The Correct Pull Up

The Correct Pull Up

How to Correctly Execute a Pull Up

a proper pull up

The pull up is a deceptively simple exercise, but it’s actually difficult to do and even harder to master. In fact, a pull up is one of those almost expert level tricks. Once you can do a few of these correctly, you know that you’ve left the “amateur” level of fitness. An old-school pull up relies on pure upper body and grip strength with no swinging or "kipping" (using leg and hip movement to gain momentum). This exercise mostly targets the latissimus dorsi muscle of the back. So, if you’re just starting out, or if you’ve found yourself on the pull up bar and got stuck, this post may be for you.

Can't Do a Pull Up?  Believe in Yourself.

We know it’s a cliché, but that doesn't make it any less true. If you put a mental block in front of yourself before you even start, there’s no way you’re going to accomplish anything, let alone a well executed pull up. If you’re convinced you can’t do it because you’ve tried and failed many times before — you’re probably going to fail again. Like any other exercise, it takes training and discipline.

Have Realistic Expectations

If you can’t do a pull up right now, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of shape, it may simply mean that you haven’t yet trained that set of muscles properly. You can't expect to be able to do this if you haven't done any strength training or if you've not practiced on the bar before. So don’t be disappointed if you can’t do any or can only do a couple.

woman doing a pull up

Avoid Incorrect Pull Up Technique

  • Don't look at the bar while doing pull ups. This eye position will cause you to move further away from the bar, which will create bad form.
  • Don't forget to engage your lats. Particularly at the start of your pull, you need to really engage your lats to pull yourself up.

Work on Grip Strength and Immobility

You must learn to keep a dead hang position while having active shoulders. Keeping your lower body immobile while working your upper body is an acquired skill. Practice hanging regularly until you can keep straight without swaying. You'll also need to work on your grip strength. For more information on how to practice grip strength, refer to this previous post.

Build Muscle Strength

For proper execution, you have to be able to lift your own body weight using only your upper body. So consider how much you weigh and how much weight you regularly lift. If you don’t lift at all, it’s time to start strength-training. Using weights will help you develop strength and help you ensure that you can literally pull your own weight. Be sure to work out not only your biceps or arms — this is accomplished with your entire upper body, including your lats, back, shoulders, and abs. All of these parts must be trained in order to do a proper pull up.

Once You’ve Got It, Don’t Let It Go

It takes hard work to get to the level of being able to do multiple pull ups. Once you’ve managed to do one or a few, give yourself a pat on the back, but don’t stop there! Keep practicing your pull ups and your pull up technique. Take it slow, but challenge yourself every time you go to the pull up bar. Try to do one or a few more pull ups than the last time. Before you know it, you’ll have mastered doing pull ups like a pro

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Fitness Equipment - A Shopper's Guide

RX Fitness Equipment in Thousand Oaks is here to help you reach your own fitness targets. If you're in the market for pull up bar of your own, or just want a little advice on using one, we're here to help. If you're looking for a great selection of fitness equipment and accessories of all kinds, we carry the top brands to fit every goal and budget and we're here to make your fitness routine more productive. Stop by any of our three store locations or give us a call. And don't forget to check out Tim's best-selling book, Fitness Equipment – A Shopper's Guide, available at Amazon and other online book sellers as well as in our store.

Contact us for a free consultation or stop by any of our three stores and take something for a test drive. We’re here to help.

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