Home Workouts: How to do the perfect pull-up
A pull-up is an upper-body strength exercise. Learning this move is a challenge worth undertaking, no matter your fitness goals. It's one of the fundamental building block exercises that fitness enthusiasts can do anywhere, from your gym's pull-up bar to the sturdy tree branch in your local park.
It's also a move that focuses on a part of your body that you want to train aggressively, your back. Strong back muscles help protect your shoulders from injury, and they help position your body to get more out of other exercises - everything from bench presses to bicep curls too.
Muscles Targeted: Upper body
1. Start at the bottom, never letting the tension leave your back.
2. Straighten your arms fully, but don't just hang. Try to maintain constant tension across your shoulder girdles (the muscles around your shoulder blades and collarbone).
3. Once you start pulling up, don't use your arms alone, pull your shoulder blades down and back, as your elbows travel toward your ribs.
4. When your chin clears the top of the bar, don't stop pulling, squeeze your shoulder blades back.
Think about continuing to pull upwards, even if you're not getting any higher.
5. As you're doing this, try to maintain tension in your abs and glutes. Your torso might lean slightly backward, so your hips and feet are in front of the bar.
How to execute:
Can be done 2-3 times a week (2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions) until the skill is learnt before using load/resistance as part of your workout.
Beginners can start with a bar at chest level and then slowly progress higher, until you have the strength to perform a full pull-up.
(Alwyn Remedios is a freelance trainer based in Dubai. Visit www.fitnessbyalwyn.com for more info.)