Your lats is a very powerful muscle, don’t neglect it. It will also aid you in many other big compound exercises making them much easier to perform.
Pull-ups primarily target the latissimus dorsi. However, pull ups also work the biceps, cross the elbow and shoulder joints and work to flex the elbow joint during the exercise. Pull-ups also work on the trapezius along the spine and shoulder, and are sometimes called the “shrugging muscles.”
Lat pull-downs pale in comparison to the mighty pull-up. Working on a lat machine doesn’t activate as many muscles as getting your chin over the bar. If you want a big, strong upper body, you have to master the classic pull-up. Whether you still can’t do a single pull up rep, you want to do more, or you’re ready to add weight and see your lats grow like crazy, we’ve got the plan for you.
- Be sure to check out How to Master the Pull Up For Beginners.
Pull up bar is worth buying and installing in your house if you want to work on your upper body. Alternatively, you can go to the nearest playground and use a monkey bar there.
I can’t do a pull up but I want to?
Start doing iso-eccentric pull-ups. Grab onto bar and jump up so your chest touches it. Try to hold that position for five seconds. If you can hold that position for five seconds (if you can’t, keep working at the hold until you can.) If you can lower yourself with control, perform another rep. When you can bang out 10 reps in this fashion, you’ll be able to do at least one regular pull-up.
- Relate article: The Pullup Exercise Anatomy
Pull up routine
Write down your personal record, the most reps you can do with a good form. The next time you do pull-ups, take half your PR and do four sets of that number. So if your PR was 10, you’ll do four sets of five reps. The next week, add one rep to each set. For week 3, go back to one half of your PR number, and add five pounds using a weighted belt. Continue progressing in this fashion. The program looks like this.
Add more weights to pullups
Find the load that allows you to do only five pull-ups with good form. Now add that amount to your body weight. Each week, you’ll work up to a heavy set that uses of that total and perform as many reps as possible. Perform several warmup sets, increasing the weight until you reach the percentage your using that day. (if the percentage give you a weight that is less than your bodyweight, use your bodyweight) Do this for 3 weeks as shown below.
*After Week 3, add two and a half to five pounds to each percentage. After 12 weeks of this, take an easy week (only do few reps of bodyweight pull-ups), and then the next see how much weight you can use for a heavy set of five again.
by Jason Demayo, CSCS.