A pull up is a compound exercise for the upper body. You have noticed those ripped dudes doing dozens of pull ups at the gym and you wish you could do exactly the same. A lot of us believe that doing pulls ups is virtually impossible because we need to lift our entire body multiple times. But the truth is that they are not that difficult to do.
You don’t necessarily need to start by doing a ton of them. You can get going with a few repetitions and gradually work your way up until you get better at doing them like those hulks at the gym.
Doing pull ups looks impressive and it offers a lot of benefits when done on a regular basis. Read on and discover such benefits that you may have never thought about…
How Do You Do a Pull-Up?
The first part involves scapular retraction. It is a technical term which simply means drawing your shoulder blades together and pulling them down. The movement activates your latissimus dorsi or lats, the huge set of muscles on your back.
After retracting your scapulae, you need to pull your body up toward the bar. This requires bending your arms or flexion of your elbow joint, which calls into action your biceps and the supporting arm and back muscles. Lastly, lower yourself back to the starting position. This engages your triceps and shoulder muscles.
Here’s the step-by-step procedure:
- Jump, grab the bar and hang from it.
- Engage your abs and pull yourself up until your chest is almost in contact with the bar, then pull up even higher until your chin is above the bar.
- Always lead with your chest, keep your shoulders back and low, and don’t swing your legs in order to get up to where you want to be.
- Slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position and repeat until fatigued.
Back to the Benefits
1) Work Out Several Muscle Groups Simultaneously
This is what we previously mentioned about a compound exercise, which is great if you are short on time. Pull ups are highly efficient because they engage your wrists, forearms, biceps, triceps, shoulders, lats, and your core. In addition, every time you do a pull up, you are lifting your full body weight. Over time, this will give you that sculpted upper body that you have always dreamed of. You won’t be able to find another type of exercise that works out as many muscles at one time.
2) Pull Ups Work Wonders for Your Grip Strength
Grip strength is an essential component of everyday life and when it comes to extreme sports like mountain climbing, having a powerful grip is imperative. Think about it, every time you lift your body while hanging from the bar, a significant amount of the tension will be concentrated on your fingers and hands. Pulls ups are definitely better when it comes to grip strength training than any other exercise out there.
So, once you have introduced pull-ups into your regular routine, opening a stubborn pickle jar should be a piece of cake and you’ll likely be able to halve apples with your bare hands!
3) Fat Loss – Shed Excess Weight
If you have ever struggled with weight, you may have noticed that the flab around your waist can be a pesky piece to get rid of. Luckily for you, doing pull ups offers a quick and effective solution! It will also help you lose excess weight in general, instead of merely focusing on trimming your tummy.
To be fair, pull ups don’t burn as many calories as cardio workouts like running or cycling, but they do burn some calories nonetheless. If you wish to romp up the intensity in order to burn more, you can increase the number of repetitions, do more sets, take less time resting in between, and do the pull ups faster.
This will surely get your heart pumping and boost your metabolism, forcing your body to use more energy to keep going. This means you will burn more of the food you eat instead of storing excess calories in the form of fat.
Moreover, there’s your exercise post oxygen consumption or EPOC. When you do pull ups, your metabolic rate remains boosted for a certain period after completing your routine, thus contributing to fat loss and achieving a lean and healthy physique.
4) Alternate Form of Cardio
Another significant benefit of doing pull ups is that they do count as cardio, especially if you do them fast enough. Because of their high level of difficulty, pull ups require an extra ounce of energy to complete and this increases your heart rate.
Over time, your heart will become stronger, which is crucial to your overall health and improvement in physical performance. As your heart becomes stronger, you’ll have lower blood pressure, a slower resting heart rate, and reduced risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Remember that even if you are not capable of doing pull ups for 15 minutes straight, you can always make them an integral component of a circuit routine. This will give you a decent cardio exercise.
5) Pull Ups Make Your Back Stronger
We have previously mentioned that pull ups target multiple muscles in your upper body simultaneously, but the most important ones are the muscle on your back. Working out your back may not seem like the ideal body part to target since a lot of people go for the core, arms or legs. However, having a strong back is very important.
Having chiseled muscles on your back is good for your looks, plus you’ll achieve better posture. In addition, weak back muscles typically lead to back pain, which is a nuisance to most people. Strengthening your back muscles through some simple pull ups is the best and easiest solution to all of those aches and pain.
6) Enhanced Endurance / Boost Your Stamina
As you workout on a regular basis, your stamina will increase. This means you will become more resistant to intense workouts like running, plyometrics or weight lifting. The reason why it’s almost imperative to boost your stamina is that you will be able to improve the ability of your body to support your daily activities, along with your performance in sports and exercise.
Pull ups impact and benefit your stamina through each and every repetition because of the physical challenge. It may look simple but there is a good amount of strain and pressure that is imposed on your upper body. As mentioned in the preceding section, pull ups are an excellent way to strengthen your heart, and as it becomes stronger, your endurance is enhanced and your stamina increases.
7) Pull Ups Lead to Better Moods
The fact that working out can improve your mood has never been a secret. Engaging in any form of exercise prompts your brain to release endorphins, of which the most important is serotonin. It’s a ‘feel happy’ chemical that will give you a sense of elation, and it can help prevent mood swings, anxiety and depression.
Other chemicals that are released in your brain are endocannabinoids, which have a similar effect as serotonin. In fact they trigger the same receptors as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the active component of marijuana. So, needless to say endocannabinoids makes you more relaxed, makes you feel happier, and they lower your pain threshold.
8) Score Points in the Looks Department
Pull ups can give you that much coveted ‘V’ because your shoulders and lats will look bigger, your waist slimmer, but more muscular. Even if you don’t frequent the gym to look good, a set of pull ups done on a regular basis will do that for you as a bonus! You will look good in front of the mirror, in the gym or at the beach.
You may have also noticed that people seem to look great while they are doing the workout. The reason behind this is that pull ups highlight the arms and back, both of which have sizeable muscle groups that become tensed up.
Talking about muscles, this is precisely where pull ups trounce other types of exercises. By activating multiple muscle groups simultaneously, your entire upper body starts to shape up into a well-developed physique, which makes you look buff and tough.
If you haven’t tried doing pull ups, you should consider doing it or adding a few sets into your regular routine. Evidently, pull ups offer a lot of benefits so they are definitely worth doing. Having a stronger core, stronger arms, and a stronger back are just some of the things that you can achieve, not to mention pulls ups contribute to weight loss and cardiovascular health. So start today and gain the benefits that come along with it!