What is a pull-up?
A pull-up is just about the hardest bodyweight exercise you can do. It places a lot of strain on your upper body.
It involves hanging from a pull-up bar and then pulling your entire body weight upwards until your chin is above the bar. That, in short, is a pull-up.
Why do pull-ups?
Pull-ups are a basic exercise that work a lot of muscles. They can really help you develop your back. The benefits of pull-ups:
* They improve your grip (wrist) and develop your entire back. They make you stronger.
* Pull-ups are a polyarticular exercise. That means they work a lot of joints. They require a lot of energy and burn up calories in number.
* They make you stronger and have a rapid effect on your upper body.
Which muscles do pull-ups work?
Pull-ups are hard to do to begin with because they require a lot of strength and engage lots of different muscles. They’re a polyarticular exercise that work your shoulder girdle (latissimus dorsi, trapezius, teres major, pectorals, rhomboideus major and minor), shoulders (posterior deltoid), arms (biceps) and pelvic girdle (abdominals).
How to master the pull-up
Though there are lots of ways to do pull-ups, we're going to talk to you here about just two of them: supinated and pronated pull-ups.
Which one you do most easily depends on your ability, mobility and personal preference.
The most important thing is to keep yourself balanced and avoid swinging. On the way down make sure you stretch your arms out and on the way up get your chin above the bar.
Here are some key tips to doing a good pull-up:
PMBS: position, movement, breathing, safety. Four key words for the perfect pull-up:
Position: feet directly below the bar, which should be in a fixed position above your head. You can use a supinated or pronated grip to hold the bar. Don't grip it too tightly as you'll run the risk of over-engaging your forearms.
Movement: after taking hold of the bar, let hang down from it, lifting your feet from the ground. Engage your abs, your back and your arms, and pull the weight of your body up towards the bar, trying to lift your chin over it.
Breathing: Breathe in on the way up or the way down. It doesn't really matter which.
Safety: make sure you don't bang your head on the bar. The best way to avoid that it is to lift your head and look at the bar while you're performing the exercise. I also make sure there's not too much of a drop in case I have to let go when I'm hanging from the bar.
What are the different types of pull-ups?
There are lots of different ways of doing pull-ups, depending on how you grip the bar, the width of the bar, and the type of workout you want to do:
How to get better at pull-ups
This advice is mainly aimed at beginners who haven't done pull-ups before.
Start off by hanging a training band from the bar. The aim is to do five sets of five reps, so make sure you choose a good training band.
The stronger the band, the more it will help you do pull-ups.
Once you've got the hang of using the band, place a box beneath the bar. It will help you get above the bar and complete your pull-ups. That means you will only work the negative phase of the pull-up, and in this phase you should slow your descent as much as possible.
And if you're looking to get better at pull-ups, I recommend trying strength techniques, such as 5x5, pletnev method, super pletnev, weighted pull-ups, etc.