Author: Scott Smith
Why it made the list (Why you should do them):
In addition to the “push-up,” the “pull-up” is THE quintessential expression of upper body strength in relation to your size. While still a very functional/useful movement in our time, pulling ourselves up has become a bit of a lost art form ever since we stopped worrying about saber tooth tigers. But for anyone in the fitness world today, “pull-ups” still reign king when it comes to developing upper back/bicep strength and size. Plus, it looks bad ass to do these correctly.
How to do them properly:
– NOTE: The following description is for “strict” pull-ups not the “kipping” pull-ups made popular by CrossFit.
– Take your overhand grip on the bar just outside the shoulders.
– Slowly load your body weight onto your shoulders by picking your feet up off the floor and bringing your heels in toward your glutes. Keep your hips extended and back slightly extended.
– While keeping a wide shape to your back, pull your chest upward and bring your chin to the bar, pausing at the top. You should be reaching out to the side with your elbows as you pull with the upper back/posterior shoulder. Avoid doing a “crunch” with your abs/hips at the top, this is a back and bicep exercise.
– Slowly return to the hanging position with the elbows almost fully extended, keeping tension in your lats and arms and immediately begin your next pull after reaching the full range of motion at the bottom.
– If you can not do one correct body-weight pull-up yet, use a suspension trainer (TRX, rings, racked barbell) to work on inverted rows or an assisted band/machine to give you additional help to negate some of your body weight and hence lighten the load on this pulling move.
I’ve picked these 10 lifts because of their proven efficiency and effectiveness at forcing the body to adapt and change for the better! Some of the variations may be a bit more advanced than you are currently ready to perform, but if you continue to follow this site, I can promise you that regressions will be made available for your learning. But that does not mean you shouldn’t aspire to be able to do these 10 exercises at some point!
If you are/have been a client of mine you no doubtably know some variation of these movements because they are a true staple of my programs. I hope they serve you as well as they have served me!
Scott Smith, CSCS
Just a recap so far… Click on the exercise to watch the video!