Why Are Pull Ups SO Challenging?
Pulls may look easy but once you try them you will soon learn they are very challenging! Many people have difficulty performing them even if they are in good shape. It is a compound exercise that involves multiple muscle groups to work together. It is one of the toughest body weight exercises out there and it requires a lot of upper body strength. When you are performing a pull up you are lifting your entire body weight. If you weigh 150 lbs then you are lifting 150 lbs!! Not many people can do that!
How To Do A Proper Pull Up
The first step is to stand under a bar and grab it with both hands. Your grip on the bar should be slightly shoulder width apart with your palms facing away from you. Now you will hang from the bar. When doing a pull up your whole body needs to be engaged. You will want to engage your core (pull your belly button into your spine). Your body should be in a vertical line which means you start from a dead hang. Now here comes the hard part! Your arms are completely straight and your shoulder blades are pulled together. It is your back and arms that pull your body up as you engage your abs. Try to resist the urge to swing your legs and pull your body up. Your chin should go above the bar. Next, slowly lower your body back down. The movement should begin as a dead hang and end with a dead hang. Check out the video below to see a tutorial on doing a pull up properly.
What If You Can’t Do a Pull Up Yet?
As I mentioned above pull ups are one of the toughest body weight exercises and requires A LOT of strength. Without some proper training, doing a pull up is nearly impossible. This is where resistance bands are helpful! Resistance bands make pull ups easier by offsetting some of your body weight. Using a resistance band to assist with a pull up is ideal. This helps you understand the movement and technique to properly doing a pull up. There are different exercises and weight machines available that can help you gain strength to eventually be able to do a pull up. However, the bands give you the closest feeling of doing an unassisted pull up.
How To Use A Band to Assist with Pull Ups
First, you will need to fasten a band onto your pull up bar one side through the other. Once your band is securely in place, the same form is used. Your hands should be placed slightly more than shoulder width apart. You then pull the resistance band down so you can place your feet inside of it. It is suggested that you place one foot in the band pulling down all the way before putting your other foot on the band. Using both feet will provide you with the most assistance. Once this is mastered, you can use one foot to make it slightly harder. You can also put your knee in the band rather than your feet/foot for more of a challenge. Next engage your whole body, shoulders are pulled back and pull your chin above the bar. When finished take the slack out of the band and remove your foot or knee. This prevents the band from swinging up and hitting you. Check out the video to see how a band assisted pull can be done! WOD Nation is popular choice when trying to master a pull-up.
What Size of Band Should I Use For My Band Assisted Pull Up?
Bands come in varying sizes and colors. They may be called large, medium, small or heavy, medium or light. The colors depend on the company you purchase them from. You will need to select a resistance that best suits your fitness needs. It’s important to choose the right size so you can perform the movement properly and not hurt yourself. If you are just beginning to do a pull up I suggest starting with the large/heavy band. This band is the thickest one. The thicker the band the greater resistance you have. This will allow you to learn the proper technique to doing a pull up. The medium band would be the next band you would use. It still provides a lot of resistance but less than the large/thick band. The small/light band is the thinnest band and provides the least resistance. You can even use multiple bands at once to provide you with some extra support if needed.
How You Know if You Are Ready for the Next Band
When you are choosing the band that’s best suited for you, you should be able to perform the full movement. You must be able to fully pull yourself up with your chin above the bar and end in a dead hang with your arms completely straight. I recommend doing around 10 reps without compromising proper form. Start with both feet in the band. Once you can do around 10 reps with good form progress by only using one foot. Lastly, perform your pull up putting either both or one knee in the band. Once you can confidently do them with proper form then move on to the next band. Remember if the next band seems too difficult you can always use more than one band for more support! Before you know it you will be able to do a pull up on your own!