I've not been able to get to the park I normally perform the outdoor portion of my workout in for quite a bit now. Not really sure why, but one reason is TIME - that park is a fair distance away from where I live, and I just haven't found the time as of late to mosey on over there for some long and enjoyable workouts.
I miss it somewhat - especially having to shoo off the "busy bees" that all show up in my workout "space" to do little other than pass comments, "ooh and ah", and hang their jackets on the dipping bars (or even worse, position their posteriors on said piece of equipment as soon as one's ready to start a hard set of dips). Ah, the fun of it all. . .
But, I'm digressing here - so since I can't make it to that particular park these days, I'm making do with one right near my house. Which is fine, really, except for the fact that it doesn't have the old rusty swing set that I'm used to doing my pull-ups on. I basically used to use the top of the swing set (thick bar joining the swings together) to do my exercises, and it worked great.
Neither does it have a monkey bar apparatus of any length/height, so going back and forth on it (an excellent grip builder, btw) is out.
But, it does have a monkey bar set up of sorts, so that is where I do my pull-ups these days. And I'm doing OK - except for the fact that the monkey bars form a "V" where I grip to perform my pull-ups, and I'd much rather do them on a thick and straight bar if that makes any sense.
Why? Well, many reasons, mostly personal preference, but also because I think I can exert maximum force and get the most out of my back muscles on a straight bar as opposed to a "v" setup.
And so, I'm trying out some interesting variations on the pull-up these days - one of those being the hammer grip pull-up - where you basically perform the movement by gripping a couple of parallel bars and pulling - perfect if your doing pull-ups on a monkey bar setup.
I've seen this variation done many a times before, but for whatever reason, I never really got into the movement that much myself - but I am now - and here are some observations: -
- This type of pull-up should be far easier than the regular pull-up (especially in the bottom position) for those that have shoulder problems, as the shoulders are in a "neutral" position of sorts as opposed to a regular pull-up.
- The movement should be easier to master than a regular pull-up, meaning more reps is a real possibility - and leading to many fun "high rep" pull-up sequences!
- The parallel grip makes it a lot more comfortable (note - thats different from "easier") to perform abdominal movements such as the L-hold, or V-hold. I personally sometimes have trouble with my shoulders when performing said movements on a straight bar, but nothing of the sort happens on parallel bars - even if I hold for an extended period of time.
- It brings the biceps into play big time; so for those of you that are looking to hit the biceps with a decent exercise - this is it. The regular pull-ups is still king - but this one is a close second.
- Last, but certainly not least, this movement can be a fantastic grip builder as well if you perform the right number of reps - try it and see!
Not to mention it makes a nice change from having to do your pull-ups the same way every time; always good to change things up once in a while.
None of this means you should replace the regular pull-up with this one - not at all. That movement is still the #1 back and arm movement in my books - but this one is a pretty decent strength builder as well if you really get good at it.
And that, my friend, is the tip of the day - back again soon! If you workout today, make it a super one!
P.S: - To see photos of me with my adorable little baby girl, click on over here to my facebook account: - https://www.facebook.com/rahul.mookerjee
P.S. #2: - For more interesting variations on pull-ups, check out Fast and Furious Fitness right here: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book