Pull-ups are a very common exercise you might see in the gym, but for many, this can also be one of the most difficult movements to master.
Whether you’re new to working out, or you’ve been at it for years, here’s everything you need to know about pull-ups, including its benefits, how you can reach your goal of properly achieving this movement, and workouts that incorporate pull-ups:
Not to be confused with a chin-up, a pull-up is an upper-body strength training exercise that can be completed by hanging from a bar and pulling yourself up until your chin reaches above the bar, then slowly lowering yourself back down. A chin-up, however, is when your palms and your hands are facing toward you.
Sounds simple enough, right? This seemingly basic movement is an advanced exercise that requires some training and know-how to do it correctly.
If you’ve never incorporated pull-ups into your workouts before, here are a couple of reasons you may want to start:
Not quite able to complete a pull-up yet? That’s ok! There are exercises you can do that will help you get stronger and train your muscles to properly complete the movement:
Scapular pull-ups: One mistake many people make when doing a pull-up is not engaging their shoulders at the start of the exercise. This scapula, or shoulder blade, movement is training essential for completing regular pull-ups and helps you develop the proper movement that pull-ups require. It’s a very small, but an impactful movement. Here’s how to do it:
Plank row: This exercise works the muscles in your core, back, shoulders and arms — the same muscles needed to complete a pull-up. Here’s how to do it:
With this exercise, make sure you’re using a weight that’s challenging, but still allows you to keep proper form throughout the entire movement.
Negative pull-ups: This exercise will help strengthen the right muscles to make it easier to complete a regular pull-up. Here’s how to do it:
Once you’ve mastered the pull-up, here are two ways to incorporate the movement into a high-intensity interval training workout:
Set the clock for 10-minutes and complete as many rounds as possible of the following exercises:
You can always replace the five pull-ups with one of the progression exercises instead!
This workout is every minute on the minute, which means at the start of every minute, you should be repeating a set number of reps of an exercise and using the remaining time to rest.
At the start of every minute, complete three pull-ups. The goal is to have about 15 seconds of rest before starting the next minute.
Repeat this for eight minutes. Feel free to increase or decrease the number of reps to match your fitness level.
Interested in working with a trainer to improve your pull-ups? Learn more about our personal training packages here!
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