If increasing strength is a goal of yours, then Pull-up is definitely an exercise that should be included in your training program. Pull-up is an incredibly complex drill, which develops not only the back but the arms and shoulders, as well.
The traditional “old school” routines are indeed tough especially for beginners and as a result, most people prefer the “new and improved” techniques. The biggest mistake that I personally observe within gym environment is that the Pull-ups as an exercise is being entirely replaced by the different variations of pull down. Well, the bigger weights on the Pull-down machine, for sure won’t be as impressive as the higher Pull-ups rep count. The truth is that the Pull-up, combined with Deadlift is the most effective back exercises.
One of the biggest advantages is that the only thing that you need is a bar. You can do pull-ups at the gym or outside and indeed the only thing that you need is motivation, desire, and a bar. People also do it using trees.
Do not underestimate the importance of the complex strength exercises – they develop not only one but several muscle groups simultaneously. The is no other exercise that will make your upper body grow as well as the Pull-ups, especially if your aim is to put some more gains into your back and biceps.
Another huge advantage is the immense variety and variations. Even better is that you won’t need any additional outfit or equipment. The only thing that you’ll need to change is your grip.
Pull-ups will help you build strong and sturdy back. One of the biggest issues of the modern life is that we are spending an enormous amount of time sitting behind the desk, while working, which for sure loads the back. The little pains of the everyday life will be unknown for you. Another thing that should be taken into consideration is that the exercise will help you improve your functional strength – performing dynamic exercises like the Pull-ups which load a lot of muscle groups, will then save you some time on the longer reps in particular exercises for different routines.
For beginners could be considered people who can not pull-up even once, or the max rep count is 4-5 reps. If you pull-down machine records are impressive but you can not pull-up even once, then you should be aware that you are not the only one. Actually, a lot of people who are working out are facing issues with the Pull-ups. But imagine what you can achieve only if you include Pull-Ups in your training program.
Is it possible? Of course! Most probably everyone has seen people with huge muscles who can do a crazy amount of Pull-ups seamlessly.
If so, and you want to be able to do so just remember – It is never too late to start!
There are two main types of Pull-ups – overhanded and underhanded.
Overhanded – the hands should be placed on the level wider than the shoulders.
Underhanded – it is almost the same as the aforementioned. The main difference is that your palms should face your body.
Of course, both main types can vary depending on the grip width.
Which variation is the better one?
– Well according to some experts there is no type or variation that is much better or more effective than the others. Each has its own pros. Wide overhand Pull-us are using the wide back muscles when we pull our elbows towards the chest. The underhanded pull-ups are mostly loading the biceps, but of course, the back is still an active participant into the entire movement. Practicing these two Pull-ups variations will help you develop initial abilities, which for sure will come handy for future.
Be honest with yourself
You need to be completely honest with yourself, for you current Pull-ups scope. Try just to hang on the bar and see if you can pull yourself up. If you can’t do it even once, do not worry – if you are consistent in your desire to improve yourself and you make the necessary efforts, it’s only a matter of time.
How to start and improve our Pull-ups
There are different approaches to start with. None of them is perfect or better than the others since different people respond differently to each of them. As with everything else, what is useful and effective for some may be totally inappropriate for others. In these terms, I would recommend to try different methods and find out which is yours.
- Improve your mobility
If you begin with too tense chest and back muscles, then it will be even harder for your body to perform the Pull-up movement. This will load your shoulders and your spine even more. If you want to pull yourself up, then you must be in a static position on the bar with active arms. Once you succeed in hanging on the bar in a controlled manner, you can safely continue around with the Pull-ups. If you can not hang like this, then you will need to work some more on building strength in your arms.
- Learn to hang on the bar
If you already can statically hang on the bar, then the next step is to hang for a while. Challenge yourself, see how many seconds you can endure. This will help you build stability in your shoulder and to strengthen en your grip.
- Overall body strength
To succeed you will need some strength. Pull yourself up means that you will need to use more than 80% of your maximum strength.
- Focus on particular details
Remember, your body can adapt well only on one particular thing at the same time. It is hard to improve your strength and endurance simultaneously. That’s why your routine should be either for strength or endurance. If your goal is to perform your first Pull-up rep, then focus all your efforts there. You have then all the time in the world to start pulling yourself up several times.
- Climb up a rope
Another movement, which could help you in achieving your goal is rope climbing. It requires to use your legs, your arms and your back of course. This exercise is highly recommended for people aiming for strength.
- Keep yourself pulled-up on the bar
If you are really a beginner, something that might come useful is to pull yourself up using some help and then statically keep yourself on the bar. Try this several times for the maximum of time that you can keep yourself pull-up. Do not forget to rest between the reps.