When you watch gymnasts during the Olympics, and you see the manner in which they dust their hands with powder, take deep breaths and proceed to do pull-ups and other forms of physical activity, you start to wonder if it is indeed as easy as they make it look. But we all know how tough it can be.
Those professionals have mastered the art of pull-ups, and they can progress it into other extreme levels of physical work out that seem impossible for the average person. In this article, we will show you how to do a pull up the proper way and all of the benefits that come with it.
A lot of people out there have already resigned to the reality that they may never be able to do pull-ups and, as such, do not even give it a try. Rest assured that some tips and tricks will help make it a lot easier and achievable for you. In no time, you will find that you can easily pull your body weight.
What is a pull-up?
This is a form of exercise where you have to pull your body weight up from a hanging position. You can achieve this with a bar that is suspended at a certain height above ground. This exercise build your back muscles such as the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboids, biceps and abdominal core. You are working on your overall stability.
This up and down movement with the aid of the suspended bar is the foundation of what a pull up is.
What are the benefits?
When you watch superhero movies, there is always a scene where the protagonist is seen hanging from a cliff or hanging from a platform and doing pull-ups. It seems to be an integral part of their work out. Since pull-ups are essential even for superheroes, they should do wonders for you, shouldn’t they? Here are a few reasons why pull-ups are of great benefit to you.
strong body frame
Most people are sitting all day hunched over a computer screen and not engaging in healthy habits; it is quite easy to have bad posture. Pull-ups are a great way to counter the effects of this lifestyle. A lot has been said about pushups, and while they’re good for you, they can also be detrimental if there is no balance in the upper torso.
With the current lifestyle that we all tend to live, there is a high risk of suffering upper crossed syndrome, and this is a situation where there is an imbalance in the muscle of the neck, upper back, and chest. They are either too tight or overstretched.
Pull-ups can help deal with the issues surrounding this crossed syndrome and bad posture. Pull-ups will help develop a better body frame. It does this by building up the muscles at the back, and this enables you to stand upright on a stronger body frame and set a foundation for proper growth.
Pull-Ups work several muscle groups simultaneously
For you to successfully do a pull-up, you need the help of several muscles to lift your body. With every pull up, you are activating the core of all the back muscles, and this is excellent because you achieve a lot with just one exercise form. You are therefore getting a lot of value for only one session of work out.
There are studies by Jennifer K Hewit from the department of physical education that explains which muscles were activated in 41 uninjured men and women who engaged in pull-ups exercises they found that for every pull up, the rectus abdominis, bices, lats, and traps were all activated. This proves that multiple muscles are activated simultaneously during a pull-up and this is why it is so important.
Multiple options to work with
The pull up is a very versatile workout, and it can be carried out in a variety of ways. This depends on your own creativity and customization. The standard pull up involves gripping a bar suspended in the air by pillars and pulling you up and then bringing yourself back down. Some of the variations can be achieved mainly by and positioning. You can have your hands close to each other or far from each other.
You don’t need a lot of equipment to carry out a pull-up, and you can deploy it in so many ways that benefit your body.
For beginners and experts
If you are just getting started with pull-ups, you might want to consider using a pull-up machine that will help with much of your body weight until you get more accustomed to the exercise, then you can do it without help. The stronger and more experienced you become, the easier it gets for you to do this exercise.
The more eccentric body pull-ups ae achieved either by jumping or making use of a bench. The aim is to get your body above the bar from a normal pull up position. You then proceed to let yourself return back to its original starting position slowly.
You can jump or use the bench to get you back to heights above the bar and back down to your original position. This process is put on repeat, and you will be building the strength that you need to eventually become a master of pull-ups.
When you are more experienced with regular pull-ups, you can go into more advanced pull-up styles that involve weights. As you get stronger, you have the option to start doing calisthenics.
Calisthenics is an exercise form that makes use of the weight of your body for workouts. One example would be doing a normal muscle pull up and then lifting your whole body weight above the bar and jumping on top of the pull-up bar. Another example is one known as a front lever. This involves starting from a pull-up position and then moving towards a horizontal position where your legs are out front and your torso is angled backward. You can only attempt any of these styles when you have mastered the regular pull-ups.
How to do proper pull-ups
Now that you know what a pull up is and its benefits, it is crucial to know the appropriate way of doing this exercise. The first thing to note is that the pull up is an exercise for the back that utilizes your lats, mid traps, and rhomboids to lift you with your biceps as support. This is important to note so that you can put more effort into squeezing your back muscles to make the pull rather than focusing on your biceps. Below is a step by step guide on how to do a proper pull-up
- Begin by holding onto the suspended bar above you.
- Stabilize your core, lower back, and glutes
- Point your elbows to the side then lift yourself. As you do this, squeeze your elbows down and keep your neck vertical as you look straight ahead.
- Once you pull your body up, your eyes and chin should be slightly above the pull-up bar and stable.
- Then slowly lower your body back down to the starting point as you let your arms go back to 95% full extension
Since there is a lot of freedom with the pull-up, there is also a lot of room for errors. A lot of people tend to focus on their biceps during a pull-up and this makes for poor form during the pull-up. If you find it challenging to do a pull up as a beginner, you should consider using the pull-up machine for some time until you get better at it.
Pull-Ups vs. Chin Ups
There is a lot of misunderstanding around pull us and chin-ups and their differences or similarities. With the pull-up, your grip is characterized with wider hands compared to shoulder width. You are focused on the lats, mid traps, and rhomboids for the pull. This exercise is great if you want to get more width in your back to achieve that V shape.
The chin-up, on the other hand, is an underhand grip with the sides at shoulder width or closer. The focus is on the lats and biceps to make the lift. This exercise is beneficial for people who want to build their biceps rather than widen their backs. They also seem to be easier than pull-ups and are an excellent place to start as a beginner.