I love doing Pull Ups, they are a true display of upper body strength as they are most difficult to execute. Being an advanced exercise many people cannot perform even a single one. yet that is no reason that you should not begin working towards being able to do them. This exercise is a great strength builder for the upper back, which makes it of extreme importance since a strong back is a healthy back that is less prone to injury.
Muscles worked by the Pull Up
As we can see from the picture above, by performing Pull Ups regularly, you’ll work your arms and shoulders. But, they are actually more of an upper back strengthening exercise that is great for working the following muscles:
- Latissimus dorsi: largest upper back muscle that runs from the mid-back to under the armpit and shoulder blade
- Trapezius: located from your neck out to both shoulders
- Thoracic erector spinae: the three muscles that run along your thoracic spine
- Infraspinatus: assists with shoulder extension and is located on the shoulder blade
If you’re looking to improve your daily, functional strength and physique, you really should perform Pull Ups on a regular basis as a component to a full body strengthening routine.
How to execute a Pull Up
- Use an overhand grip on the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width. Wrap all your fingers around the bar for maximum grip.
- Hang freely under the bar. If your feet can still touch the ground, cross them behind you. Tighten your core to prevent your body from swinging.
- Retract your shoulder blades, as if you’re pinching a pencil between them in the center of your back.
- Drive your elbows down and back, and pull your chest up toward the bar. Keep your core engaged to prevent you from swinging under the bar.
- Pause for a moment at the top—with your chin over the bar—and then slowly lower back to the start under control.
Pull Ups are different than a Chin Up. With a Chin Up, your palms and hands face toward you.
The Pull Up is considered an advanced exercise. It’s more difficult than the Chin Up. But the Pull Up can be modified or done on an assisted machine for beginners, and you’ll still get benefits from these variations.
Pull Up Program for absolute beginners:
Pictured above is a Pull Up bar that can be used in almost any doorway. It requires no tools or special mounting as it can be hung and removed with the greatest of ease, yet they can support over 200 pounds of body weight.
(Promote Upper Body Muscular Balance)
Muscular imbalance should be avoided at all costs. This will ultimately cause unnecessary injuries that will hinder your weightlifting journey. One common cause of these imbalances is focusing too much in pushing exercises (bench press, military press, etc) and neglecting your pulling muscles. Incorporating pull-ups will definitely give a carryover effect in promoting muscular balance in your upper body.
Begin by first getting used to holding your body weight essentially by just hanging from the bar. What you will do is hang on the bar on the top movement of the Pull Up and hold that flexed position until your muscles fatigue forcing you to drop to the ground. Rest and repeat for another 5 to 6 Static Holds. You can use all the different grip variations within one workout.
Select the type of Pull Up you want to master. Grasp your Pull Up bar and then jump up so that your chest will be over the bar. Gravity will do its role and bring you down after you jump. With all your might, resist gravity’s force when going down. When you land on your feet just jump up again and repeat the negative as many times as you are capable.
Once you have become comfortable with performing static holds and negatives, it is time to begin working at actually performing repetitions by using the instructions above. No worries if you still can’t do them, I would advise that you purchase resistance bands to help assist you.
To use a band, loop it through itself around a Pull Up bar and pull tight to secure. Stand on a box, grab the bar, and place one foot inside the loop. Hold yourself with your hands as you step off the box and extend both legs so your body is vertical and then pull yourself up.