Movement Category: Upper Body Pulling
Implement: pull up bar and bodyweight
Difficulty Level: beginner to advanced
- establishes a basic Vertical Upper Body Pulling movement pattern
- builds strong and conditioned upper back and scapular region
- improves posture
- balances out the pressing movements for overall shoulder health and stability
Prime movers: Lats, traps, rhomboids, rear delts, biceps, forearms.
Stabilizers: abs, obliques.
Pull Ups – Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: Begin by firmly grasping the pull up bar with your hands facing away (pronated grip) and hanging off. Depending on your goals and specific objectives of your training you could place all fingers over the bar (tactical grip) or place your thumb under the bar (gym grip) – generally speaking the gym grip is harder for your grip. As you hang of the bar, maintain your shoulder in the sockets (keep the shoulder away from the ears). The full hang position should be returned to after every rep (no half pull ups, strive for the full range of motion) and it has the elbows locked out, but not hyperextended and your lats are stretched
Step 2: Exhale, as you pull yourself up until your chin goes over the bar. The body’s trajectory has a bit of a curve to it towards the rear. Make sure to fully engage your lats by focusing on pulling the elbows down towards the rib cage and also make sure to fully engage your arms by squeezing the bar with your hands. Depending on the amount of effort it takes you to do your set and whether it is done a low rep strength exercise or high rep strength endurance builder you will vary the degree of total body tension involved – from arching your back and bending your knees at 90 degree and flexing spinal erectors, glutes and hamstrings for more max effort type lifts to relaxing everything else but the lats and the arms.
Step 3: Inhale, as you push yourself away from the bar, lowering your body under control to a full elbow lockout. Finish the motion with fully stretched arms and lats but with shoulders remaining pulled in the sockets and ears away from the shoulders.
Caution: make sure to perform your pull ups with a full range of motion, as always leaving your arms bent on the bottom of the motion could lead to your body adapting to that limited range of motion over time and leaving you unable to perform full pull ups, easily anyway.
A) Negative Pull Up (novice to beginner level)
B) Band Assisted Pull Up (novice to beginner level)
C) Weighted Pull Up (intermediate to advanced)