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Upper body exercises - Push or pull?

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Sorry for my dummy questions ;-)
I am totally mixed up with all the upper body exercises and would be very grateful if you could tell me for each of the following exercises if they are a push or pull type of exercise:

Shoulder press
Bench press
One arm DB row
Renegade rows
Bent over rear delt fly
Chest fly
Triceps kickbacks
Biceps curls
DB front/side raises


Thanks !!!

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Generally, anything using your back muscles and biceps are pull, and anything using your chest muscles and triceps are push.


I'll take a whack at your list. Remember, though, that not all exercises fit into broad categories like 'push' or 'pull'. I'll give the caveat that I'm far from being any expert on some of the more targeted movements on your list (I had to Google one of them), since I mostly do the big compound lifts and not much by way of accessories... Hope this helps regardless!


Shoulder press - push
Bench press - push
One arm DB row - pull
Renegade rows - pull
Bent over rear delt fly - pull-ish
Chest fly - push-ish
Triceps kickbacks - my guess would be neither, seems more like an isolation exercise for triceps in particular, with some posterior chain isomerrics/core bracing thrown in by way of the bent over position
Biceps curls - isolation exercise for biceps, though heavy ones would involve the core by way of proper bracing
DB front/side raises - neither, seems more like a shoulder isolation exercise

Dare mighty things

Current Challenge

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I'm of the same mind obax. With so many different exercise variations out there, it is difficult to put them into a "push" or "pull" category. I look at it like anything going forward is a push and anything going backwards is a pull. These range of motions are done in everyday life, not just weight lifting. The same for compound exercises (which you mentioned as well), these are all based off basic movements. Deadlifting is just a movement of picking something up essentially. Over time of course, the range of motion has been adapted to suit bodybuilding or functional fitness. 


GailG - In my mind there is no such thing as a dummy question. I'm a South African and there is an expression in Afrikaans, which I will loosely translate. A person that asks a dummy question, is a dummy for 5 minutes. But a person that doesn't ask a question is a dummy for his whole life... Just something small I live by :)


Great topic. Thanks for asking

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When you join a gym and begin to lift weights, virtually any training  will work. One major benefit of a push/pull plan is the increased frequency with which you hit your muscles. A typical split will see you in the gym six times a week: push/pull/legs comprises Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, which is then repeated – leaving Sunday as your day of rest.

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