    It limits overlap between muscles, meaning you never have to worry about your shoulder workout impacting your bicep workout. The split usually looks like this:

    Day 1: Push A

    Day 2: Pull A

    Day 3: Legs A

    Day 4: Push B

    Day 5: Pull B

    Day 6: Legs B 

    Day 7: Off

     

    Follow these four push/pull workouts from Nick Ludlow of Muscle and Strength to get stronger and gain muscle. Also, see The Ultimate Shoulder and Arms Workout.

     

    Push A: Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps 

    Push A - Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps - Tricep Dips

      • Flat Barbell Bench Press: 5 sets x 15 reps (rest one and a half to two minutes between sets) 
      • Seated Behind the Neck Press: 3 sets x 10 reps (rest one minute between sets) 
      • Tricep Dips: 3 sets x 10 reps (rest one minute between sets) 
      • Standing Cable Crossovers: 5 sets x 10 reps (rest for 30 seconds between sets) 
      • Seated Tricep Extensions: 5 sets x 10 reps (rest 30 seconds between sets) 
      • Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raises: 5 sets x 10 reps (rest 15 seconds between sets) 

     

    Pull A: Back, Traps, and Biceps

    Pull A - Back, Traps, and Biceps - Standing Barbell Curl

      • Barbell Conventional Deadlift: 5 sets x 15 reps (rest two minutes between sets) 
      • Barbell Conventional Deadlift: 1 set x as many reps as possible with 20% less weight. 
      • Weighted Chin-ups: 3 sets x 10 reps (rest one minute between sets) 
      • Chest Supported Rows: 3 sets x 10 reps (rest 30 seconds between sets) 
      • Shrugs (Dumbbell, Barbell, or Trap Bar): 5 sets x 10 reps (rest for 30 seconds between sets) 
      • Standing Barbell Curls: 5 sets x 10 reps (rest for 30 seconds between sets) 
      • Standing Cable Reverse Fly: 5 sets x 10 reps (rest 15 seconds between sets) 

    Here are some excellent barbells to consider.

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    THE STEP Club Quality 4-Weight Deluxe Barbell Set (includes the bar) by Step Fitness
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    Club Quality 4-Weight Deluxe Barbell Set
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    BalanceFrom Vinyl Standard Weight Set, 100 lbs, Black (VNL100)
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    Push B: Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps

    Push B - Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps - Standing OH Press

      • Standing OH press: 5 sets x 15 reps (rest two minutes between sets) 
      • Standing OH press: 1 set x as many reps as possible with 20% less weight
      • Incline bench press: 3 sets x 10 reps (rest one minute between sets) 
      • Close Grip Bench Press: 3 sets x 10 reps (rest one minute between sets) 
      • Seated Machine Fly: 5 sets x 10 reps (rest 30 seconds between sets) 
      • Standing Tricep Pushdown: 5 sets x 10 reps (rest 30 seconds between sets) 
      • Standing Cable Lateral Raises: 5 sets x 15 reps (rest 15 seconds between sets)

     

    Pull B: Back, Traps, and Biceps

    Pull B - Back, Traps, and Biceps - Barbell Snatch Grip

      • Barbell Snatch Grip Deadlift: 5 sets x 15 reps (rest two minutes between sets) 
      • Barbell Snatch Grip Deadlift: 1 set x as many reps as possible with 20% less weight
      • Barbell Rows: 3 sets x 10 reps (rest 60 seconds between sets) 
      • Pull-ups: 3 sets x 10 reps (rest 60 seconds between sets) 
      • One-arm Rows: 5 sets x 10 reps (rest 30 seconds between sets) 
      • Incline Dumbbell Curl: 5 sets x 10 reps (rest 30 seconds between sets) 
      • Seated Machine Reverse Fly: 5 sets x 10 reps (rest 15 seconds between sets) 

    See more exercises in Shoulder Resistance Bands Exercises For Building Big Shoulders and Plank Shoulder Taps.

    Here are some excellent dumbells to consider.

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    Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (pair)
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    Are Shoulders a Push or Pull Exercise? 

    Are Shoulders a Push or Pull Exercise

    When following a six-day split, you train your shoulders along with your chest and triceps.

    Push workouts generally train these areas, while pull exercises train your back and biceps.

    In addition, both push and pull exercises train your shoulders. 

    Push exercises usually target the front deltoids, while pull exercises are essential for targeting the lateral and rear delts.

