I will teach you how to do the perfect pull-up. It’s called the perfect pull-up because it addresses certain weak links that don’t get addressed in the conventional way of doing a pull-up.
- The conventional pull-up usually involves relying on our teres group, one of the muscles around our scapula, and the subscapularis on the front side of your shoulder blade.
- When we do the perfect pull-up, we will get increased recruitment of our latissimus dorsi, also known as the wings.
- And you will also get a good activation of your middle trapezius, which is commonly neglected when we’re going for pure numbers in conventional pull-up form.
Pull-ups are one of the best exercises you can do. It’s functional and involves a lot of muscles. To get the most out of it and make your pull-ups perfect, look at these points:
We are starting right here with the mistakes.
Perfect Pull-Up: Common Mistakes
We’ll start with the common mistakes you should avoid for a perfect pull-up.
- Full Range of Motion: Always aim for a full range of motion to do perfect pull-ups. Do not only use the upper or lower part of the movement; go into a full extension of your arms at the bottom.
- Use Strength, not Momentum: A perfect pull-up should also be performed with Strength, not momentum. Avoid any form of kicking or swinging.
- Control the Movement: It’s also important to control the movement the whole time. Don’t let yourself fall into your joints.
- Pull Evenly: The last mistake is not pulling evenly. You should control yourself to pull on both sides equally to avoid imbalances.
Perfect Pull Up Grip Width
To do a perfect pull-up, consider the width of your grip. Here, you can choose different versions, from a wide to a close grip.
- Avoid a too-wide grip because it forces your elbows to the side, which is not optimal for the shoulders and can lead to injuries.
- A narrow grip keeps your elbows close to your body, which is good, but to target your latissimus dorsi optimally, choose a grip that allows you to mix extension and adduction.
- A shoulder-wide or slightly wider grip is optimal for this movement.
|Wide Grip||Puts strain on the shoulders; not recommended.|
|Narrow Grip||Keeps elbows close to the body, which is better for the latissimus dorsi.|
|Shoulder-Wide Grip||Optimal for mixing extension and adduction.|
- Of course, you can also use other grips for your pull-ups, like the chin or neutral grip.
- The different grips will work on other parts of your arms, more or less, and have a minor influence on your back.
Shoulder Blade Movement
To do a perfect pull-up, you should also consider the shoulder blade movement, which is often neglected but very important. A pull-up isn’t just about bending your arms.
- First, you must pull your shoulder blades down to get the necessary tension in your back. After that, you bend your arms and also try to pull your shoulder plates together.
- We want to avoid a rounded shoulder because, in this way, you don’t target all the muscles in your back optimally.
- The rounded shoulder position can also lead to imbalances and injuries in the long term.
Fine-Tuning of the Movement
Finally, to do a perfect pull-up, you must consider fine-tuning the movement; it gets controversial here. There are two different body positions for a pull-up.
Some people prefer the straight or hollow-body pull-up, and some prefer the arched-back pull-up.
Straight pull up
- The straight pull-up has the advantage of working your core because you tilt your pelvis backward and engage your abs.
- The negative thing about this movement is that it can be counterproductive for your back engagement.
- When you tilt your pelvis backward and engage, your abs trigger your anterior muscle chain.
- But the actual goal of a perfect pull-up is to activate your posterior chain in your upper body.
- It is possible to do both simultaneously, but it’s tough and often leads to suboptimal movement.
Arched back pull up
- When you do the arched back pull-up, you focus on the whole posterior chain because you allow your spine to go in a complete extension instead of an opposite movement during the movement.
- Some people might say that an arched lumbar spine is bad and unhealthy, but this is only true if you put a load on that arched lumbar spine.
- During the pull-up, you have no load on your spine, but you relieve the load from it. So this is an active arch position, which is not bad.
- When it comes to the position of your legs, it’s possible to cross them or not.
|Straight or Hollow Body Pull-up||It works the core, tilting the pelvis backward and engaging the abs. It may reduce back engagement.|
|Arched Back Pull-up||Focuses on the entire posterior chain, allowing the spine to go into complete extension. No load on the spine.|
Perfect pull-up leg position.
- As for the position of your legs, crossing them can help stabilize the movement. If you do pull-ups with uncrossed legs, your body must do more stabilization work, especially in the core.
- Depending on your goals, this can be a pro or a con, but it plays a minor role in your back development.
How do we do the perfect pull-up?
There are a few key things I want you guys to keep in mind:
- Step 1: Jump onto the pull-up bar and fully elevate your scapula in a dead hang. This will lengthen your latissimus dorsi and ensure you’re getting a full range of motion and a full contraction from the start of the movement.
- Step 2: Depress your scapula. And when you do this, your head should rise above your shoulders.
- Step 3: Fully retract your scapula, and then rise up until your chest is close to touching the bar.
- Step 4: As you ascend, the most important thing I want you guys to focus on is bringing your elbows toward your sides. By doing this, you will get one of the key functions of the latissimus dorsi, which is adduction.
- So I want you to think of squeezing your elbows towards your hips as hard as possible. You’ll feel a contraction in your lats that you’ve probably never felt before.
- You’re going to have to drop the ego. It is very, very difficult to get the chest towards or touch the bar.
- You won’t be able to do as many repetitions as you normally can on your usual pull-up form.
- But I can assure you that by addressing your weak links, being the lat and increased activation of your middle traps, you will get much stronger in other areas, and the hard work will pay off.
- If you have more questions or points about how to do perfect pull-ups, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.