What are the benefits of doing pull ups?
You ever wondered what the fuzz is all about?
Well, the fact is:
Pull-ups are not only one of the most challenging form of exercise – but a devastating multi-joint upper-body compound movement that works a large number of muscle groups throughout your upper body:
- Your back,
- and arms.
All at the same time!
Sounds exciting or what?
- 1 What is a Pull-up? The Super Short Version
- 2 Why Are Pull-Up So Effective?
- 3 The 5 Large Muscles Involved When Doing Pull-Ups
- 4 The Basics of a Push-up: Summary
- 5 What Are The Benefits Of Doing Pull Ups?
- 6 A Starter Guide For Your First Pull Up
- 7 Final Words: Doing Pull-Ups Improves Your Strength!
- 8 Other Helpful Resources
What is a Pull-up? The Super Short Version
The name pull-up literally refers to pulling up your body:
While grasping a steady bar and your hands separated by a distance approximately equal to your shoulder width, you use the muscles of your upper body to raise your body up to the bar.
When you reach the top, hold for a second before slowly lowering your body to the initial position completes a pull-up.
Sounds easy, huh?
Well, it ain’t!
This up-down movement is an excellent way for all your muscles to work together as it not only promotes shoulder joint stability but can also be applied to different movements:
Rope climbing, swimming, and even self-defense all gain benefits from your ability to do pull-ups.
If you are struggling with doing pull-ups, check out my pull up program for beginners – your complete ABC to your first pull-up!
Let’s take a deep-dive and get some insight into the benefits and the science behind this classical movement.
Why Are Pull-Up So Effective?
There are no secrets to the effectiveness of pull-ups; it is all pure science!
But before you get into the exercise, it is essential to understand how it works and how it will affect your body.
One major reason why a pull up is such an excellent form of exercise is because of its tendency to affect a large variety of muscles all in the same movement.
Pull ups is the torso-equivalent of squats, which are the best lower body compound exercise as it targets a wide range of muscles.
Primarily developed to shape the back muscles, not only does it work your back; it also works miraculously for your shoulders and arms.
Quite cool or what?
As an exercise that can have multiple variations pull-ups are an invaluable asset for all people looking to make their home a go-to-gym.
“Males over the age of 18 are expected to perform 8 repetitions of pullups to be classified as in “borderline shape” according to the President’s Council.”
Reference: livestrong.com – How Many Pull-Ups Can the Average Man Do?
To understand its effectiveness better, let’s take a look at which muscles are involved when performing a pull-up.
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The 5 Large Muscles Involved When Doing Pull-Ups
Simply meaning ‘broadest muscle of the back’.
Latissimus dorsi is the primary muscle of which the pull ups have maximum effect.
If you’ve ever been to a gym, you might have heard the mention of ‘lats’.
Did it ring a bell?
Lats, or latissimus dorsi is a muscle shaped like a triangle. The lower point of the triangle represents the origin of the muscle, adjoining your middle and lower spine.
The top part of the triangle represents the insertion of the latissimus dorsi, stretching all the way out to your upper arm bone.
During a pull up, the lat tugs on the upper arm bone, adducting it into the lower body and as a result, your body rises to the bar.
Like chin-ups, doing pull-ups work the brachialis and brachioradialis muscle in your arms.
The brachialis is the muscle in the upper arm that flexes the elbow joint, whereas the brachioradialis is the muscle of the forearm.
Also, it works on the biceps brachii or more commonly referred to as the biceps.
These three muscles assist the lat and help the body to rise as well as during the descent.
Pull-ups utilize the major muscles of the shoulders:
- The teres major, a small muscle at the back of the shoulder blade.
- Rhomboid muscles (muscles connecting the spine to the shoulder).
- Trapezius and the levator scapulae (muscle along the spine and the side of the neck).
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All these muscles elevate and depress the shoulder.
As if training your back, arms and shoulders aren’t enough, -even your abs get to have a share of the fun.
The fact is:
The abdominal muscles play a significant role in making a pull up successful.
Actually, the abs help in stabilizing the body by connecting the pelvis to the ribs, and along with the hip muscles they generate the force required to lift the lower body and maintain the form and posture during the exercise:
- The external and internal oblique prevent twisting and limit the body swing.
- The transverse abdominal muscle or TVA is the fleshy muscle along the abs, it prevents movement and helps maintain a neutral position.
