Pull Ups Part 2

As promised, here are some more exercises to add in to your training schedule to help you achieve those elusive pull ups. Along with scapula pull ups and negative pull ups, which I wrote about last time (you can find that here), some great exercises to add are ring rows, dumbbell and barbell rows, barbell pull ups and banded bull ups. Have a look below on how to properly execute these exercises.


Ring rows
Not only does this exercise train the back, it teaches you to keep your core tight too as you must keep the body in a straight line while performing the row. It can also be scaled or made more challenging very easily by adjusting the positioning of your feet or raising your feet with a box or bench.


  1. Start in front of a set of rings, take hold of the rings and walk backwards with your arms extended until the straps are taught.
  2. Now start to walk your feet forwards so that your body starts moving into a more horizontal position.
  3. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and push your chest through your shoulders, make sure your body is in a straight line from your heels to your shoulders. Squeeze your tummy tight generic cymbalta.
  4. Start the movement by driving the elbows back and bringing your chest to your hands. Pause a moment at the top and really squeeze your back.
  5. Lower yourself back to the starting position with control.


Single arm dumbbell rows
This exercise targets the rhomboids. It can be easily set up anywhere and is good for those that have a weaker core, as you are supporting your body on your hand.


  1. Set yourself up on a bench with your left hand on the edge and left knee in line further down the bench. Step your right leg out to the side of the bench, creating a triangle of support.
  2. Reach down for the dumbbell from the floor and with your arm extended, bring yourself up until your back is straight. This is your starting position.
  3. Initiate the movement by squeezing your elbow back and keeping it close to your side.
  4. Start to bring the dumbbell down with control until your arm is extended, do not let your shoulder dip until you are finished the set and ready to place the dumbbell on the floor.


Bent over barbell rows
Similar to the single arm row, this is the same movement except bilaterally, as both arms are moving at once. This is slightly more challenging on your core and will work your lower back to keep you in position.


  1. Start by deadlifting the bar to full extension and keeping you back tight.
  2. Hinge forward until your torso is about parallel with the floor
  3. Squeeze both of your elbows back and pull the bar into your trunk.
  4. Return the bar with control, with your arms reaching full extension.


Barbell pull ups
This is a great starting exercise if you struggle with negative pull ups. It creates the same movement therefore drilling the pattern of a pull up but allowing you to adjust the amount of bodyweight you wish to use.


  1. Set a barbell up in a rig that is as high as your arms reach when you are sitting on the floor.
  2. Sit between the rig with your hands using an overhead grip on the barbell.
  3. Make sure your hips stay below your shoulders.
  4. Initiate the movement using your shoulder blades and pull your chin over the bar.
  5. Lower yourself down with control until your arms are fully extended.
  6. This can be made more difficult by raising your feet on a box. You could also do negatives to make this exercise harder.


Banded pull ups
These are a good exercise to help you get the feel of a pull up and you can graduate to bands of less thickness, but these should not be relied on entirely and I prefer the use of the exercises above to gain strength, with banded pull ups used for endurance training.


  1. Loop a resistance band around a pull up bar.
  2. Use a box or bench to assist yourself into the band with one foot. Cross your other leg in front of the band to keep it in place.
  3. Start from a dead hang with fully extended arms.
  4. Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar.
  5. Lower yourself down with control until your arms are straight.


You should also consider adding in grip strengthening exercises, farmer carries or chin over the bar holds are great. This will improve your forearm and grip strength and even helps activate more muscles in your back too.

Remember – a pull up starts at the shoulders. Don’t initiate by pulling back with your elbows as this will use your arms too much. Still unsure of whether you’re doing pull ups right? Can you feel them working your back? If not, other muscles are over compensating so start back at square one and reap the benefits of a really strong back.

December 8, 2016