Often overlooked is the simple yet powerful, wide grip pull up. Many people desire the classic “V shape” physique which consists of a slim waist, a broad pair of shoulders and a wide chest. The wide grip pull up is a fantastic exercise for helping to build an attractive V shape physique. Working mainly your lats but also your middle back and biceps, it is also a powerful exercise to build a strong and healthy back as well as improving grip strength.
Wide grip pull ups can be performed in your own home with a pull up bar designed to fit over your door frame. This equipment is widely available making this exercise a highly effective addition to either a home workout or gym routine.
The simplicity of this exercise allows anyone to perform it without the need for a personal trainer, however since it’s one of the most difficult of bodyweight exercises, you may need a spotter to assist you if you don’t have the upper body strength needed to complete a full repetition. This movement is so familiar to the human body and the only requirement to complete one pull up is an adequate strength to body weight ratio. This can be achieved through the various methods of assisted pull ups in order to build up your upper body strength.
Before attempting a pull up, ensure that your body is adequately warmed up by doing several short minutes of jump rope or even a light jog on the spot while pumping your arms. This is a quick way to warm up your body, loosen up the joints and prepare them for physical activity.
With a pull up bar in front of you, take an overhand grip several inches wider than shoulder width. Reach up and extend your arms straight out and hang from the bar. Using your back muscles, pull yourself up keeping your body straight without swinging and bring your chest up and your chin just over the bar. Lower yourself slowly until your arms are fully extended to the bottom starting position.
Many experienced fitness enthusiasts often struggle at the beginning to complete their first pull up. To build up the amount of repetitions you can complete on this exercise, you can use various means of assistance. One way would be the use of a resistance band tied around the pull up bar. Slip one knee into the resistance band and you will be able to, over time build up your strength and master this exercise. Alternatively, if you find this exercise is too easy, you can increase the resistance by adding a dumbbell between your feet.
Aim to work up to 10 repetitions each set, for a total of 3 or 4 sets. For advanced individuals, try to perform as many reps as possible for each set. Take 1-2 minutes of rest between each set to recover but make sure to listen to your body and if you feel you need to take longer rest periods, then take a little longer. You should aim to progressively increase your strength little by little each workout. Keep track of how many repetitions you completed for each workout and track your training in order to push yourself and keep improving.
For an effective workout routine based around your individual fitness goals, whether your aim is to simply lose weight, bulk up or just look and feel healthier, wide grip pull ups are a fantastic bodyweight exercise to build strength, overall fitness and a more attractive physique. They deserve a place in every back workout and anyone implementing this great exercise will benefit!