Pull-ups, using your own body weight

Moving a little away from the world of weightlifting, but always remaining closely connected to the increase in muscle mass, let's talk about pull-ups

Also done jokingly, as a challenge with oneself or with others, who has never happened to find a horizontal pole, sturdy enough, to hold on to to try to lift a little off the ground ?

The pull on the bar is in fact a free body exercise that takes advantage of the body weight of those who perform it to increase the load, and therefore the work, that the arms will have to perform. In fact, this exercise consists of lifting your body attached to a bar only with your hands.

It is a very popular exercise within various disciplines such as, for example, in Calisthenics, which is the discipline par excellence that uses one’s own body weight to increase muscle mass.

Within this discipline, the pull at the bar has variable grips: it is precisely from this difference that it is possible to distinguish between pull up, if it is done in the prone position (frontal plane), or chin up, when the supine grip variant is carried out (sagittal plane). Both are two names by which that particular variant of the bar traction is called; in this article, we will mainly deal with the pull-up.

What makes it so famous is the freedom to be able to do it wherever you are, as you don’t need any equipment other than a horizontal bar; but also the spectacularity of the gesture is not to be underestimated and leads people to use it as a form of exhibition of power and resistance.

pull-ups on the bar

A peculiarity that makes it even more appreciated in the eyes of those who know it and practice it professionally is that it involves a large number of muscles and is able to quickly increase the energy expenditure of those who practice it.

Performing the pull up has advantages such as: it strengthens the core, improves posture and develops the muscles of the arms. At the base of the movement, however, we have a main muscle, namely the latissimus dorsi, whose functions are those of adduction, extension and intra-rotation of the humerus.

Workout with pull-ups on the bar

The first thing to do, after finding a horizontal bar strong enough to carry out the exercise (preferably special bars), is to grasp it with the palms of the hands facing forward. This grip, not left to chance, has one purpose: to concentrate the effort on the biceps and latissimus dorsi muscles; performing the exercise with this grip is the most difficult way to lift your weight.

The starting position is therefore that of a prone grip on the bar, with the arms fully extended. At this point, with biceps and lats work, it will be necessary to lift the body until the athlete’s chin does not pass, even slightly, the bar.

It is important that the body remains in the center of the hands: to help yourself maintain this position, you can decide to cross your feet while lifting.

Finally, you will have to return to the starting position, then you will have to descend with your body until your arms are fully extended; at this stage, it’s important to maintain control over your movement to keep your work focused on your muscles.

Pull-up exercises

Let’s start with the wide pull-up: this variant is considered more difficult than the traditional one, even if the ROM (range of movement) is decreased compared to the previous one. In fact, with this exercise you pay more attention to the muscles of the latissimus dorsi, giving less work to the arms.

The practical difference between the two exercises is that this one has a wider and slightly inclined grip than the traditional one, in fact, you will need a bar with slightly hanging handles from which the athlete can hang.

A second variant is the narrow grip traction: opposite to the previous one, you will place your hands even closer together than the traditional grip, almost touching each other.

In this type of exercise, more emphasis is placed on the muscles of the arms, especially the forearms and biceps.


Fun facts about pull-ups on the prone grip

There is a record of world records for bodyweight exercises: those concerning pull ups were all recorded recently, from 2010 onwards, and involve athletes from the United States, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.

These are records such as “highest number of pull-ups in 1 minute” and were won by an American who in 2018 did 68 pull-ups; “most number in 1 hour”, this one conquered, with 1009 pull-ups, by a man from the United Kingdom in 2010. Another American athlete broke the two records “most number in 6 hours” and “most number in 12 hours”, both in 2016.

The only woman we find her, in honor of the United Arab Emirates, to break the record for “highest number of pull-ups carried out in 24 hours” in the women’s competition, performing 3737.



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