     

    The Five-Day Split for All Levels

    Five-Day Split for All Levels

    If you want to train five days a week, you can structure your schedule like this:

    Day 1: Push 

    Day 2: Pull 

    Day 3: Legs 

    Day 4: Upper 

    Day 5: Lower

    Day 6: Off

    Day 7: Off

     

    Incorporate the following exercises from personal trainer George Platt in your push or pull days

     

    Push Day Shoulder Exercises 

    Push Day Shoulder Exercises - Incline Dumbell Press

    Try some of the following moves for your next push day:

      • Military Press
      • Incline Dumbbell Press
      • Incline Bench Press
      • Arnold Press
      • Incline Chest Press

     

    Pull Day Shoulder Exercises

    Pull Day Shoulder Exercises - Lateral Raises

    Some effective Pull day shoulder exercises include:

      • Lateral Raises (Dumbbell)
      • Front Raises (Dumbbell)
      • Rear Deltoid Flyes (Stack & Pin Machine or Dumbbell)
      • Face Pulls (Cable with Rope)
      • Upright Rows

     

    Rotating Shoulder Push/Pull Exercises

    Rotating Shoulder Push-Pull Exercises

    You can perform push and pull shoulder exercises if you train your shoulders in one day.

    But if you follow a push/pull training program, you can do shoulder push exercises like dumbbell presses and Arnold presses on your push days, and shoulder pull exercises like upright rows and rear deltoid flys on pull days. 

    Following a push/pull regimen, you can effectively train every muscle group more frequently than if you were to follow muscle group splits. 

     

    The Three-Day Split for All Levels

    Three-Day Split for All Levels

    Rotating your push and pull workouts will be relatively easy if you want to exercise three times a week.

    This push/pull/legs split is more suitable for intermediate to advanced trainees, but you can tweak it for beginners.

    For example:

    Day 1: Push

    Day 2: Off

    Day 3: Pull

    Day 4: Off

    Day 5: Legs and Abs

    Day 6: Off

    Day 7: Off

     

    Follow the following workouts provided by Aston University to gain muscle and strength. 

     

    Day 1: Push Workout

    Day 1 - Push Workout - Tricep Press Down

      • Bench Press: 3 sets x 5 – 7 reps
      • Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 sets x 6 – 8 reps 
      • Incline Dumbbell Press: 3 sets x 8 – 10 reps 
      • Side Lateral Raises: 2 sets x 10 – 12 reps 
      • Triceps Press downs: 2 sets x 8 – 10 reps
      • Overhead Triceps Extension: 2 sets x 8 – 10 reps 

    See some excellent multi-purpose benches below to help with your workouts.

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    Fitness Reality 1000 Super Max Weight Bench with Upgraded Wider Backrest/Seat (2019 Version), 800 lb (2804)
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    59 x 23.5 x 48.5 inches
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    Marcy Adjustable 6 Position Utility Bench with Leg Developer and High Density Foam Padding SB-350
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    Marcy Adjustable Utility Bench
    Material
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    600 Pounds
    Item Weight
    51 Pounds
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    64.5 x 23 x 42 inches
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    Foldable
    Interested?
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    Preview
    obenater Exercise Bench Sit Up Bench Crunch Board Ab Bench for Toning and Strength Training with Reverse - Abdominal Exercise Equipment with 6 Adjustable Height Settings Full Body Workout
    Product Name
    Obenater Workout Bench
    Material
    Alloy Steel
    Max Capacity
    300 Pounds
    Item Weight
    24.25 pounds
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    47 x 12 x 26 inches
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    Day 3: Pull Workout

    Day 3 - Pull Workout - Pull Up

      • Bent-over Row: 3 sets x 5 – 7 reps 
      • Pull-Ups: 3 sets x 6 – 8 reps
      • Barbell Shrugs: 3 sets x 8 – 10 reps
      • Face Pulls: 2 sets x 10 – 12 reps 
      • Barbell Curl: 2 sets x 8 – 10 reps
      • Dumbbell Hammer Curl: 2 sets x 8 – 10 reps

     

    Day 5: Legs and Abs 

    Day 5 - Legs and Abs - Squat

      • Squats: 3 sets x 6 – 8 reps
      • Romanian Deadlifts: 2 sets x 8 – 10 reps
      • Leg Press: 2 sets x 10 – 12 reps
      • Leg Curl: 2 sets x 10 – 12 reps
      • Calf Raise: 4 sets x 8 – 10 reps 
      • Hanging Leg Raise: 2 sets x 10 – 15 reps

    You can also create a 5-day regimen by doing two push, two pulls, and one leg and abs day. 

     

    Benefits of Push/Pull/Legs 

    Benefits of Push-Pull-Legs

    There are many benefits to following a push and pull training program.

    This program allows optimal recovery and gives your muscles the recommended 2-to-3-day rest before training.

     

    Conclusion

    Shoulder Workout - Conclusion

    This post explained how to split shoulder workouts between push and pull days.

    The push/pull/legs training regimen is one of today’s most popular methods to do this.

    It benefits recovery and gives you fast results, provided you follow a good diet.

    Experts recommend it for intermediate to advanced trainees, but beginners can benefit from starting slow.

    Whether you follow a 3-day or 6-day split, you will see results in your shoulders following these shoulder workouts. 

    Last update on 2022-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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    James Wright

    James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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