This article is for all you folks out there, who want to do more pull-ups. These workouts are best, if you want to build up your back muscles and overall strength. Here are some tips that will help you increase their number.
Pull-ups are a tough job. When you are doing one, you are essentially hauling up your whole body weight, using the force of the back muscles. So, it’s never easy, especially for beginners. So, do not be discouraged if you manage only 1, 2 or none at all, on your first attempt.
How it Affects Muscle Growth
This exercise routine targets the back muscles and especially the one called ‘Latissimus Dorsi‘ and the connected muscles, which form the connection between the shoulder and lower back.
Every exercise is about the development of a certain muscle group. Exercise stimulates the muscle to grow. The way to make a muscle tougher, is to subject it to stress and challenge its strength. As in every exercise routine, when you raise the stress level and reach your ‘pain threshold’, the muscle gets challenged and is forced to grow.
The pain threshold is the zone where you are making your muscles go a little beyond what they are used to. This is what prompts growth and this is where we start getting better. However, you should raise the intensity of that particular workout slowly, one more repetition, at a time. In exercise, extremes should be avoided.
Remember, anything that is subjected to too much stress suddenly, snaps. So mastering any exercise and developing your body is all about patience, dedication, and regular determined effort, increasing in intensity. In short, what you use, gets better and strengthens, while what you do not use, you lose. This is true about every muscle, including your brain.
What you need is a firmly fixed horizontal pull-up bar, high enough for your own height and strong enough to support your weight. If you are working in a gym, it won’t be a problem as they usually have a bar installed.
Hang on the bar with palms facing away from you body. Your both hands should be straight and preferably equally spread apart from the bar center. Let your chest be out and shoulders behind. Now look straight and pull up your whole body weight, till your chin is well above the bar. Now, slowly lower your body back to the initial straight-elbowed position. This completes one pull-up. Breathe in before you go up and breathe out at the top.
Do not jump on the bar and start the pull-up or use leg jerks to pull yourself up. The leg jerks divert the concentrated effort that the back muscles are normally subjected to. Avoid jerks and go for fluid movements. Go slow when you are pulling yourself up and lowering down. This puts more sustained stress on muscles and aids their growth.
How to Increase the Number
Following are some tips on increasing your number:
How do you get better at anything in life? You keep doing it and hang in there without quitting. If you want to increase your number of pull-ups, you need to do exactly the same thing, literally hang in there. Even if progress is slow, remember, persistence always pays. So the mantra to get more done is to keep ‘doing them’.
If you are able to pull off 2 pull-ups today, try doing one more the next day. Once you can comfortably do 3, increase target again. Keep doing this and one day, you will go beyond 10. One step at a time and persistent effort daily, will surely increase your number.
Some people may recommend using resistance bands or assistance machines that aid you in pulling yourself up. I won’t recommend that because I believe it’s always better to start off with the real thing and without handicaps. This way, you take longer to learn but the muscle growth that you will get this way, will be far more, than the assisted effort.
Play some nice motivating music while you do your pull-ups and work out. Personally, I prefer playing the theme song from the movie ‘Rocky’ called ‘Eye of the Tiger’ or the other training theme. Hang in there and keep at it, you are bound to succeed.
The idea is plain and simple; to get better at something, keep doing it. There is no other way out. Even if there is, it won’t help you, there are no shortcuts in muscle building. So hang in there and keep pulling yourself up.