The mighty pullup is one of the finest bodyweight exercises out there, bar none. You'll both test your upper-body strength and build up your back muscleand unlike other bodyweight moves, you'll definitely need a bar to do it right.
It's a staple in upper body workouts; we use it a ton in weight lifting, says Sean Waxman, C.S.C.S., owner of Waxmans Gym. Depending on how you gripwide most of the timeyou'll see a thickening and a widening of the back. Your grip will improve, and your whole upper body will get stronger.
How to Do Pullups Better
Proper pullup technique is relatively simple, but that doesn't mean that you'll have an easy go of it every time you step up to the bar. The move can get difficult quickly for even the strongest among us as you gas your muscles.
Its important to stay on-form as you do pullups so youre getting the best possible workout while avoiding injury. Waxman has a few tips for those just starting out to remember. You want to be hanging from a bar, whether it's a chinup or a pullup. You want to start with your arms extended, and you want to pull yourself up until the bar hits your chest or at least chin level. At the top of the movement, you want to pull your shoulder blades down and together.
You might not be able to do all that right away. For some people, eking out even 1 rep is an accomplishment worth striving for, so you can't just jump up to the bar and pull. You might have to break the move down to its component parts. To really master the form, work your way up from dead hangs to full-on reps using this guide .
As you improve on your pullups, you may want to find ways to make them more difficult. If you can blow out 20 pullups, youre not really improving strength anymore, says Waxman.
First, he recommends adding some weight. If you want to improve hypertrophy [growth in size], you want to add enough weight to youre doing eight to twelve reps. Then looking for improvement and more strength, you add more weight so you can do three to five reps.
To add weight, you'll need a weighed vest or a belt that can have weight attached to it. Them try some new variations , like those seen in the video below.