Tips for Pull Ups

Pull ups seems to be an exercise a lot of people struggle with. The video below outlines the setup and then the variations.

The pull up is a body weight pulling exercise. To set up you need to rotate the shoulders back and down, depressing the shoulder blades, activating the lats (the muscles along the rib cage). If you lose that lat activation you’ll be primarily using the top of the back muscles and putting undo stress on your shoulders. Gripping the handle in your prefered stance, neutral and the reverse grip are going to be the easiest, feel the lats contract as you depress the shoulder blades. You should also feel the core start to contract at the same time. Keeping those two feelings, start to pull yourself upwards as you continue to pull the shoulder blades back together and downwards. The core should be tight supporting the spine. Knees bent feet behind you will help ensure that you continue to use the core to assist you.

You may not be able to pull yourself up all the way, heres what worked for me.

Partner assist. This I feel strongly is the best, (as long as you're partnered proportionately) Once you're in position, with feet crossed behind the body, have them hold your feet, and you’ll push against them to help you reach the last little bit. The assist station at the gym. with these it's like someone holding your feet, you just get to choose how much the machine helps you by setting the amount of resistance. The machine acts as a counter weight. So with this method, you're going to choose the amount of weight just needed to get you to bar, lower controlled. And then using less and less weight until you don’t need it any longer. Keep trying a few with no weight every week to check your progress. Also you can use resistance bands. Start with just enough needed to get you to the bar. And use only until you are able to reduce the band strength, using less and less resistance. One day you won’t need a band at all.

The assist can still be helpful even if you’ve been doing un-assist if you're doing an awful lot of pull ups in a specific program. Or if you are learning to do new vaiations of the pull up, such as the typewritter or unilatereals.In my book, it is better to assist than to injur.

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