“Strong is not a size. It’s a science. If you follow Push Pull to the letter, the results will come”. — Gus Vaz Tostes
Push Pull 1 introduced hypertrophy training on Fiit. A nod to bodybuilding, this 4-week plan led by Sean, Lawrence and Laura provides essential training to build foundational strength, muscular endurance — and bigger muscles.
Now, Gus, Gede and Courtney are taking the Push Pull baton and throwing in Olympic and power-lifting style training, increasing your load and challenging you to nail more complex moves, with dumbbells.
Whether you compete professionally or have never lifted more than 5kgs, here’s how you can master Push Pull 2.
Coach Gus, let’s start with the basics. What’s the difference between power and Olympic lifting?
I’m glad you asked that because they’re very specific strength sports. Powerlifting consists of three lifts — a back squat, a bench press and a deadlift. Olympic lifting is made up of two — a snatch and a clean & jerk.
For both sports, you compete within your weight category and get three attempts to set a record with your best lifts, using a barbell.
How does that compare to bodybuilding?
Bodybuilding is all about muscle gains and physical symmetry. You lift to stress and damage your muscles as much as possible, so they increase in size as they repair. The process is less scientific — you just go all out.
So how do these sports come into Push Pull 2?
Whether you’re training at home or in the gym, we know that barbells aren’t easy to get a hold off (or store). So we’ve taken the science behind power and Olympic lifting and applied it with dumbbells instead.
That means you’ll get the same structure and stimulus you need to build athlete-level strength, without having to use a barbell. And while barbells help you to lift heavier weights, dumbbells will challenge your stability more when you’re taking on single arm or leg movements. So you’ll even out any imbalances and bulletproof yourself against injury more efficiently.
If you’re already a CrossFitter or Olympic athlete, this plan will complement any other training you do – so you can hit the areas you miss in your daily workouts, and get that much stronger.
Why does weight lifting follow a specific structure?
If you don’t follow a programme and take on the exact stimulus needed at the right time, your body might go into shock. Or you might injure yourself because you’re not ready for the heavier weights.
Progressive overload is crucial to this type of training, and that’s why Gede, Courtney and I have pulled our knowledge together to create the perfect plan for you. As you progress, we’ll start demanding more power, speed, agility, balance and explosive movement from you (and we’ll give you the necessary recovery periods in between).
Follow this plan, respect the process and I guarantee that you’ll become a better athlete.
What are the benefits of weight lifting?
For starters you’ll get stronger. You’ll build core and shoulder stability as well as power and speed. And there are many long-term health benefits that come with that.
Weight lifting significantly decreases your chances of developing metabolic disorders. That’s anything from high blood pressure and cholesterol to diabetes and obesity. It also increases testosterone and growth hormone levels. It supports fat loss and it speeds up your metabolism. It improves your posture and strengthens your bones. And it gives your body definition so you’ll feel more confident and empowered.
On a practical level, it will boost your performance in other sports. And better still, it will help you with your daily tasks — whether that’s picking your kids up, doing the shopping or mowing the lawn. Lifting will basically make your life easier.
Will weight lifting make you bulk up?
It depends on your diet. Lifting heavy weights builds muscle, and muscle burns fat.
This type of training gives you strength, not size. We want you to be lighter — so you can move more easily, with more power, technique and coordination.
The important thing to understand is muscle gains don’t happen overnight. In fact, it will happen very slowly. So please don’t lose out on the (many!) benefits of lifting through fear of how it’s going to change your body. Even if you do start seeing small changes over time, you can do something about it.
Look at your diet. If you want to lose weight, eat up 10-15% fewer calories than you normally would. If you want to maintain your weight, eat the same or slightly over. And if you want to gain weight, increase your calorie intake by 15-20%.
It’s also important that you don’t under-eat — that’ll lead to muscle loss (and make it easier for you to store fat instead).
It’s always good to talk to a nutritionist, but those are the basics.
What should I be eating before and after class?
Whenever you’re training with weights, eat protein with every meal. Protein contains amino acids that will rebuild your muscles and help you recover. Complex carbohydrates will also help you absorb the protein better, so add that to your plate after you train. You could have some porridge with milk, eggs on toast or sweet potato with beans and veggies.
Make sure you’re also getting some good fats into your diet. Avocados, nuts, dark chocolate — that kind of thing. Stick with whole foods and you won’t go wrong.
If you love sugar, the best time to have it is post-workout. As soon as you’re done, have your chocolate bar and it will help you bring your glycemic index back to normal. If you’re more health-conscious, satisfy your sweet-tooth with some orange juice, coconut water or a protein shake.
Will I see a difference after Push Pull 2?
If you’re eating clean and following the plan, you’ll feel the difference. You’ll be stronger, more stable, more powerful, more agile. Your whole body will be more toned and training will take less effort.
Top tips for anyone taking the plan?
Above everything else, learn to listen and respect your body. You won’t be able to train at 100% every day — especially when it comes to weight lifting. So if you feel good, train hard. If you don’t, just do what you can.
Also, respect the weights and don’t lift too heavy, too soon. Trust the process (even if it means doing something you don’t enjoy). And be patient, because quick results are never sustainable.
I’ll be looking out for your post-workout Fiit faces online, so make sure you tag me and let me know how you’re getting on!
*Push Pull 2 launches on the 20th July. Tap to find out more about Push Pull 1.