Most people say pull ups are the king of all exercises. Is it true? Are pull ups really that good. Is there any benefit from them? Also, I find it very difficult to perform.
I would suggest you don’t have to believe what others say, rather try it on your own and then see for yourself.
Like Pushups, Pullups are one of the major body weight exercises. It is also a compound movement which targets different muscle groups at the same time. Although there are a lot of variation in pullups; Like chin ups, muscle ups, explosive pull ups, military pullups, neutral grip pull ups etc. Right now I am only focusing on regular pull ups(with your palms facing the front)
Benefits of doing Pull ups
Along with strength it helps in building back, forearm, biceps & core muscles. Not only it is seen as an athletics movement but for some successfully performing it is a huge achievement. If done using the good form and full range of motion then its benefits get enhanced.
How we do it
Pullups may prove to be a difficult exercise if your arms are weak or if you have excess body fat. But still there are some variations that are designed especially for beginners that will help them to move forward towards doing regular pullups.
1) Negative Pullups: As the name suggests the motive of this exercise is to focus on the negative part of the movement. This helps to strengthen your arms while making the exercise less difficult to perform. What you have to do is place a box underneath the pullup bar. So that holding the bar comes easy and one does not have to take a jump for it. After standing on the box and holding the bar take a jump so that your head or upper chest comes on top of bar. The first part of this movement would be like play but the for second part try to slowly come down while feeling the burn in your forearms. And then eventually place your feet on the box. The whole movement will be counted as 1 Repetition.
Sets & Reps: Do 5 reps of 5 sets. (Try to do this movement everyday for maximum benefit)
2) Banded Pullups: For this exercise you will need a band. The more resistance a band would have the easier the exercise would become. Tie one end of the band on top of the bar and let the other end hang down. Then place both your heels on top the band. Now jump and hold the bar and start doing your pull ups. After performing this for couple of days try doing regular pullups. If not successful then try lowering the resistance of the band to make the exercise more challenging.
Sets & Reps: 5 Reps of 3 sets
3) Regular Pullups: After successfully mastering both of the movements it is time to take on the real challenge. Remove the band/box we don’t need any assistance now. Now hold the bar with both your hands and let your body hang for a second or two. You can either cross your feet/bend it or even keep it separate. But personally I find crossing the feet is much better as not only it gives an aesthetic look while performing the pullup but also helps in stabilizing our body so that we don’t go forward. So after holding the bar and setting your feet make your core tight and go for the movement.
Remember: a) While pulling upwards don’t let your legs move forward. This shows that you have weak core and will not give you the full benefits of doing pullups.
b) Try to make your chin go above the bar. And while going down fully extend your arms. This makes the exercise little hard to perform but going full range will make you more stronger and will help you build quality muscle.
Sets & Reps: Initially just try to do as many as you can. Also keep it consistent. After you are able to do 5 pullups with perfect form then try this set. 5 Reps, 3 Reps of 2 sets, 2 Reps of 3 sets.