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Doing the first pull-up: mammoth task or child's play?

Den ersten Klimmzug schaffen: Mammutaufgabe oder Kinderspiel?

Nils Bodendiek |

Fitness and social media have become inseparable in recent years. Whether via Instagram or YouTube, since the bodybuilding boom between 2013 and 2015 at the latest, a whole new level of health has been reached. Six packs, supplements and heavy squats are everywhere. And after a certain time at the latest you will have thought to yourself: get fit? Want this too! So you started researching, testing exercises and training plans. Basic exercises, as you have read, are incredibly effective for building muscle. Push-ups and squats are easily scaled up by changing the angle or path of the exercise. But the chin-up, the pull-up, doesn't want to get out of hand just yet. The grip strength strikes, the core blocks, the legs tremble.

It doesn't matter whether you want to start as a beginner in the field of sport or need to get back to your old size after the lockdown: We at Wodstore will guide you to your first pull-up and far beyond.

The first pull-up

Muscle groups in the pull-up: Get to know the movement

Any training, even in the area of ​​progression, to learn a specific exercise, must be done with a goal. Since the pull-up is a complex exercise that does not use the body in isolated muscle groups, the correct strength values ​​must be available in several parts at the same time. Grip strength is the starting point of every exercise. After all, the pull-up, as the name suggests, is a pulling exercise. You hang freely on a pullup bar or an edge and pull yourself up. If your hands give up there, no matter how strong the rest of your body is: it doesn't help. Of course, in addition to your hands and forearms, your arms also contribute to the grip. So strong biceps can be more than beneficial for pull-ups. Large parts of the initial force are also contributed by the back. The lats, trapezius, and deltoids all work together, almost allowing you to fly, if only for a short time.

In order to keep your body stable during the movement itself, the core is not exactly stressed to a small extent. It provides the tension you need so you don't have to let the other muscles work more than necessary.

Assistance Exercises: Getting Fitter; do a pull-up!

Now that we've covered the gray theory, we want to give you a few tips, within our means, for defeating gravity in the near future. All these exercises, all tips are also suitable for experienced athletes, for example to master a more difficult variation of the pull-up. After all, you never stop learning!

Hollow hold: To a certain extent, the hollow hold simulates one of the basic positions in the pullup. Arms stretched behind head, legs pointing raised and straight in the air. This will develop core feeling and strengthen your core. An added bonus is that it allows your legs to “dry-run” themselves to the tension placed on them by the rest of the body when you are about to start the pull-up.

Doing the first pull-up: mammoth task or child's play?

Farmer's Hold: An exercise couldn't be simpler. You take two weights of your choice (the height of the weight can be scaled excellently) in your hands. It doesn't matter whether it's a kettlebell, dumbbell or six-man carrier. Then you straighten up and set yourself a challenge: stay upright while not letting go of the weights for as long as possible. Trust us - with time comes effort. It is important that you keep tension on your shoulder girdle and back. Bringing your shoulders “back and down” helps to keep your neck from pushing too far forward and keeping your back straight. Muscle build-up and neural habituation are created primarily in all muscle groups involved in grip strength, in the torso and back. The Farmers Hold supplies almost all of the muscles that you address in the pull-up.

Doing the first pull-up: mammoth task or child's play?
Doing the first pull-up: mammoth task or child's play?

Deadlifts: The deadlift is almost the mother of all exercises. From your legs, to your core, to your back, to your arms, almost your entire body is working to move the weight. The advantage is that a deadlift, i.e. the "pure lifting" of a weight, can be started with the tiniest of weights. At the same time, however, there are no upper limits to the increase in weight. Anyone who is good at the deadlift will certainly develop quickly in the rest of their training!

Progression in pull-ups through bands and variations

Assistance exercises not what you are looking for? No problem! Two variants help you to get better directly on the bar without having to be able to do a full pull-up. The first variant is to run negatives. That means: You jump to the pole. This is how you bridge the “pulling up” phase. However, in the negative position, i.e. when releasing, you do not jump off, but perform the movement as normally as possible. If you start with 3 negatives, each of which you can hold for two seconds on the way down, in the next training session you either use 4x2 second negatives or extend them to 3x4 second negatives.

Doing the first pull-up: mammoth task or child's play?
Doing the first pull-up: mammoth task or child's play?
Doing the first pull-up: mammoth task or child's play?

The intensity of each exercise can be increased by three things: The time between sets is shortened (less breaks), the number of repetitions increases (instead of 3 negatives in a row, you test yourself on 4) or the load time is increased (instead of 2-3 seconds per rep, change to 3-4 seconds). The execution of the exercise is always in the foreground!

The second variant is to use tapes. Resistance bands like Picsil's, when you wrap them around the bar and step into the resulting loop with your feet, take the load off the exercise. Because each resistance band is equipped with a different tensile force and corresponding assistance height, you can measure your progress so wonderfully. If you still need the strongest Picsil band in week 1, you might be able to do the same number of reps with a much lighter band in three, four, or five weeks.
If grip strength also remains a constant problem, you can protect yourself with grips such as the Picsil Azor or Picsil Falcon. They offer slip resistance and therefore more grip to relieve your hands.

Which progression level you choose is entirely up to you. We're just happy about any progress you make with us.

Community Challenge: How many pull-ups can you do? How many do you want to make once? Enlighten us in the comments!

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