The Pull-Up: Deceptively Simple or Simply Deceptive?

 July 5, 2022|  Dona Maria

A favorite of the military and personal trainers everywhere, the simple pull-up is considered to be one of the most important and effective exercises to incorporate in your workout routine. While there are definitely other bicep and back exercises that build your strength, the pull-up—when done right—works wonders for your physique and functional strength. The move works several key muscles and the best part is, you can do the exercise anywhere.

Pull-ups are one of the most challenging bodyweight exercises and often make it on the bucket-list of fitness enthusiasts. Let’s dive into it and explore the right techniques and benefits of doing a pull-up.

Build a stronger back: Pull-ups are one of the most effective exercises when you’re looking to strengthen your back muscles. When building abs and biceps, it’s important to have a strong back to keep the body balanced and improve overall functional strength.

Strengthen your arms, shoulders, chest & core: Performing pull-ups also engages your abs, back, shoulders, forearms and chest, making it a great exercise to target the body’s major muscle groups. Over time, pull-ups help improve muscle tone and definition when combined with balanced eating and a full-body exercise program.

Level up your bone density: Resistance training helps load the bones, signaling them to use minerals to improve bone mass and structure. This helps to tone your body and also improve bone strength, preventing issues such as osteoporosis.

Improve health markers: Pull-ups and other resistance training moves can reduce blood pressure, visceral fat, waist circumference, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol. In addition to improving your grip strength, pull-ups also help improve overall body composition when coupled with a full-body workout routine.

Mood boosting move: Strength training moves such as pull-ups help reduce stress and anxiety by producing endorphins and reducing cortisol, thus improving your mood. Being in a happy headspace is just another reason for you to add this power move to your routine.

Challenging and rewarding: If you’re experiencing stagnating results from your workout, pull-ups are a great way to help shake up your muscles and up the challenge. Being able to successfully do a pull-up with the right technique is sure to keep you motivated and on track with your goals and performance.

Minimal equipment needed: Head to the park to do your pull-ups on a monkey bar, or why not use a really strong tree branch to practice the move? A lot of strength training exercises require purchasing additional equipment, but you can actually do a pull-up for FREE!

How to do the Perfect Pull-Up

Step 1: Establish your grip

Start by placing your palms facing away from you on a bar. Keep your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

Step 2: Set your back

Once you’ve set your grip, pull your shoulders down slightly for a firmer stance. This helps open up your chest slightly, keeping your form correct for the next step.

Step 3: Drive your elbows to the floor

Once set, think about pulling the bar to your chest so that your elbows drive in your back pockets of through the floor as you pull yourself upwards. Keep pulling until your chin is over the bar.

Step 4: Stabilise and descend

Once you’re above the bar, stabilise your body and lower yourself to your starting position without losing grip. Congratulations – you’ve just completed your first rep!

Pull-ups require correct form and technique to be done correctly. It’s important to ensure you’re activating the right muscles at the right time so the movement becomes easier to perform over time. They can be quite challenging because you have to lift your whole body up and this requires significant strength, but fret not—keep at it to further your progress and cross this movement off your bucket list!

 July 5, 2022 | Dona Maria
Dona Maria

About the Author

Dona Maria Mesmar is the Nutrition Manager for Kcal Brands. She develops nutrition and diet programs for athletes and provides them with one on one nutrition consultation to help them achieve their body composition goals. She is also a certified fitness instructor, published nutrition writer and has appeared numerous times on national live TV, where she has provided expert advice on nutrition and healthy eating.

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