If there is any single bodyweight exercise that inspires awe, smacks of raw power, is an almost unparalled upper body muscle builder - and a tough one at that - it's probably the humble ole' PULL-UP.
Pull-ups are a supreme test of an individual's strength and fitness levels. And it's sad, but true - that most adults today are probably doing good to knock off ONE pull-up in decent form.
There are numerous reasons why the pull-up should be a staple part of any upper body workout you do, and I'll list some here: -
- One of the best strength exercises you can do - bar none. Pullups done correctly will give you superhuman grip and pulling strength; as well as increases in muscle all over your upper body - including the chest. Plus, they strengthen your entire back beyond belief - get good at these, and you can kiss your back pain goodbye forever.
- Pull-ups stretch and lengthen the spine, thus keeping the vertebrae aligned as they should. The very act of HANGING from the pull-up bar does this, and this leads to a huge increase in nerve force throughout the entire upper body - very few other exercises can duplicate this.
- Pull-ups ensure that you get "balanced" development throughout the upper body. Let's face it, most trainees are crazy about working the chest (which explains why bench pressing is so popular); but when it comes to the back, we don't see near as many folks lined up at the pull-up bar. And this sort of thing ultimately leads to unbalanced upper body development with an overdeveloped chest with nothing to "back it up", for lack of a better term - and makes you a prime candidate for injuries.
Ok, enough already your saying. I know pull-ups are good for me - but I can barely do ONE properly - what do I do?
Well, first of all, and the most important thing is - DON'T GIVE UP! It's easy to get disheartended when you can barely do a single pull-up despite training regularly - or if your training with someone thats good at them. Remember the Rocky movies? Remember Rocky II where we see Stallone popping off one handed chin ups? Or Rocky III, where we see "Mr T" grunting his way through a set of pull-ups while Rocky trains like (for lack of a better description) a "gym bunny"?
I bet you do - and if your not good at pull-ups yet, I bet those scenes had you in awe. That's good for inspirational purposes, but remember that YOU can get good at them as well. Emblazon that in mind as your work your pull-ups; you CAN - and WILL get good at pullups!
Also, make sure your doing your pull-ups in good form; this means pulling with the back instead of the arms. Most trainees will try and jump on to the pull-up bar and somehow haul themselves up - NOT a good way to do them! A correct pull-up starts from a dead hang, and you use your BACK to pull - not your arms - your arms should simply assist the movement. For more on this, see Fast and Furious Fitness - it's imperative you get the form down pat, and I've provided plenty of detail on pull-ups there.
Grip strength can also be a limiting factor for a lot of trainees; so you may also want to work on some supplementary grip exercises if your not improving at your pull-ups. I detailed some of these in yesterday's email, and the book contains plenty more that you can do.
Last, but not least - stay FOCUSED on the task. It's easy to lose focus when doing pull-ups, and end up with sloppy reps - not good. Make sure you focus on your grip, and your back - and keep that focus throughout the entire rep/set. That in itself is a huge tip right there - implement into your own training, and watch your results skyrocket.
And work your pull-ups hard - HARD! I know I said this at the beginning of the email, but it's so important it bears repeating. Remember, hard work is what gets you the best results, and you'll agree with me after you've got to the point where you can pop off 5 sets of 5 good pull-ups without much trouble!
Well, my friend, those are some tips that should get you started on the road to pull-up mastery. It's a long road to be sure, but one well worth mastering.
And if you haven't yet incorporated this exercise into your routine - well, you know what to do.
All for now. If you train today - train HARD, and make it a great one!
PS: Fast and Furious Fitness shows you how to go from ZERO pull-ups to stud level. Don't delay any longer - click HERE to grab your copy now, and get started on the road to get an upper body that'll be the envy of most gym rats!