Are you a fan of pull ups? Why does every top workout program out there include them as a back or bicep exercise? And why is it such a popular military drill exercise? There is a lot of confusion about why pull ups stand out from dozens of other back exercises, but rarely does anyone question their effectiveness.
The fact of the matter is that the benefits of pull ups are numerous, and they're seldom mentioned. In fact, rarely is it mentioned why doing pull ups every day can create amazing, physique changing results.
There are 7 the main reasons why you should do pullups on a consistent basis.
1. It's A Multi-Joint Exercise
When compound exercises are mentioned, the main ones that probably pop in your mind are: deadlift, bench press, squat, and the shoulder press. All of these exercises have 2 things in common first, they're performed by lifting heavy weight, and secondly, they are performed by using many muscles at once.
But we often forget to mention that pull ups are also a compound exercise. Lifting your whole body from the floor by hanging on a bar requires more power than can be projected through a single muscle.
It doesn't require much work from the lower portion of the body, but all the upper body muscles, including the lats, traps, deltoids, pecs, biceps, forearms and triceps, get in on the action.
So what are the benefits of training many muscle groups at once? Well, there are quite a few.
First of all, you're building functional strength. If you find yourself in a fight, or in any physically demanding situation in real life, you will inevitably realize that there is no way to "isolate" the muscle that will perform the task.
You need to use your whole body. If your workouts are focused too much on isolation exercises, you might build a pretty set of biceps, but they won't be strong in a functional sense. Pull ups build the strength of your whole upper body in a natural way, so that you can use this strength outside of the gym as well.
Another benefit is saving time. If you train each of these muscles separately, you'll need a lot more time to get the job done. Pull ups do the job of many exercises through one single movement.
The third benefit is quite obvious. Pull ups can be performed with minimal gym equipment. You can do them anywhere, as long as you have a relatively high platform to hang unto and pull yourself from the ground. Check out this pull-up bar from Gronk Fitness.
This means that you can really do them every day, even if you don't feel like going to the gym. Having a bar at home and doing a set here or there can be done regularly without spending a dime on expensive gym memberships.
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2. You Can Target Muscles From Different Angles
Pull ups are also a very versatile exercise. You can change the way that the exercise effects your body simply by changing the grip, the way you position your legs or the width between your hands on the bar.
For instance, a close grip pull up will target the outer lats and biceps far more than the middle portion of the back. If you want to build more back depth in the middle, the wider grip is preferrable, as it engages the traps and the inner lats much better.
By keeping your legs extended while pulling up, you will engage more of your midsection and lower back.
There are countless variations you can perform in order to focus your attention on the parts of your physique that you want to improve more. This also means that you can do pull ups every day, and focus on something different.
Even if you get sore lats, you can still do pull ups the next day by changing your grip and adding strength to the middle portion of the back muscles, arms, or any other part you want to improve further.
3.You Can Improve Easily
Another great benefit of pull ups is that you are constantly building strength and endurance. This is especially true if you do them every day.
You will find that your muscles respond by allowing you to do more reps on a regular basis. It's not uncommon for people to struggle to do 1 or 2 pull ups, and after a few weeks progress to doing 10 or even more.
Another important improvement aspect is the variety of paths you can take to improve. For instance, doing close grip pull ups is easier for most people, as the biceps and lats do most of the lifting together, whereas using a wide grip will make the lats perform almost all of the work. So you can start by doing close grip pull ups and widen the grip with time. Another way to improve is by adding more weight. You can do that by using a belt and strapping a plate unto it. You can also hold a dumbbell between your legs. Perhaps the easiest way to lift more weight is by using a heavy backpack.
There are many other variations, such as doing the pull ups faster, slower, using a rest pause as you lower yourself down, or at the moment of contraction. You can simply measure how many reps you performed the previous day on the same type of pull up, and whether you can do more or less as time moves on.
The freedom and improvement capacity that pull ups offer is truly endless. The more often you do them, the more you can improve.
4.It's The V-Shape Builder
Although pull ups are an awesome compound movement, the part in which they really excel in is building the back muscles. This is especially true for building width, as almost any pull up variation engages the latissimus dorsi.
By doing more pull ups the lats will inevitably grow, giving the body a V-shape physique that looks attractive and powerful.
Aside from building the lats, pull ups are one of the rare bodyweight exercises that targets the middle and latter part of the delts. Deltoids are the hardest upper body muscle to develop when using only calisthenic workouts, but by doing more pull ups, especially the middle grip version, you will be able to create the round delts that compliment the wide back perfectly.
5. Increase Grip Strength
If there's one thing that the gym crowd struggles with, it's building a strong grip and forearm strength. Many trainees neglect training their grip through isolation movements, as they think it's a waste of time.
However, having a strong grip is crucial if you want to add strength to your deadlifts, back rows and countless other "pulling exercises". Pull ups are an awesome way to strengthen your grip while building up the bigger muscle groups simultaneously.
6. They're Easy On The Joints
There aren't many exercises that you can do every day without getting in trouble with your joints and tendons. An exception to the rule are some bodyweight movements such as pull ups, chin ups, crunches and push ups. What makes pull ups different is the nature of the movement.
As the movement is performed in the air, there isn't any traction happening in order to keep the body in place. The knees, lower back and midsection stabilizers don't wear down from the movement.
The only joints and tendons that are activated are the ones located in the elbow and shoulder region. However, they are activated with almost any upper body exercise you perform, and they're able to handle a lot of work.
As far as the health of joints and tendons is concerned, pull ups can be performed every day without having to worry about tendonitis and similar issues.
7. Improve Explosiveness And Balance Your Body
Hopefully, the previous benefits of pull ups answer the question of why they're a great exercise to do every day. But another aspect that is equally important relates to the other side of human physiology.
Sure, we all want an aesthetic physique, and most of us are also interested in improving our strength on the compound movements.
However, explosiveness is equally important if you wish to become a well-rounded athlete. Explosiveness means that you are able to shift from the state of inactivity to a state of high-intensity engagement in a blink of an eye. This is where fast pull ups come into play.
By doing fast motions on the bar you are increasing your explosiveness, and that can translate into a better snatch, clean & jerk, and improve your performance in competitive sports, such as football and basketball.
All of these activities require fast reactions and a proportional engagement of the upper and lower body. Most of the time we tend to train our upper body with slow movements such as the bench press or shoulder press, while the legs are trained through coordinated movements like running and playing sports.
In order to create a balance between the two, doing explosive sets of pull ups can really make a difference.
As you can see, there are obvious benefits to doing pull ups, and these can be multiplied the more often you train them. From building an aesthetic V-shaped back, to improving strength and explosiveness, they are an irreplaceable exercise in every athlete's workout arsenal.
I hope this article will inspire you to improve your physique and performance by adding pull ups to your daily workouts.
For more tips on achieving your fitness & strength goals, we recommend these articles: Strength Training Without the Bulk, When You're Sore, Should You Lift Some More?, Building a Garage Gym, Get Fit in the Gym, Lose Weight in the Kitchen, 5 Tips to Stop Treadmill Static, It's Not About Getting Skinny.
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|About the author: James Gross founded Fitnessapie.com to share valuable information helps people achieve fitness goals through guides, tips, ideas and reviews to people live a healthy and happy life.|