I received a question regarding the balance between vertical presses and horizontal presses and pulls, with vertical exercises like pull-ups, overhead barbell press or handstand pushups versus horizontal presses like bench press, dumbbell rows, inverted rows and similar horizontal movements. Do you really need to do all of these to make a balance between horizontal and vertical presses and pulls?
First of all, our bodies are far from balanced. For instance, most people can perform certain movements or workouts with the right hand while failing to do the same with the left one. The same goes for other parts of our bodies, like eyes for example. People often see better with one eye than another and our body strength is hardly ever symmetrical and equal.
However, If this imbalance is really pronounced then it can lead to bad things like injuries and/or plateaus. Still, it’s natural for the body to be somewhat imbalanced. Is it good for you to do both of these presses and pulls? Generally, the answer is yes, but they don’t necessarily need to be done during the same session. If you are looking to improve your pullups performance, just do them for a while and don’t worry about exercises like handstand pushups or inverted rows. After a while, it would be a good idea to mix it up and add these other pattern of movements.
What I’ve discovered is that even though training for, let’s say, both pullups and handstand pushups goes well together, there is no way you could get the most optimal results from either of those if you mix them up like that. Despite the fact that you are essentially combining pullup and pushup movements, these two exercises are using a lot of the same musculature. Thus, it makes more sense to focus on one at a time and switch accordingly later on.
To sum it up, yes, it’s a good thing to implement both of these movements in your training, but you don’t need to them all at once, especially if you have a specific goal in mind.