Get Pull-Up Strong Part 2

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If you're still not convinced that you should be doing some sort of pull-up variation in your program, consider it as one of those biggest-bang-for-your-buck exercises. They essentially work everything above the belt, including:

  • Latissimus Dorsi

  • Shoulder - Teres Major, Infraspinatus and Teres Minor

  • Long Head of the Triceps

  • Biceps

  • Forearm/ grip strength

  • Core (External Obliques)

Let's talk about grip...

Although people usually refer to everything as a "pull-up," there is a different between a “pull-up” and a “chin-up” and that is the type of grip you take on the bar. Chin-ups (palms facing you variety), has been shown to work the biceps and the chest muscles a little bit more than the other hand positions. The wide grip pull-up activates your lats and your lower traps a little bit more. Chin-ups are known to be a little bit "easier" and would therefore be a great option for beginners.  Honestly, unless you are training for something specific, it doesn’t matter. You will be getting strong regardless of which grip you are working with.

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Here are two challenging progressions from those posted in Get Pull-Up Strong Part 1:

1) Band-Assisted Pull-up

This variation is great for teaching core engagement involved in stabilizing yourself during a pull-up; the more your core is engaged the less your body will swing when loaded in the band.

**The thicker the band = the more of your body weight that is supported = the easier the movement

PROGRESSION -- Add reps every week and eventually use a thinner band.

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How to:

  • Loop band around pull-up bar (long “monster band” – band thickness can vary from 2 inch to ¼ inch)

  • Use box or step to help loop foot in band

  • Begin pull-ups –slow and controlled – engage core to limit swing

  • Be careful on dismount, stepping out of the band one foot at a time back on the box.

2) Negative (Eccentric) Pull-Ups

This is probably one of the BEST and most challenging ways to get closer to doing a real pull-up because it is the most similar variation.

At the end of the day, the best way to get better at pull-ups is to strengthen the muscles involved in the movement by doing pull-up-like-movements multiple times a week. Smart and consistent training is key.