Improve & Develop Your Pull up
One common exercise in most workout plans is The Pull up. They work a tremendous amount of the upper body muscles, but it also teaches you to hold a hollow position and stabilize your core when done right. This ability strengthens the bodies capacity to master skills such as handstands or become better at swimming.
Many people never truly achieve pull-ups, so in this article I am touching on a few exercise that you can substitute for the standard pull-up, and which will help you develop those abilities to ultimately master a pull up.
One of the biggest issues people seem to have in this area is posture, as with most exercises, form is extremely important. With weak posture, we see people hold themselves where their chest caves, and there shoulders are slumped over. This tells us that the muscles in their upper back are under-developed, which is the same set of muscles that help them to finish a pullup.
At one point the solution to the inability to do a pull up seemed to be as simple as doing the lat pull down machine, but after awhile those individuals don’t seem to see much of an improvement in their posture, and in their overall form. Over time, doing a vertical pull down can actually make posture worse.
But now we know we can help you to achieve a pull-up by teaching you these 5 replacement drills.
1. Bent over rows/ batwings
Where vertical pulling can worsen bad posture, rowing can actually improve it. This exercise has drastically helped countless athletes see there pull up numbers go up.
Here’s how to do a proper Bent over Row:
Bend knees slightly and bend over bar with back straight. Grasp bar with wide overhand grip.
Pull bar to upper waist. Return until arms are extended and shoulders are stretched downward. Repeat.
Here’s what you do for the BATWING variation: (Note this is new, and works best with higher weights. Really squeexe at the top)
lay flat on the bench lengthwise, stomach down, reach the dumbbells (Heavier weight than you would do curls with)
Bring the weight up just under the rib cage, and hold it for a solid two count. Release. This can also be used to indicate your pull up 1RM. (We will go over this in a later article)
2. Jumping Pullups
As you begin to gain more strength, you can move on to jumping pull ups. These are actually a pretty fun alternative to a pull up, and if you do enough of them, they can also impact your cardio routine.
Stand under the bar you plan to use, jump up into the top position of the pull-up and HOLD IT, really squeeze at the top. After a solid two count, slowly release as controlled as possible. Once your feet touch the ground, go again, repeat for your desired number of reps. This exercise takes advantage of the fact that you are much stronger as you lower your weight than you are while lifting your weight.
3. Ring Rows
This exercise gives the body a general idea of how hard you need to pull the elbows back in order to get the chest high. As your strength increases, you want to lower the rings to raise the difficulty.
- Set the rings to the appropriate height. The lower they are, the more difficult the exercise is.
- Grip the rings and lean back until your arms are straightKeep your body straight and pull your chest towards the rings as high as you can.
- Pause briefly at the top, hold for two counts, squeeze your shoulder blades together, then slowly lower yourself down.
Note- bending your knees and/ or lowering the rings will make this exercise easier. If you feel more comfortable beginning in an easier setting, there is nothing wrong with that. It is important that you allow yourself time to develop these muscles, otherwise you may pull a muscle such as your Trapezius, which can take months to fully heal.
4. Rope Climbing
During this exercise we aren’t even going to worry about how you climb the rope, just get up in the most energy efficient method possible. Once you get to the top, you want to come down using only arm strength, this is going to help you build amazing grip and arm and shoulder strength.
5. Sled Pulling (or Rope Pull in a gym)
Lastly, attach a rope to a sled and pull it towards you. Just as you would if you were rowing. Focus on pulling your arm as far back as possible. Increase the weight in the sled for added difficulty.
Once you feel confident with the above drills, or even if you are just ready to try, give it a go at your first pull-up, or maybe its your 100th. Either way, these exercises will help you to control your posture, and ultimately increase your strength.
Happy lifting my friends!