Monday 7 December 2015

How to Super-Charge Your Pull-Ups

Pull-ups rock! If you want to burn fat, build bigger lats, build bigger biceps, improve upper body strength, improve real-life function or you are pressed for time and need ultra-time-efficient exercises, the pull-up bar is for you! Think of them as squatting with your upper body. However, picking great exercises is only half the battle. Doing them in an effective manner is also important. It is not just about getting your chin over the bar. Here are some tips and an instructional video to help you super-charge your pull-ups!

Summary of Tips from the Video
(and a few more I forgot to mention when I filmed this)
  • Pack your shoulders (keep them as far away from your ears as you can)
  • Keep your chest up
  • Lean back to start
  • Drive your elbows down to engage your lats
  • Use your biceps to finish the movement
  • Keep your shoulders from popping up or gliding forward at the top
  • Keep your chin tucked in and avoid the temptation to reach with your chin at the top
  • If you can go from high rings or a higher bar that allows you to keep your legs straight – do it! This will make it, reduce cheating and work your abs. 

Note: the technique in this video uses a fairly equal combination of lats and biceps. If you want to focus more one area, check out my post on Target Training with Compound Movements

What About Kipping Pull-Ups?
Your goal should dictate your training. Always ask yourself why you are doing a particular exercise. If you are doing pull-ups to build or strengthen your upper body, don’t kip. If you are trying to learn a more economical way to do pull-ups so you can do more for a competition (that doesn’t mind sloppy form), learning to kip efficiently will help you in competition. If this is you, just be careful and still build pull-up strength with some strict form work.

Also, for more info on pull-ups and ways to improve your pull-ups, check out the following posts: