I’ve always liked pull-ups, partly out of spite. A common fitness refrain is that women can’t do them, and I don’t like being told I can’t do something — especially if it’s because of my gender. As a teenager, I pushed lawn-mowers and hauled rocks to show that being a girl didn’t mean I was weak.

I love how pull-ups make me feel—powerful, strong. There’s nothing like the feeling of lifting yourself up. Pull-ups are also beautiful for their simplicity. They require nothing more than one bar, and involve at least a dozen muscles, from the lats to the glutes. Experts say they improve upper-body strength, shoulder mobility and core stability while helping to improve coordination.

Doing pull-ups is “an amazing feeling,” said Chillasa King, a powerlifter and coach at LiftedMBK in New York. Exercise boosts confidence and turns heads at the gym, she said. “It’s a simple exercise that’s really hard to do.”

Therein lies the pull-up paradox: Pull-ups are simple, but difficult, and many people who think they really can’t do them if they put in the effort and time.

Everyone has a good chance to master the pull-up if they train for it, says Meghan Callaway, a strength coach based in Vancouver, Canada. ultimate pull-up program, Most people who fail to master the pull-up struggle, not because they are physically incapable, but because they are not training correctly, she said. The trick is to focus on proper technique and approach your training with patience and deliberation.

The first thing to understand is that pull-ups are a full body exercise. “Many people think of pull-ups as a purely upper body exercise and they neglect what’s happening below the chest,” Ms. Calaway said. Your body should be rigid, not loose. Ms. Calaway asked, What would be easier to move, a rigid board, or an equally weighted floppy sandbag? If your torso, hips and lower body are rigid, this makes lifting them much easier than having dead weights. ,kipping pull-ups, Swinging your legs for momentum is a different exercise entirely, she said.)

Grasp the bar slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with your palms facing away from you. (Putting your palms toward you would be a chin-up, a different — and most people say easier — exercise.) Your body should be aligned in a relatively straight line with your legs slightly forward of your body so that you’re in a straight line. be in position Very slight arc. It’s better for the bar to be within reach of your tip toes, but if you’re doing them over a doorway, stepping your feet back and bending your knees is fine, Ms. Calaway said.

To begin the pull-up, drive your shoulder blades toward your spine (think of it as the opposite of a shrug) while simultaneously driving your elbows toward your ribs. Keep your abs and glutes tight to maintain a rigid body position. As you pull up, don’t reach your chin, Ms. Calaway said, but instead keep your chin tucked in, your neck in a neutral position and your eyes looking straight ahead.

Not everyone can do pull-ups the first time. You may sabotage the movement before you can do a full pull-up. down into its component parts And train for each of them. Use these four exercises to help you get stronger and more efficient at the essential parts of the pull-up motion.

The first step is to learn how to hang in a rigid position rather than a loose one. Ms. King has practiced hanging onto the bar for beginners, engaging your abs and glutes to make your body as rigid as a board, and then holding for 30 to 45 seconds.

This is a way to practice the basic pull-up movement. Start by hanging onto a bar then engage your middle and upper back muscles move your shoulder blades towards your spine, When you do this, you’ll realize that you’ve only topped up a small amount. Pause in this elevated position for a moment, then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position. Don’t bend your elbows. Your arms should be straight for the full range of motion.

Begin in the top position of a pull-up with your head above the bar (stand on a chair to prop yourself up there if you need to) and then slowly lower yourself to the floor using a controlled, fluid motion. Reduce in case of

it exercise strengthens the back and improves shoulder mobility. Position yourself under a weight bar as if about to do a bench press. But instead of lying on a bench, hang from the bar, your heels resting on the floor. Hold your body in a straight, rigid line and pull yourself up, initiating the movement using your back muscles instead of your hands. Return to starting position in a slow, controlled motion. Imagine moving your shoulder blades away from your spine and around your rib cage.

“Be patient,” Ms. King said. It takes time and a lot of consistency to get your first pull-up; It doesn’t happen overnight. Consistency is key, she said. “There’s no other way. You have to work at it, week by week and month by month.”

For Casey Johnson, a health and science writer, and author of the weight lifting guide “LiftOff: Couch to Barbell,” pull-ups were just one part of a larger quest to get stronger. It took a year before she finally lifted, but it was worth it for the sense of accomplishment of mastering this quintessential display of strength. “No one is required to do pull-ups,” she said. “I have long arms and I’m relatively large, which are both challenges.”

It’s true that pull-ups are easier for some people than others. “In general, as mass increases, the strength to weight ratio decreases,” said Greg Nuckols, founder of StrongerByScience.com and a powerlifter who holds three world records. A taller person is likely to have more mass to pull than a shorter person, even if they are built similarly. Some may never be able to manage a pull-up no matter how hard they try, and others may decide it just isn’t worth it.

I would never set any pull-up records with my long arms and legs and taller than average height. But I do have some advantages: good upper-body strength from years of cross-country skiing and not too many middle-aged puggles. I still have to work on pull-ups, but the payoff has been very satisfying.

“Pulling yourself onto something – a bar, over a fence, over a wall – makes you feel like a superhero,” Ms Calaway said. Not only that, she adds, it makes the Monkey Bar at a nearby playground a little more fun.


Christy Eschwanden is a writer based in western Colorado and author of “Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery.”



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