See all the exercises at the:
Weight Training Exercises Database
– Pull-Ups –
Compound Exercise, Pull Movement
Grasp overhead bar with palms facing away from you, with hands about shoulder width or slightly wide. Pull body up until chin is over bar, then lower body back down until arms are extended. Bend knees and cross ankles even if you have room to keep them straight, this will keep you more stable and ward off momentum.
Tips and Techniques:
Fully stretch arms at the bottom of the exercise. Do not swing the body, focus on letting the targeted muscle groups do the work. Your focus should be on driving the elbows towards the ground, this puts the emphasis on the lats.
Keep your chest out, your head up (look at bar when pulling up, don’t look down). Keep your shoulders down – a common error is pulling the shoulders up to get over the bar. Your goal, the top position, is getting your chin over the bar with shoulders down. Nose over doesn’t count. Get that chin up and over.
The biggest problem new trainers experience with Pull-Ups is not being able to do a single one… Obviously, this is a big problem. It is not, however a good reason to leave them out of your routine – Pull-Ups are the best upper body exercise for mass and strength and if you aren’t doing them or actively trying to do them, are you really trying?
Difference between Pull-Ups and Chin-Ups?
The difference is simply in the grip: It is a Pull-Up when your palms are facing away and a Chin-Up when your palms are facing toward you.
Chin-Ups are usually easier for people to perform because they use more of the biceps. Pull-ups require more back strength and are more difficult. Because the lats and upper back are much more problematic to target as compared to the biceps, pull-ups are typically desired despite their difficulty.
Once you can complete about 12 reps of solid form Pull-Up reps, you will want to start adding resistance. This can be done with a dip belt or some creativity (like a weighted backpack).
Recommended Reps For Muscle Building:
6-12 the majority of the time, trying higher or lower reps on occasion.
- Chin-ups – Palms facing in, puts more emphasis on the biceps
- Wide-Grip Pull-Ups
- Narrow-Grip Pull-Ups – Same motion with grip less than shoulder-width, thought to work lower lats harder
- Mixed-Grip Pull-Ups – Same motion with one hand grasping bar underhanded and the other overhanded
- Hammer-Grip Pull-Ups – Parallel overhead bars are used allowing a hammer-grip
- Towel Pull-Ups – A towel is put over bar and both ends of the towel are grasped
- Kipping Pull-Ups – Using momentum to help get you up
There really aren’t good substitutions for Pull-Ups. The best option is not to substitute, instead learn how to do Pull-Ups. The exercise everyone turns to is the Lat Bar Pull-Down and while it seems a perfect substitute and can help with lat development, it isn’t going to be anywhere near as effective as the Pull-Up.
Overhead Bar, Dip Belt (optional)
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