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If you’re working toward that perfect v-shaped physique, look no further than the pull-up. The pull-up is the perfect upper body shaping exercise because it engages the major muscle groups that form the broadest part of your torso. Pull-ups add mass to your chest, lats, triceps, biceps, and rear delts.
Pull-ups also represent the ultimate test of upper body fitness. Often, the number of pull-ups that you can do is a good marker of how strong your upper body is.
Plus, knocking out a set of pull-ups makes you look and feel pretty awesome.
Can’t do a pull-up yet? No problem! Don’t click that back button on your browser until you check out these 5 training techniques that are guaranteed to help you complete your first pull-up, or improve the number that you can knock out right now:
- Negatives – Stand on a chair and grab the bar to start at the top of the exercise. Get in the starting position by standing on a chair and placing your chin just over the bar. Then, slowly lower yourself down into a hanging position. Don’t try to lift yourself back up. Simply stand on the chair and repeat the lowering movement until your reach muscle exhaustion. By lowering yourself as slowly as possible, you’ll utilize eccentric contractions to strengthen your “pull-up muscles” more efficiently.
- Assisted pull-ups with resistance bands – Hang a resistance band from your bar and place one foot into the stirrup for a slight lift when practicing pull-ups. Use a thicker band for more assistance. Decrease your assistance by gradually using thinner bands as you improve.
- Frequency method – Perform multiple sets of a rep count just below your max throughout the day. So, if you can complete 10 pull-ups, try completing 4 sets of 8 pull-ups every 3 hours. This technique spreads out the effort while still allowing you to hit your desired rep count for the day.
- Strengthen your back and chest – Lat pulldowns and bench presses are the best exercises to strengthen the main muscle groups that you engage while doing pull-ups. Complete 3 sets of each a few times a week to improve your pull-up count.
- Add more pull exercises to your workouts – Pull exercises like bicep curls, t-bar rows, and inverted rows are all designed for you to pull the weight toward your body during the muscle contraction. This is the same type of movement that you complete when you do a pull-up. Working on your pull muscles will improve your neuromuscular programming. This will allow your brain to engage all of the muscles needed to complete a pull-up. Without adequate neuromuscular programming, your brain can sometimes get fatigued before your muscles.
If you want to look and feel great without a shirt on as the weather gets warmer, start working on your pull-ups now. In just 12 weeks, your hard work will pay off if you dedicate yourself to working on your upper body.
How many pull-ups can you complete right now, and what is your goal?
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