By Harry Fisher (MSc, BSc Hons, ASCC)
Pull ups our choice at DO Training for the June exercise of the month.
People hate pull ups for one major reason,THEY’RE HARD!!! And if you can’t do one, just hanging there is not a good look. However it is a basic human movement, and can come in handy if you’re hanging from a cliff edge, so it should be in your workouts. Don’t fret there is still hope for you and everyone should be able to do a pull up if they train smart.
The pull-up is an upper body compound pulling exercise used to develop the musculature in the arms and back. If the squat is the king of all exercises, the pull-up should be acknowledged with the same royalty. Simply stated, the pull-up is the squat for the upper body.
The Pull-Up vs The Chin-Up
What’s the difference? Well, Grip! The pull up is characterized by an overhand, pronated grip position, whereas an underhand, supinated grip denotes the similar chin-up. It’s also stated anecdotally that the chin up is a bicep dominant exercise and pull ups are more back dominant. Research suggests this is true, both exercises have shown high levels of lats activation, though significant increases in bicep activity and pec major activity were seen for the chin up and significant increases in lower traps for the pull up.
What does this mean?
Well if you are lifting weights for vanity and aesthetics to impress the ladies – looks like the chin up is best for you – high lat activity with greater biceps and pec activity.
For those worried about posture, shoulder function, and general athleticism, the pull up may be the better option! As you minimize pec major activity and maximize lower traps activity, you work in a more upright position. Both are essential when dealing with posture and upper body cross syndrome. The lower traps are often an area that gets weak in a modern office-bound/sedentary lifestyle, so choosing an exercise variation that increases lower trap involvement is a BIG plus!
So now that we have convinced you of the benefits of the pull up, I’m sure you are eager to add it to your workouts? Well at DO Training we have got you covered, click here for an in-depth tutorial on how to safely and effectively perform the pull up.