So you want to get “buff”. Pull-ups are a great exercise since they work the upper body as well as the core. Pull-ups will activate muscle groups arms, shoulders, chest, back and neck as well as your abdominal muscles.
The exercise also covers front to back and side to side planes of motion. So you want to find out how to do pull-ups at home. Sufficed to say you already have your pull up bar in place so let’s get to it!
Your pull-up begins hanging from the pull-up bar.
- Grab the Bar – Hold on the bar with your arms spaced shoulder width apartensuring you have a full and firm grip on the bar
- Hang – left your legs from the floor allowing your knees to bend so you are hanging from the bar while keeping your arms straight
- Pull – Keeping your arms straight, pull yourself up off the floor by pulling your elbows downward so they point to the floor while keeping them close
- Pull your body all the way up until your chin has passed the bar
- Lower yourself down allowing your arms to become straight
- Repeat from step number two
The pull-up is considered a compound upper body exercise. You use your arms and back to pull your body up and your abs help to prevent the arching of your lower back.
Gripping the bar with your arms facing up will emphasize your arms. This type is called a Chin-up and this move is great for building your arm muscles. These are a great place to start if you try a pull-up and find it impossible to do – do a chin up instead.
Your chin-up begins hanging from the pull-up bar.
- Hold on to the bar with your palms facing upwards
- Follow steps 2 – 5 above
If you find that you cannot do a pull-up and you cannot do chin-ups ether then there is still an option for you that will work the same muscle groups. You can do negatives – these are only good if your pull-up bar is an outside one.
- Position your chin above the bar
- Lower yourself slowly
- Jump back up
- Repeat if you are able
If that still isn’t something you can manage then you can go ahead and use a resistance band to get your arm muscles some work. And help to strengthen them so that you can move back to attempting pull-ups.
You can also get someone to spot you and help you on your way up with the pull-ups until you are confident and strong enough to do them yourself. Whatever you use to aid you we never recommend the use of assisted pull-up machines. These won’t help you get stronger and you want to get stronger.
The Right Form for your Pull-Ups
The width of your grip for pull-ups is determined by your build. If you have wider shoulders then you grip will need to be wider apart. For each rep you do you want your elbows to be locked at the bottom when you start and in the end of the rep your chin should always go over the top of the bar.
You may be tempted to do half reps but if you do give in then you will only get half the gains. Here are some tips for ensuring you have the best form when doing your pull-ups at home.
- Your Grip –you want to always have a gull grip with your palms facing up, fingers closed and the bar held high
- The Width of your Grip –Your hands should be spaced shoulder width apart, nothing less and nothing more
- Your Elbows – you don’t want to flare out your elbows, ensure they are kept 45 degrees from your body at all times.
- Your Chest – on the way up you want to lead with your chest and try to touch your chest to the bar
- Your Shoulders – these should be kept back without squeezing your shoulder blades
- Your Head – you want to keep your head neutral without looking forward and without looking at the bar
- Your Lower Back – this should be neutral with a straight line from your knees to shoulders
- Your Legs – you want to bend your knees, cross your legs and make sure you are squeezing your glutes
- Your Breathing –At the bottom you want to take a deep breath and hold it until you get to the top. At the top you should exhale and lower yourself then inhale again at the bottom
Muscles Worked by Pull-Ups
Pull-ups will work mostly your arm and upper back making them more focused on the upper body. The specific muscles that are worked by pull-ups include;
- LatissimusDorsi better known as the Lats and are a v shaped muscle – the broadest one in your back. These muscles are found in your upper back and are responsible for pulling your upper arms down when you pull yourself up.
- Small muscles in upper back, the rear shoulders and your traps
- Pull-ups work the muscles in your arms as they bend your elbows when you pull yourself up. You will work your biceps the hardest while doing chin-ups.
- The muscles in your forearms
- Triceps work when you pull your elbows backwards to your torso
- Your abdominal muscles help to prevent your lower back from arching while you pull yourself up and help to maintain a straight line from your shoulders to knees. Pull-ups will work the entire six packs – the rectus abdominus, as the abdominal muscles are being worked out with it.
Perfecting the art of how to do pull ups at home is a great way to work your upper body and core. If you are looking for a way increase your upper body strength and tone out your core this is a great exercise to take on. Chin-ups are similar and work the same muscle groups and will offer the same benefits of pull-ups so you can alternate between the two.
However if you are more focused on builder your biceps then you should definitely do more chin-ups as they for you to lift more. Once you hit a plateau with your body weight you can always move on to weight pull-ups and chin-ups. Remember to keep your form right to avoid injuries and you should be well on your way.