The pull up is considered one of the ultimate tests of upper-body muscular strength.
You can work all sorts of different upper-body muscle groups by changing your grip and all you need is a bar, door, wall or tree.
Former Royal Marines PTI, Sean Lerwill, says that pull up capability is a much better “indicator of a strong, stable and functionally fit upper body, that has real-world performance capability,” than most other upper body exercises.
Real-world performance and functionality is imperative here at My Home Vitality, so this is the perfect exercise for us to feature.
We will introduce you to the basic pull up technique in this article. If you would like advice on different gripping styles and techniques, please let us know in the comments box below.
Pull up form
- Grip a bar, hanging towel, rope, branch or gymnastics rings with your selected grip (a normal overhand grip – palms facing away from you – around shoulder width apart, is fine to start).
- With a tight core and shoulders back, smoothly pull your body up until your chin slightly passes your hands.
- Hold at the top for a second and smoothly lower your body back towards the ground, keeping your core tight, shoulders back and posture strong.
- Breathe smoothly throughout.
Note: A full rep is started from a dead hang position (body hanging with straight arms) and pulling up until your chin moves past your hands. There should be no kipping, swinging or momentum used to get to the top.
Easier pull up variations
- Jump to the top of a pull-up position from box or platform, then lower yourself down as slow as you can (negatives).
- Get a partner to assist you when pulling up and to help you lower down if needed.
- Use a box, platform, step or band to aid your pull-up as it becomes difficult.
Harder pull up variations
- Super slow – 5 seconds up, 5 seconds down (or longer)
- Use a thicker bar, branch or a towel to increase grip strength (to work your grip strength even more, do not wrap the towel around your hands).