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4 of the best exercises to help you master the pull-up

An exercise which should be a permanent fixture in any strength training programme.

Harder than they look.
Harder than they look.
Image: Shutterstock/holbox

THE PULL-UP IS one of the most fundamental and functional bodyweight exercises you can do – but they’re harder to master than they look.

If you don’t have the basics mastered then it will become very difficult to perform the exercise and perform it right.

Below are four exercises which will help you on your way to perfecting the pull-up and increasing the amount of reps you can do.

1. Bar hang

If you’re going to pull yourself up from a hanging position, you’d best learn how to hang first.

Incorporate this into your warm-up and hang for about 20 to 30 seconds and do three sets.

Simply hang from a low hanging bar, bend your knees and allow your toes take some of your weight to support you.

Along with building upper body strength and grip strength this is also a super exercise for opening up the lats and it helps your mobility and to ease any back pain.

2. TRX Row

Source: Roxanne Hintz/YouTube

First of all you need to find an angle that is going to work for you – the more vertical you are the easier it will be and the more horizontal you get the more challenging it gets.

Do 4-8 reps for five sets.

3. Chest supported row

Source: Adam Bisek/YouTube

For a chest supported row, lie on an incline bench with a relatively heavy kettle bell or dumbbell in each hand.

Pull the weights all the way up with the intention of touching your thumbs to your armpits, and squeeze your shoulder blades together for 3-5 seconds.

This is a fantastic way to help increase your pulling strength. Rep range can vary here but if you’re going heavy, 4-8 reps is sufficient.

4. Single arm row

shutterstock_275943536 Source: Shutterstock/Maridav

Quick tip here for you when doing unilateral exercises (single arm/leg work) always start with your weaker side and finish with your stronger side.

Stand to the right of your weight bench, holding a dumbbell in your right hand with your palm facing in.

Place your left knee and your left hand on top of the bench for support. Let your right arm hang down. Keep shoulders square, pull weight to side rib cage, squeezing shoulder blade together and hold for 3-5 seconds.

Control the descent and pull again to top.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin, for more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter

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About the author:

David Last

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