How to do a Pull up. Upper body strength. Exercises for the back. Shoulder exercises. Bodyweight exercises. Bodyweight workouts.

8 Reasons to include Pull-ups in your Workouts

Welcome to our post on 8 Reasons to include Pull-ups in your regular workout routine! Find out why the exercise is so beneficial and why it should definitely have a spot in your training arsenal!!

Introduction

Pull-ups are undoubtedly one of the most effective upper body exercise for developing pulling strength and muscle mass in the upper body.  Legendary strength coach Charles Poliquin described them as the single most important exercise for upper body strength development.  They are an incredibly versatile compound movement that requires all the upper body muscles and core to work simultaneously in one fluid movement. 

Primary Muscles used: 

  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Teres Major
  • Biceps Brachii
  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Rhomboids
  • Trapezius
  • Deltoids
  • Pectoralis
  • Brachialis and triceps
How to do a Pull up. Upper body strength. Exercises for the back. Shoulder exercises. Bodyweight exercises. Bodyweight workouts.

8 benefits of including Pull-ups in your regular workout plan

1. Convenience

Who needs dumbbells, barbells or weight machines? Pull-ups can be done with nothing more than a pull-up bar. You can easily perform pull-ups just about anywhere be it at home, in a playground, or even in a tree. All you need for equipment is a bar (or something that can act as one) that you can grab onto and which can safely support your bodyweight.

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2. Compound exercise

The exercise utilises more than one muscle group (see above) and more than one joint when undertaken. It also recruits a maximal amount of muscle fibres and they can help you gain mass efficiently. 

3. Versatility

The standard pull-up is done with your palms shoulder-width apart in an overhand grip on the bar. This places great emphasis on the lats, shoulder and back muscles. However, you can also tailor the exercise to place greater emphasis on different upper body muscles by changing the position of your hands on the bar. 

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For instance, when chin-ups are done using an underhand grip they put more emphasis on your biceps. Conversely, using a wide-grip will work the shoulders and lateral muscles.  There are numerous variations of grip that can be utilised  to target key areas (such as close-grip and alternating grip). In essence, you can do multiple targeted exercises without having to worry about adjusting any weights.

4. Grip Strength

Pull-ups can help develop powerful forearms and grip strength to help improve your performance in several sports (for example in jiu-jitsu and wrestling both of which require a strong grip).

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5. Transferable Strength

Building strength with pull-ups can transfer over to resistance training exercises including pulldowns, rows and curls. Regular execution of pull-ups helps you do these exercises more effectively and efficiently.

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6. Fat burning Potential

For anyone looking to building muscle and lose fat at the same time, then pull-ups are definitely an exercise that should be considered. Similar to cardio exercises that raise your heart rate and assist in the fat burning process, pull-ups also help you in building strength. This, in turn, makes it easier to burn fat as the more muscle you grow the more fat that gets burned.

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7. Improving Posture

A bad posture is something that many people face, especially if they sitting a lot throughout the day. Doing pull-up exercises assists in activating your back muscles, which strengthens them thus gradually improving your overall posture.

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8. Cosmetically pleasing look

One of the main benefits of doing pull-ups is building muscle in various areas of your upper body.  As well as trimming overall body fat, pull-ups will keep the waist trim and shoulders wide. This means an increase in the waist-to-shoulder ratio (the ever elusive V-shaped look) which is a key factor to an attractive physique. 

This toned and chiseled physique always looks good on the beach or indeed anywhere.     

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How to undertake a basic pull up

  1. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip and hang (arms fully extended, roughly shoulder width apart). 
  2. Inhale and pull your chest up towards the bar by bending at the arms.
  3. Pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar).
  4. Pause at the top of the exercise (top of the bar).
  5. Exhale and lower back down under control. 
  6. Return to the starting position and repeat. 
How to do a Pull up. Upper body strength. Exercises for the back. Shoulder exercises. Bodyweight exercises. Bodyweight workouts.

Tips and Notes:

  • Keep the movement slow and controlled at all times. 
  • Ensure the body is tight throughout the exercise and keep the torso straight. 
  • Minimise ‘kipping’, rocking or swaying movements. for strict pull-ups. 
  • Look for FULL Range of Motion! Don’t do another rep unless you have fully extended your arms on your last rep. If you don’t then you are only cheating yourself and are risking injury.

Summary

The pull up is a superb exercise for building and maintaining upperbody strength. It does not require any actual equipment and can be undertaken anywhere with a secure overhead bar.  The exercise works a great number of muscle groups and thus helps burn calories faster.  This exercise or a variation of it should always be included in your training regime.

If you struggle to undertake even a single pullup, then fear not. In our next post, we shall cover building upper body strength so you can utilise Pull-ups more effectively.  The progression exercises will start from beginners back exercises and progress to actual pull ups to more advanced techniques. This will hopefully be beneficial for anyone with poor upper body strength, returning from injury and indeed for those wanting to push the exercise to the next level.

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