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7 pull-up variations to avoid a plateau

7 Pull-up Variations to Avoid a Plateau

When it comes to increasing your pull up numbers, one of the greatest challenge would be overcoming plateaus. Plateaus are periods where despite how hard you train, you find that you stop improving. There are a few ways to overcome plateaus, one of them is to add variety to your workout, instead of doing overhand pull ups, you might want to try the following variations.

 

1. Weighted Pull-Up

When you reach the point where you can do 10 or more pull ups, you might you should consider adding weight to make it more challenging. There are 4 ways to add weight

  • Use a weight belt
  • Put a dumbbell in between your ankles when crossed/use an ankle weight
  • Use a weighted vest.
  • The last and easiest way is to carry a bag containing some books if you do not want to spend extra money purchasing the above items
Once you feel like your progress is slowing, changing to weighted pullups might help you boost your gains. Professional bodybuilders and athletes use this method to breakthrough their own personal barriors. So if you’re serious about becoming a “pull ups expert” consider doing weighted pull ups. Keep in mind that the maximum weight limit that the doorway pull up bar can withstand is 100kg, for most people, that shouldn’t be a problem.

 

2. Muscle-Ups

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The muscle-up is a type of exercise that is similar to a pull-up followed by a dip. It is used to take yourself from below a sets of rings or bar to above a set of rings or bar. Many can do a pull-up, and many can do a dip, but transitioning between the two takes a certain level of strength and coordination. Muscle-ups are great for working your triceps and shoulders.

Before you’re ready to do a muscle-up, practice doing pull ups with an exaggerated range of motion. Instead of stopping when the bar is just below your chin, pull yourself all the way up until the bar has past your chest. Get as far above the bar as you can!

It might be helpful to practice a modified muscle-up on a bar that is about chest height so you can use your legs to jump into it. This will let you get a feel for the transition from being under the bar to getting on top without having to overcome your full bodyweight. With practice, you’ll learn to rely on your legs less and do most of the work with your upper body. Once you’ve gotten the hang of jumping into a muscle-up, you’re ready to attempt your first muscle-up!

 

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3. One Arm Pull Up (assisted)

Before you even think about training for one arm pull-ups, you should be able to do at least 15-20 standard pull-ups with strict form. Once you’ve got that foundation, there are several effective methods to use to work towards a one arm pull-up.

The first step is doing a one arm flex hang. Pull yourself up with both arms, let one go and try to stay up. Start with an underhand grip before you worry about going overhand. It is normal for you to drop right away in the beginning; hardly anyone can do this on their first try.

After you can hold a one arm flex hang for a couple of seconds, the next step is doing a one arm negative by slowly lowering yourself from having your chin over the bar to a dead hang at the bottom. Be prepared to drop quickly the first time you try to do a one arm negative. When starting out, don’t even think of it as a negative, just try to lower yourself an inch or two.

 

4. Close Grip Chin-Up/pull-up

Grab the bar with your palms facing away from/towards you. Either place your hands right next to each other or space them one fist apart. Just pick whatever feels most natural to your body.

Pull yourself up using your back and finish with a strong biceps contraction. Lower under control. Do not make the mistake of just letting your body drop. This is very taxing on your elbows and you may soon develop tendonitis (pain in the elbows that can only subside with rest).

 

 

 

5. Towel Pull Ups

This variation seems easy but it takes a tremendous amount of stablility in order to be performed with good form. First, hang 2 thick and long towels on the bar, the further away they are from each other, the harder the exercise becomes. Grab the towels, one in each hand and pull yourself away from the ground. Make sure that there’s enough friction between your hand and the towel and that the towel is not wet.

 

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6. Wide Grip Pull Up

When doing wide grip pull ups, the further away your hands are from each other, the harder this exercise becomes, The difference between wide grip and normal pull ups is that wide grip pull ups emphasize the development of the entire latissimus dorsi (lat muscle) and help you add more of a V shape to your back. The wider your grip, the more it emphasizes the outer portion of the lat muscle. The closer you put your hands together, the easier the exercise becomes.

 

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7. Cliffhangers

You can perfrom this exercise in 2 different ways, first you can try facing your right palm towards you and your left palm away from you, then pull yourself up slowly, note that your hands should be close to each other to prevent injury. Conversely, you can try facing your left palm towards you and your right palm away from you. The difference between the 2 methods is that they work different sides of your shoulder.

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