Hands and Forearms
The muscles of the forearms are also worked as they hold the body weight, and improves finger strength and leads to the formation of strong forearm muscles.
That is a whole lot of muscles involved in doing one exercise rep!
The Basics of a Push-up: Summary
At least now you understand the basic behind the pull-up, -it affects most of the upper body muscles and develops a proper shape, increases core strength and makes you fitter!
Overall were talking a pretty darn complete exercise here!
Now, a lot of people are terrified just by the mention of having to perform pull ups. Some even quit just by trying it out a few times!
Always remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Start slow and work your way by doing partner assisted pull ups or band assisted.
Keep working and in no time at all, you will be performing weighted pull-ups like a pro.
“Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Start slow and work your way by doing partner assisted pull ups or band assisted. Keep working and in no time at all, you will be performing pull ups like a pro.”
Keep yourself motivated by going through the list of benefits below.
Once you see the bigger picture and master the art of pull up, you will always be including it to your exercise program.
What Are The Benefits Of Doing Pull Ups?
Besides from training a ton of different muscles in ONE exercise, you will also get the following benefits from having pull ups as part of your workout routine:
Convenience is always a benefit!
My focus is to help people who have little to no time for the gym taking care of them self.
Pull ups are definitely one of the best and most convenient exercises you’ll ever come across.
You can do them anywhere, like literally anywhere!
All you need is a sturdy bar (or anything you can hang on) -and a body.
All you daddy’s who have been missing out on your daily workout, take some time and set up a pull-up bar in your garage, bedroom or living room and get on to some pull-ups!
Pull-Ups Prevents Back Pains
Now, if you are like most of the people out there and me, you spend a significant amount of your day sitting at your work desk.
Rest of the day would be spent sitting for your meals, watching TV or driving your kids from school, etc.
That is a serious lot of sitting!
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Unless you are looking for a painful future, it’s time to start working out!
All this sitting can lead to a weakened back and abdomen, which can lead to injuries and a lot of future pain…
Pull-ups not only work your back but also your core muscles and strengthens your form and posture overall.
Builds Massive Grip Strength
If you are into weightlifting and serious about gaining some muscle, having good grip strength is a must.
Luckily, pull ups are the perfect exercise to gain some serious grip strength.
Hard Work Promotes Fat Loss
To a lot of you it might sound strange, but pull ups can help you lose that fat much quicker than regular cardio.
As it rapidly gets your heart rate up and shoots your metabolism, the fat burning effect of pull ups can last up to 48 hours!
That’s right, fat burning even after you’re done with your workout.
Mix pull ups with fast cardio to achieve for super results!
Build Awesome Physique!
For a guy, the ‘V’ shaped physique is all we desire (except from a lovely partner and loads of money).
The lat muscle -or the latissimus dorsi, is the primary muscle affected by pull ups.
When this muscle is developed, it is responsible for that ‘V’ shaped look. It helps your shoulders look bigger and your waist smaller.
Just like a Greek god!
A Starter Guide For Your First Pull Up
Here is a quick ABC to doing your first pull-up.
If you need a complete ABC and an actionable blueprint to take you from 0 to 10 pull ups, check out my SUPER POPULAR pull up program for beginners for help.
- Start by grasping the pull-up bar and hang there…
- Slowly start pulling yourself up to the position where your chest almost touches the bar. Your upper arms must be touching your back to perform it correctly and maintain a proper shape.
- Avoid unnecessary movements like swinging side to side. Do it slowly and perfectly, not hopping like a bunny.
- Finally, slowly lower yourself to the initial starting position and repeat.
The guys from TheLeanMachines.com shows you exactly how it’s done in this amusing clip:
Final Words: Doing Pull-Ups Improves Your Strength!
So, there you have it!
Your very first pull up.
Congratulations if you pulled it off successfully!
And if not, keep trying, and you will get there!
By the way:
If you want even MORE calisthenics exercises, check out my home amazing guide on bodyweight exercises for beginners – PACKED with actionable tips!
Other Helpful Resources
- Calisthenics Body vs Gym Body: How Do They Differ?
- 8 Super-Effective at Home Bodyweight Exercises For Your Back
- Will Bodyweight Exercises Build Muscle? 9 Must Know Benefits of Bodyweight Training
- Bodyweight Workouts For Beginners: The Ultimate Guide
- What is the Best Dip Station for Calisthenics: Reviews and Top Picks
- Does Calisthenics Build Muscle? The Beginners ABC to Calisthenics Exercise