Do You Ignore Pull Ups and Only Do Push Ups?
One of the best body weight exercise (calisthenics) for your biceps and back is pull ups. Because of the difficulty in doing pull ups (85% of the population can’t do this exercise), this movement is often neglected.
Pull-ups work your back, biceps and forearms. Push-ups, which are great for upper body strength only target your chest, shoulders and triceps. If you ignore pull ups and only do pushups, muscle imbalance will develop which can lead to upper back and neck pain.
‘Modified’ Pull Ups
If you are part of that 85% out there who can’t do pull ups consider trying ‘modified’ pull ups or ‘Australian’ pull ups. Use a pull up bar that stands about 30 inches off the ground. Demonstrated by sliding underneath the bar and keeping your feet on the ground.
The beauty of a modified pull up is that you ‘off-load’ about 1/3 of your body weight, which allows most women and men to do body weight pull ups. This ‘modified’ pull up exercise shows the same benefit of free standing pull ups.
Personal trainers will often have clients doing ‘assisted’ pull ups in the gym on a squat rack or Smith machine. For those who have no access to that type of equipment and prefer to train at home you can simply bolt a pull-up bar at about a foot off the ground and you’re good to go. Some people will take a broom stick and hang it across two chairs. For safety reasons, this is considered not the best method.
Pulling to Chin or Chest
Demonstrating a pulling motion, whether from overhead to your chin or towards your chest, as if you were doing a ‘row’ works basically the same muscles – the latissimus dorsi, biceps and forearms. The benefit of the rowing motion and why ‘modified’ pull ups can be considered better than the classic pull up. The modified pull up also targets the muscles between your shoulder blades.
Modified Pull-Ups Help Restore Muscle Balance
The trapezius and rhomboids are the muscles between your shoulder blades. They are responsible for keeping your shoulders pulled back. It is responsible for good upper body posture and are the direct antagonist for the chest muscles. These muscles can be notoriously tight on most people and the biggest reason for upper back pain. Unfortunately classic free hanging pull-ups do not target as much of the upper back muscles as does the rowing movement, which you get from a ‘modified’ pullup.
Modified pull-ups helps restore muscle balance to your upper torso, which helps reduce upper back and neck pain. Women are pleasantly surprised to learn that they can do pull-ups this way. As well as a lot of men who can’t do pullups any more.
Back and Biceps Pump
The best part is the feeling how good of a pump you get for your back and biceps when you start doing pull-ups.