Pull-ups on the bar have many advantages for your physical health, from increasing muscle mass to improving quality of life.
Although pull-ups primarily focus on the latissimus dorsi muscles (which begin in the middle of the back and extend up to the armpits and shoulder blades), this movement helps develop the upper body and is very beneficial for overall health.
Here are 5 reasons why you should start doing pull-ups if you’re not already doing them:
Develop upper body strength
Since pull-ups engage multiple muscles in one movement, they are considered a complex exercise. Such compound exercises mimic natural movements and help improve coordination. In addition to muscles, they also train your nervous system more than isolation exercises.
If you find it difficult to perform high-impact exercises due to joint pain or injury, pull-ups are what you need. As a low-impact exercise, pull-ups will allow you to gain strength and become healthier without creating additional stress on your joints.
Improve overall physical health
According to a 2012 study published in the journal Current Sports Medicine Reports by the Department of Exercise Science at Quincy College, strength training significantly improves overall health, which is associated with improved physical function, walking speed, movement control, and cognitive abilities.
Improve mental health and mood
It has been proven that as a person becomes stronger and healthier, their mood and mental health improve. According to a 2010 review published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine by the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Georgia, strength training reduces symptoms of anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, and fatigue, as well as improves cognitive abilities in older adults.
Pull-ups are one of the good ways to perform strength training that can improve your overall mental health.
Gives tone to the entire upper body
Building muscles in the upper body additionally leads to increased tone and definition of these muscles. By regularly performing pull-ups, you also strengthen the muscles of the arms, back, and shoulders, giving them tone to create a beautiful upper body.
Proper exercise technique:
To make your arm and shoulder muscle workout as productive as possible, it’s important to know how to do pull-ups correctly. Before starting your workout, warm up to loosen the upper body muscles and reduce the risk of injury and strain.
Technique for doing pull-ups on a bar for maximum benefit:
- Grasp the bar with both hands so that your arms are fully extended and your palms are shoulder-width apart;
- Bend your arms at the elbows and pull yourself up to the bar with your chin reaching toward the bar. To get the most benefit from pull-ups, try to touch the bar with your chest;
- Hold yourself at the top for 1-2 seconds and smoothly lower your body down, controlling all the muscles in your body.
The health benefits of pull-ups can be achieved by following proper exercise technique: ensuring that the body is under tension, avoiding swinging of the torso, and beginning the next set only after fully extending the arms.
Types of Pull-Ups
There are many variations of exercises on the pull-up bar, each of which can be beneficial:
This type of pull-up is recommended for beginners if they are unable to perform the classic exercise yet.
The benefits of reverse grip pull-ups include effective targeting of the biceps and a smooth distribution of the load on the upper back.
Special equipment is required for this type of pull-up. The palms should be facing each other on the bar. The benefit of parallel grip pull-ups is to provide a natural rotational movement of the wrists and reduce the load on the shoulders.
This type of pull-up is only suitable for experienced athletes with good physical conditioning. In this exercise, the hands hold onto towels threaded through the bar. This grip provides additional stress on the forearms and creates an effective workout for all muscle groups.
How often to do pull-ups and why it’s not recommended to do them every day
The benefits of pull-ups are undeniable. They can help develop muscles throughout the body, strengthen bones, and support cardiovascular health. A 2010 study showed that pull-ups are helpful for anxiety disorders, cognitive function impairments, and increased fatigue.
However, doing pull-ups every day won’t bring you any benefits. Muscles need mandatory rest, during which they grow. Regular workouts will lead to intense pain and zero results. Therefore, it is recommended to do pull-ups at least every other day.
Contraindications for pull-ups
You can benefit from pull-ups if all safety measures and contraindications are observed. Otherwise, performing the exercise can lead to spinal injuries. Therefore, if you have any musculoskeletal problems, it is recommended to consult a doctor before doing pull-ups. Pull-ups are strictly prohibited for people with arthritis, herniated discs, spinal injuries, and shoulder joint injuries.
How to choose a home pull-up bar?
To benefit from pull-ups all year round, consider purchasing a pull-up bar for your home. When buying, pay attention to the following criteria:
Strength. Choose a pull-up bar that fits your height, weight, and the width of your doorway. Be sure to check the maximum weight capacity of the device at the store.
Versatility. To get the most benefit from pull-ups, choose a bar with special equipment on which you can perform exercises with different grips.
Comfort. Choose a bar with a soft coating to avoid blisters and discomfort. Consider pull-up bars with a rubber coating.