Pull-ups are one of my all-time favourite exercises! A devastating upper-body compound movement which works a number of larger muscle groups at the same time (back, shoulders, & arms), and personally speaking, gets my heart-rate racing! I like to think it’s the torso-equivalent of squats, which are an epic lower-body compound builder! There are a range of options, from ‘Wide Grip’ for more Lat targeting, ‘Narrow Grip’ for greater bicep bias, negatives, ‘reverse grip’, assisted… They’re all tough to do, but don’t require expensive machinery and could well be the ultimate bodyweight exercise! Click MORE for the ‘How To’…
Aim to hold the bar with an overhand grip with your arms roughly the distance of your shoulders.
1. Start by hanging from the bar.
2. Then slowly start pulling yourself upwards to the end position which is where your chest almost touches the bar. Your chin is then above the bar itself. Often you’ll hear people say ‘chest up’ or ‘open up your chest’. It’s easy to hunch your shoulders in this position so focus instead on bringing your shoulders down and back, and lead with your chest as you pull yourself up.
3. Also avoid arching or swinging your legs back and forth or side to side. It’s better to perform this exercise slowly and in a controlled manner as opposed to ‘jumping up’ relying on momentum, with technique suffering as a result.
4. Finally, slowly lower yourself to the initial starting position, and repeat to failure.
– I tend to bend my knees. It’s a personal comfort thing!
– Also try not to relax or wait at the starting position as your muscles will relax and feel like their getting a stretch as opposed to working out! It’s also tiring for the shoulder.
– I love using the straps pictured below as I feel it relieves some of the strain on my grip. My forearms aren’t super strong and they tend to fatigue quite quickly. By using the straps, it gives my arms a bit of a break, so that I can isolate my back and shoulder more.
VARIATIONS ON THE THEME ???
Are as the name suggests it’s a wider variation of the original pull ups. These emphasise working out the latissimus dorsi more. The original narrower ones work your biceps primarily.
Close Grip Pull-ups
This variation of pull-ups will emphasizes your lower lats more. Same as above overhand grip, slow and controlled throughout, but with this one your hands are fairly close together.
If you find that you can’t yet pull your own weight, there are a bunch of different options…
– Lat pulldowns are, in a sense the same exercise, but reversed (and you’re seated). Your pulling the weight down towards you and engaging the same muscle groups. It doesn’t have the same ultimately fatiguing impact, but it’s a great start.
– The variations of Pulldowns are similar to the variations of Pull-ups, with grip width and overhand/underhand positioning.
Get a box below. Jump up and work on lowering yourself down as slowly as possible! Amazingly fatiguing stuff…
Best way to learn to swim? Practice swimming! It’s kinda the same here. You can include elastic bands straps etc or you can practice with a partner. Bend your knees and push againt/his her thight as you pull yourself up. Really focus on lowering yourself slowly. You’ll soon find that you can dispatch one unassisted, then 3, then 5, and maybe even 10! (NB My own pull up is still not perfect – I’m working on it!)
Good luck! Faya x
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