One of the best resistance-training you could perform and which is ideal for your body weight and health condition is the pull-up. But for a pull-up workout to be effective, you must know the right fundamentals and practice it.
Pull-ups are one of the best ways to develop your grip and your upper-body and core strength. You should endeavor to master it while you’re working out in Gold’s Gym or 24 Hour Fitness. Here are 10 tips that will show you how.
1. Don’t hurry going down
Just dropping from the top of the pull-up to a dead hang can compromise the strength that you are building. Take control of your release and you will produce good results. The rule is: take at least one full second to lower your body from the bar.
2. Brace your abs
Those who do pull-ups usually do it with their backs arched. This practice will zap your strength and even increase your chances of back injury. The better thing to do is to brace your abs like you are anticipating somebody punching you in the gut. This will keep your spine straight and stable.
As you are hanging from the bar, try pulling your belly button toward your rib cage. Sustain this contraction throughout your pull-up exercises.
3. Dead hang at the bottom
If you go to a dead hang at the bottom of each rep, you will be sure that you are not relying on your momentum to repeat each rep. Yes, it will be more difficult but it will enhance your muscle and strength development in the long run.
At the bottom of each rep, ensure that your arms and elbows are completely straight.
4. Take a hollow-body position
A hollow-body position will force your lats and abs to work together. Taking this position will increase stability, and allow you to concentrate your effort in pulling your body up to the bar.
You should tighten your abs, hold your thighs together, and point your legs slightly in front of you so your body forms a wide C. Maintain this position for all the reps.
5. Tighten your grip on the bar
Tightening your grip enables you to get proper muscle contraction in your shoulders and upper back. It will increase your strength and will make it easier for you to lift your body up to the bar.
Stand on a bench or box so you can easily reach the pull-up bar with your hands. Hold the bar tightly with your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Squeeze the bar three times. On your third squeeze, imagine as though you’re trying to crush the bar in your hands. Maintain this grip throughout all the reps.
6. Exhale as you go up and inhale as you go down
As you exhale when pulling your body up, you will be able to increase the tension in your core. This makes it easier for you to build your body as a solid, tight unit.
Don’t exhale all at once, but use your abs to push the air out of your lungs for the entire rep. And then breathe in as you go down, while extending your arms straight.
7. Clear the bar with your shoulders
In pulling up, clear the bar with your upper chest and shoulders and not just with your chin. This will also enable you to maintain proper shoulder position.
Slightly lean your torso back while keeping your eyes forward. This will allow your chin to clear the top of the bar. If you have already developed enough strength, try to touch the bar with your collarbone.
8. Perform a reverse shrug
Doing a reverse shrug will prevent your traps from doing all the work. Instead, it allows your teres major, the muscles in your shoulder blades and latissimus dorsi and the biggest muscles in your upper body, to do the pulling.
Hang from the bar using an overhand grip. Pull your shoulder blades down and toward your spine. This will cause some tension to build up in your lats under your armpits and your shoulders to move away from your ears.
If you don’t have enough strength to do this, start by doing the reverse shrug on a lat pull-down machine.
9. Keep your body solid
Keep your whole body rigid and solid from head to toe. This will enable you to engage more muscles in your body, including your core, hams and glutes. It will also increase the pulling power of your lats and arms.
10. Tighten your glutes
Tightening your butt muscles and your thighs together will stabilize your lower body and will help to keep your legs from swinging. Not being able to stabilize your body will reduce the power of your upper body.