One of the hardest exercises out there are pull ups. For people like myself and many others pull ups are not a massively difficult exercise. But for a beginner, over weight or skinny fat individual they are quite a challenge and it may seem almost impossible to get to your first pull up! Read on to find out how you can break through the barrier and do multiple pull ups!
The primary muscles that are used during the pull up are mainly the back muscles, those being the latissimus dorsi, rear deltoids, trapizius muscles, rhomboids and a few others. The biceps play a part, but not as big a role as many would believe. If you cannot do a single pull up, then you need to strengthen these muscles. Doing exercises that target these muscles will not only give you the ability to do a pull up, but also give you the sexy “V-Taper” look that many people crave.
Exercise 1: Wide grip pull down
Grip the pull down bar about one and a half times your shoulder width. Lean back slightly and pull it down to your chest, hold for a second and then return to the starting position in a controlled fashion. This exercise is basically a pull up, but sat down and with a set weight that you can increase and decrease.
Exercise 2: Dumbbell (or barbell) row
Grab the dumbbell and position yourself on a bench, one knee on and one arm on. Straighten the back and pull the dumbbell up to your side and lower it completely. Repeat for 8 to 12 repetitions. You can do this with a barbell, but you’ll need to lift it off the ground, almost like a dead lift. Stay bent at the waist and pull the bar to your belly. Control the weight down to the ground and repeat.
Exercise 3: Held pull ups
So the final exercise you should incorporate into your gym routine is this. All you need to do is grip the pull up bar about one and half times shoulder width. You then need to use your legs to jump up into the top of the pull up position and hold yourself there. Hold yourself there for as long as possible and lower yourself down as slowly as possible. Do this for six to eight reps and you’ll be making great progress towards your first pull up.
When it comes down to it, if you’re unable to do pull ups then you’re either too weak, or you’re carrying too much fat. Most people at a good body fat percentage (under 19% or so for men) should be able to do at least one pull up. If you’re above that body fat percentage then you need to look at decreasing the fat around your body, while increasing the muscles around your back.
If you’re already at a low body fat percentage and you still can’t do a pull up, then use the tactics above to increase your muscle mass, and get used to the pull up movement. Give it a few weeks, or maybe months and I guarantee you’ll be able to do your first pull up! If you want direct coaching on increasing your muscle mass or decreasing your body fat then consider one of my coaching plans. They really help a lot of people achieve their goals and they’re at an affordable price!