The best body weight vertical pull back exercise, the pull up. Very commonly done, very commonly done incorrectly.
The pull up primarily focuses on your lats – latissimus dorsi muscles – but works all the muscles of the back. I am a huge fan of pull ups because it is an exercise that can be done pretty much anywhere you can find a high bar. Whether you’re someone who enjoys working out outside at a park, or in the gym, there is always a place to do pull ups.
Things to focus on:
- Do Not Sway – many people struggle to keep their bodies under control through the movement, the tendency is to let your lower half sway forward to create momentum to help you over the bar. The best way to do pull-ups is to create stability through the core to keep the body still and focus best on the lats themselves
- Range of Motion – this one grinds my gears.. most people have a bad habit of getting their chin over the bar, and going down until their arms are roughly bent at 90 degrees. When doing pull ups, you want to make sure you are going through the full range of motion, allow your arms to go straight at the bottom and try to get your chin over the bar at the top
- Depress the shoulders – you want to make sure that you are depressing your shoulders at the bottom of the exercise so that throughout the movement you are targeting the proper muscles, the lats, not your upper traps
- Use a band – what you can do to lower the resistance/your body weight is add a band to the bar. The best way to do this is loop a resistance band (see the green band in the video) through the bar and place one of your feet into the band. This will assist you in lifting yourself as if there was someone underneath you pushing you up
- Chin Ups – chin ups are another good exercise, and they are a bit easier than a regular pull up. The reason why they are easier than a pull up is because they recruit different muscles to help assist the lats through the movement pattern. To complete a chin up, the procedure is the exact same as a pull-up, just change the pattern of your hands. Pull ups, your hands are over the bar. Chin ups, your hands go under the bar