Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pull Up Perfection

“In Pursuit of the Perfect Pull Up” is the stated mission of Steelfit. With that said,?we thought it would only be fair if we further defined the ground rules for the search. Would it ultimately lead to a pull up demonstrated with absolute perfect form? Would it lead us to the perfect pull up bar upon which to perform the exercise? If I asked for a definition from ten different people, would I get a consistent answer???It didn’t take?
Practicing the Perfect Pull Up on a Steelfit bar Pursing the Perfect Pull Up

long to realize that the answer would differ each time I asked the question and to whom I was speaking. It was also clear that this was not going to be as easy as I first thought.For me,?several years ago, the perfect pull up was giving up the machine assisted variety and getting my chin over the bar on my own for the first time. For competitive athletes and?CrossFit friends, the perfect pull up might be achieving success in a high volume workout of chest to bar pull ups on a thick bar. For others, its learning to do kipping pull ups and turning out 30 repetitions as fast as lightening with no rest. Still for others, it might be something altogether different. Clearly, my personal answer today would differ from?10 years ago and so likely would your response.

The Exercise Itself: Often overlooked for its awesome ability to build back, upper body and core strength, the pull up is really key for anyone serious about building strength. It’s as pure as you can get and all you need is a pull up bar, your body and the will.??

As simple as they may seem, pull ups can be very intimidating for someone who doesn’t have one yet though; it wasn’t too long ago that I was right there. I recall when I was struggling to get 1 strict pull up and could only imagine the day when I could blast out 10 or more. What I learned quickly however, was the absolute best way to do more pull ups was to do more pull ups. Like anything you want bad enough (and particularly for me), practice, practice, practice and eventually it clicks.To learn and improve, I personally included pull up attempts into my workouts regularly with the aim at building strength and improving performance. There is a ton of material out there about how to train for pull up performance
and in addition to just doing more pull ups, there were several other things I practiced to eventually get better:1) Do more pull ups – repetitions improve performance2) Doing negatives – starting at the “up” position, slowly lower yourself down2) Assisted pull ups on a machine – resistance settings vary3) Assisted pull ups with bands – attach bands to a puu up bar and place feet or knees in bands and pull5) Lat pull downs – Machine exercise that closely resembles the pull up motion1) Do more pull ups – practice, practice and practice some more2) Add weight; use a weighted vest or hang plates from a weight belt or hold dumbbells between your feet or thighs3) Rope Climbs – a variety of rope climb variations all support upper body and back strength4) Thick Bar Pull Ups – incredible for forearm and grip strength5) Kipping – allows for increased “work” and achieving high repetitions6) Vary hand grips for additional challengeSo the case can be made that the pull up is an awesome exercise and clearly there are things you can do when you are building the skill initially and even more you can practice to improve advanced performance.So what exactly IS the perfect pull up?Well, the answer is a personal one for all of us to consider and starts back at our first pull up attempted and continues with each new milestone achieved. It’s for this reason that the journey searching for perfection will be so much fun to chronicle.It’s also for this reason that I have concluded that there are no ground rules in this pursuit!!

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