Pull-ups are simply one of the finest body weight exercises that can be carried out for your upper body. Pull-ups workout your core, back, arms, and shoulders working out almost every muscle in the upper body. Pull-ups can be performed virtually anywhere that you can locate a bar to cling from.
We all know about the normal pull-up; how tough they are! This exercise in itself demands great power, and if you cannot perform at least 20 standard pull-ups in a row, then I suggest you do not attempt any of these advanced pull-up versions until you can. (more…)
Do you limit yourself by avoiding horizontal or vertical back movements? Did you know that your traps and lower back also need to be strengthened? Are you stuck on lat pull downs as your main back exercise? Can’t do a pull up?
Tsk, tsk, tsk…
Avoid these 6 common back training mistakes and you will have a much better chance of looking like Atlas and performing like an Olympian.
Pull-ups are very simple, but very hard. To perform a pull-up, hang on to any bar, doorway, tree branch, etc… with your arms straight and your palms facing away from you, and pull yourself up until your chin passes the bar. That’s it.
Pull-ups can be performed on anything that allows you to hang with your arms straight and your knees not touching the floor.
Beginners can’t typically do a single pull-up, which is why we need a proper tutorial for increasing pull-up strength. This post will teach you how to do increase your performance with pull-ups using the correct technique.
Proper Pull-up Technique
Now that you know how to perform a basic pull-up, let’s consider proper pull-up technique. No need to waste your time performing half reps or place your shoulder health in jeopardy. The following tips should be used for optimal pull-up technique:
Pull-ups are awesome for developing a strong, hard back. Chin-ups are great too, especially for increasing biceps involvement. Unfortunately, pull-ups are hard. Many new trainees can barely do 1, if any, pull-ups or chin-ups.
Sometimes we need a way to do pull-ups when fatigued, or maybe you are looking for a way to include pull-ups in your conditioning routine. There is a way my friends, and it is called the kipping pull-up.
How to Perform Kipping Pull Ups
A “kip” is basically using the drive from hip flexion followed by an explosive hip extension to increase momentum during a pull-up. This is useful for getting your chin up over the damned bar when performing a HIRT or Tabata session that calls for 100s of pull-up in a short period of time. Kipping pull-ups are used extensively in Crossfit workouts, and you can use kipping chin-ups in your workout too.
The types of pull-ups and chin-ups that most of us typically do in a standard weight training routine (unless you train Crossfit), are from a deadhang. Kipping pull-ups and kipping chin-ups are actually completely different exercises, and should not replace the deadhang in a standard weightlifting routine.
Here’s a tip I read last week when I was reading about pull-ups and chin-ups. Apparently by using this tip, chin-ups will “feel” easier. Give it a try and let me know if it works for you. Check it out:
Rather than thinking about pulling yourself up when you do chin-ups, imagine pulling your elbows down instead. In theory, this will make the exercise seem “easier”.
Someone beat me to the punch. I was going to write a program like this based on what I saw at The 100 Push Ups Challenge, but I just didn’t make the time to do it. So what I will do instead, is to explain how to work this 20 Pull Ups program into your regular training routine so as not to sacrifice the rest of your muscles while on this program. Get ready for some 2-a-day workouts!
The premise of 20 Pull Ups is to combine several training methodologies throughout the week by doing several sets of pull ups each day. This is a 6-8 week program for those who can already do at least 5 pull ups. However, if you can’t do 5 pull ups, there is a slightly longer program that you can use, which incorporates assisted pull ups for the first 4 weeks. Either way, you should give this program a try if you want to be able to do more pull ups.
Pull ups are hard, but they are one of the few true tests of strength. I say this because some powerlifters can bench 600 or squat 800, but they also weigh 300+ and can barely manage 5 pull ups. This is one of the few exercises where you can measure relative fitness by comparing the ratio of the number of pull ups completed to bodyweight. Some of you might get mad at me, talking about powerlifters training for strength rather than endurance, but the fact of the matter is that when I was powerlifting I could still do 15 pull ups at 195 lbs.
Now, let me take you back to high school gym class… the year was 1993, I was 15 years old. Mr. Buatti the gym teacher, who happens to bare a striking resemblance to Coach Buzzcut, called my name to stand up in front of the class and do an many pull ups as I can. The football jocks each knocked out from 10 to 20 and the wiry tough kid with only 3 fingers on one hand completed 14 of them. I got 3. It was humiliating.
Now we come back to the present. Recently I started doing pull ups again after a year layoff. On my first set, I got 5 reps. A week later I was up to 8 reps. Just yesterday I did a set of 11 reps. But I want more. I’ve done 18 pull ups before; I’ve also done 5 pull ups with a 45 lb plate hanging off a belt. So, how can I get back to that place? How can you get to that place?
I totally live by the mantra, “No brain, no gain”, because, “No pain, no gain”, is essentially a counterproductive philosophy. It is one in which you could easily end up sick, injured, or worse. On recent occasion though, I have found it necessary to dig back into my, “No pain, no gain”, mindset in thai kickboxing class.
The reason I say this, is because there does indeed seem to be a problem with my lungs. I still think they might be damaged from some blood clots a couple years back. The thing is though, is if I push myself, how much bad can actually come of it?
My lungs could get stronger. They could be forced to repair damaged tissue. Maybe I really am just straight up out of shape. Well no matter, because when I feel like it’s time to throw in the towel and huddle in a corner gasping for breath, I just repeat to myself, “No pain, no gain”, because this is how I will make it through the workout… this is how I will force my body to adapt and get stronger.
In the last 4 days I have attended 2 kickboxing classes and I have completed 6 sets of 10 pull-ups. Today I am sore. Kickboxing seems to be getting better after my month layoff. I am feeling stronger and faster during each class. I do feel like my lungs are working better sometimes, but then other times I find myself gasping, taking 1/2 breaths. For now I’ll just keep pushing it.
The 10 reps on pull-ups makes me feel OK. At least I’m not a complete sissy anymore. My general goal is to hit a set of pull-ups each morning and each evening, nearly every day of the week. On each set I will maintain strict form, and will always try to get one more rep than I did previously. Right now I’ve been stuck at 10 reps for a couple days, but I intend to hit an 11 rep set on Mother’s Day.
Soon it shall be time for me to start working towards my 10 week, 300 Workout Challenge goal. Once again, the 300 Workout isn’t something that we do every day. It is more of a training goal. You train your body for conditioning, endurance, and a small amount of strength, then at the end of your 10-12 week session, the 300 Workout is a test that you can use to gauge just how successful your training went.