If you’re working to get five pull-ups, I’ve got some tips for you.
The first thing that I want to talk about is doing the assisted pull-ups. A lot of people think that it’s actually the pulling up that’s the strength building, it’s actually the lowering portion of the pull-up that builds strength. That is the eccentric contraction or the lengthening of the muscles.
Whether you can do one, ten, fifty or a hundred pull-ups, every time you do the eccentric or lowering of your body under control, this is the strength-building phase of the pull up. This is also the portion of the movement that creates muscle soreness.
First, your hands should be about shoulder width apart. Remember with the pull-up, it’s always an overhand grip, this way you are not using the biceps as much.
Second, you need to help yourself up to the bar. If you’re not in a gym that has an assisted pull-up machine, you can always jump off a bench or step up from a bench. In any case, get up anyway you can. You won’t be taxing the back and biceps muscles to lift yourself up so once you’re up with the chin above the bar, you can begin the slow lengthening of the muscle as you lower yourself down from the bar.
This is the strength-building portion of the pull-up.
One of my favorite exercises is the dumbbell row. You’ll be surprised at how heavy you can go for this. The back is a very strong muscle, but you really want to make sure you maintain good posture and back safety for this.
It’s best to put a knee on a bench, hold the dumb bell in one hand and put the other hand on the bench. Imagine that you’ve got a cup of tea on your lower back so don’t let your hips tuck under. Flatten your back and grab the dumbbell, brace yourself with the one hand on the bench and row the other in a ‘start-the-lawn-mower’ type movement with the other hand.
Here is another tip; I’m right handed so my right hand tends to be a little bit stronger. I always start on the left, do my reps, go to my right and then I’ll finish off on my left with a couple extra reps. If I get 10 reps on the left, I’ll go 10 reps on the right and then I’ll finish up again with maybe 3 or 4 reps on the left. You will always have asymmetrical muscle development but you can really narrow the gap this way so there’s not a big difference in strength on either side.
Those are my three tips on how to get 5 pull-ups.
First of all, help yourself by doing some assisted pull-ups. Work the eccentric contraction and remember you’ll have some muscle soreness from this.
Secondly, do some single dumbbell rows.
Thirdly, always work the weak side first and last.
Good luck with getting your first pull up and then increasing the number of quality reps you can get. Keep us posted using the comment section…what are your best tips?