Want to build upper body strength to perform a proper pull-up? Practise these moves to help you achieve it.
Pull-ups are a goal for many of us because they can only be done with a strong upper body. Even if you have strong arms, shoulders, and back, it can still be hard to do a pull-up if you do not know which muscles to engage.
These exercises will help to strengthen the required muscles and teach you which muscles to focus on when you are performing your first pull-up. Do each move 10 to 15 times and repeat the circuit thrice.
(Also read: How to Do a Pull-Up, According to A CrossFit Trainer)
Push ups are excellent because you use your weight as resistance, ensuring your body is challenged just enough. It works your chest, shoulders, and core without any additional equipment.
Start in plank position. With your back and knees straight, bend your elbows and lower your body. Try to lower until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Use your upper body strength to push yourself back up. If you need to, place your knees on the floor for additional support.
Singaporeans might know this move as an incline pull-up that is done during physical fitness tests in school. Your body weight is distributed throughout your body so there is not too much pressure on your shoulders and arms. It is a good move to help you to build up sufficient strength for a standard pull-up.
Using a bar that is about waist-height, sit under the bar and grab the bar with palm facing away from you. Straighten your feet to align your shoulders and wrists. Pull yourself up until your chin comes above the bar, then return to starting position slowly. Keep your back straight and neck relaxed when doing this.
There is nothing wrong with using a machine or resistance band for help. In fact, it might be better to start that way as it helps you to get the right form. You shouldn’t be flopping around like a fish or using your momentum to pull yourself up. When you’re up, do not release immediately. Holding yourself up for a few seconds and coming down slowly will increase your muscles’ time under tension to strengthen them.
Stand straight in front of the pull-up bar. Straighten your arms in front of you and roll your shoulders back. Without moving your arms, tilt your body upwards and hold the bar, palm facing away from you. Maintain the shoulder and back engagement. Place your feet on the assistance machine or resistance band that’s tied to the pull-up bar. Use your shoulders, back, and arms to pull yourself up. Keep your body straight and your elbows close to your body.
(Also read: Best Tricep Exercises to Tone Your Arms)
Standing cable row
Cable rows engage the pulling muscles in your back and arms to bring the rope towards your body. This back exercise will help your muscles in your arms and shoulders work together when doing a pull-up.
Stand in front of the cable machine with the cable at chest level. Start at a low weight to familiarise with the exercise and form first. Straighten your arms in front of you and hold the cable. Bend your knees slightly, keep your back straight, and pull the cable straight to your chest. Squeeze your back by pushing your elbows together behind you. Release slowly.