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Q&A: The Perfect Pull-Up

BNowack / flickr

Q: How do I perform a perfect pull-up? Am I hurting my results if I'm cheating during the final couple? – Steven, San Diego, CA

A: The most common ways to cheat yourself out of results in the pull-up is by using momentum (swaying and kicking your legs) or not lowering all the way down at the bottom. Using proper technique in pull-ups, like all exercises, will help you prevent injury and get more out of the movement. Here's how to do it right:

  • Hang loose. Hang from a pull-up bar with your arms completely straight.
  • Get a grip. Grasping the bar with an overhand grip is typically referred to as a pull-up while underhand grip is considered a chin-up. Neutral grip, or palms facing each other, is effective as well.
  • Stay still. Avoid moving your legs at any point during the move. It may help to cross your ankles and bend your knees slightly (depending on your height) so your feet are not touching the floor.
  • Focus. Stare straight ahead throughout the move.
  • Stay tight. Keeping your core tight and your legs motionless, use your back muscles to pull your chest toward the bar. Your chin should rise above the bar at the top of the move, but aim to bring your chest to the bar.
  • Keep control. Lower your body under control until your arms are fully extended at the bottom.

Tags: Upper Body Pull, Shoulder, Q&A, Upper Body, Biceps

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