Pull ups seem like quite a basic movement and are present in both bodybuilding and Crossfit protocols. It’s a fantastic exercise to build a nice back and arms and overall functional strength. They may look fairly easy but don’t be fooled by appearances. You may find that you will need quite a bit of training before you do your first proper pull up.
There are multiple tips and tricks on where to begin and how to progress to your first real pull up. Other back and arm strengthening exercises are great and will improve your strength but don’t underestimate practicing the movement itself.
Where to Start
Like with all movements, you must remember that without proper preparation and technique it will not just not benefit you but potentially lead to an injury. Start off with strengthening your back and arms and stretching.
If you are unable to hold a hang position, you should consider building strength and mobility by using deadlifts. It will help you strengthen the forearm and grip. Use bent over rows for building up your pulling skills.
The Jumping Pull Up
The jumping pull up will help you understang the movement, work all the muscles you need for pull ups and then some. You jump up and use the momentum to bend your elbows and do a pull up like movement. Then you either simply drop down or push down (to generate more energy expenditure).
The jump pullup helps you develop explosive pushing, jumping, and pulling strength, all of which are important not only in doing a regular pull up but for general fitness and performance.
The main benefit of the jumping pull up is that it’s a compound exercise that conditions and strengthens your whole body. Literally, even your legs get a workout as opposed to the regular pull ups. You will use your whole body in order to generate the momentum (jump) and the pull and hold yourself up. If you choose to do the negative movement slowly (don’t ‘fall down’ but try and lower yourself in a controlled manner) you will benefit even more.
Compound exercises release a great amout of growth hormone and help you build muscle size and strength.
Another benefit of the jumping pull up and pull ups in general is that there’s a wide variety and range of difficulty. From jumping and assited pull ups (rubber bands, machine or partner assistance) through kipping to regular an weighted. In addition to that you can change grips to target different parts of your body. So as you can see, no matter what your level of strength and fitness – the pull up, including the jumping variation is a great exercise for everyone.
For jumping pull ups you can alternate and experiment with the grip. Use the regular old wide, overhand pullup to target mostly your lats and get them to grow.You can use the close grip or underhand which tragets your arms a bit more – especially the biceps.
The pullups also develop your grip greatly. A strong grip will definitely be useful in other exercises, too.
Jumping pull ups are not exactly cardio but if you do them dynamically and reduce rest time between sets you can make it as close to cardio as possible and increase their fat burning potential. It will get your blood flowing and will be good for your heart.
It may take a while before you can master doing a proper jumping pull up but don’t get discouraged. Remember that practice makes perfect and be patient. Remember that strengthening your back will help you with any potential or existing posture problems and the jumping part will train your quads which are responsible for supporting the knees. Even if you cn only do one or two reps at first, kepp trying. Pull ups are always going to be superior to pull downs and you shouldn’t go the easy way. The only way you will progress is by taking up a challenge and stepping out of your comfort zone.
To finish off, here are a few tips to performing a good jumping pull up.
Set up a platform or box underneath a pull up bar. When standing on the box with your arms raised, the bar should be at the height of the middle of your forearm.
Grab the bar with a standard pull-up grip (or alternative grips which we discussed before). Using mostly your legs and finishing with your arms, pull yourself up so your chin is over the bar. Try spending s little time on your feet ass possible – just bounce to gain momentum. Come down in a controlled manner.
Don’t jump too high, and stay in full control the entire time and make sure that the box or platform you jump on is secure and sturdy.
*Remember: If you neglect correct form and focus on just completing the rep, you may do yourself more harm than good, especially in the more explosive movements such as the jumping pull up. Always maintain the correct form and control your movements to protect the joints and avoid injury. Don’t compare yourself to others, just take it easy and you will make progress in no time. Explore different types of pull ups and add other strength training into your routine and you will become the pull up master before you know it!