Tips from the Pros

Mistakes to Avoid for the Perfect Pull-Up

Taking your muscle building routine safely to the next level means following one golden rule while doing your workout: using the right technique to get satisfying results.

It takes a lot more than raw strength and a firm grip to do pull-ups. You have to pay attention to a variety of technical details that could hinder your performance if you overlook them. Do we have your attention now? Just put the FizzUp trainer’s tips into practice to steer clear of mistakes while doing pull-ups, a key exercise in many of the FizzUp programs and Single Workouts.

MISTAKE #1 TO AVOID FOR THE PERFECT PULL-UP: USING A LIMITED RANGE OF MOTION

A reduced range of motion is a major problem that keeps you from getting the most out of this exercise. You should be using your movement to your advantage. In order to stimulate your muscles enough with this exercise, you need to be using a full range of motion. Your muscles start to gain mass and build strength.

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For the perfect pull-up, keep in mind that your back muscles are supposed to be the driving force and need to be used with a full range of motion. The perfect pull-up should start with you in a stationary position with your hands grasping the bar and your arms straight. Don’t lock your elbows. Stop pulling your body up once your shoulder blades come close together and your chin goes above the bar.

You can also try half pull-ups if you’re a beginner trying to master this exercise or if you just want to target your arms. This means that you won’t be putting as much physical demand on your back muscles during the exercise. Half pull-ups focus on your arms and shoulders, giving you fewer results than regular pull-ups.

FizzUp trainer’s tip: Pull-ups are hard, but the results make them worth it. If you can’t do them now, there’s no shame in gradually working your way up so that you’re comfortable doing rep after rep with a full range of motion. Start by doing a single repetition until you’re able to do two repetitions, then three and so on. Exercise bands can also be a big help.

MISTAKE #2 TO AVOID FOR THE PERFECT PULL-UP: USING MOMENTUM TO RAISE YOUR BODY

It takes control to do the perfect pull-up, which means that you need to raise lower your body in a slow, steady movement with every repetition, then lower it with the same amount of control. You won’t reap the rewards of this exercise if you use momentum to raise your body instead of your arm strength. This “technique” doesn’t do anything to maximize your strength or muscle mass. You need to really feel your back muscles working during the exercise.

FizzUp trainer’s tip: By using little to no momentum, you’ll get everything you expect out of pull-ups by building strength and muscle, not to mention reduce the risk of injury. Although a little swinging might be helpful when you want to do one or two more repetitions, you should never spend most of your set swinging around like you’re on monkey bars.

MISTAKE #3 TO AVOID FOR THE PERFECT PULL-UP: FORGETTING ABOUT YOUR LOWER BODY

Although pull-ups are more for upper-body training, don’t forget that your legs are still attached to your torso, which is attached to your arms. If you let your lower body hang and move around instead of keeping them straight and engaged, you could lose some of your strength and balance.

If you move your legs around too much and arch your back, this also changes the direction your arms are pulling in. This can drain your energy and make you much more prone to injury.

FizzUp trainer’s tip: Pull-ups should be done with your back and legs straight and engaged.

MISTAKE #4 TO AVOID FOR THE PERFECT PULL-UP: PUTTING YOUR SHOULDERS IN THE WRONG POSITION

Your shoulders might tend to come forward as you do a pull-up, which puts extra stress on them and can again lead to injury.

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For the perfect pull-up, remember to bring your shoulders back so that you target the right muscles and reduce the risk of injury by taking any unnecessary tension off your joints and tendons. Try to feel your shoulder blades touching as you stick out your chest. Keep your shoulders back and lowered before you bend your elbows to raise your chest up toward the bar.

FizzUp trainer’s tip: To get your shoulders into the right position, imagine that you’re trying to hold a pen between your shoulder blades.

MISTAKE #5 TO AVOID FOR THE PERFECT PULL-UP: PUTTING YOUR ELBOWS IN THE WRONG POSITION

You know you’re doing the perfect pull-up when your elbows are behind you and pointing at the floor, much like if you were trying to put your elbows in the back pockets of your jeans. If your elbows are too close together and are pointing in front of you, you’re mainly using your arms to raise your body up to the bar. Once again, this keeps you from using all your strength and really working your back.

No matter which grip you use (whether that’s a pronated, supinated or neutral one) or how far apart your hands are on the bar, your elbows need to point toward the floor instead of your sides. This helps you engage your back muscles as much as possible and also take joint stress off your shoulders.

FizzUp trainer’s tip: Widen your grip with your hands at shoulder width to ensure that your elbows move backward and toward the floor. A grip that’s too narrow automatically puts your elbows in the wrong position.

Use these handy tips from the FizzUp trainer for the perfect pull-up. He’s always there to guide you toward perfect technique during one of your FizzUp programs!

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FizzUp Staff

FizzUp Staff

As passionate bloggers, the FizzUp Staff’s sole purpose is to motivate the community with insightful and fun articles. Team spirit is one of our core values, whether we’re at work or exercising together in the FizzUp Box.