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  • The Holistic Ape

How to Do Pull Ups

Pull-ups for beginners, and experts, are one of the greatest bodyweight exercises to do but you must do a proper pull up for maximum strength and control. In this blog post, we'll show you how to fix your pull up. We will also show some common pull-up mistakes that you should avoid.

1. Range of Motion

One of the number one reasons we see people either, one, struggling with other calisthenic workouts from not doing the pull up correctly or, two, simply not seeing the results you want is because you’re not using your full range of motion during the pull-up. What does this really mean though? it means that you’re not going all the way up and all way down to a dead hang or straight arms. A lot of people stop at 90º or even before that! Crazy. When doing half-a-pull-up you'll likely be engaging your arms more from not allowing your lats to fully lengthen when you do a full the pull-up.

2. Slow Down Ricky Bobby

Once you’ve done the pull up that’s the end of the workout right? NO! Doing the eccentric part of the workout is essential to gaining more strength. Not to mention those people that go all the way up but then just drop onto their joints. Yeah…that’s not good.

3. No Dead Fish Pull-Ups Allowed

Crossfit is known for the kipping pull-up, however recently Crossfit founder himself even said that he regrets introducing the kipping pull-up or what we like to call the dead fish pull up. It’s not using proper technique, it’s not using strength, you're not controlling your body, you’re not gaining and if you are, you’re doing it very slowly which isn't likely. Compare your dead fish pull up to a regular pull up and see the difference. Not to hate on CrossFit completely because they are promoting movement and fitness which is great! Just lose the kipping pull-up, please. You’ll be doing yourself a favor.

4. Muscle Engagement

When you do a pull-up, on the way up, try pulling your elbows back and down and focus on using your back muscles more.

5. Diversify Your Pull-Ups

Instead of doing the same pull up all the time try diversifying your pull up by doing other variations to keep it fresh and to keep your muscles learning new things. Some other variations are:

  1. Weighted pull-ups (Eccentric and Concentric)

  2. Around the world pull up

  3. Close-grip pull up

  4. Wide Grip pull up

  5. Australian Pull up

  6. Behind the back pull up

  7. Single-arm pull up

6. Your Progressing Too Fast

A good indication of progressing too fast is that you swing a lot. The more prepared you are for a proper pull up the faster you’ll reach your goals. For a full video on progressing your pull up, you can watch our video here!


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