Exercises You Can Do A Few Times To Improve Your Pull Ups

By admin
Apr 05 2024

Exercises You Can Do A Few Times To Improve Your Pull Ups

Pull-ups are a cornerstone exercise that targets multiple muscle groups, including the back, arms, and shoulders. However, mastering them can be challenging. If you’re on a mission to increase the number of pull-ups you can do, there are numerous strategies to help you hit your targets. This blog post is set to guide you through some of the best approaches to amp up your pull-up game at the gym.

If you’re looking to improve your pull-up performance, incorporating specific exercises a few times a week can significantly boost your strength and endurance. Here’s a guide to the exercises that will help you level up your pull-ups.

Negatives Pull ups

Negative pull-ups are a highly effective exercise for increasing upper body strength and improving your pull-up capability. 

Here’s how to execute negative pull-ups effectively:

  • Set Up

To begin, you’ll need a pull-up bar that’s high enough so your feet can hang without touching the ground when you’re at the top of the pull-up position. If you’re unable to jump to this position, use a box, bench, or step to get yourself there.

  • Starting Position

Using the box or bench, jump or step up so your chin is over the bar with your hands about shoulder-width apart. You can use an overhand grip (palms facing away from you) or an underhand grip (palms facing towards you), depending on your preference and what part of your muscles you’d like to focus on.

  • Engage Core and Shoulders

Before starting the descent, engage your core and tighten your glutes to keep your body stable and straight. Also, pull your shoulders slightly back and down to engage your lats and protect your shoulder joints.

  • Lower Yourself Slowly

The key to negative pull-ups is in the controlled descent. Slowly lower yourself until your arms are fully extended, aiming for a descent that lasts between 5 to 10 seconds. The slower you can go, the more strength you’ll build.

  • Return to Start

Once you’ve lowered yourself to a full hang, step back onto your box or bench to return to the starting position with your chin over the bar. If you’re strong enough, you can also pull yourself up again before performing another negative.

  • Repeat

Perform multiple repetitions, depending on your fitness level. Start with a few reps and gradually increase as you build strength. Remember, quality over quantity—focus on maintaining a slow, controlled descent for each rep.

Hanging Shoulder Shrugs

This exercise targets the shoulder and scapular muscles, which are crucial for initiating the pull-up movement. Hang from the pull-up bar with straight arms, then shrug your shoulders to lift your body an inch or two. Release and repeat. This move strengthens the muscles involved in the lower portion of the pull-up.

Assisted Pull ups

Using resistance bands or an assisted pull-up machine can help you perform the pull-up movement while supporting a portion of your weight. This allows you to focus on form and gradually build the strength needed for unassisted pull-ups.

Banded pull-ups are an excellent way to work your way up to unassisted pull-ups by using the assistance of a resistance band. This method helps in building the necessary strength and technique required for the full movement. Here’s how to do a banded pull-up correctly:

  • Selecting Your Band

First, choose a resistance band that suits your current strength level. Bands come in various thicknesses, with thicker bands offering more assistance. If you’re new to pull-ups, start with a band that allows you to perform 8-10 pull-ups with good form.

  • Setting Up the Band

Loop the resistance band around the pull-up bar. Ensure it’s securely in place. You might have to pull it tight to make sure it’s not going to slip when you apply your full weight.

  • Positioning the Band

Pull the band down and place one foot (or knee, depending on the band’s length and your preference) in the loop at the bottom. If you’re using your foot, make sure to step into the band securely; if you’re using your knee, ensure it’s comfortably placed in the center of the band.

  • Getting into Start Position

With one foot or knee in the band, grasp the pull-up bar with both hands using an overhand grip (palms facing away from you). Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Allow your body to hang straight down, creating tension in the band. This is your starting position.

  • Performing the Pull-Up

Engage your core and pull your shoulder blades down and back. Then, pull yourself up towards the bar by bending your elbows and driving them to the sides. Continue pulling until your chin is over the bar. The band will assist by propelling you upwards.

  • The Descent

Lower yourself back down to the starting position in a controlled manner, extending your arms fully and maintaining tension in the band. This controlled descent is crucial for building the strength necessary for unassisted pull-ups.

  • Repeat

Perform the desired number of repetitions, making sure to maintain good form throughout. As you get stronger, you can progress to thinner bands, reducing the assistance over time until you’re able to perform unassisted pull-ups.

Inverted Rows

Inverted rows strengthen your back, shoulders, and arms. Set up a bar in a squat rack at waist height, lie underneath it, and grab it with an overhand grip. Pull your chest up to the bar while keeping your body in a straight line. Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position. This exercise mimics the pull-up motion and builds necessary muscles without the full body weight resistance.

Pro tip from the trainer: Grab a suspension trainer, one handle in each hand, and make sure you’re standing right under that anchor point. This is going to be a great alternative for this workout!

Try 3 sets of 5-8

Dead Hangs

Dead hangs improve grip strength, a fundamental aspect of pull-ups. Simply hang from the pull-up bar with straight arms for as long as possible. Aim to increase your hang time gradually.

Duration: Beginner (15–20 seconds); intermediate (20–60 seconds); elite (60–120 seconds)

Related: Are dead hangs good for you?

Lat Pull-downs

Lat pull-downs are performed on a machine and mimic the upper movement of a pull-up. They target the latissimus dorsi, the large back muscles, which are essential for pull-ups. Ensure you pull the bar down in front of you, not behind your neck, to maximize effectiveness and reduce injury risk.

Scapular Pull-ups

Scapular pull-ups focus on the very first part of the pull-up motion. Hang from the bar, then pull yourself up slightly by retracting your scapulae (shoulder blades) without bending your elbows. This strengthens the muscles around the shoulder blades, improving pull-up initiation.

Bicep Curls

Since pull-ups require strong biceps, incorporating bicep curls into your routine can help. You can use dumbbells, barbells, or resistance bands. Focusing on the biceps can improve your pulling strength.

Final Thoughts

Improving your pull-ups requires a multi-faceted approach that includes building strength, endurance, and technique. Integrating these exercises into your workout routine a few times a week can make a significant difference in your pull-up performance. Remember, progress takes time, and consistency is key. Have fun with pull ups and remember to have patience. Like anything, if you stick with it you will get better and better.

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