Push + Pull ~ Why Your Workouts Need Both!

Hey beautiful! We see you crushing your Studio Tone It Up strength training workouts ~ your strong, gorgeous, and glowing checkins are everythingggg! With every workout, you’re not only sculpting and toning, you’re also strengthening your beautiful body to handle whatever comes your way. That’s one of our favorite perks of a weight training session: building the foundation to make daily life just a little easier. (Check out a few more of our fave strength training benefits here!)  

The key to effective strength training is keeping it functional ~ choosing moves that mimic everyday tasks. (Think: carrying your groceries or climbing stairs.) And the best way to do that? Make sure you’re including both pushing AND pulling motions in your routine. It’s all about balance! Most of us actually do waaayy more pushing ~ focusing on the front of our bodies. Keep reading to learn all the science-backed benefits of showing both sides of your body some love, plus the best moves to pull and push it good!

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~ The Benefits of Push and Pull Exercise ~

Get a Complete Workout

Push exercises, which include moves like push-ups (of course!), shoulder presses, and squats, mainly work the front of the body (think chest, shoulders, and quads). Pull exercises, on the other hand, include moves like pull-ups (again, of course!), rows, and deadlifts. These focus on the back of your body. By including both pushing and pulling exercises, you target nearly every muscle in your body for all-over strength and sculpting.

 Lower the Risk of Injury

If you have strong chest muscles from always working on that push-up but your routine doesn’t include rows, you leave your body unbalanced. This could lead to injuries at the shoulder joint, as the stronger muscles end up taking over when they shouldn’t. Similarly, if you always work the front of your thighs and neglect your booty, it could lead to knee problems. Running is a great example ~ you want to make sure your booty is strong 🍑💪, so your quads don’t overcompensate during your run, which can lead to runner’s knee or IT band syndrome. The more balanced your workout, the safer you’ll be. You know we’re always lookin’ out for you babe ;) 

Stand Tall & Confident

When you work push and pull exercises into your workouts, you improve your posture and end up with better alignment from your head to your toes. This will help you stand (and sit!) tall and strong!

Get More From Your Workout

Mixing push and pull moves targets multiple muscle groups at once, so you can boost your metabolism in a shorter session. Plus, you’re ultimately doing more functional training, meaning you copy the movements of everyday life. Research shows that functional training can improve your strength, coordination, endurance, and even flexibility. So many perks in one quick workout! 

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The Best Push and Pull Exercises

Time to put your push and pull moves into action. Try these exercises below to hit both movement patterns. Repeat the full circuit 2 – 3 times for a total-body burn! 🔥

Push: Hand Release Push-Up

Begin in a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Make sure your body is in a straight line from your head to your knees and your core is engaged. Bend your elbows and lower your body all the way to the ground. Lift your hands then place them back down and push yourself back up, maintaining one straight line.

Do 12 reps.

Pull: Bent Over T-Y

Begin with feet hip-width apart and lower into a slightly lifted squat position, leaning your chest forward over your knees. Lift your arms straight up above your head in line with your ears, then bring your arms back down. Next, take your arms straight out and up to your sides, then back down.

Do 15 reps.

Push: Squat + Press

Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height. Keeping your chest up and core engaged, lower into a squat position ~ booty back and thighs as close to parallel to the ground as possible. Driving though your heels, come back up to standing as you press the dumbbells overhead.

Do 15 reps.

Pull: Deadlift + Upright Row

Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs. Maintaining a flat back and a soft bend in your knees, hinge at the hips as you lower your torso toward the ground, keeping the dumbbells close to your shins. Engage your booty and core as you drive through your heels to come up to standing. At the top, pull your elbows high for the upright row.

Do 15 reps.

Push: Single Arm Press

Begin lying on your back, legs extended, left arm down by your side. With a kettlebell or dumbbell in your right hand, extend it overhead so it lines up with your shoulder. Bend your right elbow to 90 degrees, lowering the weight down to the floor. Then, press it back up.

Do 12 reps on each side.

Pull: Single Arm Row

Begin with your left foot in front of the right, left knee slightly bent, and left hand resting on your left thigh. Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell in your right hand, arm extended toward the ground. Row the weight up to chest height, keeping your elbow tucked closely to your side. Straighten it back down.


Do 12 reps on each side.

Want more amazing total-body workouts to Tone It Up?! Join the Studio Tone It Up app for hundreds of sculpting routines to rev your metabolism and tone your beautiful muscles from head to toe. We can’t wait to see you in class!