Ever wander through a gym, only to quickly spot several guys doing heavy lifts with ease, only to see them attempt a pull up and fail miserably? Many people can lift big but still lack the ability to do a single pull up. Although tough to master, pull ups are not impossible and are a true indicator of a strong overall body. Just as with learning and conquering any other body weight exercise, there are progressive steps and exercises that will get you to that end goal - showing up those boys in the gym.
How To Pull Up
Pull ups are largely a back exercise but incorporate many different muscles, including the back, biceps and forearms. So how do you properly execute a pull up? Standing beneath a pull up bar, jump up with your palms facing out and grab the bar. Pull your body upward until your chin reaches the bar (or just above it). Slowly lower your body to the start position and repeat. It's important to note that there are other bodyweight exercises, such as chin ups, that are often mistaken for pull ups. Chin ups are done on parallel handles with hands turned in and are predominantly a bicep exercise - nowhere near as hard as pull ups.
How To Get Started
Chances are you will not be able to do a pull up when you try for the first time. What you can do, however, is work on similar exercises that strengthen the muscles required in executing a pull up. Let's take a look at a few:
Assisted Pull Ups - These are performed using assistance machines, and are a great step to learning the proper form and motion involved in a pull up. Keep in mind, when working with assistance machines, that the more weight you have on, the easier the pull up will be (ie the opposite of how most machines work).
Lat Pulldowns - Find a machine or plate-loaded machine to perform this exercise. This is a great way to mimic the movement (in the opposite direction) of a bodyweight pull up. Always pull the bar down in front of the body towards the collar bones. Pulling behind the head would increase the risk of injury.
Single Arm Dumbbell Rows - This exercise will help strengthen both the obliques and the back. Using a bench, place the left arm and knee on a bench and perform a row using a dumbbell with the right hand. Repeat on the other side. These will really help build up those lat muscles.
How To Be Awesome
There is no denying that being able to do a pull up is just plain awesome. Show that your strength far exceeds just looking great by mastering the ever-impressive pull up! Did you know that liquid chalk can help to overcome any grip problems when attempting pull ups? Be awesome with pink liquid gym chalk and improve your pull up today!