A beginners guide to Pullups
Why are Pullups so damn difficult?
The answer to this comes down to three main factors. First: gravity. This pulls everything towards the earth’s center, including you. When you do a Pullup, you’re resisting this force and that’s why it’s extremely hard. Second: distance. For Pullups this refers to the length of our arms. The greater the distance we have to cover, the more energy we have to invest. The last aspect to be considered is mass. More mass to pull means greater effort.
Gender also plays a role. Men naturally possess more upper body muscle mass and therefore potential for strength. But this doesn’t mean that Pullups are unattainable for women; it just takes a different approach to training.
Stay safe and equip yourself with a professional pullup bar. These are available with or without screws, and can be installed in most door frames. In order to avoid injuries you might want to avoid DIY, self-made constructions as these aren’t always the safest option and could lead to a nasty injury if you end up falling with an iron bar landing on top of you.
Activate the right muscles
Depending on your general fitness level and the number of Pullups you can currently do, there are several ways to improve. Apart from your arms, the strength of your latissimus dorsi (or upper back muscle)) and the trapezius muscle (which carries and moves your shoulders) can also be developed. A strong and trained core also plays a crucial – and often underestimated – role. By training and strengthening these muscles, you’re already one step closer to mastering the Pullup.
Getting started: the perfect pullup
- Grip the bar with both hands, shoulder width apart, and your palms facing away from you.
- Hang with arms and elbows fully locked out.
- Pull yourself up, chin over the bar.
- Keep your back tight, relax your neck and bring your shoulders away from the ears. Engage your core throughout.
- Lower yourself slowly and controlled until your arms are fully extended and straight again.