Pull ups - What and why?

What is a pull up? Why should you do a pull up?

What is a pull up?

A pull up is an exercise that targets the upper body in particular but works the entire body if done correctly. With your palms facing away from you, grip the pull up bar with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder width. You then pull your entire body up until your chin gets past the bar. Pause, then lower yourself all the way back down. Repeat if you can.

Why should you do pull ups?

Well first of all, being able to do a pull up makes you feel like superman/superwoman. Really, it does! I always feel like such a bad ass when I bang these out.

This complex exercise not only increases grip strength, it will develop your back, arms, shoulders and also work your core muscles as you stabilize yourself. Who wouldn’t want to perform one exercise that works almost their entire body? Talk about efficiency!

Just hanging around

Well, this is all great but I can’t even do one!

You’re not alone. Many people find pull ups to be extremely challenging. But, have faith! If you consistently practice and strengthen the pulling muscles using other exercises, you will reach that goal.

Exercises that will help you reach those pull ups:

  • Lat pull downs

  • Dumbbell rows

  • Body rows on gymnastic rings or TRX

  • Assisted pull ups – there is a machine for this

  • Work on those negatives – jump up past the bar and concentrate on slowly lowering your self down in a controlled manner

  • Be patient and trust the process

(June 2013) Practicing pull ups at home.. In party clothes.. and heels..

Just don’t let this happen..

So you may be wondering if I am able to do pull ups. Honestly? I used to be able to. Before I was on a hiatus from the gym and had to rebuild my strength. I would do strict pull ups (a few in succession) or I could do a bunch in a row if I was kipping (using my legs to swing and build momentum). This week, I am so close to getting a strict pull up again. I was complimented on my improvement by the owner of my gym who has watched me from my first day back in the gym in December 2014. Almost there!!!

At 7.5 weeks out from my bikini competition I think I have a pre-comp goal to achieve – Master that pull up once again!

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