The bench press has the reputation of being the one exercise that’s somehow a good tool to measure how much of a “man” you are.
The barbell squat is known as the “king” of all compound exercises in its ability to trigger natural anabolic hormone release and stimulate muscle growth.
But in my opinion, it’s the Pull-Up that determines your “intestinal fortitude” when it comes to training to build muscle AND burn fat!
Not only is it a KILLER back exercise (former pro-bodybuilder Lee Haney swears that it was his ability to do pull-ups that were responsible for his world-famous barn door of a back!)…
…but it’s ALSO a great “FAT BURNER” exercise?
Yes, you heard me right…pull-ups BURN FAT!
This is one of the reasons why they’re used so effectively in the military and why they’re a staple in my own “military style” weight loss program (http://www.combatthefat.com/).
Pull-ups combine the effectiveness of bodyweight exercise with targeting of your second largest muscle group…something no other exercise is capable of doing…even squats!
This combination activates your central nervous system to stimulate both muscle growth and an all-body fat meltdown when done correctly.
But why don’t you see many people doing them in the gym?
Because they’re HARD…that’s why!
Most guys who can hit the cable pull-down machine
But let me tell you something…I’ve seen 65 year old grandmothers doing “dead hang” pull-ups…and I’ll be damned if I’m going to be shown up by anyone with blue hair!
So if you’ve been avoiding pull-ups because you’re embarrassed by the ½ rep you’re only able to knock out…then here are some tips for absolutely MASTERING them in no time flat…and showing Granny Clampett who’s the REAL boss of the iron pit:
1.) Focus on FORM over your number of REPS
With pull-ups, you’ll gain strength VERY quickly…but ONLY if you pay your dues up front by making sure you’re using PERFECT FORM!
Keep a slightly wider than shoulder width grip and as you pull up, keep your traps relaxed and your shoulders down and pulled back.
Cross your ankles and do NOT do the “dolphin kick” to cheat your chin up over the bar.
2.) Keep your mind on your ELBOWS
Instead of concentrating on pulling your body UP…focus on pulling your ELBOWS DOWN!
This little mental trick works GREAT at preserving your arm strength and bringing the stimulation to your back muscles where you want it.
3.) Use “Hooks” or “Wrist Straps”
Metal “hooks” are my favorite gym gizmo and they make sure that your arms don’t get tired before you actually hit your back muscles (a common problem).
Straps will work fine in a pinch but I’m a hook guy!
4.) Use a SPOTTER
A spotter can help you get more repetitions in by simply placing their hands under your crossed ankles to give you something to “push” off of as they help lift you up.
5.) Use NEGATIVES
Beginners who can’t do any pull-ups or only a couple, should focus on SLOW “NEGATIVES” to build up more strength.
Use a bench to get to the “top” position where your chin is over the bar and then slowly lower yourself down without help, resisting your body’s weight all the way.
With just a few extra “training tools & tips” like these, you’ll master pull-ups like a pro…and reap the rewards all the other guys don’t have the stones for!
6.) REVERSE your breathing
Most people are used to EXHALING when you’re contracting a muscle group. For example, with the pull-up, most exhale while raising their body up to the bar. Do the opposite!
Your back muscles contract more when your lungs are filled with air so inhale deep at the bottom of the movement and then hold it as you raise up, contracting your back muscles in the process. Exhale on the way down.