Pull ups are one of those exercises that people either excel at or struggle with – with very few falling in the category in between.
So, when we met up with global fitness trainer and team Prosupps athlete, Jason Poston, it was one of the first topics we asked him about.
In the video, Jason outlines 4 exercises you should do to help improve your ability to perform pull ups.
Some will help build pull up strength, some will help build the muscles needed to perform pull ups, and some will help you learn the pull up range of motion a little bit better.
1. Band Assisted Pull Ups
To perform band assisted pull ups, you’ll need to grab a resistance band and wrap it around the top of the pull up bar. Once you have done this necessary step, you’ll wrap the other end under one of your legs.
It’s important that you don’t place the band directly under the knee. Doing so can result in the band coming up and hitting your face while performing the exercise.
The banded pull up faces criticism by providing assistance in areas of the pull up where it’s not beneficial to the person doing the exercise. However, it does help you get a feel for the pull up exercise by increasing mind-muscle connection, which can pay off when you’re attempting to perform them unassisted.
2. Eccentric Pull Ups
The eccentric pull up, or jumping pull up as Jason calls it, is where you take out the concentric portion of the exercise and focus on lowering yourself slowly to overload the eccentric part of the pull up.
Since you’ll be stronger during the lowering phase of the pull up to begin with, this exercise can help you increase the time under tension during that portion, and help build the muscle and strength needed to progress to a full pull up.
3. Smith Machine Pull Ups
The Smith machine pull up is a self-assisted pull up that eliminates some of your bodyweight from the dead hang and allows you to focus on utilizing your lats to perform the movement.
Jason adds in a short box to elevate his feet when performing the movement. He also only performs half of the rep to help emphasize the tension placed on the back muscles.
Focus on squeezing your lats at the top of the exercise and stretching them at the bottom of the movement.
4. Inverted Row
The final exercise shown in the video is the horizontal or inverted row. It’s one of the easier movements listed in the video, but an important one to help build the muscles necessary to perform pull ups.
When performing this exercise, you can use either an underhand or overhand grip depending on your preference and/or how you want to attack the targeted muscle groups.
You can also change the range of motion during the exercise to target the many muscle groups involved in performing pull ups.