Pull-up exercises are one of the most effective ways to work your chest, not to mention your core, shoulders, back and biceps. And when done correctly, pull-ups can take your strength training routine to a whole new level.
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To make sure you get the most out of your pull-ups, here are some of the most common mistakes people do on the bar and how to avoid them.
1. Not Keeping Your Shoulders Back
This is one of the most common mistakes people make during a pull-up bar routine, especially those who are just starting. When you roll your shoulders forward, it puts more strain on your shoulders, which can put you at risk for injuring your rotator cuff. It will also render the routine practically ineffective.
To avoid this, you should maintain your focus on keeping your chest up. Always lead with your chest and not with your shoulders. It can also help if you focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together. Imagine pinching a ball between the blades before you lift yourself up.
2. Not Doing A Full Dead Hang
When you are doing a pull up routine, it’s easy to feel excited about going beyond the bar. This can make you overlook the other factors that make a successful and effective pull up, like the dead hang position before a lift.
Failure to fully extend your elbows and dead hang yourself after a lift will not give you the fullest benefits of the exercise. Instead, it shortens your range of motion and doesn’t work your back the way it’s supposed to.
After a lift and when lowering yourself, make sure that your arms are hanging fully extended, without your elbows being bent. Rest there for one to two seconds before making a conscious effort to lift yourself up again.
3. Not Doing The Correct Variations
If you are a beginner, it’s completely understandable if you still lack the strength necessary to perform a full pull-up move. You can use an assisted band, a pull-up machine, a box or enlist the help of a friend or personal trainer to help you get through the routine.
Also Read: Easy Pull-Up Bar Workouts For Women
Do not attempt to perform a pull-up variation which your body isn’t prepared for. Not only will this not give you the results you want, but it can also put you at risk of several injuries. Don’t be afraid to start with easier variations and transition into a full pull-up once you’ve mastered the perfect form.
4. Excessive Use Of Momentum
To get the most out of your pull-up exercise, you should keep it controlled. Violent kipping motions may get you up there, but they won’t make you stronger, since you aren’t training or targeting the right muscles. Always try to perform pull ups in a slow, deliberate and controlled manner. You can try the kipping pull-up routine once you’ve mastered the controlled movement and you are confidence in your strength and ability.
Using excessive momentum and cheating on your form can make for an impressive pull-up record, but it won’t make significant improvements in your physique, other than your lats. Reduce your risk of injury and perform your pull-ups with control.
5. Not Challenging Yourself
Can you do 10 pull ups in a row without difficulty? Good for you! This likely means your body is accustomed to the routine and no longer finds the exercise challenging. It’s time to make some changes and add difficulty.
If you want to get stronger and gain muscle, you can add more weight to your pull ups by investing in a dip belt. Gradually and progressively increase the weight as you gain more strength. Closing your grip can also make the routine more difficult.
For improved definition, you can target specific muscles by slightly changing how you do your pull ups. The typewriter pull up, for example, can specifically target the lat muscles. If you want a really intense variation, you can try the one finger pull-up exercise. This one takes a lot of strength and skill, so make sure you’ve mastered the pull-up first before moving on to more advanced exercises.
About the author:
Mike is a personal fitness trainer and owner of www.AllPullUpBars.co.uk. Apart from helping his clients develop routines that can keep them in top shape, he’s also committed to helping them stay motivated on their health goals.