If you haven’t seen our Exercise Page, you might be surprised at how many exercises we have under the Pull-up Bar section. Most people think of Chin-ups and Pull-ups. Yet our Functional Fitness program has quite a few additions.
The term Chin-up has been used to describe the level of the Pull-up. You know, your chin is above the bar. From that some people have added Sternum-ups and Chest-ups. The more common use of the word (the one I use) is that the Chin-up is used to describe the placement of the hands. When your hands are in the pronated position (palms away from you) I call it a Pull-up. When your palms are supinated (palms facing towards you) I call it a Chin-up. I believe that this is the more common descriptions and are videos reflect this.
Jump Pull-ups and Neutral Grip Pull-ups tend to be easier and I suggest them – along with supported Pull-ups – for beginners. A supported Pull-up is simply when somebody holds your legs or you put your feet on a chair for support. Jump Pull-ups and supported Pull-ups work mostly in the negative, meaning you are supporting your weight only on the descent. This is a great deal easier (not lifting your bodyweight, just lowering it), yet it works the appropriate muscles to build your Pull-up skills.
There are many different rules to Pull-ups as well. I say you have to have your chin above the bar to count, but I am not as concerned about how far you drop. I don’t care if you lock your arms out or not. In fact, there are many experts out there who are concerned about the damage a full out extension can cause to your joints. And I don’t care if you swing your legs or not. If you swing your legs (kipping) then you have a Kipping Pull-ups. It works differently, but in essense you are still moving the weight of your body from point A to point B. So, it works for me!
Now even with a regular Pull-up hand position, you can add variety by having a wide grip or a narrow grip. The wider grip is harder, but you lose range of motion. The ultimate Pull-up is the Muscle-up, where you pull your body up past the bar up into a full lock-out at the top (think Pull-up plus Dip). Then there are Knees to Elbows, Toes to Bar, Vertical Pull-ups, etc. The point is, is that there is a great variety of Pull-ups that work many different muscles.
What muscles you might ask?
Here is a list of a few you might effect with a Pull-up: Latisimus Dorsi (Lats), the lower sternal fibers of the pectoralis jajor, posterior deltoid, teres major muscles, lower trapezuis, pectoralis minor, levator scapulae muscles, rhomboid muscle, serratus anterior, biceps brachii, possibly rectus abdomninis or the erector spinae, etc.
And the bonus is that they are all working together in the various versions of the Pull-up. Now, can you see why this is one of the staple exercises in our program?
Are you avoiding the Pull-up? If so, think more about it and what you are trying to accomplish. How important should it be to be able to pull yourself up? Sounds like a basic movement in life, doesn’t it? With the variety involved, you have no excuse of boredom. If you struggle to do one, I provided tips to start easier. Yeah, I think you get my point – no excuses. Pull-ups are essential to Functional Fitness.