How to Master the Pull-Up?
Pull-ups and chin-ups build some of the most important muscles: the latissimus dorsi (lats, for short). Lats are broad muscles that run from your lower back to your armpits; they help you pull, support and stabilize your shoulders during many everyday activities. To keep your lats strong and healthy, add these exercises to your workout routine.
While pull-ups are one of the oldest exercises in existence, it is also one of the most effective. Pull-ups compress the shoulder, which is where the rotator cuff lies. The rotator cuff muscles are responsible for keeping the shoulder joint stable, thus making them an essential part of injury prevention. Besides working your lats, pull-ups also target the lower back, biceps, forearms and even grip strength.
So, how to do a perfect pull-up? Here is a step by step guide for you:
- Leap up and grip the bar with your hands keeping your shoulder-width apart and your palms facing away from you. Hang with your arms fully extended and you can bend your legs at the knee if they are dragging on the ground.
- Keep your shoulders back and engage your core throughout and then slowly pull up. Focus on enlisting every upper body muscle to aid your upward movements.
- Keep moving until your chin is above the bar, then equally slowly downward until your arms are extended again. Aim for 10 pull-ups but be prepared to fall short.
10 Benefits of Doing Pull-Ups
Pull-ups are one of the most effective bodyweight exercises that can be done at home. It’s also the first step towards the pursuit of a lean, toned upper body.
There are absolutely NO precautions that one should take while doing pull-ups. The only precaution one should take is to perform pull-ups at their own pace to avoid injuries. The best way to go about doing this is to start off small and work your way up to the bigger sets.
Here are 10 benefits of doing pull-ups:
- Stronger Back: Pull-ups and chin-ups target your latissimus dorsi, which is one of the largest muscles in your body. Developed lats, or "wings," are indicators of upper body strength and are essential for everyday activities like reaching high cabinets or carrying grocery bags.
- Improves Posture: When you do pull-ups, your body works to hold itself in place, so over time, this posture exercise will help strengthen the back muscles that help you stand up straight.
- Improves Flexibility: The simple act of pulling up your own body weight is, well, not so simple. But it's an exercise that requires incredible strength. It's also an amazing workout for your back, arms, shoulders and core muscles, improving strength and flexibility. Now, before you do any pull-ups make sure you have a sturdy bar and a good grip on the bar (one palm facing forward, one facing back).
- Weight-Loss: Pull-ups are great for weight loss. Doing pull-ups forces your body to use fat as an energy source. You can lose up to 20 pounds of fat in one year by doing 5-10 minutes everyday, only 5-7 days a week of high-intensity exercises.
- Tones Your Muscles: Pull-ups are the most common exercises in which you have to use your own body weight to move your body against gravity. These help in burning calories, strengthening muscles and improving your overall fitness. With pull-ups, you can also work on specific muscle groups like biceps, triceps and shoulders.
- Improves Mental Health: Strength or resistance training is also beneficial for mental health. A study revealed a positive correlation between strength training and the following:
- Improving cognitive thinking
- Reducing anxiety symptoms
- Reducing depression
- Reducing fatigue
- & improving self-esteem
- Improves Grip Strength: Pull-ups also help improve grip strength and performance in many sports including golf, tennis, rock climbing and bowling. In our everyday life, strong grip strength is extremely important for performing activities like opening jars, walking our pets on a leash, carrying groceries, etc.
- Increases Intensity: Pull-ups are an easy way to increase the intensity. Even if you are a beginner or simply have not ever tried doing them, in that case, a few normal pull-ups will be more than enough to make you sweat. However, as you progress you can simply do more reps each time and do more sets too.
Many people increase the intensity by strapping some sandbag weights to their chest or ankles or wearing a weighted vest or even hanging a kettlebell or some dumbbells. One can also try doing one-handed pull-ups too!
- Numerous Variations: Doing the same workout and same exercises time after time can be extremely boring. But in the case of pull-ups, there are so many different variations that it is impossible for them to get boring.
Different variations include classic wide grip overhand pull-up, reverse grip pull-ups (chin-ups), close grip pull-ups, etc. They are all easy to do with the same equipment.
- Gives Quick Results: Most of the pull-up variations are convenient exercises. All you need is a solid bar. Just make sure to get a decent pull-up bar or else you might end up becoming a meme material in the gym. Bigger biceps are just the beginning. Pecs are stronger after doing pull-ups. Doing pull-ups helps tone your arms, strengthen your chest and entire upper body. Bones are getting stronger. Your bones are also getting stronger with each rep. The more weight you lift, the stronger the bones will become.
Machines are handy when you are unable to do pull-ups on your own. But when it comes to building muscles, you should avoid relying on machines, as they don't provide resistance equal to body weight. The only exception is the assisted pull-up, in which resistance is provided by a machine.
However, in case you want to proceed with pull-ups without the assistance of machines, take the help of a spotter. If you are unable to complete ten pull-ups in one go, ask your spotter to help you with partial reps.