3 Exercises to Improve Your Push ups and Pulls ups

Do you have a New Year’s Resolution? Does it involve weight loss?

I’ve been talking a lot about New Year’s resolution and I thought that a great New Year’s resolutions for you would be to improve your push ups and your pull ups as a way for weight loss instead of just having a weight loss goal.

One way to drastically improve your push up is to improve your core strength. You can do this by doing the plank. The plank really improves core strength and shoulder stability. Here are some tips for doing the plank:

  • You’ll want to have the shoulders directly over top of the elbows and look directly to the floor.
  • You want to drop the hips until you find that sweet spot where you feel the abs grab.
  • A common mistake is dropping the head which will result in the the bum lifting up
  • Another mistake is lifting the head and consequently the hips will drop and cause strain in the low back.

You really want to try and get into that plank-like ‘straight as a board’ position.

challenge workout plank

A surprising exercise that helps improve the push up as well as the pull up is the dumbbell row. The dumbbell row increases rhomboid and upper back strength. Surprisingly when you improve upper back strength you’ll also improve your push up, obviously the pull up as well.

Here are some tips for the dumb bell row:

  • You got to get a dumbbell, fairly heavy.
  • I like to raise my opposite knee on a bench but you can also brace your opposite hand or your elbow on your opposite knee.
  • You need to keep a flat back. I like to say it’s a ‘rest a cup of tea’ on the top of the lower back type position so I don’t want to have my hips tuck under with a pelvic tilt.
  • Keep the hips pressed up, head down toward the floor.
  • I have a ‘start the lawn motor’ type of movement where I start with the dumbbell arm fully extended towards the floor, then I bring the dumbbell to the hip area and squeeze the shoulder blade toward the spine.

Surprisingly the dumb bell row is going to improve your push up and pull up enormously.

Because the pull up is a very worthy goal but is very difficult at first, you’ll need assistance in completing your first one. The last exercise to help with your pull up is the jump pull up and the assisted pull up.

First, there’s the jump pull up:

  • Find a bar that’s not above your reach, in fact it is just above shoulder height.
  • You need a shoulder width grip overhand grip. (A reminder that the pull up is an overhand grip.)
  • Jump up until the chin is over the bar then do an eccentric contraction on the way down to a full stretched or hanging position.
  • It’s actually the lowering of the body from the bar that is the strength building phase of the pull up movement.

The second alternative is a totally assisted pull up:

  • Step on a box or a chair, get into that high pull up position and do a slow descent until you’re in the full hanging position.
  • This will be working the eccentric ‘strength building’ contraction.

These are three exercises that you can do to help with your new year’s resolution on completing more quality and quantity push ups and pull ups.

You can check out the video below for a recap: