Can you do one pull-up? The next time you hit the gym, give it a try. The completion of one pull-up is a testament to your upper body strength. This bodyweight exercise requires the use of your upper back muscles, commonly known as latissimus dorsi, or lats, and calls upon your biceps and triceps for stabilization. Adding pull-ups to your regular work-out routine will cause a significant increase in your upper body strength compared to doing just lat pull-downs alone. Also, they can be done in a variety of ways depending upon which area you want to get the most attention.
Pull-ups may be the perfect complimentary bodyweight exercise to the much more popular push-up. While push-ups mainly work muscles in the chest and the triceps, pull-ups target the opposing muscle groups located in the upper back and the biceps (though the triceps are used minimally). The push-pull relationship of exercising provides for balance in muscle strength and tone. Even if push-ups are not a part of your routine, exercises that work the same muscles will benefit greatly from the addition of pull-ups.
While performing standard pull-ups is beneficial, variations of the exercise exist to provide a more definitive work-out. Standard pull-ups consist of placing the hands on the pull-up bar almost directly above the shoulder. If you are looking for a more intense lat work-out, try wide-grip pull-ups. You can also do close-grip pull-ups which utilize the lower lats more. If hitting the biceps is what you desire, try chin-ups. The only difference is the use of an underhanded grip instead of the overhand grip. Finally, the Gorilla chin-up may be the most interesting of the variations. This exercise is performed by pulling the knees towards the pull-up bar while simultaneously doing a chin-up. Gorilla chin-ups work the biceps and the abdominal muscles.
Even though the pull-up is a difficult exercise to complete starting off, practice makes perfect. If you have trouble getting started, you may need to perform other exercises targeting the muscles needed to complete a pull-up. Preparation will help you to tackle this simple exercise, increasing your chances of completing your first set. Soon after, you will be doing pull-ups with ease. The increase in upper body strength will help make performing even the most routine activities easier. It will also benefit many athletes in sports like baseball, football, and basketball. Now, let’s hit the gym and conquer another goal.