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Pull-ups in bodybuilding

Pull-ups in bodybuilding


Last month, we began a series of articles on basic bodybuilding movements with the Dips, which can be used to work the pectorals or triceps, depending on the variant used.

Today, we're going to take a closer look at pull-ups or chins. This basic movement is designed to work the back muscles and, to a lesser extent, the biceps

The classic version

Suspended from a bar with a wide grip (i.e. wider than shoulder-width apart), hands facing the bar (pronation), the aim is to raise the body until the underside of the chin is level with the bar. Once in this position, the exerciser will let his or her body descend slowly until the arms are fully extended, and then start the next repetition. To stimulate the back muscles, it's important to bring the shoulder blades down and back, while arching the torso.

In this version, the back is worked with the aim of widening it. In fact, the stretching induced in the lower position will help to flare out the dorsal muscles.

In the upper position of the movement, the muscles of the upper back are the ones most solicited, and will gain in detail, especially in the inner part.

traction en musculation

The neck version

In this version, the starting position is identical to the previous version, which I've described as classic. The difference with this version is that the practitioner no longer tries to bring his chin to the level of the bar, but to the base of his neck. In many cases, it's necessary to turn your back to the bar or the pull-up machine to be able to execute the movement in the right conditions.

This technique is very hard on the shoulder joints and the back of the neck. Turning your back to the machine allows you to be more in line with the bar.

When using this technique, work will always target the width of the dorsal muscles and the upper center of the back (rhomboids, posterior deltoids and trapezius).

Supinated grip/neutral grip pull-ups

This version is performed with the palm of the hand facing the body. The grip is as wide as or slightly narrower than the shoulders. The movement itself is performed in the same way as the classic version, with the chin raised slightly above the bar.

when performing pull-ups with this type of grip, the biceps are put under considerable strain. As for the dorsal muscles, they are worked in their outer part and in their thickness. The supinated grip opens up the shoulder blades, giving greater amplitude of movement and stronger contraction.

The final version (neutral grip) is performed in the same way as the supinated grip version. The amplitude is slightly smaller and the contraction is slightly shallower than with the supinated hands, as the opening of the shoulder blades is smaller.

These last two versions are used to stretch the lower external part of the back as much as possible, while working on its thickness.

They are complementary to the classic and neck versions, which are mainly performed to widen the back and give more detail to the upper part of the back.

Pull-ups are the foundation of all back-training routines. All athletes who have built a flared, broad, thick back have incorporated one or more versions of pull-ups into their training in the early days, and often continue to practice them even occasionally, because they know that they are the basis of a good back.

So even if this exercise is difficult, demanding and requires good execution technique for optimum results, practice it in the form that corresponds to your objective and I can assure you that you won't be disappointed.

Author Alexandre CARPENTIER

Bodybuilding Champion N.A.C 2012

Alexandre shares his bodybuilding experience with MegaGear blog readers