Have you ever had one of those “DDDDUUUURRRRR!!!!!” moments when something completely obvious just hits you right upside your head? Having practiced and dialed in my own pull-up training for a number of years (yes. . .YEARS) you would think that I would have this lift down to a science. I am forever reminded and truly humbled when tiny little intricacies rear their head in the middle of my own practice. I wanted to share a sort of pull-up epiphany I had a few weeks ago with the rest of you working towards your very own pull.
Previously on the blog, I discussed the issue of tension for your pull-up. Once proper tension patterns are dialed into your body for your pull up, be ever so mindful of HOW you are gripping the bar when you go to do your pull up. I realize this may seem too simple, but your very struggle with going rep for rep with your pull-ups may be related to what muscles you are firing when you go to do your pull.
Here’s the deal. If you normally favor the wide grip pull up, you will be working a bit more so with your pectoral muscles. That’s not a bad thing but it’s a different sort of loading parameter than our usual tactical pull up. True, your lats are still engaged with a wide grip pull up, but I would argue that you will have better leverage rep for rep if you choose a more narrow grip. What I noticed in some of my clients who are training weighted pull ups at this time is that, when they start with a wide grip pull up, they fail to get their throat to the bar with a medium sized weight around their waist. By simply repositioning their grip to slightly more narrow than shoulder width, getting their throat to the bar seems to happen with ease despite the added weight they are pulling. Again, this narrow grip seems to leverage the lats a bit more and saves the pecs from being pulled down (literally) from too much weight.
Notice here in the diagram that the pectoral muscles are slightly more engaged than our narrow grip pull up diagram, featured below.
Again, while the pectoral muscles still work in this pull, there seems to be a better and more solid engagement of the lats.
To give you an idea of how this affects your pull-up, watch the video below where I discuss wide vs narrow grip pull-ups.
So, working on your first pull-up and struggling to get above the bar? The solution to your issue may very well be a matter of inches in terms of where your hands are positioned to grip the bar. Pull yourselves up folks! Switch your grip for a more solid pull! Remember, if you need more instruction on your pull-up training, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
That’s it for today! Until next time. .
Master your instinct!