No matter how many pull-ups you can do right now, you CAN do more pullups just by doing what I’m going to show you in this video. The key to performing this upper body exercise is to know how to be efficient in the movement and use all the muscles that you have at your disposal to get the job done. Here, I’m going to give you four pullup tips that will work for everyone watching, to do more pullups than you’re doing right now. This applies to those who can do 30 in a set, all the way to those that can’t even do one.
The key is to start by realizing that the exercise has a built-in mechanism for getting anyone to perform it at the level they are capable of. The pullup has what I call, a built in mechanical drop set. This means, that you can either do the concentric part of the rep (pulling your body up to the bar), the holding part (keeping your chin above the bar), or the eccentric part (lowering your body down from the bar). The important element of this is that we are all stronger eccentrically than we are isometrically than we are concentrically. This is ironic since the part that most of us focus our efforts is on building our strength to pull.
What we should be doing instead is focus on what we are good at. Focus on building your strength in lowering from the bar or holding yourself in a position either above or below the bar. This will carry over to your ability to pull up to the bar eventually. As you build your eccentric and isometric strength, your concentric pulling strength will follow along.
The best part is that you can start focusing on doing this in your very next back workout or pull-up workout.
The next thing we all can do to instantly increase the number of pullups we can do in a single set is to simply look at our body mechanics when doing the exercise. Are you creating what I call energy leaks during the movement. If so, do you know how to fix them?
Start by looking at the lower body. Do not cross your legs behind you when doing the exercise if you struggle to do them right now. This will tend to create total body looseness that creates laxity in the body and allows a dissipation of the force that should be used to pull your body up to the bar. Instead, place the legs in front of you and lock our your knees by tightening your quads. Point your toes down to engage the posterior chain and calves. Squeeze your glutes as best you can and tighten up your abs.
All of this will have the combined effect of creating more tightness through your body so that when you pull down through the hands and direct effort into the bar, it will efficiently transfer to lifting your body up rather than leak out through all of these areas that you are not focusing on.
Speaking of the pulling of the hands down, these energy leaks apply to the upper body as well. Do you just pull straight down when you do pullups? If so, you may want to try this. Try to pull your hands inward towards each other and down at the same time. I realize that they will not travel towards each other since they are locked in place by the grip on the bar. But what this will do is engage the chest muscles as they are in the same position of the finish of an incline bench press.
Once again, this creates more trunk rigidity. Add to this the engagement of the core muscles and you’ve plugged two more important and common energy leaks that will allow you to do more pullups guaranteed.
Finally, are you not doing as many pull-ups right now as you’d like because you’re being undermined by a weak link in the kinetic chain that isn’t even your lats? You can fix this by varying your grip during the exercise. Taking a narrow overhand grip will engage more of the forearm muscles like the brachioradialis and brachialis. Going traditional width will hit more of the lats. Going super wide is going to engage the teres major which is known as a lat assistance muscle. If you are weak in any of these muscles then you will be held back from the number of reps you can do because the link in the chain is flawed.
Don’t always focus on what you are good at when it comes to grip width. Switch it up and you’ll start to improve your weaknesses, and in doing so, unlock, your ability to do more reps right away.
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