Pull ups: all the techniques to best perform the king of bodyweight exercises

Among the many possible bodyweight exercises, one arouses interest and admiration for the upper body strength required is the pull up.

There are many occasions to come across this exercise in various different environments. The strength developed from mastering a pull up can be applied across a broad continuum, for example an actor of an action film who is training for the next scene, to the gymnast competing for an Olympic medal. The pull up is also a must of functional training because developing the posterior strength is often neglected my many people. Also few other exercises besides this allow you to train so many muscles at once, which quickly increases the energy expenditure of those who practice it.

Ragazzo alla abarra prova ad alzarsi
While attracting a lot of interest in both boys and girls, the pull up is difficult and often neglected by many sportsmen and women, a pity because few exercises strengthen the whole upper body as the pull ups. This exercise strengthens the core, improves posture and develops the upper body posterior muscles: no exercise sculpts the body like the pulls on the bar.

Strength does not come from winning. Arnold Schwarzenegger

The pull up is an exercise that can be done anywhere, in the gym or even at the park. To perform it you only need a horizontal bar or, in the case of the park, even a strong horizontal branch can be acceptable! Whatever the difficulty that prevents this exercise, this article will explain the right way to overcome the obstacle and learn this movement so fundamental for different types of training.
Pull up inverso stretto

All the secrets of pull ups

To learn the correct technique of execution, we analyze this exercise from the perspective of calisthenics, the discipline which is queen of bodyweight training.

For those who are not aware of it, calisthenics is a training method related to gymnastics, with which it shares some exercises, the attention to correct execution of movements, essential to train constantly without incurring in physical injury’

The pull up is a typical exercise of the calisthenics
It is a training method capable of building a muscular and strong body, from which it derives the same name (Kalos - beautiful and Stehenos - strong) through bodyweight training. Among the many exercises carried out in the training routines, the pull up is part of the fundamentals of this discipline.

Broad pull ups, strict pull ups

Broad pull up facilitated to the bar of Omnia
Among the many possible versions of pull up, what is considered the gold standard is the strict variant. This variant allows one to enhance and improve strength and hypertrophy of the posterior muscles and biceps independently of everything else. In addition to this, it allows you to strengthen the abdominal muscles by targeting the much-loved six-pack that everyone wants.

What's different from the other pull ups variants?

Strict free pull up to the Omnia bar
Compared to variants such as Kipping pull up, Butterfly pull up or Muscle up, the strict variant, as mentioned above, requires a greater linearity of movement in which no space is given to oscillatory movements. Concentration is focused on individual muscles allow the lifting of the body, not on the dynamism of the movement. For this reason, the Strict version is also used to obtain improvements in terms of both strength and hypertrophy.
Boy exercises on the bar
Have you ever seen an athlete who practices calisthenics?  You will surely notice his physique as it seems carved in marble. The secret to getting this body is that all the exercises of the various routines need an activation of the whole core. Keeping the body always stable requires greater muscle activation and consequent increase in energy expenditure.

The rules of perfect pull up

Pull up can be done anywhere
To perform a professional pull up you must learn that performing it does not mean hanging from a bar or rings and lifting your body using any help or method possible.

The basic rule is that to consider a pull up performed correctly is as follows:

  • Starting position: the arms are completely outstretched, the body is in Hollow position, i.e. still with the core active and the legs straight.
  • Arrival position: Here, depending on the type of pull up that we want to go to perform we can give different arrival positions if we usually distinguish two types, chin above the bar or chest at the bar.
Tractions can be done anywhere, even on the street

Taking care of the details of the pull up

There are some details to consider when performing a pull up. As with all exercises, also in this case the risk of injury is possible: here are some tricks to keep in mind in the various positions to perform the exercise in complete safety and fairness.
Pull up on a callisthenic station
- Initial position: the arms in the starting position must be fully extended, but this does not mean that the body must only be hung. To get a correct execution and avoid oscillatory movements, you need to focus on the activation of the core and the shoulder blade joint as they stabilize the body or prepare for execution.
Rising to the top of the chin is one of the main goal of the pull up
  • Central position: When lifting, don't just focus on the action of your arms, imagine lowering your shoulder blades and pushing your elbows back. The dorsal muscles will be activated more and the shoulders will be kept in their correct position during the movement, following what physiologists call scapular rhythm.
  • Final position: Once you have passed the bar with your chin, do not stop maintaining tension. Maintain the tension of the core and slowly return to the starting position completing the movement in reverse. A sudden pull could cause an injury to the rotator cuff.
Tip: Don't focus too much on having to lift your body, but think about bringing the bar towards you. This will allow you to better focus on performing the exercise by following the right biomechanics of movement.

How many pull ups can you do?

As mentioned before, the pull up is a very particular natural load exercise. While a natural load squat is rather trivial for most people, pulling up to the bar poses an incredible barrier of entry: the load is not modulable. More appropriately apply the suggested progressions and regressions to learn and develop the pull up before moving onto the next stage or starting to count maximal repetitions.
Pull up on the beach performed by a calisthenic athlete

I can't do any pull ups. Now what?

Don't worry if the number of repetitions is low. One or two pull ups along with the regressions are enough to create a training program that will lead you to increase the number of reps. Make many series while maintaining the correct execution of the exercise and recovered in such a way as to be able to perform the next one in complete autonomy and safety.

Can't do any pull ups?

Trying to do these exercises is a preparation for the realization of the pull up: they will stimulate the muscles and prepare for the exercise:

  • Static Hold: Helping with a bench or chair, assume the final position of the pull up. Stay in position by activating all the muscles necessary for movement for about 20". Recover and repeat the same exercise three times.
  • Negative pull up: With the help of a bench, hold on to the bar, jump and stop in the final position of the pull up. From this position, start to descend slowly until you reach the starting position. Try to spend about 5 seconds on the descent.

Make three sets of 5 repetitions.

In order to raise the weight of your body to the bar is neessario to be well trained.
  • Assisted Pull Up: Attach an elastic band to the bar to form a loop. Place one foot in the loop and hang on to the bar. The elastic band will reduce your weight and make it easier to get up on the bar. Make three sets of about 4-5 repetitions.

It is very easy for me to pull up following sufficient training.

If jumping up has become child's play, it's time to stop adding sets and repetitions to our training. Instead try using these small progressions:

  • Pull Up with Overload: Add weight, ideal would be a weighted jacket but also a belt with some weight attached to it. Try to make 3 sets of 6 repetitions, if it is still simple, add weight.
OMNIA³ offering you effective and enjoyable training even in limited spaces
  • Pull Up Plyometric: Perform an explosive traction so that you leave the grip for a moment once your chin exceeds the bar. If it's still easy for you to try changing your grip once you've left the bar, switch from a prone grip to a supine grip.
  • Towel pull up: This exercise is ideal for testing hand grip and arm strength. Put a towel on the bar and grab it with both hands at both ends. Pull up by bringing your elbows close to your body.

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