Rise above the rest by mastering your pull-ups

Pull ups challenge your back like no other exercise can do and therefore can easily be referred to as the King of Back development.

If you want to build a nice V-tapered look, pull ups are your gold-standard exercises for the strength & growth of your back muscles.

What are Pull ups?

A pull up is classified as a Closed Kinetic Chain (CKC) exercise. A closed kinetic chain exercise allows you to build functional strength because you train the body to move using its own weight rather than an Open Kinetic Chain exercise where the effort you exert is used to move an object other than yourself. CKC exercises are safer as they allow an individual’s body structure to determine the movement pattern of the joints. Thus, allowing for a more natural range of motion & reduce stress on joints as well.

Kinds of Pull ups:

Pull up has a lot to offer in terms of variety as there are several techniques to do this amazing back building exercise form. Also, if you use pull up handles and suspension training straps, you can do more sets of pull ups because of the comfortable grip that these handles provide and the ability to change your grip form from a pronated or supinated style as you perform your pull up is an added bonus for using these grips.

Following are some of the pull up variations you can add in your workout regime:

1. Classic Pull ups:

The classic pull up is executed with a pronated grip (palms facing away from you). You can experiment with Wide grip Pull ups, Shoulder-width pull ups and narrow grip pull ups.

Using pull up grips or handles will allow you to practice different grip styles like overhand, underhand or neutral (where the palms are facing the sides of your head)


2. Chin up Pull ups:

Chinup pullups are done with a supinated grip (palms facing towards you). By utilizing a supinated grip, the chinup utilizes more of the bicep muscles and therefore works in building and strengthening them.


3. Leaning Rows:

Leaning rows entail engaging your core and keeping your legs straight and in line with your knees. Your elbows should be at your sides. When starting out with leaning rows, you can begin almost upright and lean back just a bit with your upper body. As you develop strength and confidence with this exercise, you can start with your body leaning back further by moving your feet further away from the pullup bar or handles.


4. Rocky Pull up:

Yes, the classic movie Rocky inspired pull up where you suspend yourself using a V-bar or any overhead bar. You will require pull up grips or training grips in order to execute these sets. Pull yourself up, reaching the right side of the bar and then repeating the process while touching the left side.


5. Knee-up Pull ups:

The Pull up with Knee-up is an eccentric movement. It is really powerful and works your lower abdominal area. To do it, grab the suspension straps installed a slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the bar with an overhand grip and bend your knees at a right angle to your body. Then bring yourself up slowly and go down again. Rinse and repeat.


6. Kneeling Pull ups:

In order to execute this movement, you will need weight suspension grips or straps. First step is to kneel down with your toes tucked underneath you and position yourself in such a manner that you can reach the handles even when you are sitting down. Keep your core nice and braced. Now lift yourself up using your arms and avoid taking support from your lower body for the movement. Raise yourself and then come down again to the kneeling position.

This exercise is great for those that find the full weighted pull up a little too much of a challenge. Using your feet for a little extra help – be careful not to use too much help or it will defeat the whole point of the exercise – try to use all of your back muscles to pull yourself up and not your legs. These are also perfect for people who can already do Pull ups, but want to get more volume in.


7. Ninja Climb:

Now, the ninja climb allows you to practice movement like no other exercise. You will need an overhead bar with several suspension grips installed on them at little intervals. Using a neutral grip, raise yourself, bringing your knees towards your chest and then move forward on the bar using the grips.


Tips to Improve your Pull ups:

Now, in order to make sure that you execute all these amazing kinds of pull ups effectively, note down a few pointers:

  • Know when to quit:

For starters, while doing a set of pull ups, if you feel that you are no longer going up as much as the previous one or you are losing form, immediately quit the set. It’s better to accept the failure of incompletion than face the negative impact that the wrong form and wrong set of movement will leave on your body.

  • Lose excess body fat:

Extra body fat is good for weight lifting but would be a major hurdle in doing pull ups. So, if you are storing excess fat on your muscle, it’s time to lose it buddy, because it isn’t any good.

  • Proper positioning is the game changer:

Assuming the wrong position where your scapula is elevated and shoulders are touching your ears can be dangerous. As when you do this all of the tension is placed on your tendons and ligaments instead of your muscles.

When you begin any kind of pull up, you want to pull your shoulder blades down and lock your shoulders into their sockets. This ensures that the stress will be placed directly on the muscles and not the tendons and ligaments.


Wrapping up, nothing builds massive upper backs and lats like pull ups do. Athletes and gymnasts add pull up variations to their routines in order to gain upper body strength. So, start doing them and build your back and core.


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