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Pull-Ups – Benefits and Best Ways To Master Them

Last Updated on November 4, 2021 by Jeff



Compound exercises can do wonders for your body, and pull-ups are no exception. Pull-ups target several muscle groups in your body, allowing you to gain lean muscle mass, improve your strength, and burn fat. 

There’s a catch, though; you must perform pull-ups in proper form if you want to reap their benefits fully, and even more importantly, avoid injuring yourself. 

In this guide, we’ll shed light on the benefits of pull-ups and how to perform them, so stick around.

What Are Pull-Ups Good For?

There are countless benefits of doing pull-ups. They can be just as good to your body as a full-body workout machine. Now, let’s walk you through the perks of doing pull-ups in the following sections:

1. Building Back Muscles  Building Back Muscles

Your back muscles are the primary muscles that pull-ups target. Your back includes some of the largest muscles in your body, which means that gaining more muscle mass in that region will significantly increase your metabolism and give your body that distinctive V-shaped look. 

2. Bumping up the Arm and Shoulder Muscles

Your back muscles aren’t the only muscles that pull-ups work. They also engage your arm and shoulder muscles, giving you a well-rounded upper body workout with a single exercise.

3. Boosting Your Grip Strength

Pull-ups can tremendously improve your grip strength, which makes other exercises like dumbbell bent-over rows much easier to perform. 

4. Improving Mental Health

You may not realize it, but just like other forms of resistance training, pull-ups can drastically improve your mental health. They reduce anxiety, fatigue, and depression. Not to mention, doing pull-ups can impact your self-esteem and cognitive functions in a positive way.

5. Enhancing Your Fitness Level  pull ups muscles worked

Doing pull-ups can positively affect your overall fitness level. Lifting your whole body mass can be quite challenging for you, which contributes to developing your strength and fitness level. 

What’s more, pull-ups improve your cardiovascular health and accelerate your bone development.

How to Do a Pull-Up the Right Way

Maintaining the right form when doing pull-ups is essential for fully engaging the right muscles and preventing injuries. You can either use a doorway pull-up bar or a chin-up bar to perform this exercise. Here’s how to do a pull-up the right way:

  1. Keep your hands at shoulder width and grip the pull-up bar. Make sure that your back and shoulder muscles are fully engaged using your mind-muscle connection. Don’t put all the burden on your arm muscles because they’re the weakest.
  2. Raise your body slowly until your chin is closer to the ceiling than the bar, then turn back down slowly until your arms are almost entirely extended.
  3. Do 8-12 repetitions for 3-4 sets. Try to start with a lower number of repetitions until you get the hang of it.

Assistance Exercises

There are a number of exercises that can kick your pull-ups performance up a notch, which include:

Cable Face Pulls

Cable face pulls can significantly improve the strength of your rear delts, which makes pull-ups a little easier for you to do. All you have to do is stand 6 feet away from the cable, grip it with your hands, and pull until your elbows are almost on the same line as your shoulders. 

Negative Pull-Ups 

benefits of pull ups

Negative pull-ups are a smart way to improve your pull-up performance. At the end of your pull-up set, lower your body as slowly as possible to do a negative pull-up and increase your muscle engagement.

Lat Pulldowns

Lat pulldowns are pretty similar to pull-ups. However, they’re easier to perform because instead of lifting your entire weight by raising your body upwards, you pull down a suitable weight to engage your back and arm muscles.

Can Pull-Ups Be Bad For You?

Pull-ups themselves are definitely not bad for you. However, just like with any other form of exercise, doing pull-ups in the wrong form can lead up to injuries.

Also, keep in mind that, despite the fact that doing a pull-up doesn’t require any weights, it’s still a high-intensity exercise, meaning that you must warm up before doing it. 

Some people actually think that pull-ups are a warm-up exercise, which is far from true. Doing pull-ups without warming up can strain your muscles and joints, causing serious injuries.

It’s also worth noting that you shouldn’t do pull-ups if you have any acute or chronic injuries as they can worsen them. 

How Many Pull-Ups Can You Do?

The number of pull-ups you can do per set significantly depends on your fitness level and grip strength. You could have sufficient core and arm strength, but lacking grip strength can prevent you from doing enough pull-ups.

As a beginner, you may not be able to do more than 3 reps per set. Once your body gets used to it, you’ll progressively be able to do more repetitions. If you want to move things a bit faster, you can ask your friend to support your body when raising and lowering it.

Final Thoughts

To sum it all up, pull-ups can definitely give your body one hell of a workout. Including pull-ups in your exercise routine will help you build back, arm, and shoulder muscles, in addition to improving your grip strength and mental health. 

What we really like about pull-ups is that you can easily perform them at home. All you have to do is get the best pull-up bar for your needs, and you’re good to go. The Bowflex Revolution would be a good starting point.