One of the best exercises for the upper body strength are pull ups. It is also one of the most avoided exercises. If you go to any gym chances are there will be a small crowd around bench press station. Guys will brag how much they can press. It is understandable. If you stand in front of the mirror you will see the front of your body. Thus people pay an inordinate amount of attention to the chest and abdomen. The invisible back muscles must go the background. The other reason that sports amateurs avoid pull-ups is that they are notoriously hard to perform. There is a reason why pull-ups are mandatory exercise to get into military and police. Making pull-up test can quickly verify one’s views on their fitness. It is because during this movement gravity acts against your body. You must be able to lift yourself. If you are overweight, you will likely fail. Don’t be discouraged, though. You can always shed a few pounds. You will also a have good motivation to do so.
Practicing pull-ups will test your patience. Don’t expect to have quick gains. Achieving an increase of one pull-up per 4 weeks is a good pace. You may have more impressive results if you weigh 140 pounds or less. After one year you should be able to make on average 12 full pull-ups. Practicing pull-ups will develop your grip strength, shoulders, abdomen, and especially your upper back muscles. The side effect of doing 20 or more pull-ups in one series are back in a shape of a triangle. There are many pull-up variants. Some people refer to pull-ups as chin-ups. The basic idea is the same. You grab a horizontal bar, pull your elbows to the side of your chest. The bar should be at the level of your chin or eyes. More details on how to perform this exercise correctly and safely will be in the future post.