Want to do better pull ups? Want to increase reps on pull ups? You’ve clicked on the right video. Pull-ups are one of the oldest yet most widely used back exercise out there – and for good reason. They’re convenient to do and very effective at growing and strengthening your mid and upper back muscles. But, despite how simple this exercise may seem, the truth is that most lifters screw this movement up with a few common pull up mistakes that take away from the effectiveness of this exercise. In this video I’ll cover exactly what those errors are so that you can instantly build MORE muscle with pullups – in turn, helping you increase pullup strength. And get more pullups.
The first mistake has to do with grip width. Gripping the bat too wide makes pull-ups less effective for two reasons. One is that it shortens the range of motion of the movement which may enable you to do more reps can compromise growth due to the limited range of motion your back muscles will experience each rep. And second, is that it puts your shoulders in a more compromised position. Which can obviously be detrimental for your gains in the event that you do actually end up harming your shoulder. You also don’t want to grip the bar too narrow. This can not only shift some of the tension away from your back muscles, but can also make your forearm muscles now the limiting factor in your pull-up. So, what you want to do for better pull ups is grip the bar not too wide and not too narrow. Use a grip that’s slightly outside of shoulder width.
The second mistake you’re making is failing to properly engage your core during the exercise. Now although this isn’t necessarily “bad”, it does create a great deal of instability and wasted energy during the pull-up which can negatively affect your strength in the movement. So instead, before you even go into your pull-up, start with your legs straight if possible and then crunch yourself into this “C” position by engaging your abs. Then from here, keep your core engaged and maintain that position as you perform each rep. This will not only instantly provide a ton more stability into your pull-ups, but by setting your lower back in this more stable position it can also enable your lats to pull with more force because they attach into the low back.
The next mistake is losing form at the top of the pull-up. Usually, they do so by letting the shoulders shrug up to the ears and roll forward as they struggle to get above the bar. This not only puts the shoulders in a compromised position but also disengages the back muscles that we’re trying to target. Instead, to build more muscle with pullups, we want to keep the shoulders back and externally rotated and chest upright even as we get to the top. To do so, before you initiate the pull, first set your shoulders by pulling your shoulder blades down and back so that your shoulders move down away from your ears. Then, as you’re pulling, simply think about pulling yourself up by leading with your chest and trying to get your upper chest or collar bone to the bar.
The last mistake you want to fix so you can get more pullups is you’re simply not doing enough volume for your pull-ups. Focus on doing more total pull-up volume, instead of the lat pulldown, as this will better transfer to your pulling strength. And there’s a variety of different ways you can achieve this. So, if you’re currently stuck, then add in some additional sets of pull-up negatives after you’ve fatigued yourself during your normal pull-up sets. Or, if you can only do let’s say 5 or so pull-ups in a row, then just perform more sets but with less reps per set.
So, to sum the video up, here’s a quick recap of the main points that’ll help you increase reps on pull ups:
First, use a proper grip of about 1.5x shoulder width.
Second, keep your core engaged before and during the movement.
Third, don’t lose form and roll your shoulders forward at the top.
And lastly, ensure you’re doing enough pull-up volume as that’s key to improving your strength with this movement.
So hopefully you were able to see that although yes choosing the right exercises is important, executing these exercises in the right manner is really what’s key to maximizing the growth you experience from them. And for a step-by-step program that uses science to not only show you what to workout week after week, but then shows you exactly how to perform each and every exercise for maximal activation and growth while pairing this with a nutrition plan to support your recovery, then take the analysis quiz to discover which science-based program would be best for you and where your body is currently at below:
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Filmed by: Bruno Martin Del Campo
Music by Ryan Little – Body Language – https://thmatc.co/?l=A37F6F3E