March 20, 2009, Newsletter Issue #369: The Pull-Up

Tip of the Week

Executing a Pull-Up properly is terribly difficult.  I see guys all the time doing what they call pull-ups, and what it really is involves more the muscles around their shoulder than the muscles in their back.  Most people do a Pull-Up and end wiith rounded shoulders, not going all the way down to the beginning of the motion.  Let's see how to do it correctly:
Grab onto the bar above your head so that palms are facing forward and hands are slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Make sure that your grip is tight on the bar while keeping the rest of body straight as you hang with arms fully extended. Try to bring shoulders down and draw in your abdomen slightly and begin to lift yourself up to the bar, making sure to bring your body up with arms parallel to the rest of the body. Do not let the elbows or head come forward, for that will cause you to flex tightly at the upper trapezius, promoting rounded shoulders and taking the benefit away from your back musculature, probably causing you some back pain. Do your best also not to kick the legs up, for this just makes the exercise much easier. Stop once your nose is level with your hands, and with arms still parallel with the rest of the body, come slowly back down. Try to lean forward a bit as you come down slowly to not only more greatly strengthen the back but also to stretch it. Stop once arms are completely straight and repeat.
The perfect way to do a Pull-Up (based upon your muscular and skeletal anatomy to maximally benefit your back and posture) would to have your head smash through the bar above your head, keeping your head in line with your arms.  When you do reps of Pull-Ups, always come all the way down.  When you don't the exercise is much easier.  If a Pull-Up is too hard, just jump onto the bar and hold yourself up for an extended amount of time, let's say 20 seconds.  You will get a good workout just holding on.  The more you practice your Pull-Ups, the better you will get at them.

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