Have you ever performed pull-ups? If you did then you probably know that it is one of the toughest bodyweight exercises. For beginners, doing multiple sets and repetitions of pull-ups is impossible. The difficulty of this exercise is huge as it requires a lot of strength from your arms, back, and shoulders. As a result, most people avoid the pull-up bar and perform other exercises to build their strength. Maybe they’ll change their mind if they learn about the benefits that this move carries. Before jumping towards the benefits let’s learn about the basics of this exercise.
The pull-up is an upper body strength training exercise that targets your upper and lower back muscles. It can be performed on a pull-up bar or any high-mounted bar. The pull-up is considered as the advanced variation of the chin-up exercise. It’s more difficult than chin-ups as it primarily targets your back muscles.
How To Do Pull Ups With Perfect Form
1. Start this exercise by standing below a pull-up bar or any high-mounted bar. Hold the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart. Your palms should be facing away from your body. You can place a box beneath the bar if it’s hard to reach. This is the starting position of this exercise.
2. Raise your feet from the floor so that you’re hanging from the bar. Make sure your back is straight and your arms extended. Engage your core muscles and pull your body by bending your elbows. Pull your body towards the bar until your chin is above the bar. Breathe in as you pull your body.
3. Hold your position at the top. Now extend your elbows to lower your body back to the starting position. Breathe out as you lower your body. This is one repetition of the pull-up exercise.
4. For beginners do 3 sets of 2-5 repetitions. For people with mid-level experience, do 3-4 sets of 5-15 repetitions.
Some Helpful Tips For Best Results
Keep the movement slow and smooth
Doing pull-ups with controlled momentum will keep your body stable. Taking a pause for 2-3 seconds at the top will build muscle mass in your back, shoulder and arm muscles. Fast repetitions can create stress in your elbow joints and cause injury.
Keep your muscles tight throughout the movement
Bracing your body will activate all the stabilizing muscles. This will help you to perform higher and smoother repetitions. While contracting your back muscles, Keep your chest out, shoulders pulled back, wrist tight, core and hips engaged.
Squeeze your muscles at the top
Once your chin is higher than the bar, pause for 2-3 seconds and squeeze your back muscles. Squeezing your primary working muscles at the top will activate more muscle fibers and deliver greater muscle strength.
Use full range of motion
During the start and finish position, keep your arms straight (without locking your elbows) for increasing the range of motion. The higher range of motion will improve the flexibility of your joints and activates more muscle fibers.
Benefits Of Doing Pull-Ups
Strengthens the upper and lower back muscles
The pull-up is one of the best and effective exercises to build your back muscles. It mainly works for your latissimus dorsi (largest back muscle), trapezium (located around the back of your neck), and erector spinae (it runs along your spine) muscles. Adding pull-ups to your workout routine will help in developing the latissimus dorsi muscle, giving you a V tapered physique.
Targets multiple muscle groups
Pull up is a compound exercise as it targets many muscle groups in one movement. Compound exercises involve natural movement that helps in improving muscle coordination. Performing pull-ups regularly will develop strength in your core, arms, and shoulders. Training many muscles together also burns a large amount of fat and tones your muscles.
Builds functional strength
Everyone performs different types of movement like walking, pushing, pulling, jumping, turning, etc. Doing dynamic compound exercises like pull-ups improves your functional strength and helps in doing daily activities easily. Studies have shown that doing strength or resistance training twice or thrice a week helps in improving your overall fitness level.
Improves your posture and reduces the risk of back injury
Whether it’s a lot of sitting work or a bad posture. Every day we do a lot of activities that put stress on our back which causes pain. Strengthening your back and abdominal muscles by doing pull-ups can help in reducing back pain and injury. Performing pull-ups regularly can improve your posture, giving you a leaner and taller appearance.
Boost your grip strength
While doing pull-ups, your wrists are always tight. This improves your grip strength which helps in lifting weights. Grip strength is important for many sports activities like cricket, baseball, tennis, golf, rock climbing, and bowling. In everyday life, grip strength is required for doing tasks like opening a jar, carrying groceries, walking your dog with a leash, etc.
Improves your physical and mental health
Strength training exercises like pull-ups may also help in improving your overall physical and mental health. Studies have found that performing strength training exercises helps in improving cardiovascular and bone strength. It also regulates blood pressure and sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Doing pull-ups can also improve your muscle to brain connection which reduces anxiety, fatigue, and depression. Resistance training can boost the functionality of your brain and self-esteem.
Negative pull-ups or negatives are the downward half of the traditional pull-ups. This exercise is performed by beginners to improve their pull-up performance. Negatives are also referred to as closed chain exercises by athletic coaches and physical therapists as your hands stay connected to the bar throughout the movement. Negative pull-ups are considered eccentric exercises because the muscle is lengthening during the movement rather than shortening or contracting. Researches have shown that both eccentric and concentric exercises are equally effective at building muscle mass.
In strength training changing the position of your body affects which muscles are engaged. Like in pull-ups, changing the position of your hands in the opposite direction changes the focus from your back to your bicep muscles. This variation is known as chin-ups. This exercise is less difficult than standard pull-ups as there is less emphasis on your back muscles. If you’re just starting, chin-ups are the best choice for building your strength and endurance.
The kipping pull-up is a variation of the traditional pull-up exercise that uses momentum to pull your body. The momentum can be created by swinging your lower body. This exercise is a controversial move as some people view this exercise as cheating or a shortcut for doing pull-ups. Kipping pull-ups are not as effective in building strength as standard pull-ups. According to experts, kipping pull-ups are not about improving strength but endurance. Doing this exercise with high repetitions in a short time is the best way to boost your muscular endurance and cardiovascular strength.
The weighted pull-up is the advanced variation of the standard pull-ups. This exercise can be performed by adding weight plates to your body through a belt or vest. Hanging weights makes the standard pull-ups challenging as it is difficult to lift your body. This exercise is famous among weightlifters, bodybuilders, and athletes for building muscle mass in their body. During this exercise, fewer repetitions and more weights are used to activate muscle hypertrophy for extreme muscle growth.