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| FITNESS |
Note: A pull-up and a chin-up are two differ-
ent exercises. A pull up positions the hands
over the bar with the elbows pointing down
and away from the body. The chin up posi-
tions the hands under the bar with the el-
bows facing into the body. Most people are
able to do more chin ups than pull ups, and I
don't usually give anyone credit for doing
chin-ups during my evaluations.
Now that we've established the differences
and the one I prefer to use as my gold stan-
dard in upper body strength exercise, here
are a few ways to begin mastering the pull
First, lose the excess body fat. That's
pretty much self-explanatory. Strength
training, cardiovascular training along with a
change in your diet, should do the trick.
Improve your grip strength. If you're just
beginning to start training, chances are your
hands and forearms aren't used to holding
heavy things, so train your grip with static
contractions of the hands, forearms and
upper back. Try hanging from the pull-up bar
for time. Start off for short periods until you
can work for longer periods.
Improve your core strength. Planks in all
planes for time assist with maintaining core
stability while performing your pull ups.
Assume the position! If you're a bit on
the short side, get a box or bench to get your
body closer to the bar. While you're there,
see if you can lift your chin past the bar; if
not, loop a heavy resistance band over the
bar and place one of your knees in the resist-
ance band and yourself pull in a vertical line,
with your elbows pointing down. SLOWLY
lower your body to the starting position. You
can train the descent, or the "negatives", to
improve your control.
Strengthen your back muscles. Use
other auxiliary exercises to support the
other muscles involved with the pull up.
Dumbbell single arm bent-over rows, even
the lat pull down can help in the developing
your pulling strength in the same plane as
the pull up.
Don't cheat! When you're back at the start
position, keep the elbows slightly bent; don't
kick your knees in front of your while you're
trying to do the second rep. Keep your knees
down and under your hips at all times. Main-
tain a tight core and stay strong through
Drive your elbows. Don't forget the bi-
ceps are there for secondary support. Most
first timers and people with bad technique
will pull back and not down, thus changing
the purpose of the exercise. You get greater
use out of your back muscles doing the right
Don't work till failure. Well, not as yet.
With mastering any exercise, I like to have
my charges perform perfect repetitions.
Once I start seeing a breakdown in tech-
nique and posture due to fatigue, I stop
them, but we'll work within a set rep range
that is attainable and that could be anything
from ten sets of two, five sets of six, or even
ten sets of one, etc. depending on their abil-
Once you start getting the hang of it, aim to
decrease assistance from the resistance
band, and even try doing a pull up without
help at all. Try doing a higher rep range with
assistance on your endurance days, and on
your strength days do it without assistance,
performing fewer reps. Practice makes per-
Remember, just because you're a lady it
doesn't mean you can't be strong physically.
Don't let men have all the fun at the gym
and limit your gym experience. Use the pull
up bar! You're paying to use the entire gym,
so get your money's worth. Good luck!
Orlando Griffith is an Athletic Develop-
ment and Performance Specialist.
A pull-up and a chin-up are two
different exercises. A pull up positions the
hands over the bar with the elbows
pointing down and away from the body.
The chin up positions the hands under the
bar with the elbows facing into the body.
Most people are able to do more chin ups
than pull ups, and I don't usually give
anyone credit for doing chin-ups during
WOMEN HATE PULL UPS. I can't blame them; they're hard, but they shouldn't be neglected
from your exercise regime. It is one of the more intimidating exercises that are out there,
but it's quite beneficial to your posture and overall upper body strength. I could easily ask a
few men to drop down and give me ten push ups, but I'll get apprehensive looks if I were to
ask for ten pull ups. It's quite humbling. Even if you're doing lat pull-downs at the gym, you're
not getting the same neuromuscular activation that occurs while moving through space.
You're fixed while performing a lat pull-down. The pull up is a great way to measure your
strength-to-weight ratio, and I believe it's one of the best exercises out there; that's why I
use it as a testing measure for all my athletes.
By Orlando Griffith
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