THE COLONEL - Don’t shy away from pull-ups

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Q: I KNOW pull-ups are an important exercise when it comes to strength training but I’m just too weak at the moment as I’ve just started trying to build my arms. Can I just skip them?

A: If you’re taking your strength training seriously, you really need to not shy away from pull-ups - they could become a key exercise but it’s true - they’re tough. However, as with most things, the more you do them, the easier they become. For those of you who aren’t familiar with a pull-up- it’s when you hang on to a bar with both hands, and pull yourself up until your chin reaches the bar - you might have seen it in the movies, but in actual fact these are very do-able for everyone - they just take practice.

They force you to lift your entire body weight, which builds on your arm and back muscles. In particular, they focus on strengthening the lateral muscles, middle back and shoulders. They’re also great training for key sports like rock climbing, or anything that involves puling. Colonel tip:- Grab the bar with an overhand grip, make sure you keep your body in one line. Bend your elbows, and pull your chest up to the bar, when your chin reaches the bar, release. Eventually you’ll be doing these in reps of 20. If you’re just starting your strength-building regime, a pull-up at this stage may seem impossible. This may also be the case if you’re too heavy, whether it be due to fat or muscle. In this instance, try a ‘Bent Over Row’. With your feet hip width apart and knees bent, place your hands on the squat bar just wider than shoulder width apart. Bend your elbows and bring the bar up to your chest, then pause. Do these in reps of 10. Keep doing these and soon you’ll be strong enough for the real deal pull-up.

If you’re trying to build up muscle strength, a key exercise you should without doubt include in your regime, is the pull-up - a great way of strengthening your entire body, particularly your shoulder and middle back muscles. Lifting your entire body weight forces your muscles to get stronger. Hold onto the bar with your body in one line. Bend your elbows, and pull yourself up until your chin meets the bar. Hold this position and release. They may seem impossible at first, but the more you try them, the easier they’ll become. If you can only do one, do one, then next time do two - soon you’ll be doing 20.