By Mike Simone Men's Fitness
Pull ups are hands-down one of the best exercises for developing the back and increasing your overall fitness level. They're old school, basic and a natural movement pattern of human beings. Instead of hitting the gym week after week trying to see 'how much you bench', why not try and see how many pull ups you can crank out?
We asked owner of Mike Duffy's Personal Training studios, former Mr. New Jersey and Natural Mr. America, Mike Duffy, CPT for his top tips to consistently get more and more pull ups.
7. Do Negatives
Negative-training is the focus on lowering portion of the movement vs. the actual lift. Focusing on negatives will target and develop muscle fibers differently, resulting in a boost in endurance. Duffy says, "grab hold of the chin up bar and jump up so that your chest is close to the bar. Then lower yourself for 4-6 seconds and repeat." Perform a few sets of negative each week on 'back day' and you'll begin to notice improvements in your overall ability to get more reps.
6. Use Assistance Bands
Pull ups are not neccessarly easy, some novice gym-goers have trouble even getting 1 or 2. Duffy recommends grabbing assistance bands which you wrap around the bar and place under your feet. "These elastic bands will counter balance your body weight and help assist you with getting more pull ups," says Duffy. Even advanced athletes can benefit from assistance bands - they might help get you 1, 2 or 3 more reps than you normally would without assistance. Novice trainees can train with assistance bands each week and more advanced athletes could sprinkle the use of the bands every other week.
5. Perform Forced Reps
Similar to using assistance bands, forced reps are about using a training partner to help you get a few more additional reps that you couldn't get on your own. Have a training partner give you a boost to crank out 2-3 more reps. Watch how your strength and endurance sores week over week.
4. Do Heavy Bicep Curls
Your biceps are the secondary muscle groups to the back (primary muscle group) when performing pull ups. Duffy recommends performing mixing in heavy biceps curls every other week or so. Shoot for 4-6 repetitions, whereas the other weeks, shoot for 8-12 repetitions.
3. Do Heavy Pull Downs
"Heavy pulldowns build up your lats, biceps and forearms which are the exact muscles and range of motion needed to do a pullup," says Duffy. We recommend working the following: week 1, 2 and 4, perform 3-5 sets of 4-6 repetitions with heavy weight, for week 3, 5 and 6 perform 3-5 sets of 10-15 repetitions with lighter weight.
2. Perform TRX Modified Pull Ups
Performing several different variations or modifications of the pull up with the TRX, "changes the angle of your pullup," says Duffy. This slight changes in the movement pattern will develop different areas of the muscles in your back, forearms and biceps to build up more muscular strength and endurance. Work with the TRX on modified pull ups once per week for a total of 3-5 sets to muscular failure.
1. Perform Squat Pull Ups
The purpose of the squat pull up is to utilize both your legs and your arms to complete a full pull up. Duffy says, "as your arms tire out, you can use more of your legs. This will slowly help you build more strength in your lats."
How to Perform:
Set yourself up in the smith machine and adjust the bar as needed. Start in a deep squat position and hold onto the bar with your arms fully extended. Use your lats until failure, and as you tire, start using more of your legs in the movement.