Pull Ups - How to Do Pull Ups With Proper Form
Pull Ups are a very simple and very effective back exercise that can provide amazing strength and muscle mass gains. One great advantage of pull ups is that the only equipment you will need is a bar. You can either go to the gym where they will have plenty of bars available or you can put one up in your own house for greater convenience, if you have the room.
As with all exercises, you can only get the most out of them if you are aware of the correct technique and pull ups are no different. So, the rest of this guide teaches you exactly how to execute this back exercise with precise technique.
To begin with you want to jump up and grab the bar above you and when you grab it keep your palms facing away from you. Ensure that your hands are more than shoulder width apart, but don't make your grip to wide as it will become uncomfortable.
Wrap your fingers around the bar where your palms meet your fingers. You should not use just your palms as it can cause damage to your skin and considerable pain. Keep your arms straight with your elbows locked. If you leave some slack in your arms it isn't nearly as effective for your muscle development.
From here check your body is in the correct position. Do not simply hang from the bar as it is detrimental to your performance as well as putting the lower area of your back at risk of injury. You should cross your feet at the ankles and bend your legs at the knees instead of letting them dangle below you. Put your shoulders back and push your chest out to take the strain off your shoulders and get the most out of your upper back muscles.
You should focus on the bar throughout the pull ups exercise and never shift your vision away from it, until you lift your head above it of course. Now your hands will be supporting your entire bodyweight and you can prepare yourself for the start of your reps by working out how much force you will need to lift yourself up. Just before starting take a deep breath in and hold it.
Pull up as powerfully and quickly as you can. You should be pulling up with your upper back muscles and keep control over your technique and body position throughout. Make sure your elbows are pointing down towards the floor and you feel the muscles across the top of your back really working. With your legs crossed and knees bent you can flex your gluteus maximus which provides a good power boost as well supporting your lower back.
As already stated, keep focusing on the bar and never take your eyes off it. Looking straight at the bar will help keep your body in the correct position as well as simply letting you see how far you have to go. You must complete the entire rep each and every time and the pull up movement is not completed until you bring your chin over the bar so you have pulled your entire head above the level.
Once you have completed the positive rep of lifting yourself up you must now bring yourself back down to your starting position for the next rep. You should come down slower and more controlled than you did on the way up as this is not the explosive part of the exercise. Do not simply let your bodyweight drop as this can cause problems in your elbows and arms. Reaching the start position your arms should be once again fully extended and locked at the elbows and as you arrive to the start position exhale that deep breath you took before lifting up. Then take another deep breath as you begin the next rep.
If you feel you have mastered these pull ups you can move on to adding extra weight to provide a greater challenge. There are a number of techniques you can use to add weight to your pull ups such as placing a light dumbbell between your legs close to your ankles. Another simple method is to put some weight into a backpack and wear it in your reps, just make sure the backpack can hold the weight. There is also equipment that you can get hold of such as a specialist belt and chain where you can attach plates for extra weight. Another more complicated method is to get hold of a resistance band and secure one end to the ground. Put the other end on your body wherever is most comfortable for you.
Of course if you are a beginner you should not try extra weighted pull ups until you have mastered lifting your own bodyweight. Many beginners struggle with this to begin with and if this is the case then you should start off with assisted pull ups before moving onto lifting by yourself...
...And now you know how to do pull ups!
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...Alex Vaughn, the founder & owner of MyWeightLifting.com, invites you to check out the complete guide to the pull ups. And while you're on the site, you might want to browse through our growing database of weight lifting exercises. The database includes dozens of high quality and detailed exercise tutorials that will teach you the right way to lift weights.
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