As mentioned in my recent 2015! post which detailed my aims/goals for this year, I notedmy desire to complete one full pull up. I do work on my pull ups but rarely see much improvement so at the start of this year I am really going to focus on these. I have looked into exercises & training I should be doing to help me improve so I thought I would share my findings with you. If you are training towards completing pull ups hopefully it will help! And if you aren’t thinking about pull ups you should be! They are a fantastic exercise and> lets face it they look impressive!!!

There are 2 main variations when it comes to pull ups, the actual pull up and> a chin up – both have their advantages. Pull ups use an overhand> wide grip on a bar, palms facing away from you and> arms wider than shoulder width. Chin ups are similar but your grip is slightly different – palms facing you with a narrower grip. As mentioned they are both useful exercises, and> recruit different muscles. Generally when performing pull ups/chin ups you are working the back, shoulders and> arms but there is a different emphasis depending on the type performed. Pull ups predominately work the back, the latissimus dorsi whereas chin ups have more of a focus on the biceps.

I add assisted pull ups into my weekly back workouts and> am seeing slow progress. I work with resistance band>s which you may have seen on my Facebook or Twitter, mine are Pro-tone and> are available on-line. They are great if you have a pull up bars available in the gym or a rig, with monkey bars like we have in the gym I work at. However if you don’t have access to these or don’t want to invest in the band>s another great alternative is the assisted pull up machine. Have a look in your gym for one of these and> give it a go. One thing to point out is that the heavier the weight on these the easier the exercise. It assists you. Ideally work down from your body weight, so if you weigh 60kg starting at 60kg – this should be really easy as you aren’t lifting anything – but you can get used to the machine and> the movement. Then reduce the weight until you are finding it challenging. Each workout then you can reduce the weight and> build strength.

One thing I am going to focus on more over the next few weeks is building the muscles in my back and> biceps to help when completing pull ups. So adding exercises such as Lateral Pull Downs (Use the machine in the gym), Rows (Bent Over/Resistance Machine) and> Bicep Curls will help. When trying pull ups – Grip Strength can be an issue. If you find this a problem try just hanging from a pull up bar – hold for 10 seconds and> then release. From there you can work up to Negative Pull ups (See Video on my facebook page for an idea on how to do these! https://www.facebook.com/ode2fitness). Jump or use a box to get yourself into the top position of a pull up (chin over the bar), try to avoid letting gravity take over and> control your descent – time yourself and> improve the time it takes to drop down each time. Working up towards 30 second holds. Once you’ve mastered this you shouldn’t be far of completing a full pull up. If you can take a partner with you to the gym and> they can help assist you (holding behind your waist and> giving you an extra little push) should you need it! And there you go – one full pull up!

I am really focusing on this over the next few weeks and> am going to add a lot of extra back work into my sessions, and> hopefully I can share my pull up achievement with you soon. Would love to hear how you guys find pull ups, and> if you have mastered them or are trying to this year! Let me know if you have any tips!