Updated: Dec 17, 2021
We all know what a bodyweight pull-up or chin-up means. You hold on to a bar or something stable located above you and pull yourself up. Simple, yet impressive and very hard exercise for a lot of people.
To me, it is always impressive when I see someone doing one or more pull-ups. It is not an easy skill, it requires a lot of strength to pull your body up as well as a very good amount of technique, so you can activate the proper muscles and avoid injuries.
I thought of listing the top 5 benefits that you get from striving to master that skill. Benefits that everyone, regardless of their sex or fitness level, will always going to benefit if start working towards.
So, without further ado, let’s get started with the first one:
Being able to pull your entire body weight from a dead hang is not only impressive, because it looks beautiful, but also because it takes a huge amount of strength to do so. Practicing pull-up will strengthen your back, your arms, your grip (more on that later), and also the ability to summon maximum power.
This is the ability of your nervous system to activate a lot of muscles at the same time and generate force, which can be harvested and applied to a move. Now you are probably wondering: ’’OK that is cool and I can definitely like to see myself stronger than now, but how is that practical.’’ Let me explain.
I shared that in another blog, but apart from bouldering, my upper body strength was very well tested by my dog once. Long story short, he pulled me while going down the stairs, and it could have ended very badly for me if I couldn’t manage to grab the staircase handrails
and hold myself with only one hand. At that moment I felt incredibly grateful for training pull-ups. A pretty good example of applied practical strength, I think.
You might say now: ‘’Oh, But I don’t have a dog, my cat will never be able to pull me down the stairs this way. Why would I need that strength?’’
Upper body strength and pulling strength is always going to benefit you, whenever you have to deal with heavy objects or being in a situation where the position of your body can only be manipulated through your hands.
And speaking of hands reminds me of the second benefit, tightly related to the first one:
Practicing pull-ups requires your grip to be incredibly strong. If your hands are capable of resisting the force of your entire body, for several seconds or minutes, imagine the amount of strength that you possess in your fingers.
That can help you not only with pull-ups, or if your dog decides to pull you down the stairs. Grip strength can pretty much contribute to any other movement, involving the upper body. Holding any objects in your daily life, holding yourself somewhere if you need support, even squeezing tight someone might have applications sometimes, or even simply opening a jar yourself is a pretty useful life hack, right.
If you want to improve your grip strength, without practicing pull-ups and learn more details about the story with My dog, check out this blog post: How To Improve Your Grip Strength.
Another benefit you get from improving upper body strength via pull-ups is upright posture.
Of course, you have to aim for perfect technique while training this skill, otherwise, you will get some benefits, but they won’t be as significant.
Pull-ups (if done correctly) are going to strengthen your back and most specifically your lats and middle back (thoracic region). An area that is weak in most individuals with a sedentary lifestyle, suffering from forward head, rounded shoulder posture, often referred to as Upper Cross syndrome.
Strengthening this area is also going to open up your chest, which is often very tight, as a consequence of the rounded shoulders. If you also trow a couple of mobility exercises to your daily life, you will see miracles in your posture and back pain.
If you want to learn more about the Upper Cross syndrome, check out this blog post: How To Fix Upper Cross Syndrome? It explains more in-depth what causes upper crossed syndrome and the ways to improve it.
If you are into training and improving overall body strength and composition, mastering the pull-up will provide you with another very important benefit:
Another way to train your back.
For me personally, unlocking the pull-up, did not only add another tool in my toolbox with back exercises. It also gave me versatility in my training. I did not need weights, or a gym to train. I could go to the park and do my whole workout there, using only my body weight. I have also practiced pull-ups on a branch in the forest if that matters.
That versatility does not only strictly trains your back but also your ability to respond and then adapt to a new stimulus. Something crucial if you are looking for constant improvement and bettering yourself.
Unlocking the pull-up also gives you access to so many different exercises and progressions. You can add additional weight, you can train one arm pull up, high pull-ups, bar jumps, muscle-ups, front levers, and whatnot. But most importantly:
It gives you something to commit and work on
In FitlifeBlueprints, we believe that every exercise is a skill and in order to get the most benefits of it, you have to practice it and strive to perfect it.
The more you practice a skill, the better you become at it. This approach will not only increase the chances of getting to your goal and speed up the process of achieving it but also give you a reason to be active.
Why look at pull-ups as an exercise that you can’t do? Why not looking at it as a destination that you want to reach and therefore practice the steps and earn to enjoy them.
There is nothing more joyful than working on a project of yours, and there is nothing more rewarding than getting that project achieved.
One part of Fitlife training is to always find new goals and strive to achieve them. It is a healthier and more sustainable approach. Exercises are tools but are also a skill that must be mastered. This way you won’t ever get bored training and you will always be motivated to exercise.
I highly encourage you to try mastering the pull-up and reaping the benefits that come with it. If you need help to start, I wrote a free guide called The Pull-Up Blueprint, that can help you get started and guide you through the process.
Mastering that skill is not easy, but is definitely an achievable and rewarding experience. The best time to start is now. Enjoy it!
Check out Episode 15 of Fit Life Radio to learn more about all the benefits of the pull-up