Do a Pull-Up!

Jul 31, 2023

 by Cassandra Burres

Pull-ups seem to be an almost impossible exercise IF you have never done one before. Most people assume their “arms are too weak “. This is almost never the case. Better understanding a pull-up may help you get closer to achieving one. The overall takeaway should be that the pull-up is a complex exercise. Meaning it uses multiple muscles not just the arms. We’ll go from the hands down and hopefully you can pull up from there.


Place your hands a little further than shoulder width apart. (Having them too far apart can cause strain on the shoulders). Line up the bar along your knuckle line inside the hand and grip (don’t squeeze), grip and make sure your knuckles are facing the ceiling.


Squeeze your shoulder blades together. This engages the “lats” which are the muscles directly under your armpit. Squeezing the shoulder blades also helps to push the chest out. When you begin to move upward you should lead with your chest, so the goal isn’t to get your chin over the bar but to get the bar to your chest.


Brace your abs. Tightening your core helps to stabilize your lower back. The core oversees pulling your lower body. A good tip to brace the core is to put your hands on the pelvic bone and push it up towards the sky.


Tighten the glutes, tighten the thighs, and point to your toes. These motions stabilize the lower body for the abs to pull easier. This also prevents swinging and any unnecessary hip movement. (For an even easier method, bend your knees to lessen the load from your legs).


Now in motion, the initial driving force should be getting your elbows to the ground rather than thinking of pulling your entire body up. This helps you stay close to the bar. If you veer too far away it is harder to engage certain muscles. Use your already protruding chest as the target and your tightened core should already be pulling your legs without you having to think.


Hope this helps!