The dreaded pull up. It’s a love-hate relationship, and usually an uncomfortable one. Today, we’re talking about pull up benefits and how you can get better and do more of them.
No matter how heavy you lift, there seems to always be that person in the gym who can just bang out a TON of pull ups! You have probably stared at them from across the gym wondering how in the world they keep going.
A lot of people seem to think it’s darn-near impossible to crank out a couple of pull-ups.
The truth is that with proper technique, they aren’t that difficult.
You don’t have to start out doing a couple dozen pull ups. Doing a few at a time and working your numbers up is the best way to increase the quantity you can do. Before you know it you’ll be the one showing off at the gym and reap the amazing benefits of pull ups.
Speaking of pull up benefits, let’s review some of the major ones.
Pull Up Benefits
Below you’ll find a list of all of the different pull up benefits that should matter to you. By the end, you’ll be itching to grab a pole and start doing pull ups!
- Upper body mass and strength: Being able to lift your whole body weight (and more, if using extra weights) is a guaranteed way to load your muscles and get some lean muscle growth. One of the benefits of pull ups is that they provide a workout for your lats, traps, shoulders, and arms providing you with a stronger and fuller upper body.
- Convenient: You might think that such a compound exercise requires a lot of equipment or space when in fact, it is one of the most convenient exercises that you can do. All that is required is a solid bar and your own will to complete each rep. You can easily install your own pull up bar at home if you don’t have access to a gym. Another good option is a park. Nowadays, a lot of parks feature workout equipment for the public. If you’re really out of options, simply performing pull ups on some monkey bars will also work.
- Increase fat loss: One of the least talked about benefits of pull ups is the increased fat loss that comes with it. It may not count as a regular cardio exercise, but try completing a few sets of pull ups and you’ll definitely feel the rush. Taking fewer breaks or reaching a milestone where you’re able to add a weight/dip belt to your pull up will definitely turn your body into a fat burning furnace. On top of that, building more mass on your upper body will increase your resting energy expenditure (REE) making you burn more calories even during rest.
- Correcting Muscular imbalance: Preventing muscular imbalances or correcting them is one of the awesome benefits of pull ups. Visit any of your local gyms and you will notice that upper body push movements are the most popular. The problem happens when you overdo push movements, you risk over-developing your chest muscles while having a weaker back. This imbalance won’t only give you bad posture, but can also lead to injuries. The benefits of pull ups extend beyond developing your physique but also preventing future injuries.
- Multi-Joint exercise: Pull ups are able to hit several muscles groups in your upper body by engaging multiple joints. Your wrists, elbows, and shoulder are all receiving the benefits of pull ups in one single movement. This is important for strength development and injury prevention.
- Increase grip strength: We already mentioned that pull ups are a superb multi-joint exercise and listed the muscles it strengthens. We forget one tiny benefit of pull ups – grip strength. To successfully complete multiple sets of pullups, a strong grip is a must in order to remain on the bar for long periods of time. Just in case you’re not yet able to complete many reps, try doing a dead hang on the pull up bar to strengthen your grip and forearm muscles, which in turn will allow you to increase your pull up reps.
- Improve your mood: Performing pull ups in your next session will actually lift your mood. Exercising in any form will release endorphins to your brain, improving your mood and leaving you happy and satisfied. Due to the stress placed on your muscles, the endorphin release from the pull up is significant, increasing mainly serotonin levels, the happy hormone. Aside from temporarily increasing serotonin levels, you will also experience fewer mood swings, decrease your risk of depression, and forget about anxiety too.
- Brings out your V-taper: The V-taper refers to a simple fact: shoulders wider than the waistline! Of course, this means that diet is an important factor in reaching a V-shaped torso, but the benefits of pull ups make it more easily achievable by widening your lats and making your shoulders pop out. The other benefit of pull ups is engaging your core muscles to avoid swinging during each rep, indirectly helping you keep that waistline trimmed.
How To Do A Pull Up
To perform your first pull up, do the following:
- Grab the bar with an overhand grip, shoulder width apart.
- Now hang with your arms fully extended.
- Pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. Pause slightly, and then lower yourself all the way back down.
Don’t worry if you can only do one pull up. With time, you’ll get better.
Now if you are struggling to do a pull-up, there’s help for you! It’s called an assisted pull up.
Learning how to do an assisted pull up can help you transition into the real deal.
Pull up assist bands are a great tool to help you ease into doing a full unassisted pull-up.
All you need to do is loop your pull-up assist band around a pull up bar and place your knee or foot through the band and boom!
ZojiBands are our favorite pick for high quality and durability, of course :-). A lifetime guarantee comes with each band and they are versatile enough to be used as resistance bands for other exercises too.
Zojibands are made of premium latex rubber, easy to rinse and very lightweight to carry in your daypack.
According to your height and weight, you can pick which size you should get and start seeing the benefits of pull ups.
Tips For Doing More Pull Ups
Now that you’ve mastered the technique of a pull up, seen all of the pull up benefits, and acquired enough strength and flexibility to perform this magnificent exercise, your next challenge is to do more pull ups during each workout session.
- Use a training partner to help give you a boost on your last few reps. (think screaming in your face type of motivation… 🙂 )
- Increase your forearm and bicep strength. After your back muscles, it is your biceps that are helping you complete a dead-hang pull up. Don’t neglect those guns in order to improve your pull up numbers.
- There are countless ways to perform a pull up. You can alternate between regular pullups and chin ups. For a chin up, simply switch the holding grip of your hands by placing your palms facing you instead of facing away from you. You can also try switching up the width of your grip. Try doing different width pull ups and chin ups to keep developing your strength and stamina. By doing chin ups, you will be reducing the stress placed on your back and rhomboids and increasing it on your arms, mainly the biceps. If you’re really looking to develop your back muscles and build a wider back, you’ll want to do the pull up instead of the chin up, always remember that. It’s nice sometimes to just mix things up and stress different muscles.
- Use rowing exercises like barbell rows to strengthen your lats. Developing your muscles will surely make pull ups slightly easier.
Now that you’re a master jedi at pull up benefits, what are you going to do? I hope this post motivates you to get up and work on your pull up progression. Even if you can’t do a single unassisted pull up, keep grinding. Take advantage of the ZojiBands and slowly remove them from your pull up routine until you are doing pull ups with resistance bands!