I Love/Hate Pull-ups
|February 26, 2014||Posted by The Fit Scoop under My Training, Workouts|
There are a few exercises that I kind of hate every time I do them but none more than the pull-up. Pull-ups are a fantastic upper-body exercise which is why I do them, but I am cursing them in my head the whole time because they are HARD. Since I lost a lot of upper body strength during my recovery after having Violet, I’ve been trying to build it back up. I want to get to the point where I can do unassisted pull-ups again. If you have been wanting to do pull-ups but don’t know where to start because even one is too hard (I’m there now!) here’s a progression you follow so you can build up to doing them:
1. Dumbbell rows: begin building back strength by doing bent-over dumbbell rows. Increase the weight when you can perform 3 sets of 8 reps with good form.
2. Body-weight inverted rows: Try using the smith machine at the gym for this exercise as it will allow you to adjust the bar to the appropriate height for your current ability or use a TRX (or similar) suspension trainer.
3. Assisted pull-ups: One tool I’ve found useful is a pull-up assist band. It’s basically a large rubber band that attaches to the bar and goes around your knees to help you by reducing the amount of weight you have to lift during the pull-up. The bands come in different strengths so you can get less help as you get stronger.
4. Negative pull-ups: Either use a chair or hop up to get your chin over the bar, and then slowly lower yourself down with control. Try counting to five as your lower yourself down. This is the eccentric phase of the pull-up and can help build your back and arm strength for doing the concentric (a.k.a. pulling) phase of pull ups.
Be sure to work your back and arm muscles two to three non-consecutive days a week in order to see progress. Once you can do a regular pull-up (even if it is only one) start adding them to your workouts. Remember it is OK to do only one at a time and then resting until you can do another. Try multiple sets of 1 or 2 reps to start and then add more reps as your get stronger.