The Pull Up!

The Pull Up is a classic staple in the fitness world. Every gym, playground, and teenage boy’s doorframe has a Pull Up bar in some form or another. It’s a main section of the Presidential Fitness Test for middle schoolers and an event in Professional CrossFit Competitions!

Why is that?

Well, the answer is simple. A Pull Up is an exercise that has a multiple health and fitness benefits that put it in to a class of its own.

Let’s start with the basics:

  • The Pull Up is a compound move that works your back, core, arms, and shoulders, with even secondary effect on the muscles in your chest. Essentially, it’s an upper body power house.
  • The Pull Up increases back and core strength, which combats the sedentary “sit down” lifestyle so many of us can’t avoid. By sitting in the car, at the office, for meals, etc., we literally weaken our back’s ability to support us. The Pull Up re-engages your muscles to create a strong support next time you need to carry those moving boxes to the car.
    • The increased back and core strength also leads to better posture. Working to strengthen your upper body with compound moves directly correlates to good posture.
  • The Golden Benefit – A toned, shaped physique. A Pull Up works literally every muscle from your waist to your neck. Compound or “dynamic” moves like this train your body to shed pounds faster because it needs to use more energy. For the guys, the classic V-SHape is built from a sturdy wide group of shoulder and upper-back muscles. For the ladies, a slender upper body with toned armband defined back muscles give that classic fit look without adding bulk or extra size.
  • Icing on the cake! There is nothing more bad-a** than seeing a woman who smashes out a few Pull-Ups unassisted. Women are built at a disadvantage for Pull Ups because they carry less upper body muscle and more weight in the legs. So when you see a woman who can go unassisted, you know they mean business. Show up those guys ladies!

What to do? Get on those Pull Ups when you’re next at the gym. If you’re on a workout regimen that splits the muscle groups up to train on different days, add Pull Ups (or assisted Pull Ups) to your Back Day. If you’re working out without specific muscle group days, add Pull Ups in every other time you work out. Here’s a start-up Pull Up routine to get you off and running:

Pull Up Power – Start with assisted Pull Ups.

  • If you are at a gym, use the assisted pull up machine. Set the weight to half your own body weight to start. Do 3 sets of 10 reps. If thats too easy, try going to only %40 of your own body weight and trying again. Overtime, as you get more comfortable with the Pull Up, keep lowering the assistance weight until you can do 1-3 reps on your own. At that point, move over to an unassisted Pull Up bar and smash out those reps, doing as many as you can for 3 sets.
  • If you don’t use a gym or prefer to workout at home or at a park, use a friend or trainer to assist your Pull Ups by holding your legs and helping you rise. Work with your partner on how much support they need to give while still allowing you to use all your strength.