Pullups is considered one of the most important exercises for the upper body alongside press-ups and anybody, who wishes to build that nice V-taper back needs to implement this in their workout routine. It not only works a large range of muscles, but also builds great control of your body.
Main muscles used for pullups are your lats (latissimus dorsi) and biceps, but it also works your traps, shoulders, rhomboids, erector spinae, core and forearms.
We will look at the correct technique of pullups, tempo, a few common mistakes, and some variations of pullups as well as how to build up to a proper pullup if you are not able to do one yet.
To begin with, you want to have a slighter wider than shoulder width grip with your palms facing away. You will then retract your scapula, look up with your neck relaxed and in a controlled way pull yourself up to the point where your elbows are slightly below your shoulders. Then under maximum control you slowly lower yourself to the starting position. Crossing or bending your legs can help improve control of your core and the movement.
A few mistakes you want to avoid are swinging and using momentum to pull up. You want to go straight through your arms and not come out and go forward. Secondly you do not have to get your chin past the bar as it takes the tension away from your lats.
If you are not yet at the physical condition to perform a pullup on your own, there are several ways to build up to it! Firstly you can do an assisted pullup using the assisted pullup machine or using a rubber band which you hang up and then place your knee in to ad assistance. If using this method, you still want to ensure good posture and not allow the assisted weight to bring your knees in your stomach.
The second option is to perform negatives of pullups using a chair, plyometric box or other higher surface. You step on the raised surface, and take the upper position of a pullup. Then you just remove your feet from the support and try to lower yourself with good technique as slowly as possible. Repeat this for as many times as you can. Once you can do this about 10 times easily, you can try to perform an unassisted pullup… then two… and three… and slowly build yourself up.
Last but not least you can look at different variations that are going to work your muscles slightly differently. There are wide grip or a narrow grip pullup, a chin up, supine pullup, muscle up and others. Most of these work the same muscles, just in different proportions.
Have a go at it and let us know how you are getting on!