Anatomy of Movement: The Pull-Up

In Blog, Science by Ryan Smith0 Comments

Let’s breakdown the pull-up.

The infamous pull-up is a movement that many strive to get “at least one.” It takes a great degree of strength and confidence to perform– making it a perfect movement to highlight in this episode of anatomy of movement.

We are looking at a strict pull-up. Not a kipping pull-up which uses the lower body to propel up to the bar.

A proper pull-up starts with proper hand placement. Which for most is going to be hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart.

The pull up is predominantly an upper body exercise. However, there is a great deal of coordination that needs to come through the core to make it as efficient as possible.

Starting with the first pull, you need to keep a rigid body and not have the rib cage flare up.

This allows a few things.

One, we get to work on our lats ability to work in a stretched position.

Two, it allows us to work on what is considered the “hollow rock” position. This position is essential for other gymnastic and CrossFit movements thus would make sense to develop a sense of strength from that position.

Next, the mid-pull is a great period to dive into the verbal cue “pull the bar down to you.”

Often we think so much about pulling ourselves up that we forget often focusing on this cue allows our hands to be active and in turn get a more favorable activation from the rest of the upper body muscles.

The final pull, getting the chin to the bar or above it, is all about maintaining the body position you already have up to this point. It is tempting to extend the neck and flail the legs in order to get that last extra inch or two. Don’t.

However, being patient with this position and even holding it for a second can develop a great deal of strength in the long run and make pull ups easier over time for yourself.

That’s the general breakdown of the pull-up. Maintain a rigid position with your body. Make sure you are focusing on pulling the bar down to you as much as you are pulling yourself up.

Finally, don’t sacrifice position to gain that extra inch at that top. Combine these key points with the patience and you’ll develop your pull up or improve your pull-up strength in a great way!

 

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