Today let me give you my “Rulon Rules” to a Pull-Up. Pull-ups, especially strict pull-ups, are for a lot of people extremely difficult. Pull-ups are a FANTASTIC upper body workout, and we need that heading into the triathlon season for our swims!
What muscles do pull-ups work? We got a lot here:
- Latissimus Dorsi
- Trapezius (lower and middle)
- Posterior Deltoid
- Teres Major
- Pectorals Major/Minor
- Biceps brachii
- Wrist and Hand Muscles
Here is an example of Nick Vera from The Tribe Strength & Conditioning gym doing Strict Pull-Ups:
Here is an example of me doing Assisted Pull-Ups with a band at The Tribe Strength & Conditioning Gym:
Here are “Five Rulon Rules to a Pull-Up:”
- Hand position for Pull-Ups: Both hands are pronated (palms facing away from you). Some people will do Chin-Ups, for which both hands are supinated (palms facing toward you).
- The width of the grip will affect the shoulder movement to a certain degree. Do what is comfortable for you, as well as what you need to work on. Think of the swimming action of pulling with your scapula: We want to strengthen the lats and the teres major.
- Pulling Phase: With full extension in the arms, activate the scapula and pull the scapula down towards the spine. Bring the chin over the bar to complete the pull phase.
- Lowering Phase: Lower the body down in as controlled a way as you can. Over time, it will be easier to control yourself going down when you get stronger.
- Maintain a tight core, along with keeping your lower body as still as possible. Make sure you do a full arm extension and get the chin over the bar. Two crucial elements in pull-ups to utilize the whole body.
If you REALLY want to geek out, there is a great article on Breaking Muscle about Pull-Ups vs. Chin-Ups.
So, what if you CAN’T do a strict pull-up with or without a band? Not to worry; check out this video where Nick and I explain THREE ways to do ring rows:
I hope this gives you all an idea of options for pull-ups. Pull-ups are hard even for me but I LOVE what muscles they work, and they will ONLY help me in the pool and to have a strong back in that aero position!
Would LOVE to hear your comments below on what you do to strengthen your back!