Pushing Vs Pulling Volume
The concept of pushing exercises (pushing weight away from you) and pulling exercises (pulling weight towards your body) have been studied thoroughly. Many lifters like to superset pushing exercises with a pulling exercises, or visa versa, for good reason. It is important to train the agonist and the antagonist muscles with a similar volume. For example, if you do 10 bicep curls, you should match it up with a similar number or tricep repetitions.
This concept holds true with one main exception: corrective exercises from real world events. If you work loading trucks all day, it is quite possible your biceps are fatigued by the time you hit the gym. There is not as much of a need to train the biceps equally in the gym anymore. Instead it would be time to do some tricep and chest work to strength the muscles that aren’t used in your job.
How are you sitting right now? Slightly hunched over, shoulders rolled slightly forward, back slightly rounded? As I am sitting here typing up this post, that’s how I am looking. What about when you drive? Same posture. Sitting at a desk at work? Same posture. I think you get my point. I have read studies of shoulder pain in police officers often occur because they are hunched over driving most of the day. The gym is a great opportunity to correct this muscular imbalances and maintain shoulder health!
For most people, the common perscription is 1.5 to 2 times the number of pulling exercises to pushing to help correct the imbalances caused by every day life. Of course don’t go and give up bench press or over react. We have our normal workouts just like everyone else. At the end, I have most of my athletes perform a few sets of band pull aparts or blast strap scarecrows to maintain the integrity of their shoulders and musculature. Or, I will have them use these exercises on the tail end of a superset.
Here’s what to take from this information. If you have shoulder or postural issues, then adding some more pulling exercises may be part of the solution. Also as a preventative measure, get doing some pull aparts, scarecrows, face pulls, etc to keep you pushing those big numbers!