The Infamous Pull up
From Trainer Jake: Pullups are one of those exercises that you either can or can’t do, and there is no in between. Deep down everybody wants to do a pullup it’s a great way to show off to your friends how strong you are or even just a party trick! But what is it about pullups that are so difficult to achieve?
Some people are just able to do 10 pullups without even trying, while others struggle and have to really train just to be able to do 1! I was fortunate enough to naturally develop the strength to do pullups without trying hard, but I still had to train in order to be able to do multiple reps in a row. So If a pullup is something you are trying to do accomplish but can’t quite get it, here are some tips and to help you achieve a pullup.
First, let’s look at where the pullup begins, hanging from something. Sometimes the reason pullups may seem difficult is that our grip isn’t strong enough to hold our own body weight. Strengthening our grip will start to move the process along much faster. Just practice hanging on to the bar until you can’t hold on anymore this will get your hands and forearms trained so that it can you can hold on to yourself! Also any type of forearm exercises are good, such as wrist curls.
Next let’s look at our biceps, increasing the strength in your biceps will help with the pulling motion. Any variation of a bicep curl will be beneficial, make sure you curl the weight up controlled and lower slowly to make sure you develop the right kind of strength in your biceps muscle.
Don’t forget to train your core muscles. Having strong core muscles is beneficial to every exercise, especially pull-ups. A strong core will help you be able to stabilize your entire body so that doing the actual pull becomes less work!
Next let’s look at the shoulders muscles and what is usually the limiting factor when it comes to doing pullups, the back muscles! In order to really have a strong pullup with good form you need to be able to turn on the muscles in your back, more specifically muscle call the latissimus dorsi or “the lats”. These muscles are the biggest muscles in your upper body! So using them while doing a pullups can make it much easier.
You also want to strengthen the muscles in your upper back such as your trapezius, rhomboids, Rear deltoids and the rest of the muscles that surround your shoulder blades. Some great exercises do would be bent-over rows, lat pulldowns or assisted pullups which is basically doing a pullup but with your feet on the ground the whole time! Even doing jumping pullups, or “negative pullups” using a bar that’s low enough so you can grab on to and your feet are still touching the floor, jump up till your chest touches the bar, hold yourself up and the lower as slowly as you can. This will help train your nervous system and muscles all at once so that it recognize the pulling pattern you trying to develop!
Now let’s go over a couple techniques to use while trying to execute the pull-up:
I hope that these tips and techniques will help you achieve the illusive pull-up. Don’t give up on it, always try and eventually one day it will all come together!
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Living the good, fit life in Seattle, WA. Stay tuned for more bilingual fitness tips and nutritious recipes.