PULL UP -OR- ASSISTED PULL UP
Above all else, pull ups are a very empowering move to master. And if you can do them, you already know. On the other hand, if you can’t, then we recommend you use the assisted pull up machine to help you master this move.
For your information; a wide grip will recruit your lats more and a close grip will recruit your biceps more.
Of course, if you can do them, do them. But if you can’t, see instructions below to use the assisted machine.
How to perform an assisted pull up
The assisted machine works in the exact opposite way to all other equipment. What that means is; the more weight you have loaded, the easier the exercise.
This is because the weight on the assisted pull up machine is designed to counteract your body weight, subsequently making it easier for you to do a pull up.
If you’re unsure, start at the heaviest and work your way down.
Before you begin the exercise; rest your knees firmly on the knee pad and assume either a wide or close grip on the bars (wide grip will focus more on the upper lats, close grip will focus on the lower lats and biceps).
Ultimately, with the above in mind it’s best all round if you do both.
To begin the exercise, simply pull yourself up, and then lower yourself back down in one smooth and controlled movement. Try to avoid using momentum. And as with all exercises, focus on the muscles being worked.
As a side note; if you don’t have access to an assisted pull up machine, you can use a band; simply loop the band over the bar, put your foot or knee in the band, and pull up as normal.
Alternatively, your last option will be to do hangs (where you simply hang from the bar for as long as possible, and repeat until failure).
Pull up: Common mistakes to avoid
It’s difficult to comment on pull up/assisted pull up mistakes, because to be frank, if you’re doing them, you should be proud.
With that said, one mistake you should avoid at all costs, is not giving yourself enough credit when it comes to strength. The best way to master this move is to do it repeatedly to failure. So keep in mind that even if you are struggling through just a couple of reps, you should keep going because that is how you build your strength.
Reps and sets
As with all exercises, your pull ups/assisted pull ups should be worked into your overall bigger picture. How many reps and sets you perform with each exercise depends entirely on where you are physically and your desired outcomes.
Beginners should keep it simple; 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps is an ideal starting point. Don’t overcomplicate things early on, worry about laying a solid foundation and the rest will come with experience.
More advanced lifters should consider their current strength and goals.
Beyond the pull up...
More back exercises coming soon...
Just so you know, this list of back exercises is a work in progress and is by no means extensive. We will continue to grow this entire database for you over time, so be sure to check back for updates. Alternatively, you can join our mailing list below and you’ll be the first to know about all new content we produce.