Functional Strength Training | Pull Ups

Pull ups are some of the best functional strength training exercises you can do. What better real life strength than to be able to pull up your own body weight? Throughout the years pull ups have been marked the more difficult exercise of the body weight routines. In high school you  would have to do pull ups once a year for the Presidential Fitness Tests and would get a piece of paper indicating you met their standards. Now that you are presumably out of high school, your reward for pull ups are not that simple. Now pull ups are measured by your own progress and goals in what you are trying to accomplish. Today I want to go over the different types of pushups, how to do them, and why you should incorporate push ups into your workout routine.

chin up exerciseThe Regular pullups are with your hands about shoulder width apart with palms facing downwards. You pull yourself up until the bar is either under your chin or at your chest. You can change this movement up with a variety of different things. You can spread your hands apart a little to focus more on the back muscles. You can have it so you are doing the pull ups with your palms facing upwards (some say that is cheating).
chin upBehind the neck pullups are much more difficult than your standard pull ups. This movement really focuses on your lat (Latissimus dorsi) muscles on your back. Believe it or not, Arnold Schwarzenegger used to do wide grip behind the neck pullups. He would pull himself up until the bar touched his neck. That gave him the extremely defined musculature that he was trying to obtain.
pull up or chin upAssisted/Weighted Pullups are also possible. Sometimes people need to either add weight or subtract weight from a pull up (totally understandable). If you are just beginning your pull up mission than you may want to find machines in the gym that will help you reduce your body weight while still doing a pull up.There are other methods to add weight to your current body weight to add more resistance to the routine. You can use a belt and hang weights underneath you. Sometimes this has to be done to add resistance to your pull up.
chin up pull upOne armed pull ups are extremely difficult. It requires a tremendous amount of strength to pull yourself up with one hand. If you have achieved this feat of wonder, than my hat is off to you. Have you ever done a one armed pull up?
pull up muscle upMuscle ups are basically a pull up with a dip after. You do your pull up first and keep going and push yourself up after pulling yourself up. These are also very difficult and require a lot of strength.

Are pictures not enough? For all of you Jiu Jitsu fans that read Active Beer Geek, here is a video of 19 different pull ups that will functionally help you in the martial art sport of Jiu Jitsu.

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YouTube Direkt Cheers!
Benjamin Moore
Athlete, Beer Connoisseur, and all around Geek
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5 Responses to Functional Strength Training | Pull Ups

  1. Andrew Viana January 24, 2012 at 6:30 am #

    For pure strength gains I have found using only five key exercises to be the key for steady strength gains. Always use the compund movements were you can shift the most weight, its common sense really. The more muscle groups you can utilize in an exercise the more strength you will increase. The obvious ones are the squat, bench press as well as the deadlift, these are the major exercises for anyone wanting to gain pure strength.

  2. Gayle Hairgrove January 24, 2012 at 7:26 am #

    Posted your stuff, Functional Strength Training | Pull Ups | Active Beer Geek at fb. Cheers, Gayle Hairgrove

  3. Greg V January 24, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    Pullups are excellent. While in the military, we were required to do twenty of them if we wanted to get 100 points for that portion of our physical test.

    I’ve always admired those rockclimbers who go up some unbelievable steep slopes and getting to the top of a 2,000 foot cliff. I am sure they would agree that doing pull ups are very important in their strength training program.

    Greg V

  4. Benjamin Moore
    Benjamin Moore January 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    Hi Greg,

    Pull ups have to be my favorite workout to do. It’s a staple in my routine.



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