Effortlessly do a long series of pullups and you get full bragging rights - for good reason. The pullup is a simple yet challenging exercise that requires the strength of large, integral back muscles, mainly the lattisimus dorsi with support from the trapezius, rhomboids, biceps and serratus anterior. The abdominal muscles, transverse abdominus and the obliques are also required for stabilization of the movement. Train these muscles properly to stave off fatigue, do more pullups and be the envy of all your friends.
Go slow. Move slower than you normally would and intensely focus on working your back muscles. This will challenge your muscles in a different way and intensify the exercise stimulus in a way you may not have experienced when moving faster. Feel your shoulder blades gradually move toward one another on the upward movement. Intensely resist them from moving apart on the downward movement.
Do negatives. Your muscles can handle more weight during the eccentric, or lowering part of the exercise. Focus on this part of the movement to get stronger than you would practicing regular pullups alone. Hoist yourself up to the top of a pullup bar using a small step or bench if needed and lower yourself as slowly as possible until your elbows are straight. Intensely focus on the muscles being worked through the entire exercise. Wear a weighted belt if you need additional resistance for one or all of the sets.
Do pyramid training. Do as many pullups as you can while maintaining impeccable form. Rest one minute. Now do a set, minus two. In other words, if you did 10 pullups for the first set, now do eight. Rest one minute, then do six, and so on. The initial set serves as an exercise-specific warm-up and the later sets train your muscles to handle more weight.
Incorporate lat pulldowns, seated rows and other back exercises to challenge your muscles and joints in different ways. While doing pullups is necessary to get stronger at pullups, doing the same exercise over and over can cause training plateaus.
Train the rest of your body. It can be easy to focus on a training goal and neglect others. Do pushups for your chest muscles, squats for your legs, triceps extensions and lateral raises. Do cardio for your heart. Train all major muscle groups and movement patterns equally to reduce injury and increase overall strength.
Ensure a high level of energy by eating organic greens, veggies, fruit, lean meat and whole grains. Consume several small meals throughout the day to keep your alertness and energy steady. Drink about a gallon of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Breathe. Holding your breath is easy to do during challenging exercises such as pullups, but you'll get tired much more quickly. Inhale on the down portion of the movement and exhale on the upward, pulling part of the movement. You'll keep your breath moving and your energy high.
- Shed a couple of pounds to make pullups even easier.
- Allow 24 to 48 hours of rest between workouts. You get stronger on your rest days, so doing pullups every day will actually hinder your progress.